the changing landscape of relationships
Pushing people to test their culturally held beliefs against evidence is key to helping our species recover from millennia of superstitious notions that have climaxed in several religions holding sway over most of the world’s population. With the advent of oodles of information and clever people colliding, we are now on the road to a new age of human endeavour, untainted by belief in invisible deities wielding arbitrary rules and magic afterlives we have to earn by thinking correctly.
But religion itself isn’t the only part of our indoctrination we need to question. The remnant societal structures that have arisen from these long-held beliefs should clearly be re-evaluated in the light of the unbiased evidence we have available to us. One huge area that touches almost all our lives is our approach to romantic relationships, with or without the reproduction aspect.
Growing up in a world that signposts us to the cosy notion of one special person to share our whole adult life with, it’s not surprising that most of us assume this is the natural state for homo sapiens. In reality, with low numbers of virgin marriages, high numbers of extra-marital affairs and rising divorce rates ranging from 30% to 60% in the Christian influenced western world, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate what reasonable expectations are for romantic relationships.
Whether we take my best blogging buddy Frogstar’s polyamory route, follow the French model of openly having affairs we don’t discuss, or just enter the realm of the dating world with different expectations, I think I can safely say we’ve moved past the frankly bizarre phase of existence when people said things like this:
Marriage is not only a commitment, but a covenant with God. It is the promise to remain with that other person for the remainder of your life, no matter whether your spouse is rich, poor, healthy, sick, overweight, underweight, or boring. A Christian marriage should endure through every circumstance, including fighting, anger, devastation, disaster, depression, bitterness, addiction, and loneliness. Marriage should never be entered into with the idea that divorce is an option—not even as the last straw.
Well, I guess ‘moved past’ is a little premature, given that this quote is from a post I read today. So, as a sidenote to all my Christian readers, if you’re in a messed up relationship featuring violence and/or misery, you are still expected to mindlessly follow some words printed in a cobbled together book from another culture over 2000 years ago. Good luck!