Protect against Title IX and submit a comment by September 12, 2022.

The US Department of Education released their proposed changes to Title IX regulations that would dramatically change the future for women and girls in federally funded activities and programs. There are many negative impacts that will harm girls, women, and families.

A government portal has been set up for you to make a comment submission.  It is very straight-forward and easy to do.  In addition, this governmental body is required to read every submission, large and small – before they can finalize the new “Rule.”  So rest assured, your input will be read and considered.


June 18, 2024

By Haley Cloward

Have you ever been or are you currently in a relationship with someone who could be the one? Do you love the person you are with because you feel totally comfortable with them, and you both just get each other on the most intimate level? Does being together feel good, but at times you see red flags? If this describes you and your relationship, then this might be cause for concern and you may need to take time to reflect on your current relationship. You may even consider doing a little research on relationships to help you make the right decision.

During my college years I took a “Preparation for Marriage” class and we read a book by John Van Epp, Ph.D entitled “How to Avoid Falling In Love With A Jerk.” This book is based on years of research on marital and premarital happiness. Van Epp discusses his model, known in the Marriage and Family world, as the “RAM Model.” Or the “Relationship Attachment Model.”

The RAM Model Defined

The book defines the model in this way: “The RAM Model is an interactive model that portrays the different forces that create bonds in relationships.” Van Epp says he has used this model as a conceptual picture countless times to clarify the abstract and often contradictory forces of love. He also uses it as a tool to assess relationships as well as to visualize the dynamic, changing bonds in intimate relationships.

The Ram Model

By now I am sure you are anxious to know what exactly is entailed in this model, so let’s get started. This model consists of 5 universal human dynamics that work together, and they are as follows: Know, Trust, Rely, Commit, and Touch. The book provides this image:

This image is meant to resemble a sound system’s equalizer with five up-and-down sliders evenly placed across the face of the board. Let’s dive in and learn more about each of these sliders, shall we?

  • The “Know” Slider

The first slider on the far left represents the extent to which you really know a person. As you move this slider up you are demonstrating a more personal knowledge of the other. You come to realize that you have a greater understanding of who you are in a relationship with.

  • The “Trust” Slider

The next slider represents the range of trust you have for the person you are in a relationship with. When this bar goes up it signifies a deeper, more certain confident trust in your partner.

  • The “Rely” Slider

The third slider represents the extent to which you rely on the person you are in a relationship with. How much do you depend on this person to fulfill and meet your most significant needs? The more this slider moves up, the greater you depend on this person to meet those needs.

  • The “Commit” Slider

The fourth slider represents the range of commitment you have established with the person you are in a relationship with. This slider rises when you have determined greater levels of commitment that is then expressed within your relationship.

  • The “Touch” Slider

The final slider on the far right represents the degree of sexual touch and chemistry that exists between you and your partner. Raising this slider signifies increases in passionate chemistry and sexual contact with your partner.

Now that you have a mental (and physical) picture of the RAM model, what does it all mean and what position should each slider be in to create the optimal experience in a relationship and why does that matter? How will this help you in your current or future relationships? These are all excellent questions, and I will go through these questions and try to answer them for you.

Applying the model

First, what does this all mean when you put it all together? Where should each slider be for the best outcome, and why does it matter? To keep things simple, Van Epp says this: “One of the most important keys to building a healthy relationship is to keep a balance among the five relationship dynamics.” He continues: “When all five are at the top level, the feelings of attachment are strongest… The balance of all five bonding dynamics determines the healthiness of your relationship and the clarity of your perspective on your partner.” The goal here is to keep a balance. You want to stay in what Van Epp describes as the “Safe Zone.”

This safe zone exists when all the sliders are in a similar space with one another. You are not moving farther in one area than in any of the others. When one slider moves out of sync with the others it can cause negative feelings to surface. This can cast doubts on the relationship, and no one wants that, so try to keep things balanced. Van Epp says: “When the safe-zone rule is followed, then your relationship grows in healthy
and stable ways and the potential for making a lasting marital choice is maximized.”

Lastly, how will this help you in your current or future relationships? Taking the time to evaluate where you stand on each of these sliders is worth the effort. It would be even more beneficial to sit down together as a couple and talk about where you both stand in each of these areas. As you evaluate your relationship you may realize things about yourself or your partner that you didn’t realize before and this can help you decide if this individual is really the right person for you. As you work together to evaluate each of these relationship dynamics you will be better prepared and better able to make decisions about your relationship moving

To recap, relationships take work, and you need to do your best to find the right balance with the five relationship dynamics. The hope, as you use this tool, is that you will be well on your way to a happy and healthy relationship, and most importantly, you will avoid falling in love with a Jerk.

Haley Cloward is a Senior at Brigham Young University–Idaho and will be graduating in July 2024 with a degree in Marriage and Family studies. She has been married for almost 12 years. She and her husband have 5 beautiful kids and live in Idaho Falls, Idaho. In her spare time, she likes to crochet, do diamond art, and other crafts. Her studies have made her very passionate about the family and the issues that families face in today’s world and working with United Families International has opened her eyes even more to those issues. She hopes to continue to work on spreading awareness about these issues to families everywhere so that others can be positive advocates in their communities for good.