My high school English teacher once told the class how he met his wife. The girls in the class had convinced him to tell the story after word got out that it was unique. He went on to tell us how he was at a church function sitting next to a girl he had never met before. His parents approached, and assuming she was with him, asked, “who’s she?” The girl turned around to see who had spoken, and my teacher jokingly told his parents, “oh her? That’s the girl I’m going to marry.” He then struck up a conversation with her and several years later, they were married.
Stories like that used to be the norm in our society. Some chance encounter leads to a relationship that withstands the test of time. Yet why have we become so scared of such encounters? Today, it’s easier than ever to fall into the trap of modern dating. You know, the trap of online sites, singles gatherings, and blind dates. It seems like most people have just added “get hitched” to their checklist of things they want to accomplish, and they don’t really care how it is achieved.
Personally, I think this is sad. The intrigue of the unknown fuels romance so well, and that just can’t be simulated over a broadband connection to eHarmony. What sites like that offer is a lazy way to meet people so you can cross of “get hitched” on your list of to-do’s and move on to the next thing. I see this over and over again, especially as acquaintances get older. They go from finding a new job, to finding someone to marry, to buying a house, to having kids, all because it’s on the list and not necessarily because things just happened that way. Plus, we’re not getting any younger, right? The chances that something magical is going to happen only decreases with time, after all…
Civilization survived for thousands of years before the Internet, which means that people must have found each other and procreated. To me, that’s proof positive that online dating isn’t necessary. The only time limit on your romantic life is the one you impose on it – and people sadly seem to do that, too. If I’m not married by the time I’m 30, I’ll just marry the first nice guy I come across. It doesn’t sound bad, except for that poor nice guy that doesn’t realize he hit the lottery rather than having a real match.
More and more, we’re encouraging people to get further away from genuine social encounters. Learning how to talk to and meet new people is an important life skill, not just for dating, but for business, friendship, and any number of reasons. The more social you are, the more of a life you have, the more support you have, and the more fun you have. If you want to get married, that’s fine, but why not put some effort into the social part of your life? You may just find that the person to marry shares the same interests and is too busy to post a profile online. Don’t just cross something off of your life’s to-do list, really make it happen.