When obtaining a driving license, we have to go through a thorough and intense period of training, lessons, and supervision. It takes years for us to actually even confirm with confidence that we know how to drive a car (as opposed to being allowed to drive a car). The government puts in a lot of effort to make us pay heavily for our training which you are expected to pay close attention to, since a system of fines and penalties applies to any type of violation in regards to traffic regulations. Everything has to be in order; everything has to function well so the country can blossom, can lead the way for others, receives respect, honour, more visitors and many other things. We have to think about properly maintaining our car, choosing the right insurance (which can be quite expensive), putting contingency plans in place for repair works and regularly drive to not unlearn the skill and become an expert. After all, we will now be responsible for other people’s lives too, and this special responsibility is awarded with a unique symbol called your driving license. Do you remember how proud you were when you first held that special symbol of achievement, dedication, investment and sacrifice in your hands? It is indeed a wonderful feeling!
With that in mind, let’s look at marriage, for instance. As with your driving license, you will be responsible for other people’s lives too. It takes us years, if not our entire lives, to even confirm with confidence that we know how to “be married” (as opposed to having the right age or being “willing” to). However, the government does not put any effort into preparing us for that decision that will affect our lives in the most significant way of all experiences we gather in life. There are no fines for cheating, lying, laziness or emotional abuse. No fines, regulations or trainings on how to treat your wife or husband, no investments or assurances of any sort to bring you peace of mind, no formula that helps you succeed. In the past, the government did not allow people to divorce, but nowadays, everybody can divorce, if they want. In fact, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 48% of marriages end up in divorce (that is basically every second marriage!), and Eurostat reports that in recent decades, the number of marriages has significantly decreased while the number of divorces has increased. Why is that though? Is it because we “finally” are able to get out of those relationships that “do not make sense” or are “unhealthy” for us? Clearly, there seems to be a problem. But are we trying to solve that problem by examining the root cause or by reacting to the symptoms? Also, what is (or should be?) the role of the government, when it comes to preparation for family life, which ultimately is the basis for communities, and as such, the basis for society?
Let’s not even go as far as marriage, let’s just look at a typical relationship in modern society. The same rules apply. From the outside, a married couple does not differ from a non-married couple, apart from their wedding rings, if they wear any.
As we know, a relationship is made up of two individuals. Two people who decide to be together, to spend time with each other, share their emotions, thoughts, jokes, good times, bad times. At some point, the couple may decide to sleep with each other, and then even move in together to see “how far this can go” (most hope that it will end in marriage or that it will just never end). They may decide to present each other to their friends, parents and families. They decide to “try it out” and see how compatible their opposite is to themselves. This can go on for several years. When they however notice that things don’t go as expected, they often resort to go through the pain and sacrifice of separation or even a breakup. They pay the heavy price of emotional grief, sorrow and distress which, more often than not, also manifests physically in the way they eat, engage with other people or themselves. Women and girls specifically seem to undergo quite heavy physical pain after a breakup; some skip work, school or even end up in depression. In some cases, people entertain thoughts of suicide.
People even prefer to get beaten up, instead of going through the pain of a heartbreak or separation – due to the fear of its deep mental, physical and hormonal effects. That is how severe this is.
People prefer to get beaten up, instead of going through the pain of a heartbreak or separation. Click To Tweet
Due to that almost paralyzing fear of heartbreak, you will notice that we have resorted to treating our boyfriend or girlfriend nowadays like we treat a car or (to us) highly valuable material possessions. We agree to a relationship but do not fully commit; that way we can somehow still be able to protect ourselves and easily find our way out, if need be.
For example, we buy an expensive car or shoes, we try and test them out, and if we like them, we pay the price and take them with us – they belong to us now. We show them off to people, we take them with us everywhere we can. We are so proud of and happy about these new possessions, we actually love them! We try to maintain them as best as possible, and in the first few months or even years, we are quite good at it. We believe we have found true happiness.
Then comes a storm or heavy rain – a crisis – and our possessions get stained or even damaged. Now we are facing a dilemma; either we replace them, or we try to fix them by investing more money and time into them. We assess our finances, our plans, our goals, our time, our surrounding and wonder – do we truly want to invest into this? What lasting joy and happiness have they brought us, overall? We may start reassessing everything we have, or our thoughts may drift towards that other car or shoe that we recently saw was so attractive, new in the market, with many more, greater and modern options. Could it be that we will possibly look even more amazing with the more modern versions? After all, those we currently possess will get worn out at some point anyway, and they have stains, are damaged, they don’t fit anymore, there have been so many issues with them already, we just don’t like them – our love for them has faded. So, these possessions we once so dearly loved, spent time with, invested in, those all our friends and family are familiar with – we end up throwing these possessions away or replacing them with new ones. We decide to focus on us, our own needs, wants, desires and happiness.
This may sound familiar. I am sure we have all changed shoes and even cars like that over the years! But more importantly, most of us have also changed relationships this way, often much more than once or twice. We have gone through the pain over and over and over again. And we keep going through it. That is why society has resorted in spreading now common statements such as “Well, you never know, you just have to gain your experiences, that’s how life is” or “If this relationship does not work, the next one will”. We go as far as even adding biblical statements to it by saying “The best is yet to come my dear, don’t give up!” We give all this well intended advice but without investing time into the “how”. Rather, we have spent time almost erasing the virtues of dedication, commitment, security, hard work and truth in a relationship, all in the name of freedom and self-government of life. Is that truly fair though? To that partner of ours, or to the singles and children observing us in the midst of our ignorance, is this fair?
What is your perception of relationships these days? What do romantic relationships mean to you? Please share your comments below, I would love to hear from you!
With love and gratitude,