The girlfriend/boyfriend relationship is classical Newtonian physics; marriage is more like Einstein's quantum formulation.
— Wombat Kissnblog (@kissnblog) October 3, 2016
The job was for a long time the territory of churches and temples, pastors and rabbis, elders, matriarchs and patriarchs. Good examples became models, poor examples pariahs, and the differences and why were explained, if only elliptically.
Traditional cultural guardians have lost their influence. Whomever has a tunnel into every individual’s brainspace now creates the cachet, the mindset and the norms. That’s not to say that civilized society is falling apart, because it isn’t…but it is fraying at the edges, and the day-to-day maintenance looks to be, well, sketchy.
Dating and coupling reflects this as much as anything. We’re all empowered now to think that whatever we feel we need to be ourselves is the best way to find contentment and happiness. All of those fusty old ideas might have worked back then, but they don’t apply to me. And if I make a mess of it, well, I’ll just re-invent and start over.
Which might work for a while. The trouble is that we have only one shot at life, and getting stuff right-ish makes a difference. To protect ourselves from the dangers of nature (and our fellow-man) we build houses. There are right ways and wrong ways to build a house to do that job, and that will always be the case. Learning how to do so by acting on your feelings or relying on others leaves way too much up to chance. Knowledge of and the application of precedents that work are worth learning.
The question remains: From whom will you gain this understanding?