The State of Marriage

When I was a kid I was always highly amused by reading Agatha Christie characters refer to it as “The Marriage State” instead of just “being married.”

Yesterday here someone mentioned taking relationship advice from Agatha Christie which might be marginally better than taking relationship advice from Heinlein, but not by much.  And yet I did both and it turned out okay, though it could be said that is partly because I was solidly embedded in a married-people culture.  A culture where everyone married, unquestioningly, oh, and didn’t divorce.  I knew happy couples, and unhappy couples and couples who had lived apart after a few years or a few days or in one case a few hours* of marriage, and who sometimes lived with someone else and had for so long that the scandal had worn off, but were married, nonetheless.

One of my own uncles had left his wife after a few years, and lived with another one.  The family was at a loss for whether I should call her aunt or not.  She of course was more obsequious than all my other aunts in her observances and gave me a pearl brooch for my third birthday.  I loved it because it had two little birds made of pearls, but it caused my mom (it was her side of the family) some heartburns whether I should wear it around her family.  In fact, I suspect she eventually traded it in on something else, because thought it was one of my favorites, it’s the only piece of jewelry I remember from that young age that I don’t have.  And what I have includes some I wore when I was so young I chewed it out of shape.

Anyway, so marriage was a constant and even when the village women said “He beats me but he’s my man” one couldn’t detach the couple with a crowbar.  It was assumed to be the law of nature, coming or going, good or bad.

And to give you an idea of how unenlightened the times were, one of our cleaning ladies (mom had a succession of them, because she had a successful business and no time to clean, or shop) told me when I was ten or so, that if I thought I’d get a man who didn’t at least slap me every now and then, I was air dreaming.

This was a weird perspective, as men in my family (on dad’s side.  Mom’s dad had issues) never raised a hand to a woman, their own or not, and at that never raised a hand to a kid if they could help it.  The women were always the disciplinarians, and the men … well, dad could stop my worst tantrum with the words “I’m very disappointed in you.”

Someone in one of my groups on facebook was complaining about marriage, specifically that person’s own marriage.  Well, not complaining so much as baffled and confused as to how it’s falling apart despite his trying to do his best.

I sort of know why it’s falling apart.

Take that overlay above, and the fact when I was born/grew up Portugal still issued family passports, and if a woman wanted a solo passport, she had to have her husband’s signature.  For that matter, if a woman wanted to have a paying job outside the home (cleaning house didn’t count.  In that time and place you were often paid in produce and eggs and a chicken or so.) she needed permission from her husband.  I know this because I remember vividly (yeah, mom had her own business and worked in the kitchen, then in her workshop after they moved when I was 7, but she was the principal earner in the family) being astonished at a neighbor who wasn’t too sure of his letters coming over for dad to help him fill that form, so the neighbor’s wife could get a job in the textile factory and they wouldn’t starve.

Then put on it that every one of my teachers was a “feminist” and if you think that it’s only feminists here who went running off the deep end, way past equal work for equal pay and into turnip (the currently popular movie is not ALL about women, so it’s sexisssssss) you’d be shocked.

We’re talking a country where wife abuse was rampant, where men did have legal holds that prevented women from making an independent living, where a woman in her twenties would be treated by the police as a runaway kid and brought home to parents.  (One of my cousins whose father took after less than sane granddad.)  Unless she was married when she’d be taken home to husband.

You’d think fighting wife-abuse and trying to get laws/culture altered would make sense, right?

You’d be wrong.  Oh, Portugal never went far down the “Let’s reform language” partly because it’s a Latin country. I mean, sure, you can make up a pronoun to refer to women, or a pronoun to refer to men, or call men and women something stupid, or claim we shouldn’t have gender in language because oppression.  But that doesn’t pass the laugh test when your house and your garage, your tree and your cart and your plow are all female pronoun and your cheese, your car, your sweater and your dress are all male pronouns.  You can’t say it’s oppressive to have pronouns when they’re used for objects and in a way that defies logic too.  (The tree being feminine and the boat masculine are two of those that make you go “uh.”)

I don’t know mind you, since the first wave of feminists were about ten years older than I, that they didn’t try the pronoun thing, but if they did the gales of laughter led them to drop it.

Other than that once you left the village school — where the teacher merely, rightly, taught that intelligence doesn’t lie in the generative organs and that males or females can be smart, so shut up, stop dreaming of a husband, and learn to use your head — I passed on to teachers about ten to twenty years older than I, mostly female (as mom would tell me “such a pretty job for a lady”) and mostly having learned from whatever theories were passing around other countries in the sixties.

So we got the full fledged feminist instruction, and as with gun control, I was raised in Europe, for a while I believed all this.

The gist of it seemed to be “you won’t do anything for any man.  Because a man asking you to do the simplest thing is aggression and oppression.”

