I am old. At least, I feel like I am old when it comes to the idea of courtship in this modern culture. To give a fair assessment, I am only thirty-one; however, I have been with Leighann (my wife of eight years) for nearly fourteen of those thirty-one. To say that I am out of touch with the dating scene would be an understatement, but I do think I have some wisdom to share. In fact, I am going to take a few minutes and do just that. So, sit back and listen to me ramble from my proverbial rocker.
Social media has made a courtship (or dating if you prefer the term) relationship much more complex than it ought to be. The relationship I have with Leighann has a foundation laid before the rise of social media and has managed to thrive through it all. I still remember chatting with her on my dial-up internet during the days of MSN Messenger (I am not going to be offended if you have to Google that). In fact, I had a Facebook account before she did as I was able to establish one when it was opened to my college in my freshman year. Yes, I am one of the ones that still remember it as “The Facebook” and when it was actually practical and allowed you to see other classmates so you could connect for actual educational purposes. There is one takeaway I cannot stress enough when it comes to navigating the courting waters in the days of constant social media:
That’s it. Establish boundaries prior to accepting someone’s friend request. Establish boundaries for what is acceptable for your significant other to tag you in on their feed. (Do you really need another animated, glittering rose to express your undying love for someone you started dating earlier this week?) Establish boundaries of how much of your story you will share on social media.
There will be times that you do not need to share how this person has made you feel because, honestly, it stinks right now. There are things that are better communicated outside of your last Facebook post where your entire friends list can read your life like a newspaper. There are hilarious photos that do not need to be uploaded and your significant other tagged in! (I learned that the hard way with a photo of Leighann stuffing a muffin in her mouth in a hotel room in Manhattan before we were to head out for the day. I did not do myself any favors by adding the caption “Doing what she does best.” Yes, it stayed up for all of fifteen minutes before I was required to take it down. What was done in jest turned into a life lesson that I will never repeat.)
If you are going to be in a relationship (any at this point, but dating specifically) you need to establish boundaries on social media. It is a good habit to start and you may as well start early. In some ways, the cultivating of true, deep relationships can be missed by constantly focusing on social media. Instead of enjoying the presence of the other we can be consumed with making sure we take the right photos to make our dessert on date look great. We can lose site of the fact that relationships change and people change by trying to groom the other into becoming a picturesque version of the thing we saw on our favorite sitcom last week. We must fight against the desire to overshare and over glamorize our lives. We do this by establishing boundaries prior to entering into this relationship. I want a life that will outlive Instagram and Snapchat. I want to be known deeply by one who accepts me, flaws and all. I want someone that is willing to sacrifice the perfect for the pursuit of presence.
Forever My Girl tells the story of music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind. Forever My Girl is an uplifting romantic film about second chances. It releases in theaters on January 19.