“Til death do us part” has become “Until I get bored of you.”
I’m sure I’m not the only one who browses Facebook and quite often comes across photos of engagement rings, ultrasounds, and changed last names from marriages and thinks to himself: Wait, weren’t you just single?
Everything seems to move faster these days. We have instant text messages and don’t need to send letters. We can Google something and not need to go to the library. We can get to know someone much quicker because we can talk to them any time of the day rather than limiting our interactions to sporadic phone calls or seeing each other in person.
We are Tindering and Bumbling and Coffee-Meets-Bagel’ing, and moving at such a fast pace through relationships that there is really only one thing we are not doing: BUILDing. We are not building relationships.
We can say whatever we want about past generations but the truth is: many people have been married two or three times in the span of time our grandparents’ have been married to each other.
Older generations set fires. Their relationships would burn with a small smoldering flame and eventually evolve into a roaring blaze as they continued to stoke it. Our generation, however, seems to be setting off fireworks. It’s spectacular display that’s quite often beautiful — but it’s also unpredictable and ends as quickly as it began, leaving behind only the memory of the experience.
We are not allowing ourselves the time to actually build a foundation with each other. We are an instant-gratification society and we are, unfortunately, carrying the same attitude into our relationships.
We always want the next best phone or the next best tablet and toss aside the obsolete version without a second thought. Sadly, it seems we do this with significant others as well.
Sure, everyone is different and sometimes “when you know, you just know,” but these drastic lifestyle changes haven’t allowed us to settle in comfortably, which can easily lead to regret and resentment for your partner further down the road: two things that should never be present in a relationship.
Some may call me cynical for my outlook, but inevitably I see a consistent course of events. “Engaged” on Facebook turns back to “Single.” New mothers complaining that their child’s father is suddenly an absentee dad.
The sad part is, some of these couples probably would have had a chance if they had taken their time and let their relationship develop and flourish, instead of leaping ahead and putting too much pressure on their bond too soon. Love is not something you just fall into overnight; it is the creation of two people who have worked together to cultivate it and allow it to grow.
It’s only natural to realize we need to strengthen something before we test it. Committing your entire life to someone you’ve only known for a few months, or even just a year, has not given you the glimpse into who they truly are — something you’ll need to see in order to make a decision of that magnitude. Even sharing an apartment or house together too soon opens up an entire new set of complications that a new couple will be unprepared for.
Have you seen this person react to a tragedy? A challenge in life? Frustrations? Failures? Do you know how they act around children or if they would make a good parent? Is this someone with similar views of the future as you? Will they really be there for you in a time of need?
It takes time to learn these things. Valuable time that teaches us lessons about people we simply cannot learn in the short term.
Too often people are left saying, “But they changed!” No they didn’t; you just finally learned who they really were. The truth came out. People can only put on a facade for so long, and if you make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion, there’s only trouble to follow.
You may feel lust. You may feel an overwhelming emotional attachment or connection to someone quickly. But if we allow our emotions to rule us completely, we very often tend to make irrational decisions that backfire in the future. We need to recognize the difference between lust and love, as well as have the self-control to allow things to progress naturally and not jump into something before we are ready.
We need to work harder to create the building blocks of lasting love, if that’s what we actually want to have.
I will say this: for the people who have experienced life, relationships and love, and know what they do and don’t want in a partner, it’s much more realistic for them to recognize the right person when they come along. But for those without the life experience to build off of, it’s a different story.
If you wouldn’t want someone to be your best friend for the rest of your life, don’t make them your spouse. And if you wouldn’t make someone a husband or a wife, don’t make them a parent. Our generations have it too easy in terms of an out. “‘Til death do us part” has become “Until I get bored of you.”
If you want brief entertainment, then by all means light off as many fireworks as you want. When one falls out of the sky, you will have another fuse waiting. But if you want a long lasting connection that will warm your heart for years to come, you will need to commit to stoking a fire.
By James M. Sama
This article was originally published at James M. Sama.