Well, they never quite convinced me to stop making dad his coffee.  (Yeah, he has the same dark eyes my younger son has, and this way of saying “Only you make it so well” — and yeah, it’s irresistible.) However, I remember the rip roaring fight when mom ordered me to continue cleaning up after my brother.  (This was absurdly unfair, as he was much older than I, but if he left a banana peel in the living room and it discolored the table I was the one punished, because my job was to clean up after him.)  Yes, I DO still think it was ridiculously unfair.  I also sort of understand that’s how mom was brought up and she completely didn’t “get” why I had objections.

So Alvarim, showing a grace I still sometimes strive for, got tired of my being in the dog house and made a deal with me.  If I cleaned up after him he’d pay me from his tutoring money (I think the equivalent of $20 a month.  Enough for three paperback books.)  And we wouldn’t tell mom.  (I wonder how much we puzzled mom, because now that he was a CLIENT I felt obliged to do proper stuff, so I bought little chocolates and left them on his pillow after turning down the sheets at night, and I gave him periodic gifts.  Anyway…)

BUT some of it wasn’t funny.  The “you shall serve no man” thing sank deep, as well as the idea that marriage was slavery, which accounted for a string of turned down proposals and also for my learning very little of HOW to keep house (because I was NOT going to do it.)  This led to years later my standing in the middle of Dan’s apartment looking at a box of pasta and wondering how we turned it into the soft stuff you ate.

It took me years to stop resenting doing the housework, after I was married, and if it weren’t for my sense of fairplay I might have wrecked my marriage.  But fairplay came in.  When we got married both Dan and I had both jobs and artistic pursuits.  My training/former job didn’t apply at all here.  So he said he’d support us, while I tried my hand at writing for a living.

Mind you, Dan was also raised in “enlightened” times so he never came home and said “Yo, woman, where’s dinner?”  (He still doesn’t, though he’s been known to make puppy dog eyes.)  And if I hadn’t cooked, he’d make his and my food.

But the sense of fairplay got to me.  He was out working (computers, eighties) twelve to fourteen hour days so I could write, and I wasn’t even cooking, despite being home all day.  So I learned. (And we each gained 100 pounds.  I CANNOT figure out how to cook for two people.  When last boy is out, we might very well have to have me cook for several days.)  And I learned to do other things, because I still wasn’t making money when the kids were born, and all our friends had two jobs, and, well… I didn’t want the kids to live like paupers.

We’re not over-bothered about who does what, mind.  I turn my hand to carpentry as well as to sewing.  He does car repair as well as accounting.  But we each try to do as much as we can for the other.  I think if you were to tally it, he still does more than I do, and I’m trying to figure out how to do some more to give him time to write, because I too want the sequel to his book.

We make do.

But the point was to stop thinking of him as a male oppressor.  As far as I can tell my husband, personally, never oppressed anyone (kids’ claims to the contrary notwithstanding.)

However those of you of a penis persuasion, not to count those of you who are older women and didn’t get the full brain washing indoctrination, might not realize how hard that is to do; how hard it is to let your guard down and think of the man you love as an individual.  It took me probably a decade to get fully over the indoctrination.  Because they don’t teach you that life was hard and most people had no rights at all.  They make all history before the late twentieth century a morality play where men oppressed women, because they’re just villainous that way or something.

And ninety percent of the time when I see a marriage headed for divorce (of course there are exceptions, and as I said the remedy for “he beats me but he’s my man” is to get out as fast as you can and before he starts in on the kids.  I’m not talking about those, but the cases where the woman is vaguely certain the husband is “oppressing” her, often by keeping all the “fun” of a day job to himself or something) something like this is going on.  The woman resents the man not for anything he’s done, but for the presumed mind set of ancestors that never existed and is sure if she doesn’t keep him low and humble with constant attacks, he’ll crush her under his boot.

Then there’s the reverse of that, as a lot of entertainment portrays women as putting an end to Lads being Lads together.  Women are brought in as “adults” to stop sprees of video gaming or pie eating in sitcoms.  That sort of thing.  So men associate women with killjoys.  And women associate men goofing off with oppressing women by making them be the adults…

When we were newly married, for instance, we stopped watching Married With Children, because it seemed designed to foster mutual marital resentment.

But in either case, in most of these divorces, the problem is not the spouses so much as not keeping crazy culture out of their relationship, and not looking at who they married AS INDIVIDUALS.

My mom is fond of telling that her grandparents used to share a plate (apparently an old Portuguese custom for married couples.  It strikes me as bizarre, but I don’t even see why.  After all married couples normally share a bed, right?) And after they got elderly, he had dentures while she still had her own teeth, and he’d complain she ate faster than him and got the greater share of the food.

These were her maternal grandparents, and as she told it, her grandfather never even raised his voice to scold his wife, so it was a gentle reproof and it became a family joke.  Whenever my dad was doing something that mom thought was excessive, she’d say “you have good teeth, you’re taking all the food.” (Though they DIDN’T share plates.)

