We live in an era of rapid change and much unrest. Few people nowadays would deny that we are a culture in transition. Some may shout that the apocalypse is at hand; and others may proclaim the coming of a New Age. In between these two extreme visions lies that reality that many of the values that we’ve built our societies upon just don’t work anymore, and they’ve begun to collapse in upon themselves. Deprived of the security of the old great “pillars of Truth”, a lot of us have embarked upon our own individual journeys to discover who we really are and what we really value.
What does this great spiritual unrest foretell for our intimate relationships, for the partnerships that we try to form and sustain throughout such tumultuous times? We’ve seen already how far fewer of us stay married nowadays compared to previous generations. One could say that we’ve lost faith in the institution. Another argument, however, could be that there are more divorces because people, by and large, have accelerated their growth processes.
I’m not trying to suggest that most of us will end up more mature than our forebears ever did. But the internal changes that we experience are happening more rapidly because we aren’t following society’s prescription for living to the extent that we had in the past. We might go through as much transformation in a decade now as people 50 years ago would have in their entire lifetimes. A lot of factors, like the destruction of the natural world and the collapsing of old pillars like religion, conventional morality, and even science, have spurred us on to seek Truth for ourselves.
It might require a rare miracle for any of us to find a single partner with whom we can share life’s journey to the very end, when we’re in the midst of so much personal transformation. When relationships come to an end, we so often ask ourselves what went wrong. Maybe nothing did. Maybe the partnership served its purpose in all ways. We found someone with whom we had much in common – who served as a mirror for us – and shared life with this person for a period of time. Is it a tragedy if, further down the road in our personal growth, paths diverge and it seems most sensible to part ways?
We face, today, various crises the likes of which the world has never witnessed before; and modern humanity (believe it or not) is collectively striving to rise and meet the occasion. This requires a lot of personal growth on all our parts – and with this growth comes change. Many things that we used to cling to – such as our careers, our religious and political beliefs, and even our intimate relationships – may not carry over during this transition from the old to the new.