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Finding happily ever after in marriage

The Women’s Advisory Council will hold the Happily Ever After marriage panel March 10 at 2 p.m. in the Gordon B. Hinckley Building.

Euleza Hymas, a student activities advisor, said she is working behind the scenes with the Women’s Advisory Council to put the Happily Ever After panel together, as they do with other panels on campus.

“We started the panel about three years ago, so this will be our fourth annual panel for this topic,” she said. “It has been very successful according to the surveys we have collected after the event.”

Hymas said previous marriage panels were combined with the dating panel, but after large turnouts at previous panels, the Women’s Advisory Council decided to divide the two for this semester.

“The thing that makes it unique is the great panelists that provide such great insight and experience on the topic and with a spirit that is in connection with the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” she said.

Hymas said the council is excited to have Cindy Miyasaki, wife of President Kevin Miyasaki, present with the panel this semester.

She said there is no rigid structure for the topics that will be covered because panelists are present to respond to audience questions.

“We do not have an agenda,” Hymas said. “The audience will guide the topics and discussions on what they want to hear.”

Hymas said participants never know what will be said that might inspire them or someone else but that, as they ask questions, participate and listen to others, they will learn and grow.

“Maybe it will be something that one of the panelist says that will inspire them, or maybe it will be them coming to ask a question that so many have wanted to ask but never had the courage or opportunity to,” she said.

Hymas said the panel will be beneficial for married couples, employees and students, on or off campus.

“If you think that you may not need this information, then don’t come for yourself, but come for someone that you may be able to help in the future,” she said.

Scott Gardner, faculty member of the home and family department, said this panel is crucial to students because recent studies indicate that around half of all millennials have never seen a good marriage.

“No wonder people are scared to death of getting married,” he said. “They’ve never seen a good example.”

In the nation, among the lowering number of people who choose to get married, the average age for first marriages has risen, 27 for women and 29 for men, and continues to rise, according to a study titled “Knot Yet” done by The National Marriage Project.

Gardner said the best way for those who did not have the best example growing up to understand how to have a successful marriage is by taking advantage of opportunities like the Happily Ever After panel, where ideas will be shared and concerns addressed.

“I think there’s a lot of negative messages out there about marriage and family life in our world today,” he said. “This is one way to combat that: to talk about what really does work and the realities, the positive realities.”

Gardner said panelists have been provided with some commonly asked question but the discussion largely depends on the audience in attendance.

“We’re there to answer questions, share insights and hopefully share some things that will be beneficial for the audience,” he said.

Gardner said he hopes students can leave the panel understanding the upsides and downsides of marriage as well as solutions.

“Marriage is every wonderful thing you’ve thought about or dreamed about,” he said. “It’s also every hard thing you’ve heard about.”

Gardner said he would encourage students to go to the panel because marriages play a large part in long-term happiness.

“Research suggests that the number one predictor of happiness in our lives is the quality of our relationships,” he said.

More information about the Women’s Advisory Council and other activities this semester can be found at the BYU-Idaho Women’s Advisory Council Web page.

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