Anyway marriage is like that.  It’s impossible to draw a line in the middle of a marriage and weigh in exactly what you do for whom.  I used to do the lion share of the work when the kids were little, and I often thought I’d break under it.  But Dan now is picking up on housework, as I also have work that pays, and there are no kids.  It’s probably about equal, save for stuff I’m really good at like cooking, and stuff he’s really good at, like accounting.

But the point is, you go through phases where metaphorically speaking one of you is eating all the food because he has good teeth.  It’s okay, it equalizes, eventually, somewhere else.  It’s no reason to call it quits, particularly if you’ve been at it for more than twenty years.

The solution is to stop weighing who does what or thinking he’s a natural-born oppressor.  You’re just people.  If the burden is too heavy, figure it out. Don’t assume he’s out to dominate you just because he has a penis.

And I say this because — this is important — in our day the Marriage State has become not the default but (particularly in its happy mode) a rarity.  If this continues, the cultures that will inherit the earth are the ones where women aren’t even second class citizens, but something more like domestic animals.

I don’t have daughters, but I might have an adoptive granddaughter soon, and maybe by a miracle blood granddaughters later.  I don’t wand this for any of them.

In a state of nature, where marriage doesn’t exist, for biological and psychological reasons, women are always the losers.  The opposite of “He beats me but he’s my man” is not a state of freedom, but a state of the woman having to kill herself to support the kids, or if there are no kids, of the woman (or man) becoming old and grey and lonely.  Yeah, in extreme cases, you should get out as soon as you can.  But in cases of vague dissatisfaction?  Remember he’s a person.  And remember you’re one too.  Work it out. It’s not his job to treat you like royalty because some putative ancestor beat some putative ancestress.  It’s your job to learn to pull together at the same yoke and either raise kids or set money by so you’re not a burden on strangers in your old age, and more importantly, so you’re not resoundingly, echoingly lonely.  Because there will come a time the rest of the world will have no use for you.  And your kids will be too busy to spend time with you.  This is not a threat, it’s the inevitable tendency of the flesh.  And humans are social animals. You need someone.  Or you will.  No matter how free an independent you are.  Friends, or spouses are difficult to cultivate when you’ll not put a hand to do a favor for any male.

Remember that.  Remember the present doesn’t last forever, and that the past was not as bad as they painted it in school.

He might at times eat all the food in the plate, but if you remember kindness and common charity to each other (love is an unreliable thing that comes and goes, or seems to, till you learn to see it always there, in different forms) then sometimes he’ll push aside most of the chocolate cake, and say he’s full because he knows you like it better.

And that’s marriage at its best state.  And it’s worth everything.  You know how your parents loved you when you were little?  This is a hundred times better.

I know.  I’ve been at this for thirty years.  And mostly it works.

*Almost forgot… yeah.  The “few hours.”  This woman in the village, whose dad had died when she was a toddler, got married, and the newly married couple moved in to her mom’s house (supposed to look after her mom and all.)  I guess the mom had forgotten to tell daughter what marriage entailed.  So in the middle of the night, daughter cries out “Moooom, he’s interfering with me.”  At which point, mom throws the husband out.  They remained married and separated for the rest of their lives.

I know this because being village kids, and lacking video games, when we walked by their house (mom and daughter’s house) on the way from school, we’d scream “mom, he’s interfering with me.”  This never failed to bring the mom out like a jack-in-box, to call us names and throw sticks and stones at us, which we OF COURSE thought was the funniest thing in the world.  (Yes, we were VERY bored.)

214 thoughts on “The State of Marriage

  1. Yes, it works. 40 next year over here. I do think that similar upbringing helps, by giving both spouses at least a broadly similar understanding of the world. Carol and I both grew up in loving Polish Catholic families of similar economic strata, and we (mercifully) are old enough that we missed all the “men and women are natural enemies” blather that started poisoning the well as the 70s wound down. It’s gotten bad enough that I’m amazed at the number of happy marriages we see around us. Motors with bad bearings make a horrendous racket, and drown out the ones that just hum along as they were designed to. I take a great deal of comfort in that.

  2. Any language ‘reformer’ turning ‘plow’ into a female word seems unclear on a number of concepts. OTOH I can almost see characterizing ‘garage’ as feminine just in terms of function. Not to mention ‘toaster’, which performs the same function coupled with a sudden outburst at the end once it’s heated up enough…

      1. In Hebrew male and female words are by spelling or other appearance of the word. It isn’t by the meaning of the word. Take this with salt, I learned Hebrew in school but never was fluent and don’t speak it today. One of the Israeli or other speaking Huns might confirm this. It’s easier to see in Hebrew that has punctuation (nekudot) otherwise certain letters.

        1. (Raises hand.) It’s a mixed bag. In many cases the female nouns have a final hey and the male ones don’t. The extra hey typically causes a final “a” vowel. Zakhar (“a male”) is male, “neqeva” (“a female”) is female, “shor” (bull) or (archaic) “par” are male, “para” (cow) is female. Kelev (“dog”) is male, but add a hey and you get “kalba” (b*tch, both meanings).

