I was one of the unlucky ones of my time. I grew up in a single parent family and I think I was one of the only boys in my school to just have mum in the house. Yes, questions like, “Is your dad dead?” weren’t unusual.
But now we’ve seen a huge shift in dynamics in that my son is the odd one out too. Perhaps not in his class but on the demographics of his school he’s for certain a fringe family identity. In that, his Mum and Dad are still happily together and will be until their death.
Yes, I can imagine me leaving my glasses at his house and Natalie thwapping me over the head for doing so when we’re older. Why am I so confident about this? Well, because she and I have a commitment to make it work — now I’m not saying anyone else here doesn’t have a commitment to make their family work, but I think I have a good understanding of how myself and my life works.
First of all, we need to identify what’s sick with society to understand the traps and pitfalls that we can unknowingly fall into along the way. It’s not our faults you know – certainly if we don’t have the knowledge or information at hand to be aware of these things.
We are a throwaway society
Natalie was the fixer, not me. I’d rather buy a brand new one than get it fixed. Natalie would rather call in her dad to show me how to fix the sink or the shelves. Now think of this as a mentality when it comes to relationships. If something is broken then we need to get a new one, and marketers are all too cunning at grabbing the desires of lonely wives and emasculated husbands. “Your new love is just a click away, come and grab all your desires.”
At base, in today’s world we aren’t very good at resisting our desires because there isn’t any adequate push back to doing whatever we want unless we’ve actually lived through the experiences ourselves. Perhaps a hundred years ago there was Christianity telling us that if we didn’t resist then we would be hell bound — but today this is a declining belief, and those that do, don’t practice to the letter.
There is little out there to tell us to resist our desires and addictions, so when it comes to swapping out the old with the new, there’s little to no social recourse. And on that note, we’re lazier than ever.
Those of you my age will probably remember a time where we walked or biked everywhere just to talk to our friends. Cars were expensive as was fuel. And we’d spend a few days fixing that which was broken, and we’d be unavailable as we did so. Everything in life required at least a medium amount of effort to complete — even walking a mile to the nearest Indian takeaway to get a meal for the night.
Now? It’s all done at light-speed time with little to no effort, and if it does take effort then we complain about it. People complain about a website taking longer than three or four seconds to load. We have machines to do our washing, workers to do our shopping — we can essentially sit in our homes and barely lift a finger if we wanted to. Let it be known that we are a social species and require connection. Humans weren’t designed to be alone.
Rapidly Rising Technology
And all of this is happening, all these changes above because of the rise of technology. We are a world that has never been connected this well, whilst at the same time never being as lonely as we are. We’ve forgotten how to make deep, meaningful relationships anymore. Friendships used to be hard to break, and similarly took years to foster, but now they are a simple, “unfriend” button and with zero blowback.
Unfriending people thirty years ago was hard, and effort was involved. The world has become to easy. Social media has devised algorithms to keep us using their system, and whilst it’s great seeing content that I would normally choose it lacks proper levels of dissonance, where I can truly see the other sides to my thinking. Keeping us sheltered in our own thoughts has made us far less robust to differing opinions and viewpoints, and far more tribal in our views — across all spectrum’s of life.
So, what now?
So, what do we do? Well, I’m not going to be like those people that tell you how so much better we had it in our day. It was just different. In fact, my generation and those that have come after us have had to cope with the biggest social and technological change in the history of humanity. And it’s really not been easy. We can tell with the current divorce rates and tribalism emerging across the western world. This is why personal responsibility and accountability is so much more important now than it’s ever been.
To succeed in relationships, you need to have a drive, passion and a willingness to talk things through. I laugh when I say this because everyone knows this, but when we are a society that has their needs pandered to by every part of the system, it’s actually harder than you would believe to do any of this.
Learn to Adapt
You will fail if you go around shouting that things were better in your day — that’s history. No-one thinks like that anymore. The trick with any sort of change is to adapt.
In a world that panders to our needs — be the husband that listens to her even if it hurts you in the process of doing so. Sometimes hearing what we’re bad at is good for us. Because then we know when to make changes.
In a world that is full of connection but loneliness, you can both put the phone down for a while and be present with each other. Talking to and being in the presence of your wife, or even a friend gives off positive hormones that create a more fulfilled you. Reduce your screen time, possibly to 0 when around your family. In a world that would wipe your bum and dispose of it if it could, decide to take the more difficult option.
Decide to learn something new. I picked up a whole section of books from Alan and Barbara Pease that helped me learn about men and women better. Pick up the lawn mower, the dishes, a duster, all those jobs your wife has been bugging you to do but you haven’t had the time to do them. Life is meant to be easy. Because you’re not supposed to rise above your station.
Most importantly never give up. It’s never over until it’s over.
I hear of infidelity all the time, and I know of actual websites facilitating these connections. People I’ve known that have cheated tell me there was nothing they could do, but I disagree. There’s always something they could have done. And if not, then the right thing to do would be move on. Again, infidelity is an easy choice.
If I’ve ever noticed anything in this life is that marriage wasn’t meant to be easy. Nothing good ever comes from having an easy life.