For this week’s interview, we spoke with Andrea Lucado, a young 20-something who works for Thomas Nelson Publishing in Nashville. Andrea told us about some of the questions she has been wrestling with as societal norms for romantic relationships change.
4word: In what ways do you think contemporary culture has shaped your view of singleness, marriage and divorce? Do those views differ from those of your parents?
Andrea: It’s funny you should ask that. This reminds me of lunch on Monday. I was eating with some of my coworkers, and we were discussing the rules of texting with guys. We all had different things happening with guys at the time, and we were wondering: “what are the rules for that?” By the end of the conversation, we had come up with rules like: “If he texts you first and y’all have a conversation, you should probably be the next one to text because otherwise he’s just waiting around for you to say something.”
Contemporary culture has been such an issue for me. This is so different from my parents’ culture, because they didn’t even have cell phones. So the texting culture, the Facebook culture, even Twitter DMing, all of that has opened so many different ways to communicate with guys. It has kind of complicated dating, though I definitely think that has made it easier on guys.
I haven’t decided yet if that’s good or bad, but it does raise some questions for me. Do I go along with the way the culture is moving? Is it acceptable to be asked out over Facebook? Or do I stand with my church background and say that’s not an acceptable way to be pursued? I wonder how much of it is settling and how much is just accepting where culture is headed.
4word: Speaking of culture, do you feel like society puts pressure on women to find a husband? Or what about your friends and family? If so, how do you deal with that expectation?
Andrea: Actually, culture has made me feel not pressured to be married right now. I think that women are waiting longer to get married. I did have several friends in college who got engaged there and married right after graduation, but my core group of friends has all stayed single. We were also all pursuing graduate degrees and doing things that would have been more difficult to do if we were getting married.
I think it has definitely become more acceptable to stay single longer, and I think my parents see that too. Of course, my mom always lets me know any time she meets someone she thinks might be good for me, and she always has to have some kind of update on the men in my life. But my parents are both very open-minded; they see the way that culture is moving. I think that, overall, my parents agree with waiting and figuring out what you’re going to do with your life before you settle down and get married.
4word: That's true. Diane actually comes to the same conclusion in Chapter 6 of Work, Love, Pray. Do you think this is a good change for society?
Andrea: I think so. Because it’s more acceptable to wait, it’s more acceptable for women to pursue things other than getting married and starting a family. I definitely still want that. At this point, I say I want to work for the rest of my life, but I know things could change when I become a mom. I think that, overall, it’s helped women to not feel pressured, as though this is the only thing expected of them.
For example, I just saw The Help last night. I’m sure women in the 60s weren’t expected to do what Skeeter did. They were expected to get married and have kids instead. I strongly support the ability of women to become prominent in their fields, so I think it helps for them not to feel like “oh I have to get married right away.”
There is a downside to all of this in that divorce has also become more acceptable. It is amazing to me to see how many of my friends are already divorced from their first marriages. These are people I grew up with and went to college with - and I went to a Christian school! I feel like society has made it so much more acceptable to say, “Oh we’re having a hard time, and this person isn’t giving me what I need. We just need to go our separate ways.” It has made me so determined not to end up in that situation. I think the prevalence of divorce actually helps me when I think about dating, because it makes me more serious about it.
What do you think, ladies? Do you feel the same way as Andrea? Perhaps you and your friends have come up with your own rules for texting, Facebook, Twitter, all that jazz. Let us know in the comments!
By the way, we have more of Andrea’s interview to share with you next week, so check back next Wednesday to read the rest. In the meantime, you can continue the conversation with Andrea on her blog, where she posts every Monday, or at her Twitter: @AndreaLucado.