          But… some words are irregular, and seem to look male but take the female “-ot” rather than the male “-im” plural: “kise” (a chair), “kisa’ot” (chairs). Also, we have (like other Semitic languages) a dualis (pair form): `ayin (eye), `eynayim (two eyes); na`al (shoe), na`alayim (pair of shoes). And if you’re not confused enough: safa (lip, but also language), sfatayim (lips), safot (languages).
          Generally, when I can’t remember, I check the plural. For example: if I’m not sure whether eretz (land, country) is male or female, I just have to remember the plural is “artzot” (as in “artzot ha-brit”, “lands of the covenant/union”=USA), so I will correctly write “Israel hi eretz nehederet” (Israel is a wonderful country).

        2. I trust you realize the Bible tells you that only men make coffee? It’s in the book of He Brews.

      2. Wellllllll …. he parks his “car” in her “garage” so there seems some sort of logic in effect.

        1. BTW, in Hebrew “neqeva” (female) comes from the same root as “to make a hole”/”to pierce”… And “zakhar” (male) starts with the letter zayin, the name of which means “weapon” in Biblical Hebrew and “p3nis” in modern Hebrew slang 😉

        1. Stop neutering girls! If you neuter the girls, where will the next generation come from? 😉

        2. Mary, i can raise you one. In Irish, all diminutives are masculine, “girl” therefore is masculine.

      1. We begin to understand why Latin navies have never been major powers: They never spent enough on powder and paint.

        1. *Groan…* Could somebody hurry up with the carp, already! (the Princess does use subcontractors now for that, doesn’t she? I don’t want her to do this, she needs to use her time for more valuable pursuits, like writing)

          1. Regrettably, the carpapault is down for repairs. Some [BLANK] tried to load a cat in it and now we’re replacing the basket. And the cords. And the operating crew.

            We’re also having to grow a new tree for the arm.

            1. I SAID I didn’t want to play with the thing, didn’t I? I warned you, but nooooo, you thought it was cute to drag me away from the writing desk for “flying lessons.” Well fly this. *holds up paw, pads inward, and extends middle claw* Now I have a novel to finish writing, including a marriage that’s falling apart.

  3. And those “women” wonder why men aren’t “committing” to a “relationship”.

    Why should a man enter a relationship where he’s automatically the “Bad Guy”?

    1. That’s foolish talk, very short-sighted.

      He is a “Bad Guy” whether married or not, but if married he has much greater opportunity to atone for the transgressions of his ancestors.

    2. I never thought men were the bad guy. But I went to a marriage revering college. It was a residential college in New York city. Getting an MRS degree was an acceptable reason for going to college. When you got engaged while in school, your roommates would decorate your common door to announce it. In high school girls would crochet a kippah (skullcap) for (I assume) their boy friend or friends of the male persuasion.

      1. I doubt that any of the regulars here who happen to be female think that way. [Smile]

      2. My sister went to an all girls college; they had or were shifting from the “Mrs.” degree (one of my high school English teachers was an alumna so the MRS was never their sole “major.”) I don’t recall hearing of doors getting decorated for engagements, but it’s possible. (I could never see them since I wouldn’t be allowed into her doom, except the parlor, I think.) However, if frat guys started going steady to one of those Angels, his brothers would handcuff him naked to a certain fountain. Not quite the same thing.

    3. Not all feminists feel this way, Paul. I view myself as a feminist. But I’ve always seen men as individuals.

      My reason for divorce was very simple: adultery on the part of my ex-husband(s). (This was the same reason my late husband Michael divorced his first wife.) Repeated, flagrant adultery, at that.

      When someone does that and rubs your face in it, that is a person who does not want to be married to you.

      Fortunately, I live in the United States, where it is possible to divorce someone so ill-suited as that. I did so. (And Michael did so.)

      By some readings of the Bible, the only marriage that counts for me is my marriage to Michael…which suits me fine.

      Anyway, try not to believe that every woman automatically sees every man as the bad guy. Despite the rhetoric, most of the women I know — whether they call themselves feminist or not — see men as individuals.

      (Oh, yeah. My parents taught all three of us to cook. I learned the most because I liked it; my sister learned the least, because she disliked it. My brother is kind of in between the two of us, as far as what he can make and how well he does it.

      (I also learned to do some cleaning; my disabilities get in the way of that, some days, but I clean the kitchen regularly and the bathroom when able. My sister is much better at cleaning; my brother is more like I am, excepting that he doesn’t have as many health limitations. Or even any at all.

      (And Michael’s parents were the same way. Michael and his brother learned right along with Michael’s sister how to cook, clean, and do the laundry.)

      1. Anyway, try not to believe that every woman automatically sees every man as the bad guy. Despite the rhetoric, most of the women I know — whether they call themselves feminist or not — see men as individuals.

