Goal: Finding Lasting Love in a Superficial World

Today’s world of modern relationships is often characterized by hedonism and superficiality, presenting unique challenges for those seeking real love and emotional intelligence in relationships. People have sex with each other without a care for love, family, or the future. People break hearts and play games so they can escape boredom. Our culture is full of individuals who delay marriage and family as if they are destined to live forever.

In these times, finding love and building solid relationships feels fleeting to the modern man, who understands what he is missing but struggles to find it. However, he doesn’t know how to develop lasting, meaningful relationships because he doesn’t know who would return his love.

Luckily, a single question can help determine if someone is serious about love, romance, and building something to last a lifetime. That question is, “Will this person make a good mother/father?”

In today’s post, I will explore the problems with modern love and the obvious pitfalls. From here, I argue why no individual should abandon finding love in a healthy, lasting relationship. Lastly, I explain why this post’s central question reveals all you need to know about finding lasting love with an individual.

Table of Contents

  • Understanding the Challenges of Modern Love
    • The Superficiality Dilemma in Today’s Relationships
  • The Central Question: Assessing Potential Partners
    • 1) Lust vs. Virtue: Shifting Perspectives
    • 2) Investment in Vulnerable Beings: A Marker of True Compatibility
    • 3) Sacrifice and Selflessness: The Foundations of a Lasting Bond
    • 4) Observing Positive Tendencies: Beyond the Surface
  • Beyond the Question – Building a Virtuous Relationship
  • Actionables: Steps for Personal Growth and Relationship Readiness

Understanding the Challenges of Modern Love

“Love is a response to values. It is with a person’s sense of life that one falls in love—with that essential sum, that fundamental stand or way of facing existence, which is the essence of a personality.” – Ayn Rand

Modern man is comfortable. This comfort leads him to nihilistic conclusions about life. Why? Because challenge is what gives life meaning. If you do not have to struggle for the goodness in your life, you will take the goodness for granted. Additionally, you will grow bored with the constant and consistent comforts because you never have to earn the ease you have.

Such nihilism compels a man to seek excitement through stupid and self-destructive means.

Because he seeks excitement, he is a victim of his whims. He will do what he feels, not what is good. He will seek drama and dysfunction because such brokenness grants him the amusement he can’t find in a numbed life.

He seeks the emotional and chemical highs that come with new women, lusts, and flings. He sees sex as an activity primarily for pleasure, so he sleeps around. He sees love as something to be garnered and manipulated. Thus, he breaks hearts and has his heart broken.

The Superficiality Dilemma in Today’s Relationships

love | an older couple

To be fair, love is always hard to find, no matter the time period. However, modern man lacks the moral justifications and social pressures to find love.

However, these elements, focused on fleeting pleasures, fail to cultivate love and intimacy. You can’t build long-term relationships on physical attraction because looks always fade. The more people you seek for shallow reasons, the weaker your ability to bond with others. Fleeting pleasures lead to more divorces, sexual abuse, and scandals. The more people you invite into your heart and bedroom, the lower their quality. Dysfunction begets dysfunction.

Our modern world desires fleeting pleasures. Love requires commitment, patience, and care. Thus, love is never favored in a society of addicts demanding quick pleasures.

Although I’ve painted a negative picture, it is crucial to dive into the post’s central question and how this question aids you in finding love.

The Central Question: Assessing Potential Partners

Love, crucial for fostering deep connections and maintaining healthy relationships, serves two essential purposes. Firstly, individuals benefit from finding suitable partners who respect and cherish them. Secondly, society flourishes when we create long-term, stable relationships.

Our hookup culture of empty promises and fleeting pleasures has us in national debt, with higher rates of suicide and depression, an increase in single motherhood, a destabilizing familial environment, a rapid increase in SSRI usage, and so forth.

I believe an excellent solution to individuals’ pain and the instability our society is experiencing is for more people to pursue virtue by committing to sound, noble individuals.

This adaption starts with you finding true love by asking our central, key question of every person you potentially want to be with: “Would this person be a good mother/father?”

This question helps you assess the suitability of a potential partner. You are evaluating partners through the lens of parenthood. This has four main benefits:

1) Lust vs. Virtue: Shifting Perspectives

“Love is an involuntary response to virtue.” – Stefan Molyneux

Firstly, we want to orient your mind away from the lustful desires you’ve been imparted with. Nearly every level of your society, from government to entertainment, is focused on making you view others as slabs of meat instead of individuals with feelings, dreams, and souls.

Entertainment is full of people who fall in love simply because of “fate” or the movement of emotions. They never fall in love because of virtue. Everything is over-sexualized, and people have the most shallow reasons for wanting to be with other people.

When you think, “Would this person be a good parent?” you’re cutting through the poor upbringing and social manipulation you’ve been burdened with. With this question, you immediately start thinking long-term instead of with your libido.

Here’s a thought experiment: if you see a beautiful person, your first thoughts will be lustful and animalistic. When you ask the post’s central question, even briefly, in your mind, you are forcing yourself to see the whole person instead of the physical attributes you can use for your pleasure.

Not to be too crude, but instead of seeing a woman’s figure as just something for pleasure, you’re left wondering if you’d still find that woman attractive after her physical beauty has been diminished by breastfeeding, childbirth, stress, and sleepless nights. Instead of admiring a man’s figure, you’re left wondering if he’d still look good after a receding hairline, growing beer belly, and awkward facial hair. You start thinking long-term, and it cuts through your automatic, lustful thoughts.

Lust is temporary, trapped in a moment in time. Parenthood is long-term and reminds us of how we will all age and die one day. If we love the whole person, such aging will not discourage us. Reminding us of this reality is the value of the question.

