I've got a theory on marriage that I believe is starting to become the new norm.
I was coaching a client the other day and we got into a very interesting discussion about marriage. He said, "David, my parents have been married for over 50 years now, and it's one of the most beautiful things in the entire world. My dad still adores my mom, my mom adores my dad just as much. They still pay attention to each other. They still do little things for each other. The same little things they did for each other when they first met in the 1940s."
I don't have to tell you that the 1940s were a completely different time to be married or be in a relationship. And I really think that technology has a lot to do with it.
What am I talking about here? I'm talking about pre-computer technology that was completely manual. Trips to another city that required long-term scheduling. Telephones where you could only reach the other person through an operator, and only if the person you were trying to reach was in front of the phone. Days when people actually sat down and communicated by writing each other letters. Conversations that developed over months, even years. Days when people talked face-to-face, with people they actually knew on a personal level.
Today, technology is slick, fast, and changing constantly.
In the '40s, if you had relationship trouble, you sat around and talked to your friends. Today, if you have trouble in your relationship, you get online, type "relationship advice" into Google, and you can read and read, download books, and you get access to a neverending stream of information.
And everything that you read about will either confirm the way you feel, challenge the way you feel, leave you more confused, or simply tell you that your partner is not for you.
We have access to so much information that we really suffer from a kind of information overload.
And the problem is that when it comes down to relationship advice, every day a new expert launches a new book or a new blog, telling you that they've got the cure for divorce, or the secret to a great marriage, or the five keys toward living a happy life.
The problem is that when you've got this much information that comes at you 24/7 at the click of a button, it's very easy to confirm any of your beliefs. It doesn't matter what your beliefs are. You will always find somebody out there who will agree with you. You'll find at least one person who wrote an article that states and confirms your situation in life and why you should not be married anymore.
I believe that this kind of information overload is killing marriages today. It's leading to higher divorce rates. You can hop on YouTube right now and watch singles go at it. You can watch reality TV shows that give you a glimpse of you all that your life can be after divorce.
In essence, we've stopped working at our marriages. We've quit them. Marriages may soon be a thing of the past. In the next 20 or 30 years, who knows, technology may develop a better way to have a relationship.
Today, less people are having children, less people are getting married, and less people are building families. We've got a rapidly-changing world budding.
We live in a replacement society. Every moment, new technology and new information comes out, and when that technology and information gets old, something new easily comes along the next instant to replace it.
The concept of constant change is really accelerating. We used to invest in stocks for the long-term; today online stock traders want to be in and out of a stock trade in 30 seconds to make as much money as possible.
It's not a stretch to call us a society of online relationship traders. At any moment right now, you can get on Match.com and find a new mate. You can find five new dates this week if you really wanted to. People used to be so excited about getting that one date with that one special person.
Now we plow through dates as quickly as we possibly can. Why? Because we have so much instant access to people and information that we can immediately find somebody else out there for us. We believe that there's always somebody just a little bit better. A more perfect match. We're really a society of the bigger, better deal. And we no longer believe in the institution of marriage.
So I want you to look at your divorce (or your marriage if you've contemplated divorce) and ask yourself how much all this information out there helped with your final decision? And would your marriage have survived if you were living in a different time? If all the information wasn't as readily accessible to change your mind about the meaning of marriage, if all you had was the neighborhood coffee shop to sit and chat, phone calls to friends, letters to relatives, would you still have gotten this divorce? Would your marriage still have faltered?
Or would you have worked at it, because deep down you truly believe in the institution of marriage and you believe in your ability to make it work?