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There's more to Valentine's Day than love

Friday, February 06, 2009

This WSU Newsline Podcast is available at http://www.wichita.edu/newslinepodcast. See the transcript below:

You’re listening to the podcast edition of the Wichita State University audio newsline. Learn more about WSU — the home of Thinkers, Doers, Movers and Shockers — on the Web at wichita.edu.

With Valentine's Day approaching, perhaps the song comes to mind, "What the World Needs Now is Love." But when it comes to relationships, Wichita State University sociologist Ron Matson says we also could use a heavy dose of honesty, trust and integrity.

Matson: "Honesty is about truth telling, and I think a lot of us feel like we have to maybe lie or tell a little white lie to get out of a situation in our lives or in a moment. And yet, without honesty, of course we can't build some of the more important qualities that we think about in relationships like integrity and trust."

Most people equate Valentine's Day with love, but respect is very important, too, as Matson explains.

Matson: "I think in important relationships one of the things that happens is that people trade off respect for love, and in my point of view, human beings have as a fundamental need and a right, is respect. And I think that's due us by all people we meet."

And Matson cites three traits that are important in having and maintaining a strong relationship.

Matson: "The most important traits in relationships, regardless of whether romantic relationships or family, is honesty and trust and integrity."

There is an old saying, "Without trust, there is no love." Most experts would probably agree that love with trust lasts a lot longer than love without it. Count Matson among those who says trust is very important in relationships.

Matson: "Trust is really more important than love, and it derives from knowing that another person would not consciously hurt you. And it's so fundamental in relationships to know that you can live your life day by day and count on that other person to never put you in a difficult moment, at least by choice."

Integrity is another important trait in relationships. Matson explains what integrity means.

Matson: "Integrity is simply doing what you say you will do. If you make a commitment, you follow up and follow through with that commitment. So integrity is one of the things that I think is in short supply, but it's essential, because if people can't count on you and count on your word, then they're going to feel really, really bad in the relationship."

About 188 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second-most popular greeting-card-giving occasion. Candy, flowers and jewelry are among the most popular gifts. Those things are nice enough, but Wichita State University sociologist Ron Matson says a genuine and authentic relationship is worth far more.

Matson: "I really like to talk about authenticity, about being genuine in relationships, and that means covering all those other traits that we've talked about. I just think that we have to learn to be the person we are. Strip away all the social roles, strip away the masculinity, the femininity, the boss, the employee, just be a real person. Be genuine and be authentic to everyone you meet."

Thanks for listening. Until next time, this is Joe Kleinsasser for Wichita State University.

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