I'm a bachelor, and I know I don't know much about being in love, being married, and all of that gushy stuff, but the whole being in love thing has me amazed and a bit confused. Long before social networks and the internet came along, dating existed in our culture...... so what I am going to reference happened then. Facebook and other social networks have made it more obvious.
Picture this: Samantha starts dating John. She starts posting things like "I'm the luckiest girl in the world!" "John is the best boyfriend ever!" "I have finally found THE ONE", "I am so in love!" Six months later, John has moved on to make some other girl the luckiest girl in the world, and Samantha is dating Matt. And it starts again: "I'm the luckiest girl in the world", "He makes me feel so special", "I have found the love of my life!" Six months to a year later, Matt has moved on to make some other girl feel special, and Samantha is gushing about Luke and how wonderful he is."
Sounds kind of weird doesn't it? But I have watched it happen over and over in life on and off of Facebook. Men and women alike think they have found "the one" but within a year or maybe longer, they are on to someone else and saying the same things. It is almost as if they are still looking while being with the one they are with.
As a bachelor who wished for years that I could be normal and experience what "normal" guys experience; I am honestly confused and dubious about this whole being in love thing. If you can fall in and out of love so quickly and easily, was it truly love... or was it lust and/or a crush? If a different guy or girl can make you feel special or like the luckiest boy/girl in the world, were you truly in love with the last person you dated?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.... what do I know about it as a single guy struggling with SSA. As I have watched marriage after marriage crumble, men and women jump from relationship to relationship as if dating itself were an addiction and they can't go any length of time without their "fix"; I have sat back and wondered. I have even found myself being thankful for my unmarried and unattached status.
They say that the people who know the most about child raising are the ones who have no children.......hey, I just thought of a blog post idea!! - the same may hold true with dating and marriage. The unmarried and unattached know the most about it.
Back when I was still hoping and praying I might be able to pull of marriage and dating (with a woman), I read a lot of books on dating. One of the most interesting was "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" by Joshua Harris. (I had no idea I would literally do that some day). His idea was that instead of dating around, couples should get to know each other in group settings long before being alone as a couple, and should court more than date. He gave an example of a man standing at the altar waiting for his bride, and she comes up the aisle with all of his ex-girlfriends. Since he had given a part of him to each of them, they were part of his wedding. Sounds crazy, or does it?
But I agree, and have some of my own thoughts. So I, the dating and marriage guru, am going to impart some wisdom by way of some statements and questions:
1) How long does it take to fall out of love and into love with another person?
2) Were you truly in love if you're with the next love of your life in a month or two?
3) How many men/women do you want your spouse to have kissed before you? How many do you want them to have whispered sweet nothings, cuddled with..... or as happens too often nowadays; had sex with?
4) Can you honestly say that when you're kissing that special person (or more) that you never, ever think of the others you have kissed or done more with? Can you honestly say you never compare the one you're with now with the others?
5) Could one factor in all of our marriages crumbling be that people get used to bailing on dating relationships when things get tough or they get bored with the person? Could it be that bailing instinct is hard to turn off when they marry?
6) How many boys/girls do you want your kids to be with before they marry? How far do you want them to go with the ones they date?
7) Should we approach dating like grocery shopping?
8) Does it make sense to even date before you are ready to plan on marrying that person?
9) Should you even date someone you can't see yourself marrying?
10) Do people go too much on emotion when dating and marrying?
11) If we waited until we were ready for marriage, got to truly know someone we were interested in, hung out with them in a group first, then dated with the intention of marrying; could it possibly be better for that marriage?
12) I know of couples who only dated one person, and waited until marriage to have sex. Could their chances of staying together be greater than those who dated around a lot and/or didn't wait until marriage for sex?
13) Is it awkward at all to be sitting in church with your spouse and sit across from the guy/girl you kissed, held hands with, cuddled, etc?
14) Do people truly get to know the person they marry well enough before they marry?
15) Is it biblical to date around? How many people does God want us to give pieces of our heart and our body to that we will never marry?
16) Is it possible to be addicted to be in a relationship, so one must find another boyfriend or girlfriend as soon as the last relationship ends? Wouldn't it be better to just stay unattached for a while and look harder and better for another relationship?
I have watched with sadness as more and more couples that I know are getting divorces. Sometimes it is mutual, and sometimes one or the other wants out of the marriage and/or cheats on their spouse. There was a day when I didn't personally know many couples that got a divorce, and now I couldn't name everyone I know who has gotten a divorce. It has made me thankful I never have married and will never know that heartbreak.
We aren't doing it right, or we wouldn't have the high divorce rate we have even among Christians. I could be wrong on my ideas I have presented here, but I think they are common sense and very likely have a part in the breakup of marriages.
You can't have multiple loves of your life. That only happens once, and twice if you lose your spouse and are fortunate to find another. The church has become too much like the world in many ways, and dating and relationships is just another area we are too much like the world.