Sarah Cahalan '14 | February 26, 2019
Near the end of Disney’s Frozen, Princess Anna gets a dose of relationship advice from the finest love experts in the kingdom of Arendelle.
Arendelle’s love experts are a family of trolls.
Notre Dame’s is a theology professor.
Tim O’Malley ’04, ’06MTS is director of education in the McGrath Institute for Church Life and holds a concurrent appointment in the theology department, but in recent years he’s become known on campus for something else entirely — his expertise on love, dating and marriage.
Since fall 2016, he has taught THEO 20425 – The Nuptial Mystery: Divine Love and Human Salvation, a course that examines the history of Christian marriage and the challenges it faces today. The class has gained a sort of cult popularity in its short history, growing to the point where O’Malley now caps the class size at 150. You could attribute this to many things — the fact that it fulfills a University theology requirement, the accessibility of the subject matter compared to denser courses on individual theologians — but its instructor says much of the course’s lore comes from one optional piece of homework: Go on a date.
“I think a lot of students actually just call it the dating class,” O’Malley says, “even though it’s an extra-credit, optional assignment.”
There are a few rules for students who opt into the assignment, in addition to a 3- to 4-page paper turned in after the fact. First, it has to be a real date — no “hey, we should hang out sometime.” Second, no phones. And finally, if you’re 21 and looking to drink, you’re to stick to a glass of wine or a cocktail, not, he says, “pregaming with 10 Natty Lights in the quint in Sorin.”
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