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Kinds of Relationships

About this article

Two ideas from the classroom are given here. A survey that focuses on kinds of relationships (friendship, infatuation, committed love, exploitation) could be used as a discussion starter and clarification exercise. The second idea is a guided meditation that enables students to put themselves in the role of a parent. This meditation is geared specifically for females. Discussion questions are included at the end of the article.

Margaret Kueberth, a religion teacher at the Catholic High School of Baltimore, passed on two of her exercises that can be used in a sexuality or lifestyles course.

The first exercise, which can be made into a handout, serves as a springboard for class discussion. An answer key is not included, because many of the answers could be open to debate. But that's where the fun comes in.

The second exercise is a guided meditation with follow-up questions for discussion.

Kinds of Relationships

In the blank before each of the following characterizations of a relationship, write the letter or letters that you think indicate the type of relationship it is. Here are the letters:

F = friendship

I = infatuation

C = committed love

E = exploitation

1. lacking respect

2. loyal

3. forgiving

4. responsible to each other

5. exploitive

6. not grounded in reality

7. willing to last through troubles

8. always ready to help each other

9. showing true care for each other

10. based on fantasy

11. mutually respectful

12. trusting

13. having realistic expectations of each other

14. trying to change other person

15. one-sided giving, one-sided taking

16. patient and understanding

17. two-way giving and receiving

18. pretending interest

19. giving to help, not to get something back

20. accepting of each other's faults

21.short-lived (tends to be over when other's faults are seen)


23.exclusive (some aspects shared only between the two persons)

24.worshipful of other person


26.unclear about what type of relationship it really is


28.covenantal (a sacred pledge of faithfulness)

29.ending when things get hard or unpleasant

30.allowing gradual growth (of relationship)

31.involving sacrifice at times

32.pretending to be a friend in order to get something

33.involving low self-esteem

34.ending when one person cannot or will not supply what the other wants

35.trying to "buy" caring from the other

Reflections on Guiding Your Daughter

This guided meditation enables students to put themselves into a parent's place of trying to guide his or her own child. The exercise focuses on how the student would guide a daughter, but it is also interesting to see how or whether the guidance given a son would differ. You might try the exercise both ways. The differences between our culture's expectations of boys and those of girls could be a subject for discussion, in addition to the questions given here.

First, help the students get into a relaxed state–comfortable position, closed eyes, steady, deep breaths, and perhaps some muscle relaxation techniques. You may want to dim the lights and play quiet, reflective music. Then guide the students, using this script, speaking slowly and calmly, with pauses for the students to use their imagination.

Imagine yourself several years in the future. . . . You are married, and you have just learned that you (or your wife) is pregnant for the first time. . . .

Think about how you anticipate the birth of your baby as the months pass. . . . What preparations do you make for the baby? . . . How do you feel? . . .

Now it's the day your baby is born. . . . It's a girl! . . . You're in the hospital's birthing room holding your tiny daughter for the first time. . . . How does it feel? . . .

Now, imagine all the ups and downs of your little girl's growing years . . . watching her learn to walk . . . hearing her first words . . . her first sentences . . . teaching her to ride a bike . . . her first day of school . . . the times she is sick and you are so worried . . . her triumphs . . . her sorrows . . . her joys . . . the school plays . . . the softball games . . . the concerts. . . .

Now she's becoming interested in boys . . . . What do you want for her as she begins dating? . . . What guidelines do you set with her . . . places she can go . . . calling home . . . curfew? . . . What do you want to tell her about relationships . . . dating . . . guys . . . sex? . . .

Now, come back to the present.

Questions for Discussion

  • What surprised you about your thoughts, if anything?
  • Did you find yourself setting some of the same guidelines as your parents have set? If not, why not? If so, how do you feel about this?
  • Did you find yourself being more protective of your daughter than you usually are of yourself? If so, reflect on this for a while.


Copyright © 2009 Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this article to be freely used for classroom or campus ministry purposes; however, it may not be republished in any form without the explicit permission of Saint Mary's Press. For more resources to support your ministry, call 800-533-8095 or visit our Web site at www.smp.org.

Published April 1, 1991.