I don’t know why so many people pretend like having a dynamo dating life is living the dream. Oh yes, it is an utter delight to either get your heart broken, break someone else’s heart, or both.
“Poppycock!” – Dr. Galloswag
But dating sucks because we moderns have made it suck. Our past few generations have an undue obsession with relationships and romance. I mean, smart, good lookin’, healthy, goodhearted, financially stable people feel legitimately bad – like, they don’t even enjoy their life – simply because they’re single. And one of the main reasons they are single is *not* because there is no one available. It’s because, with each of the 1,482 different people they met through HarmoniousBagelMatch in the past month, “we didn’t have a romantic connection,” or “our Myers-Briggs types were incompatible,” or “she had man hands.”
In the olden days, they didn’t have time to worry about this nonsense. They were fleeing angry ostriches or trying to resist eating their own toes during the winter. I doubt pre-modern women often looked over at pre-modern Jo-Jo and thought, “I don’t know, he just doesn’t make me laugh.”
Right now we’ve become way too picky because we have too many options. We now rule people out for having unseemly arm hair because— we can. There’s this itch in the back of our heads – “I can do better.”
But what does that mean, exactly – to “do better?” Have we really reduced personal relationships to a game of ego, where we’re all trying to outsmart the system and snag someone who is just a tad out of our league?
This is why we need to return to arranged marriages. It doesn’t have to be quite as parentally-subservient as it was in the past. Each person should construct a 4-6 person “Matrimonial Selection Committee,” between the ages of 18 and 25. Within one year of selecting the MSC, they need to present to the committee their non-negotiables (e.g. “loves Tim Keller) and perhaps a few special preferences (e.g. “uses emojis liberally”). The MSC will then take this information and undergo a 6-12 month search for a suitable mate. At the end of said search, they will present the person with their choice. The person can say yes, or be single for the rest of their life. Simple.
Look, this may seem overly cut-and-dry, but it’s really not. As Lewis Smedes and Tim Keller argue – the promising and commitment is what gives us the security and freedom to truly invest in each other and love without fear of abandonment (in TK’s The Meaning of Marriage). So I’m pretty sure that if we just made a commitment to almost anyone with the same general values (or faith, if you have one), we would flourish like a well-watered begonia.