Monday, June 27, 2011

Love Technology Style

Last weekend I attended a wedding, and it provoked a little thought. I found myself comparing the changes in love, marriage and of course, life in general with the addition of the internet and especially social media. I had never really pondered the implications in this context. I was fortunate enough to know my great-grandparents but never got to ask alot about them, which as an adult I truly regret. But my guess is they were much like other young loves back in those days. You knew the families in your town, if you were a guy, you found the farmer (within wagon distance) with several daughters and picked the one that appealed to you. She might not be the cutest one by our standards today but I'm sure she was greatly valued by her work ethic and broad hips.

Then your brother picked her sister and there was a town gathering and a picnic. You stayed married because that's what you did. Love? who knows, but commitment, yes.

Next generation, my grandparents.......the war, trains, and the postal service and the circle of possibility got a bit larger. Some met at colleges, and some when the boy came to a college town  and met a local girl, or when he went in to the service. The corresponded via snail mail and eventually they settled somewhere together. The focus shifted a bit to more of an emotional attraction rather than utilitarian companionship. And the commitment continued.

Fast forward a bit to my parents, again, many men went into the military or worked in their home towns, or as before went away to college. Many, as my parents, married before entry into the military, and I believe some of the reasoning was to know they had something at home while they were away. Stress factors increased and with the introduction of women's lib and the diminishing stigma on divorce, marriages started to deteriorate, all of the sudden women saw a chance to test their own wings and did. They were able to travel and meet people from many different places, they went out into the work force and suddenly found themselves spending more time with others than at home, heads turned, marriages crumbled. There was also a better way of communicating—the telephone.

Now to today, wow, what a change, you can go anywhere in person and if you can't go, you just get on the internet. Chat rooms abound on any and every subject. Or you meet someone getting on plane, before the internet, it would be a lovely meeting and a nice memory, and if you didn't get an address or phone number, it was done. Now you can take that tidbit of information, race home and look them up, within minutes you probably have a way to contact them again. You can find them on facebook and manufacture "chance" meetings. In a way we are finding ways to manipulate fate, kismet, chance, serendipity, whatever you want to call it. There is also the whole other side of meeting and connecting via dating sites, letting a service match do the legwork and find your soul-mate, whether it be across the street or across the Atlantic.

Social media allows you to find that cute guy you pined over from the 8th grade on Facebook. Or you google your child's teacher you secretly had a crush on and find she/he has a blog and become a follower. And no wonder marriages are under such stress, now we not only imagine the grass is greener, we read about it on other's pages. There is also the whole other side of meeting and connecting via dating sites.

But the wedding I attended gave me hope, hope that maybe true love will win, the connection of the heart will prevail. That maybe we have turned the corner and are finding ways to use technology to become more connected to our love in the beginning and in turn, once again, remain connected and committed for life.

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