        When we see post after post (or tweet after tweet) from feminists on Twitter and Tumblr and many other sites that denounce men collectively, and so few tweets or posts from other feminists that don’t rebuke the first posters by reminding them that men are individuals, well, it’s easy to believe that the rhetoric is the reality.

        I’d like to encourage you, and the many other sensible women like you, to do more to counter the rhetoric on Twitter and Tumblr. That would go a LONG way towards helping to defuse the war-of-the-sexes vibe that men are currently getting from feminists.

        1. I will try, Robin. I don’t always see it, but when I do, I *always* quash it.

          And yes, when all you’re hearing is the same old echo chamber of “men bad; women good” (or sometimes the reverse), I can see where it would be a problem.

        2. You can start with the morons in the white house right now trying to either neuter or drive away all men in colleges.

  4. When we were newly married, for instance, we stopped watching Married With Children, because it seemed designed to foster mutual marital resentment.

    There was a point in our marriage that we noticed a pattern at parties. The men played games together, drank, and talked about stuff. Sometimes the stuff was important; often it wasn’t. The women sat to the side drank and complained about men.

    At some point we looked at each other and both of us thought of one of them, well no wonder you are headed to a third divorce. The female of us realized this was becoming a most destructive and very depressing use of time.

    1. I found myself having a bad day every day. Unhappy, gloomy, depressed all day, every day. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that I was getting up every morning with a bad attitude. So the next morning, before I got out of bed, I told myself that I was going to have a good day. And I made it a point to be glad about something – the sun out and no clouds, today was pay day, tonight I was going to fix a steak for dinner – anything so that I started the day with a positive thought. After a week, I could tell the difference. I wasn’t having bad days – sure, bad things happened, but those were events not entire days…well, except for that one time I had to work 94 hours straight because my boss was an idiot and used his son’s name for a password.

      I still hate getting up in the morning, but that’s because my bed is warm and comfy, not because I hate mornings. I’m not married, but it seems to me that if all you can do is be critical of your spouse, then you will never see the wonders of having that spouse.

      1. If all you can do is be critical of your spouse you shouldn’t have married in the 1st place.

        1. Which is why it is prudent to avoid “bitch” sessions and try to be a cheerleader (which ever side of di staff you occupy.)

          HT: Andrew Klavan, The Andrew Klavan Show

          1. Habits of mind.

            I’ve often said that the one job of each person for the other is to cheer them on. It’s more important than sharing interests or the various things that people say are important to get along (you’re a different person when you’re 30 than when you were 20… you think that 40 is the same as 30 or 50 is the same as 40… what an idiot argument). But bottom line… at what point does a bitch session apply to someone you supposedly love? Do you want him to complain about you to his friends? What do you think of people who do that to their kids? Just don’t.

    2. I remember a lot of blather, starting in the ’80’s, about “men don’t talk about their feelings”. Some time in there, it ca,e up in a group therapy session, and one of the female patients said “Well, they don’t”.

      I said, “Nobody STARTS talking about their feelings with the feelings that are close and feel dangerous. They start on the fringes and see if they can trust the people they are talking to. For men, that means how they feel about the Flag, or John Wayne, or some football team. And when they do, some loudmouthed feminist denounces them for talking about ‘macho bullshit’, and they concluse that it isn’t safemto talk about their feelings.”

      *crickets chirping*

      *for quite a while*

  5. Sadly, ours seems now to be a culture which does not encourage marriage, except innies to innies* and outies to outies (I s’pose this eliminates the problem of historical oppression and thus shall eventually become the only acceptable form of marriage.) I daresay people will continue to marry their opposite sex, providing we do not make determination of what, precisely, is opposite to what, altogether impossible because that seems, despite all intellectual efforts otherwise, to be the normal bent of humanity.

    Civilizations which try to rewrite human nature to abide more enlightened concepts tend to enjoy short lifespans. This is probably a flaw which can be “fixed” by enlightened application of the latest scientific and philosophical discoveries, along with squaring of circles and flying pigs.

    *Walking past a tabloid display yesterday I spotted one cover story promising to reveal the “truth” of the relationship between Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance … prompting me to wonder who the heck nowadays even knew who the two actresses had been, much less cared about their “relationship” and what this says about the target demographic for such enquiring tabloids.

    1. Lucy would never abandon Ricky. For heaven’s sake, the man was ‘gifted’ enough that he managed to impregnate her even while they were sleeping in separate, single beds across the room from each other.

      1. Feature, not Bug. (FnB for future convenience, unless somebody can figure a way to code that “B” in a slashed circle.)

        Remember, these are the people denouncing pregnancy as a parasitical enslavement of the woman, demanding a right to abort a child up until its sixth birthday, and declaring over-population a tremendous threat to the sustainability of the environment.

