Originally written February 2008
Compatibility and Society
This is my oldest and original "theory of love", but I have never really been that fond of it. But today is the day that I have, in the past years, posted blogs on this topic, so I figure that this theory is probably not going to get any better, so I should just post it and get it over with.
As we are all well aware, the rates of divorce continue to rise. According to some studies, nearly 40% of marriages end in divorce.
Of course, everyone has their own theory on why this is. The fundamentalist Christians say it's because of evolution. The conservatives say it's because the traditional family unit is no longer valued. The feminists say it's because women are becoming more empowered. Everyone has a theory… and of course, I am no exception.
However, the difference with my theory, as opposed to the others, is that mine is probably right! But seriously, it's not smart to attribute ONE cause to something as complex as divorce. Does the traditional family unit no longer hold as much force? I don't know. But for sake of argument, let's say that it doesn't. But it would be pretty ridiculous to attribute most divorces to such a thing.
So I have a grand theory that attempts to deal with these issues, and come up with a coherent idea that explains divorce, the change in society, and why people get together and stay together (or split).
Almost every one of my friends' grandparents are not divorced. And back in the day, there were even fewer divorces. What's going on?
Try to picture relationships as a zipper. One person is one side of the zipper, and the other person is the other side. Each tang on the zipper represents one aspect of that person that is important to them in a relationship. In order to have a relationship that works, there has to be enough tangs that match up. If they don't the zipper wont stay zipped, and it falls apart.
So 200 years ago, there were only three aspects that were important for a working relationship: location, social status and religion. All that needed to happen is that you meet a girl (or guy) in your town who was of a similar economic level (which was pretty easy, since the wealthy wouldn't mingle with the poor) who was a Catholic (or Protestant). Since those were the only two factors that came into play, it was easy to stay together. Especially seeing how both factors are pretty much not going to change.
However, time went on. Society became more diverse. Eventually, there was time for doing activities besides working and raising kids. You had free time to do whatever you want. With the increasing ease of communication, things like politics were more easily advanced, and people became more aware of issues they may had never known about before. As educational opportunities arose, people started to learn about different ways to look at the world, learned about different issues that can bring on strong opinions. Women's rights also gave women the ability to stand up for themselves, do what they want, and not just go along with what their husband wanted.
As all of these things came about, there were more and more issues to agree and disagree upon. Rather than location, economic status and religion, it is now things like location, economic status, religion, political views, social values, financial views, hobbies and things that you like to do in your free time, education level, philosophical outlook, eating habits, exercise habits, social group, and on and on and on.
So now instead of just three tangs on the zipper, there are dozens, if not hundreds. So finding someone that meshes with you becomes more and more difficult. However, the good news is that when you do find someone that meshes with you, it can be even more rewarding.
However, with all of those tangs on the relationship zipper, the risk of a freak tang existing, and ruining the whole thing (like a disagreement over how to raise kids) increases. It also increases the chances of someone changing their mind about a few things, and the zipper not working properly.
So this is all well and good. But is there any evidence that would help confirm my idea? Why yes, actually I think there is.
The divorce rates among Jews are the highest in the country. Up next are the conservative Christians. There is also a common theme in both communities: us verses them. Both groups are very adamant about only marrying within their group.
So what? Who cares if Jewish parents want their kids to marry other Jews? What does that have to do with anything? Well… many Jews and conservative Christians say that the number one thing they look for in a relationship is someone who "shares their love of God."
Well, wanting someone who shares your religious convictions is nice, but it's not the only thing that is important these days. Religion is just one of MANY aspects that need to match up in order for a relationship to survive.
So, if a Christian girl meets some guy who shares her love of Jesus, great. But she may have the mentality that religion is ALL that matters. That's simply not the world we live in. Granted, having the same religious views does help the odds of having similar political and social views, but not always. And there are many things that people of the same religion can disagree on.
So the two kids get married, thinking that Jesus is all they need… but they have been misled. Come to find out, they don't agree on much, and the marriage fails. The failure, in this case, is the idea they have come to believe: belief in Jesus is all you need.
So, in order to fix this, the only thing to really do is just be very careful about who you end up getting married to (what a surprise). Make sure that your zipper matches up with theirs, and has a good strong hold. Don't base a relationship on just one or two main similarities, but on as many similarities as you can.