The Three Days Rule

The Three Days Rule in dating is something I openly admit to loathing. It commonly amounts to my waiting in uncertainty for hours upon end, weighing optimism against pessimism, hope against fear. It leaves me endlessly questioning the justice of a convention which forces one (traditionally female) person to battle dubeity while the other (generally male) person rests in the certainty of an already-made decision. It is torturous and largely sexist... but it intriguingly mimics something of greater importance--the paschal period between Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.

All sacrilege aside, the fictional but indeed legendary Barney Stinson articulates the interesting parallel between the Dating World’s Three Day Rule and Christianity’s Easter period:

Numerous Christian thinkers have pondered the perfection of the three day period between Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, but none so beautifully and succinctly as the fourth century Athanasius:

 “It was, of course, within His power thus to have raised His body and displayed it as alive directly after death. But the all-wise Saviour did not do this, lest some should deny that it had really or completely died. Besides this, had the interval between His death and his resurrection been but two days, the glory of His incorruption might not have appeared. He waited one whole day to show that His body was really dead, and then on the third day showed it incorruptible to all. The interval was no longer, lest people should have forgotten about it and grown doubtful whether it were in truth the same body. No, while the affair was still ringing in their ears and their eyes were still straining and their minds in turmoil, and while those who had put Him to death were still on the spot and themselves witnessing to the fact of it, the Son of God after three days showed His once dead body immortal and incorruptible.” (De Incarnatione 5.26)

Let me be the first to point out the spooky similarities between Athanasius' christological arguments and the fictional Barney Stinson's comedic non-Christian rationality of the three days between the death and resurrection.

Whether causatively linked or not, the Christian paschal weekend does indeed appear to be a type for the modern dating world’s Three Days Rule, and the parallel between the two has largely made me reconsider the value of the latter in light of the former. While I’m not ready to justify the conventional sexism of the Three Days Rule by pointing to the sexist connotations of the Biblical schema (Christ is the groom and the Church is his bride), I am nonetheless forced to reconsider and to search for purpose in the three day waiting period in which I find myself.

So if nothing comes to fruition from my repeatedly waiting three days after a date, at least I have hope in the resurrection... wherein, “FYI,” Jesus apparently “invented the high-five...”

True story.

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Laura Stanlake wrote:
This is a great post. I had not considered the perfection of the three-days rule. While I follow the impeccable logic of this argument, I feel we must consider this woman/bride/resurrection-must-wait factor. What does the waiting accomplish?

I had always wondered about the high-five.

Thu, July 29, 2010 @ 8:15 AM

2. Brooke wrote:
This is wonderful! It's truly inspiring when you can incorporate 'How I Met Your Mother'!

Brooke

Thu, August 25, 2011 @ 4:12 PM

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