For the record: I do not have a specific interest in dating websites. My interest lies in general discovery of how people are approaching marriage and long-term relationships. Nevertheless, dating websites are a fascinating study of human behavior and progress.
It makes sense that people using dating sites are serious about, or at least interested in, relationships. This assumption excludes “casual” dating sites, which have grown in number recently. I realize that not everyone has a desire to get married. However, for the people focused on committed relationships, some are finding marriage through online connections.
I recently read an article that suggests online dating leads to more successful marriages. The article references a study that concludes that one-third of marriages in America begin online, and these unions are less likely to end compared to marriages formed offline. I need to explore this trend further, but it’s a captivating idea.
How much influence do dating websites have on the success of marriages? And are there more people currently using these sites for committed relationships than there were 3 years ago?
More to come on this exploration of marriage and how people are utilizing tools to support their relationships.
Most adults I know have either used a dating website or have considered it. I’ve used a couple of them for brief periods of time. Here are a few things I find interesting about the people using dating sites:
- A lot of people make exercise a priority in life.
- There are actually some people who don’t include a profile photo.
- Most people don’t mention their families, but many do mention their dogs.
- People don’t necessarily express an interest in getting married.
Right. So the last one probably isn’t surprising. Why would it be assumed that people who use a dating site are looking for marriage? Dating can certainly be a step in the direction of marriage, but marriage isn’t the destination for everyone. While there are sites that focus more on serious relationships, not all dating sites directly ask the participants if they plan to marry.
One site I’m familiar with asks about your relationship status and it also asks if you want to have kids, but not if you plan to get married. I find this interesting. Is the question a no-no? Or, is it assumed that people will date, develop relationships, and the rest will be figured out later?
I truly am curious—I believe there’s more to explore on this topic. It seems to me that our society shies away from making marriage take center stage in the dating arena. It’s as if that would add a bit more pressure to what may already feel like a burden to many. The burden of failing for some, and the burden of demanding expectations for others. I vote for a new paradigm. But I’m still exploring the old one, so no solutions just yet.
Recently, I chatted with some young—early to mid-twenties—friends about the challenges they face in relationships. These particular friends are indeed interested in marriage, creating families, and having successful careers. As we talked honestly about the up-to-the-minute trends weighing down on life and their relationships, it occurred to me that youth in our society are in a hazardous position when it comes to marriage preparation.
Whether our parents were married or stayed married during our childhood and adolescence, we have all learned about marriage by observing those in our personal environments, communities, as well as via the media. Observation certainly yields understanding in life, but it can’t be the only way to get educated. Does anyone ever sit down with a child or adolescent and talk opening about how to prepare for this chapter in life? I do know a few parents who do this, but only a few.
On the whole, I don’t see youth being guided and groomed to think about marriage and its influence on their lives. Is it assumed that they will just figure it out? Do people believe that there isn’t really any way to prepare for how to choose a partner or how to contribute to a thriving relationship? And if the answer is “yes” to both questions, then that’s really good to know.
However you slice it, preparing young people for marriage includes having open—age appropriate—conversations including how our individual, unique, qualities can contribute to a functional relationship, as well as the ABCs of life in a household. The more we discern how crucial healthy relationships and marriages are to the functioning of our society, the more experienced adults will take young people under their wings and prepare them for their own flight.
It’s been a while since my last post…but I’m not confessing here. Life happens and it’s my job to keep up with my life.
Recently, I’ve been meeting with a local filmmaker to discuss a plan to move my documentary film project forward. Momentum for this project is building again and I’m excited about the possibilities. Making a film certainly takes dedication, focus, and a vision. The idea of creating a clear vision for my documentary has been dominating my thoughts this past week. I admire any creative person who has a strong sense of vision and can articulate their vision with clarity and zeal. Film and theater director Julie Taymor is one of these people. Taymor has an incredible gift—the ability to not only conceive a powerful vision for film and live theater, but to also generate, in my opinion, awe-inspired works of art.
When it comes to my artistic and creative inclinations, they have ebbed and flowed since I was young. I was highly creative as a child—via singing, dancing, acting— and then not as much as a teenager. My post-adolescent years were spent searching for an enriched sense of self; and as a result I found myself in a space with a deep desire to be creatively expressive, but I wasn’t cognizant of what that could look like. Now as more years have past, I find that my preference is to create from a place of authenticity and personal calling—not from a place influenced, necessarily, by trend or popularity.
My creative expression now reflects my personal vision for an ever-advancing civilization. While humanity continues to struggle through its collective, cellular, past, I long to participate in and assist with its awakening—an awakening that leads ultimately to progress and maturity. My current film project is one, humble, effort in this direction. However, as my creative clarity develops, I anticipate finding new, original, personal projects that reflect my vision for progress. Meanwhile, I’m getting back to business with Searching for Marriage.
It’s not too late to acknowledge that it’s “Loving Day”. Today, June 12th, honors Mildred and Richard Loving and their U.S. Supreme Court case, which in 1967 banned all remaining anti-miscegenation laws in the U.S.
The two married in Washington, D.C. in 1958. Upon returning home to Virginia, the Lovings learned — no doubt, via a prejudiced and inequitable system — that interracial marriage in Virginia was against state law; and as a result, they were arrested. After a long, arduous, process, the Lovings found justice in 1967.
Today is a celebration of their courage and determination — love and justice conquer all. While racial prejudice is still alive in our society, there are many victories to celebrate today. Without the struggles and dedication of the Lovings and the many others before them, the freedom and respect which rightfully belongs to all, would not prevail.
Thank you to the Lovings, to my parents, and to all who have blazed trails in the name of love.
photo credit: natbell via Morguefile
Recently I watched The Princess Bride. It had been many years since I’d heard those unforgettable lines such as, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” and “Inconceivable.” But the line that still takes the cake for me comes from the beginning of the wedding scene when Princess Buttercup and Prince Humperdinck are standing before the priest: “Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday.” This one evokes a great belly laugh, and it also reminds me how deeply the institution of marriage is embedded in my psyche.
The ceremony, the vows, the witnesses. These elements of a wedding are essential to the beginning of marriage. They signify the union of the 2 people and their commitment to protecting their everlasting bond. However, why are there so many people who aren’t interested in getting married? There are many, right? Is it because they don’t see most marriages as a happily-ever-after experience? For some it’s because they don’t want to ruin what they have, which is a long-term relationship minus the looming threat of enmity and divorce.
I don’t write this with any judgement or criticism. We all know that fairytales are meant to be magical myths for children. And rarely in films and TV do we see what happens after the wedding ceremony and reception, especially because they typically take place at the end. What I’m after here is investigating the reality of marriage and its current status in society. I also aim to explore the institute of marriage and its history.
Now with a few recent, personal, transitions behind me, I’m eager to focus on interviews again. I’ll be speaking to more couples—married and unmarried—to learn about their views on marriage as an institution. Also, I’ll probe further to find out if my perception that more and more people would rather not get married is accurate.
Photo credit: mensatic via Morguefile