        1. I’ve wondered sometimes if that may play some part in modern Progressive “thought.” Early 20th century Progressives were still of the Biblical “be fruitful and multiply” mindset (see Theodore Roosevelt) but by the 1960’s this clearly was no longer the case. I’ve noticed that the various family-disruptive and anti-family-forming social trends, legislation, cultural movements, etc. all seemed to coincide with rising environmentalism and concerns over overpopulation. Radical feminism, the Great Society, educational policy shifts, “public service” TV spots, Roe vs. Wade, etc. all seem geared to reduce the number of children and/or make any children susceptible to easy indoctrination by the Progressives.

          1. It was showing even then. “More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief aim of birth control.” It had not reached full strength.

          2. I was told in my environmental control systems class that the earth reached the point at which it could no longer support all the life that existed on it about 20 years ago.

            The instructor didn’t really have an answer for why, if that assertion is true, we hadn’t seen massive die-offs of humans yet. :/

        2. Contrary to the belief of ‘fetal parasite’ it’s been found that fetuses actually donate stem cells to their mother.

          From Lifesite News:

          Science has been studying the phenomena of fetal cell microchimerism for more than 30 years, after researchers at Stanford University were shocked in 1979 to discover a pregnant mother’s blood containing cells with Y sex chromosomes. Since women only have X chromosomes, they concluded that the cells must have entered into her body from the male baby she carried within her.

          Drawing on studies in biology, reproductive genetics, and epigenetics, Pincott outlined in her book what science has learned since the Stanford discovery.

          “During pregnancy,” she wrote, “cells sneak across the placenta in both directions. The fetus’s cells enter his mother, and the mother’s cells enter the fetus.”

          Scientists have discovered, she said, that a baby’s fetal cells show up more often in a mother’s healthy breast tissue and less often in a woman who has breast cancer (43 versus 14 percent).

          1. That’s just proof of how aggressively invasive Y-chromosomes are, transgressing natural barriers to occupy areas not theirs.

            More seriously, this cross-placental transfer has long been witnessed in Rh negative mothers with Rh positive babies.

  6. I am very fortunate in that my parents gave me a good mental model of what a stable marriage is and what you have to do to keep it running. That it is OK to have disagreements about some issue as long as there is still agreement that the biggest issue (the marriage) is *not* in question.

    Sometimes I can see a toxic family model trickle down the generations, still messing up people who have no other way of seeing relationships, because that is all they saw growing up. I saw it wreck the marriage of two friends.

    And it isn’t just marriage. How children are treated is another thing that makes my eyes go wide. My family LIKED to do things together, and we had fun. Much like the esteemed Hoyt clan. So many times I see children who only exist because “everybody has kids” or they are treated like fashion accessories, or pets, or only deemed interesting when they get to an age to do things that can be bragged about. Not as individuals in their own right who are enjoyable to have around at any age.

    People get very unrealistic expectations about all kinds of life interactions. I don’t know how that can be fixed, but I do get tired dealing with all the human wreckage those expectations create….

    1. Sometimes the opposite works. My parents were a good example of why a couple should *not* stay married. (for “for the kids” is an evil lie…)

      Life’s too short to put up with a toxic marriage. I told my wife if our marriage ever started to look like my parent’s, I would be gone with the wind. That was 35 years ago, so I guess we’re doing okay.

      1. Problem is that they are still the child’s parents after divorce, which does not magically detoxify the relationship

        1. No, but you don’t have them using their children as weapons at each other. Or the children being in the way when one of them snaps and goes after the other with a breadknife. I still have the scar from that one.

          I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about foster homes, but when you never knew when the next explosion was going to happen, the foster system looked really good…

          1. No, but you don’t have them using their children as weapons at each other.

            Sorry, I regret to inform you, from sad personal experience, that you can and often do.

          2. Good heavens, have you considered the potential for abuse? There are divorced parents who tell the child that if you actually want to see your other parent, you are betraying me, and who never let the child prepare to go for visitation before the other parent arrives for pick-up, or who lie about whether child support is paid, or. . .

            1. …if you actually want to see your other parent, you are betraying me…

              Try never seeing your mother again because you choose to tell her that you would not be forced to choose between the only two parents you were issued. And your mother never seeing her only grandchild, although you made every attempt to let her, including risking unemployment.

    2. We’re at 51 yrs married. Early intense arguments – the kind that get so fraught that one of us would run out of the house – were usually resolved with ideas such as “the marriage is more important than how either of us feels about this”, “it’s a partnership, we’ll figure out how to split the burden more equally”, “we each know our own feelings best, so it’s probably true we have to feel like we’ve gone 2/3 of the way to actually meet the other half-way” – and a lot of “I love you” and “thank you”, said frequently.

    3. My folks were a good example. My wife’s parents had to buy new dishes every six months. I went into marriage trying to emulate my parents. She went in trying not to be hers. After 22 years we still have the crappy dishes my unemployed friends got us for a wedding present. (I won’t let her throw them out. They really are lousy….)

