Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dating

And so, dear readers, here we are again, with an entire post ahead of us. I actually have a topic I would like to discuss, simply because it is not discussed very often. I shall open with some literature by one of my favorite authors, Edith Wharton. The excerpt itself is from one of her short stories, The Valley of Childish Things:

A man once married a charming young person who agreed with him on every question. At first they were very happy, for the man thought his wife the most interesting companion he had ever met, and they spent their days telling each other what wonderful people they were. But by and by the man began to find his wife rather tiresome. Wherever he went she insisted upon going; whatever he did, she was sure to tell him that it would have been better to do the opposite; and moreover, it gradually dawned upon him that his friends had never thought so highly of her as he did. Having made this discovery, he naturally felt justified in regarding himself as the aggrieved party; she took the same view of her situation, and their life was one of incessant recrimination.
Finally, after years spent in violent quarrels and short-lived reconciliations, the man grew weary, and decided to divorce his wife.
He engaged an able lawyer, who assured him that he would have no difficulty in obtaining a divorce; but to his surprise, the judge refused to grant it.
"But -- " said the man, and he began to recapitulate his injuries.
"That's all very true," said the judge, "and nothing would be easier than for you to obtain a divorce if you had only married another person."
"What do you mean by another person?" asked the man in astonishment.
"Well," replied the judge, "it appears that you inadvertently married yourself; that is a union no court has the power to dissolve."
"Oh, said the man; and he was secretly glad, for in his heart he was already longing to make it up again with his wife.


Now, I firmly believe Edith Wharton just discovered the secret to many of America's failed marriages. Let us examine the main points of the story.

1. The man in the story married his wife because he thought she was an "interesting companion."
2. The man tired of his wife once the thrill of marrying her was gone.
3. He then tried to rid himself of his wife.
4. The man in question actually married himself, according to the wise judge.

The major problem of the man was that he entered into a self-centered relationship. By marrying someone who made him feel good about himself ("they spent their days telling each other what wonderful people they were"), he married out of pure self-centeredness.

This is the major problem of today's relationships. Guy/girl "dating" relationships nowadays tend to be wholly self-centered; they make both the parties involved feel good about themselves. I'll even admit myself that being in a relationship is exciting. In a relationship, one tends to spend time wrapped up in a cozy, sharp blanket of emotional belonging, giggling with friends (well, if you're on the female side, lol), and thinking of the thrill of being with the other person.

When that thrill is gone, what is that relationship built upon? Nothing. That is why it fails; it has no foundation.

And, thus, what is that foundation? God (I'll wager you didn't see that coming, lol). So many people in relationships rely on the other person to make them feel happy, to make them feel loved, to make them feel wanted. But God can supply all that. If one does not first rely upon and trust God, one can never love properly. I am firm in my conviction of this.

That is one reason why I strive to build my relationship with God. We must know His perfect, selfless love before we can ever love others. When people ask why I currently don't date, that is what I tell them. I am growing in my relationship with God. I think dating would disract me from that, but that is another story altogether. At any rate, too many of today's dating relationships are based on self, and not God.

That thought concludes this post. I want to devote some posts to dating and the like, simply because it is rarely discussed (especially in homeschool circles). :-) And so, until we meet again, dear reader, goodbye.

(hehe. Being dramatic is fun. Oh, and please post comments. What do you think about dating?)

4 comments:

Christopher said...

Man I LOVED it! I have never heard that story before but it's true! I liked it :-)

Kaitlyn said...

I completely agree with you here love.

That was amazing. You are a fabulous writer. There is a debater in you!!!! =D

Ryann said...

Thanks for finally showing just one of the many problems with dating....

Allegra said...

I like! You know, that's what my dad told me once upon a time. He said that he had actually been engaged to this one girl who always agreed with him on everything. Thing is, she just got boring. So he married my mom instead. His life is no longer boring... :P Actually, Mom has been really good for Dad. She challenges him and doesn't always agree with what he says. It's good...

I totally agree with you. Relationships are fun. It is thrilling. But if it's all about the thrill, it WILL fail. That's why I truly believe a good relationship (with a guy/girl one, at any rate) begins with a good friendship. If you can be just friends, if you can put up with the weirdnesses of each other at a friends level, then dating isn't so bad. The problem is when you skip the friends stage. Something is missing, and the foundation for the relationship is difficult to see.

In my very limited experience, I've been amazed to see how God uses people to challenge me. The closer they are, the more they challenge me. So I agree that modern-day dating has its faults. But I also believe that it depends on the individual. My current "relationship" can be very selfish. That's because we're two very selfish beings. But God is very much at work in both of us and through both of us.

So yes, I agree with you. In the end, the cliche applies again and again: It's all about God. Man's chief end, after all, is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. You can say that all modern-day dating is fundamentally flawed. Maybe it is. But that's because modern-day people don't chose to have a relationship with God. Of course, that's very much like olden days too...