I don’t normally wear a conspiracy hat, but I will put one on for this post. My younger brother made a good point about how dating and marriage has become a market for businesses the other day. First, there is a lot of money to be gained through societal dating and marriage expectations: movies, dinners, gifts, valentines day, sweetest day (in Ohio), flowers, engagement rings, wedding rings, wedding dresses, and all the hubris surrounding wedding expectations. There are billions to be snagged with dating and marriage.
Next you also have a high divorce rate supported by the American “there is always something better” mentality. Divorces are also expensive and most often lead to another round of dating and marriage.
Did business purposefully set up a culture of expectations that led to the headache we call dating? They certainly have a vested interest and contributed to it. The greater problem is with American culture; we have too high expectations and try to live out fantasies that simply can’t happen in reality. The dream wedding shows on television strike me as supremely wasteful and ridiculous, for example. Spending $2,000 – $20,000+ for a dress you wear once is outlandish. The cost of the reception and ceremony is even worse. Then you also have the rings and all the dating expenses leading up to the wedding. The money is better spent on a honeymoon vacation, on a home, or donating to an aid foundation.
Relationships have turned into commodities. Dating is a transaction done between 2 people with certain expectations fostered by society. It is unfortunate and even offensive.
I haven’t had much luck with dating, for a full disclosure. I am soured to the pressures and expectations people push upon dating. I won’t date anyone unless she is a friend first. That is a no-no in our society, but the point of dating is to increase intimacy in a relationship. I just don’t see how people can jump to a deeper intimacy level than friendship (as our society supports with kissing and more as being part of dating) when you barely know the person. It takes years to know a person well. I also don’t think dates should be expensive. It is best to do inexpensive or even free things like taking a walk simply because you want to spend time with someone you care about. It shouldn’t be a transaction.
The point of dating is to spend time with someone you already know well to deepen the intimacy you share. Friendship is a better place (with less expectations) for getting to know people. The market side of dating and marriage is unhealthy for relationships. Money isn’t a measure of affection, yet in America it often is equated. The more we spend relative to our income shows how much we love someone. Pfff.
I often wonder what Jesus and Buddha would have to say about how we have monetized even the deepest relationship we can share with another. I wonder what they would say with out we treat relationships as a throw away commodity.