As a culture we have moved away from traditional approaches to relationships which favour commitment and unconditional love, to an approach which veers from contractual to consumerist to simply confused. Just look at the way in which our language betrays our confusion over romantic and sexual relationships.
“Yeah me and him are having a bit of a thing”
“I don’t know how we got together it sort of just happened.”
“Are you guys on now?”
“Yeah me and her just did it”
“I am not sure but I think that he thinks that we are together now”
Such imprecise and non-descriptive language shows just how unsure we have become as we navigate the field of relationships. We have left behind the markers and boundaries which guided us in the past and which are used by every culture to facilitate romantic relationships and now we are making it up as we go along.
There is now a whole field of media which explores this new territory, be it chick lit, romantic comedies, or Sex in the City clones such as Cashmere Mafia/Lip Stick Jungle etc. What is common to all this modern day story telling is the tangible anxiety around relationships, which is akin to a kind of collective fumbling in the dark. Half the action is centred around the way that characters brainstorm and put their heads together to interpret and solve the new conundrums that modern relationships throw up.
Thus the average single person (and many marrieds) finds themselves in a strange universe in which every previous clue that could lead to a rewarding romantic relationship has been erased. There are still just as many people out there looking for relationships, it is just that our culture has thrown away the manual in an attempt to increase our personal freedom. Instead of discovering personal freedom we have only increased our loneliness and sense of personal lostness.
We now find ourselves in a strange and ultimately self destructive position, we simultaneously seek commitment whilst running away from it. We want it both ways.
Maybe its time as a culture to rediscover the biblical concept of covenantal relationships. To again dive into that strange yet alluring sea of commitment,