What dating process would give rise to companionate marriages? [Blogathon 11/12]

What dating process would give rise to companionate marriages? [Blogathon 11/12] June 11, 2012

This post is number eleven of twelve for the Secular Student Alliance Blogathon.  I’m responding to comments in the “Go Ahead, Tell Me What’s Wrong with Homosexuality” thread all day.  You can read an explanation of the Blogathon and a pitch for donations (even if you’re religious) here.

Ok, I’m one post from the end of the Blogathon, so I’m allowed to go off the deep end a little, right? In the last post, the Alan Jacobs quote suggested that Pride and Prejudice might be a good model for a romantic culture where intimate partnership isn’t limited to eroticism.  I think I’ve come up with another model that might be a little more adaptable to the modern age:

The college admissions process at Olin College of Engineering.

No wait, hear me out!  Olin uses a more conventional application process to winnow their pool to about 240 high school seniors and then requires them all to spend a weekend at Olin building things.  Also there is another round of interviews, but the admission decision is mostly based on your ability to take pleasure in solving problems and creating things with a group.

I’ve been using an OkCupid profile to go on dates in DC, and I find the interviewing-each-other-over-coffee model weird and stilted.  It’s certainly not a good proxy for what a relationship would be like.

Wouldn’t it be more fun to go out and build a trebuchet, or visit banks and then go to a park and discuss how you’d coordinate a break-in?  And just like at Olin, that discussion might be a good proxy for your ability to work with this person on other projects, like running a household, raising children, or taking over the world.

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