      A ‘successful’ marriage to me is all mental. People talk about working on a marriage or how difficult it can be. That’s crap. It’s a mental switch. That’s all. When I said, “I do” I flipped that switch and was just married. My concept of “Me” now included my wife. To my experience too many people go into marriage still thinking of “Me” as singular. Then they get defensive because this other person is now intruding on their life. If you do it right, that other person is now you. Complaining about them makes as much sense as getting bent about how you yourself snore, have turned your own closet into a shoe cemetery, or how you like to go out drinking with your friends. (All these activities the wife part of the marriage handles. Just saying.)

  7. I think I need to read the revised version of The Five Love Languages and go home and rub my wife’s feet (or vice-versa–go home first, read later). I mean, she brought me breakfast in bed this morning (sure, it was to get the kids to school on time, but still).

  8. Advice my grandfather, who was married about 70 years before he died, gave to me when my wife and I were engaged:

    “Figure out what ticks off the other, then don’t do it.

    Being from a different background, some of the cultural differences are odd. Slapping a wife would be apt to have their kin show up with a bull whip to explain why this should not be done. And it was whispered that men of the community would have a similar discussion if a husband was being “sorry.” That’s assuming the wife put up with it, which would have been very rare.

    Whether it’s feminism or trying to match the fictional glamour of entertainment with reality, I can’t say, and, given the divorced couples we know, I’d rather not say too much. All I know is my wife and I went into marriage with the idea that this would be permanent, and we’ve been married for close to thirty years now.

    1. Re–being sorry: Would that be men who go by the house once to talk to the husband about not keeping the stove wood and fire wood cut and at the house and so on and then when the admonishment doesn’t take, show up in the middle of the night and hook him to drag and beat him until he cuts and splits a cord (or at least a good load or two) of wood, and pulls it back to the house?

      Never heard of it.

    2. Vigilantes in America have a long history of taking off on men who beat their wives or did not support their country.

      Local newspapers would include old stories sometimes, like one that said that two centuries ago they had a story of a man’s beating his wife, the wife’s taking refuge at a married daughter’s farm, and the “Regulators”‘ arriving in the night to take the husband out of bed and flog him, after which he was found dead in his bed in the morning.

      1. One of my family stories (pretty much of the “Proper preparation prevents p*ss poor execution” variety) was about my maternal grandmother’s father.

        He apparently complained for years about the time that a man slapped his wife on the street – and nobody thought to grab a rope on the way to the nearest tree. The Sheriff caught up with them while they were waiting for that particular necessary bit of logistics.

        (He’s the ancestor that ended up as a Circuit Judge in the Oklahoma Territory, BTW – which points up the large difference in our judicial system these days.)

  9. As far as I am concerned, marriage ceased to exist in this country with the adoption of unilateral no-fault divorce in the 70’s.
    To those of you who have been together for decades, you have my congratulations and my envy. May you have many more years of companionship and happiness.

  10. Our first few years were rough. Mostly because we came from vastly different backgrounds and both had in-laws who were convinced we were doing it wrong. Then went about trying to force us to do it the right way. Once everybody started minding their own d*** business, things got a lot easier.

    Case in point: My parents have a running joke about me being a terrible cook because I don’t have the years of training my mom has. The joke went completely over my husbands head. He was impressed that I cook at all and watches me do it because his family never did. The kitchen is still this magical place food comes out of and I must be some sort of a magician. His family thinks I’m lazy because I cook at home rather than take a second (third? fourth?) job to be able to eat out all the time. My parents buy me beginners cookbooks because it’s funny, his family is constantly giving him gift cards to fast food places so he doesn’t starve.

    1. Recently married and my job took us to Europe. My wife and I agree that one of the benefits is the opportunity to figure how we want our marriage to work without constant input from well-meaning-but-interfering in-laws.

    2. $HOUSEMATE never was without a dishwasher (machine). I’d never had one, until we moved into the current house. The first few times I washed dishes by hand in $HOUSEMATE’s presence, I was observed as if I was performing some peculiar aboriginal ritual.

      1. In our household, we have both dishwasher, and children doing the dishes.

        Our housemate, Aff informed the children that when he was 6 years old, he was given his own set of dishes, which he was expected to keep clean himself. (He hoped to me as an aside that my son would grow taller, as the wee boyo couldn’t properly reach over the sink’s edge even while standing on a stepstool. Then the boyo hit a growth spurt and can now do his own dishes, at least at breakfast, and weekend lunches.)

        BOTH the children are being taught how to handle food, dishes, and eventually, grocery shopping, as a standard – “You’re old enough to learn how to do this now, so you will.”

    3. My folks lived 2000 miles away, so there was little to no interference. However, when Smart&Crunchy son was born, my Mother told us explicitly that she was NOT going to give us any ‘helpful’ advice. We were smart enough to not need it, and her own parenting skills were decades out of date.

      Father just smiled and said “You’ll figure out what you need to know. Just keep one end fed and the other clean and dry, and that’s most of it right there.”

      Dang, I sure miss them. They’d be so proud of the man he’s becoming…


      1. My parents are convinced we don’t know our asses from our elbows and they’d be much better parents than we would because they know what they’re doing now. *sigh* And it’s gonna get worse as the kids get bigger.

