Young Adults, Intimacy, and Mutuality in Late Modernity: Contemporary Updates to Theological, Psychological, and Marginalized Perspectives on Relationship Ethics
Author(s)Walters Young, Laine Christine
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AbstractIntimate, romantic adult relationships today are marked by ever greater struggles in work-life integration and gender equity in an increasingly commodified, fast-paced world. Often in response to these factors, relationships today are more ambiguously defined, informal, and impermanent as people decenter romantic relationships from being their primary concern. Given this, I argue that cultural and religious mores which have traditionally seen marriage as a paradigm for all intimate relationships need to be significantly updated and re-interpreted. Specifically, I suggest that relationships should be evaluated based on the capacity for and presence of intimacy as psycho-relational quality. This will set the groundwork for more creative relational ethic that can speak to a world of impermanence. This project asks: What do scholars and practitioners in religion, and even young adults themselves, need to understand about young adults today to develop an adequate relational ethic that comprehends, and can respond to, the complexity of their needs and lives? First, it is important to know what is actually happening in the intimate lives of young adults and figuring out the questions that young adults are asking of themselves in terms of how postindustrial precarity affects their worldview, psychology, and behavior. This will lead to appreciation of how these factors serve to encourage a program of bolstering people’s psychological resilience and moral creativity through processes of auto-ethnographic reflection and guided praxis of how to connect their lives to ancient religious and ethical ideals of love and justice.