2) Investment in Vulnerable Beings: A Marker of True Compatibility

children playing

Children are noisy, expensive, and at times difficult. To be able to treat them well, regardless of your mood, requires significant personal power.

Children are vulnerable people who require much time, energy, and effort to raise and support well. If you aim to be a good parent, you must invest yourself into the well-being of your children.

Therefore, individuals who would make good parents typically show compassion and vulnerability. They have qualities that show virtue, care for those without power, and a capacity for genuine love and sacrifice. These are outstanding characteristics to have in a person.

To be fair, I’m not saying people without kids lack these qualities. But people who would make good parents have these qualities by default. And this is the value of asking the question and looking at potential partners in this light.

Lastly, one can ascertain these positive qualities based on how a potential partner treats animals. But treating animals well isn’t as effective of an indicator. Animals will never grow in reason. They will never age to challenge our perspectives and parenting style. They will remain loyal, and their needs will remain simple. This is not the case with children.

Children have constant demands as they age well into adulthood. A person who can navigate those challenges shows a fortitude and persistence that can’t be reflected when dealing with animals.

3) Sacrifice and Selflessness: The Foundations of a Lasting Bond

Parenthood requires the sacrifice of petty comforts for the well-being and success of someone innocent and vulnerable. To parent well, you must pursue what is best and remove what does not contribute to your child’s and family’s well-being.

Someone who can forgo comforts that define the modern era, such as mindless consumerism and hedonistic distractions, is always a good catch. And someone who makes a good parent would forgo those comforts as they do not serve the long-term goals of raising healthy, well-adjusted children.

If you can see that someone is disciplined enough to parent well, you are dealing with someone who is not controlled by their vices and whims. Such discipline is admirable and highlights the person you are dealing with is more virtuous than not.

4) Observing Positive Tendencies: Beyond the Surface

A person who would parent well has to be:

The tendencies necessary to raise healthy children are the tendencies that lead to a good relationship. That person is worthy of love because they have the behaviors that show a virtue and love worth keeping.

Additionally, such a mindset forces you to think of the future. One of the benefits of parenthood and marriage is it forces the individual outside of the immediate. We must consider what happens tomorrow, something our society is not involved in promoting.

Beyond the Question – Building a Virtuous Relationship

“To say ‘I love you’ one must first know how to say the ‘I.’ The meaning of the ‘I’ is an independent, self-sufficient entity that does not exist for the sake of any other person. A person who exists only for the sake of his loved one is not an independent entity, but a spiritual parasite. The love of a parasite is worth nothing.” – Ayn Rand

Of course, this question is not the end all be all. I would also never suggest asking this question when you first meet someone. You must spend time with the other person before dismissing them outright. Additionally, you or your potential partner may not want children, which is okay. The quality of the character still stands. If you would make a good parent, you are a good person. Parenthood just makes defining that goodness easier to discern than other metrics.

However, I will defend the effectiveness of this question. Thinking about parenthood and how well one would navigate it helps the individual find love within a virtuous relationship.

Parenthood, like marriage, requires virtue, compassion, and discipline when pursued fully. You cannot be a good parent and be abusive, manipulative, lazy, or ungrateful.

Remember, cultivating a relationship that extends beyond the superficial is not easy. We live in a world of hedonism, one of quick fixes and empty love. The only way to get around this nonsense is to find the people who will endure virtue with you.

Lastly, you, too, have to develop yourself. You must be virtuous if you want to be worthy of virtuous love. Would you make a good parent? Are you trying to overcome all your vices and problems?

There are always long-term benefits to a virtuous partnership. Therefore, fight with everything you have to become your best self to develop into the great individual you’ve always wanted to be.

Actionables: Steps for Personal Growth and Relationship Readiness

more love | virtue requires love and love requires virtue

Virtue helps us find the best people to love and care for.

  1. Reflect on Past Relationships: Think about your past relationships, both romantic and platonic. What worked well and what didn’t? What have you learned from these experiences, and how can you apply these lessons to future relationships?
  2. Identify Core Values: What are your core values? How do they align with your expectations in a relationship? Make a list of values that are most important to you and consider how they influence your relationship choices.
  3. Assess Communication Skills: How effective are you at communicating your needs, feelings, and concerns to others? Consider areas where your communication could be improved and seek resources or practice methods to enhance these skills.
  4. Evaluate Conflict Resolution Style: How do you handle disagreements or conflicts in a relationship? Reflect on whether your approach is constructive or if there are aspects you could improve to foster healthier resolutions.
  5. Set Personal Goals: Beyond relationships, what are your personal goals? Identify them and consider how a potential partner might support or align with these goals.
  6. Practice Empathy and Understanding: Regularly practice empathy in your interactions. Try to understand others’ perspectives and feelings, especially in situations of disagreement. This will enhance your emotional intelligence and ability to connect with others.
  7. Develop Self-Care Practices: Establish self-care routines that contribute to your mental and physical well-being. Healthy self-care practices can improve self-esteem and make you more emotionally available in relationships.
  8. Seek Feedback from Trusted Individuals: Ask close friends or family members for their honest perceptions of your strengths and areas for relationship improvement. This external perspective can provide valuable insights.
  9. Explore Attachment Styles: Learn about different attachment styles (secure, anxious, avoidant, etc.) and reflect on which one resonates with your behavior in relationships. Understanding your attachment style can be key to addressing relationship challenges.
  10. Engage in Community or Volunteer Work: Participate in community service or volunteer opportunities. These activities can broaden your social circle and help develop compassion and understanding, which are valuable in any relationship.
  11. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice mindfulness or meditation to improve your self-awareness and emotional regulation, both of which are crucial in maintaining healthy relationships.

Please remember it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.

Refer to the linked articles and studies throughout this post for detailed evidence and case studies supporting these views.

*Image credit to Unsplash