Basic Strategies in Modern Relationships
YOUNG MEN AND women who want to lead moral lives often struggle with the issue of sexual intimacy and what role it should play in their relationships. The choice too many young people wind up making, however, is far more likely to be determined by strong cultural influences and the “heat of the moment” than by any reasoned process of discernment. To prevent hormones, impulses, current trends, or emotions from dominating their decisions, young people need to do a couple of things. First, some intellectual clarity is needed. We addressed this issue in parts I and II. Young adults also need to develop the moral skills necessary for making wise choices, no matter the circumstances. Given this very real challenge, we offer three relational steps or practices for their consideration: (1) accept working hypotheses that suggest the need for a cautious perspective when entering a new relationship; (2) engage in a process of personal introspection and investigation; (3) make a strategic revelation about personal hopes and expectations in a friendship that might move toward marriage.
The first practice focuses on what researchers call working hypotheses, which are hunches researchers have before they are completely clear about the pattern revealed in a number of events and why the pattern occurs. Three realistic working