The pressure of social norms on relationships


By: Julian Lee

Imagine, a young couple who has been together for the last few months have been very happy. They video chat every night for long hours and are at a point very close to love. He buys her gifts at least three times a week. She claims she appreciates him for him and what he does. It is now February and the young man has continued his normal routine. Friends of both the girl and the boy have been asking what the boy plans to do for Valentine’s day and are excited to see. The boy does not see a large point in holiday’s like this so he decides to not buy her anything. When the day arrives and the young girl does not receive anything, she grows angry at the boy and begins to be hostile towards him. Does this seem fair to you?

Everyday young couples, particularly young men, are pressured by national holidays to go out of their way to impress their significant other. The base of these holidays are entirely materialistic. They are strictly to promote the economy by encouraging people to spend there money on pointless and temporary items that do not determine the substance of the relationship. They promote shallowness and misinterpretation of the true components of a relationship.

Some people may say that these are gifts of gratitude. Many people give gifts to show appreciation and by missing these holidays, they miss a big chance to display their appreciation for the other. But if this was true, what becomes of the other days of the year? Do you wait until these days to spend large sums of money to show appreciation? Do you still show appreciation every other non-holiday days? Do love and affection not play a sufficient role in a relationship?

We need to teach the young people the truth about these holidays and what they really stand for. We also need to teach them what a true relationship requires. Materialism in relationships need to cease and expectations should be placed on treatment and not spending.


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