People’s ability to live alone, it seems, is on the rise, that is, more and more men and women seem to feel reasonably at peace with themselves, are able to keep busy, and know how to go to the movies or to a bar without feeling crushed because they’re alone. The social aspect, which is very important, is starting to change. Until not so long ago, society looked down on and discriminated against singles. Unmarried people, it was inferred, were socially inferior, so there was a strong pressure to get married. Well, whenever I notice this kind of social demand, I tend to not trust the “delights” of whatever is being so forcefully pushed; if it were so good, it wouldn’t have to be an imposition.
The ability to be reasonably self-sufficient is one of the most important achievements of the contemporary person. It’s a product of our efforts to acquire self-knowledge and introspection. New technology also provides pleasant and interesting entertainment for all the time we spend on our own. All things considered, it is only natural that so many of us prefer to be alone than in a bad relationship. Unhappy marriages, which people endure only because of their insecurities and fears of an uncertain and maybe lonely future, are on borrowed time.
Truly gratifying relationships, based on mutual respect and on a profound desire to contribute for the other person’s happiness will continue to exist and blossom, as long as there are no external obstacles—such as children of previous relationships who display destructive behaviors, serious financial difficulties or practical and philosophical differences between the couple—that can undermine the emotional connection. But how often do these obstacles occur in gratifying relationships? Maybe in 10% of them, or not even that many.
What is happening, as I see it, is an important change on people, who are becoming capable of better understanding the phenomenon of love and the institution of marriage. Since people are no longer desperate to get together with someone at any cost, they can, first, understand that love is one thing and marriage, another.
Love is a feeling of peace and comfort we feel when we are close to a person who, for several reasons, became special and unique to us. Marriage is a complicated contract, ultimately unsuccessful and a creator of conflict that will have to be analyzed in the light of reason, not love. Of course, nobody wants to share a life with someone for whom they have no romantic feelings, but that’s not enough to determine if a couple should get married, either.
The practical complications that arise from living together make people have relationships that resemble dating, more than marriage. They each live at their own home, have their own finances, lifestyle, and problems. If none of these issues matter, and common goals, such as having children and amassing property, justify signing a contract, then people should get married.
There will be fewer marriages, but they will be better. And whoever doesn’t want this type of life will live alone and search for happiness in some other way.
Tradução: Amanda Morris