In years past, couples met in traditional ways and places. Many met their life partners in school or church or at work. There were clubs, the Scouts, FFA and FHA. Most of us had several dates before we settled on one person. Some, like me, were set up for blind dates. In fact, that is how I met my wife of 52 years. There was the usual courtship. We went out on dates. We shared time together and learned about each other. For the most part, it worked. People of like thinking found partners of like thinking. Living together before marriage was frowned upon. I’m sure there were dalliances, but cohabitation was just not done.
Courtships lasted about a year. Then, in most cases, there was a wedding, sometimes a honeymoon and the couple went on to live happily ever after. That ritual worked for many, many years. Granted there were divorces. That happens. Sometimes people grow apart. Sometimes issues come up that just cannot be dealt with. Things happen.
Look at today. There are dating and introduction services advertised all over the television networks. There are services for senior citizens. There are dating services for black people, Jewish people, Christian people and the newest I just saw, for farmers only. I guess if you spend your days sitting on a tractor or a combine, that doesn’t leave much time to go looking for a mate. Can you see the ads for a date? “Grain and hay farmer looking for a mate who can plow, run a seeder, bale and buck hay, and combine oats. Should look good in bib overalls.”
Now don’t get me wrong. I see and understand the value of these services. Many people, especially older folks, have been out of the market for so long they could use a little help. Many younger people are so busy with their careers they just don’t or won’t take the time to go looking for a suitable mate. I just wonder what is going to be next. Fat people looking for other fat people who can cook? Whatever.
The frosting on this cake is a new television series which we just caught on the A&E Network called Marriage at First Sight. If you haven’t seen this yet, you won’t believe it. Couples are matched scientifically based on all sorts of things. There is a sociologist, a sexologist and a non-denominational religious psychologist who look at unmarried people and try to match them scientifically based on their written biographies as well as personal interviews. The couples themselves never meet their life partners until their actual wedding. They don’t even know their names or anything else about them. The couples are then supposed to spend their lives together as legally married husband and wife, learning as they go. I’ve heard about on-the-job training but this is ridiculous. I don’t know about you, but it all seems a little iffy to me. It’s a modern-day arranged marriage.
Simply stated, things have changed. Wow, how things have changed! Some could say what worked in the past wasn’t really that effective. Possibly. But people are not so easily defined. One could have everything another wants in a mate but falls short in just one little way, and that one little way could be a deal breaker. Almost every day I learn something new about my wife of 52 years. Imagine if you knew nothing about your mate on your wedding day. One wonders what happens when and if the deal breaker shows up.
Personally, I prefer the traditions of the past. Sometimes I guess this world is just passing me by.