Tag Archives: lasting love

FOR SINGLES: Is Marriage Becoming Extinct?

The shape of our families is constantly changing. People are marrying for the first time, and the divorce rate just keeps soaring, giving way to many single parent households. Single life is no longer a short rite of passage; it’s an important consumer demographic. For the first time in history (since the immigration of mostly male, early settlers), almost half of adult Americans are now unmarried. There’s even Singular Magazine, devoted to the lifestyles of those who have made a commitment to being single. It even includes ads for commitment rings to purchase for oneself.

But has love changed? Has committed love been replaced by a revolving door of dates? Is long-term monogamy even necessary for our species’ survival? The answers are complicated. Marriage may be changing, but it will never go out of style.  In case you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a fight going on right now in America to allow more people to be granted marital rights.

Marriage may not be going away, but its purpose has shifted. Historically, marriage was a place for women and children to have economic protection. It was a place where religious values could be taught and extended to the next generation, and a place where family fortunes could remain intact. More recently, marriage became a place for a relatively new invention: romantic love. But since dating and hooking up have morphed into America’s favorite pastime, full of hopeful highs and disappointing lows, even romantic love is losing its luster.

So why choose marriage today? Because it is an intellectual decision that leads to survival of the species. Anthropologists have always said that it was human’s sophisticated social structures, including the adoption of long-term monogamy, that help our species procreate and thrive.

Humans are the animals that require a huge amount of nurturing for our psychological and physical survival, more than virtually any other animal on earth. While most newborns are up on four legs and running with the herd just hours after birth, we Homo sapiens have a vulnerable in-arms (or stroller) phase that lasts almost four years. And it’s really, really hard to nurse and carry a baby while extracting resources from the environment. Just ask any single mother. Doable, yes, but very difficult. Remember the mission: to grow up healthy and create offspring that are also healthy and ready for careers and parenthood.

Family therapists know that dysfunctional family systems eventually fall out of evolution’s chain. Each generation has fewer and fewer offspring that survive through the next procreation, until the family line finally dies off. Apparently, neglectful parenting can create drunk drivers, criminals caught in crossfire, hermits, drug addicts, and narcissists too selfish for parenting — all people with lower chances of reproducing. But let me make one thing clear before I get inundated with e-mails about this: I am IN NO WAY SAYING that all single mothers create dysfunctional families. What I am saying is that every time one factor is removed from a system that has been selected through evolution, the chances for dysfunction increase. Plenty of single mothers are raising healthy kids with the help of extended family, surrogate male role models, and friendship villages that act as a de facto family. And this is part of our changing family structure.

Evolution has shown that our best chances for survival and for the survival of our offspring’s offspring is a team approach to raising humans. And the best team captains are people who have a biological interest in the child. And to create that, we need to sometimes put the notion of romantic love aside and make an intellectual decision to do what’s best for our genes, ahem, I mean kids.

Watch my youtube video: What is Slow Love?

FOR SINGLES: You Don’t Find Love, You Make it.

Couple On Date with WineHere’s a strange misconception going on in our culture and I’d like to clear it up right now so we can all get on with our lives. There seems to be this idea that finding a partner with whom we can exchange mutual care, is about finding a perfect match — a soul mate. This idea has fueled the entire dating industry that includes websites, TV shows, and every romantic comedy that’s ever been written. And this idea of romantic love has also caused many divorces when partners become disappointed that their marriage isn’t filled with “love.”

But let me say it loud and clear: Love isn’t something you search for. Love is something you actively create. You are in the driver’s seat. And you can direct your love on anyone you choose. Need proof? Look at this statistic. There are far more arranged marriages in the world than marriages based on romantic love. That marriages based on love is over 50% and for second marriages based on love the divorce rate is much higher. However, worldwide, the divorce rate in arranged marriages is 4%. Part of this success is due to the cultural factors that help glue the relationship and another part of it is the intellectual commitment made by each partner. But knowing this. Let me ask you, why not arrange your own marriage?

Granted, we are not attracted to everyone we meet. Sexual attraction, which is quite different from love, is a hypnotic cocktail of brain stimuli responding to vision, sound, and pheromones. Each of us has a unique mix of memories from our sexual development that merge together to create our version of a sexually attractive person. But, let’s now ask anyone reading this: Are you sexually attractive in a very narrow group of people. Of course not! We would never have survived as a species if our wiring was so narrowly directed. There are many, many potential partners out there for all of us, both men and women.

Being an active lover means having compassion and empathy for another person and adjusting your behavior to accommodate them. That doesn’t mean having no boundaries and being a doormat. But it also doesn’t mean bailing when the first hint of conflict arises. Love is a decision, not a quest.

I’ll bet if you adjusted your mindset, you could find love today.
Hint: It’s all in your head.

Watch my YOUTUBE video: Is Rational Love Replacing Romantic Love?