          1. I think it’s a common attitude among the parents of odd daughters who are not themselves odd. At least, who wouldn’t admit to being odd.

  11. My own $0.02 (happily married for 23 years now): it is almost impossible to share everything 50:50 at each specific point in time. One should strive for the integral of the ‘partition function’ to be close to 1/2, however.
    (Now don’t get me started on Boltzmann statistics as applied to marriage :))

    1. My experience has been that if you manage to share everything 70:70 you are doing fairly well.

      1. There are some things best left unshared.

        On being told by one of her progeny, “But Mom, you said we are supposed to share with each other!” a mother of five boy replied, “Not your toothbrushes and certainly not some of each and every germ you have encountered.”

  12. My dad learned to cook at a bar, and cooked for the seven of us — plus animals — for years. It took a decade and more for him to learn to cook smaller batches once we were all out of the house.

    1. Why bother cooking smaller batches? Keep cooking as if for seven, and you’ll get dinner plus many delicious lunches out of that pot!

      (I know that there are people who disdain anything not “first night”, but I’ve never gotten that. Far as I’m concerned, most dinners are even tastier as the next day’s lunch.)

      1. been too busy lately, so it’s been canned soup for lunch something else for maybe dinner and usually meat and cheese or a nuke it sandwich for breakfast, but I am prone to cooking something on sunday and eating it all week long, much of the time 3 meals a day.
        I really need to get back to better eating, though I have dropped weight. Not much, but under that 100 kilos we were spoking about the other day.

      2. That involves both remembering and desiring “leftovers.” I tried the preservation thing with excess. Timely intervention prevented horror movie level disasters before I decided it was best I simply did not do that, lest I should truly and fully forget someday.

        1. A few weeks back I made a soup that the kids simply loved, that they requested leftovers and expressed disappointment when it was gone. So when their Dad came back from field exercises, I made it again, and this time I got a complaint that it’s so yummy, Daddykins has to resist getting third servings, or end up too full. (It was gone the next day, because he took the last serving with him to lunch.)

          (Chopped up pork sausages, simmered with potatoes, carrots, onions, and half a head of cabbage, with 3-4 pork boullion cubes.)

              1. Buy yourself a flour grinder and a bucket of dried corn. Half corn flour, half wheat flour makes darn good corn bread.

  13. Two areas to comment on. First, the spoiled and entitled attitudes of many these days cause a lot of early breakups — “You promised me a rose garden!” The sentimental feminist reform of divorce changed the incentive landscape to allow many women to leave their husbands with little loss of income; while the law is supposedly neutral in CA, judges are still favoring the “kids and house go with mom, costs go to dad” standard model. If the state legislature is going to forever monkey with one-size-fits-all marriage law, it might want to promote default shared custody and housing.

    Second comment: division of labor. Marriage is about workng together to build a life. Who does what should be determined by individual abilities and preferences; one of the many faults of the feminist party line (as Sarah mentions) is deprecating women who choose family over work, who decide for themselves to demote their career so they can stay home and raise several kids at once. As a result, fewer children are being born to middle-class families, while the very wealthy can afford the nannies and childcare needed to have more. Let everyone choose; honor the man or woman who focuses on home and children, as well as the career woman who rises to the top of a major corporation — but can’t possibly also raise three kids.

    I’ve been with my partner for over ten years. I do the finances, major home repairs, real estate, everyday practical cooking, and the dirtiest housework like cleaning toilets. He does the fancy cooking when he has time, the laundry, and runs the dishwasher, plus he works about 50 hours a week at his job. I’m the optimizing economist, so I minimize labor by not doing things until enough has built up — he can’t stand that, so when he’s around far more laundry and dishwashing happens, whereas I do things like buy enough underwear so I can wait a month to do whites (but I haven’t gone so far as to use the bachelor trick of wearing them inside-out as well.)

    1. A rose garden is actually a pretty apt metaphor for marriage. You got aphids. Weeds. You gotta get the water right. The fertilizer. The right climate to plant the darned things in. You gotta get the mulch on the right time in the fall and off the right time in the spring. Then they get rust or something, the grafted part dies, and so on.
      You put a lot of work into it, you get it all right, and there are still thorns. Sometimes you’re going to get hurt even when you’re doing it right. And then, sometimes, you get roses, and it’s all worth it.

      Which reminds me, I gotta get some mulch on those roses. (The real ones, not the metaphorical kind.)

      1. It’s a great metaphor for marriage, for those who know the reality of tending the rose garden! I’m thinking more of the entitled princesses of both sexes, whose parents brought them up to think they’re owed a special, trouble-free life because they are so very pretty and smart. 🙂

        1. It really should be “You promised me a rose garden! With a cute gardener!” In today’s atmosphere of disregarding vows at will (assuming the part about “cleaving” was even there in the first place), that makes far more sense.

          1. Odd. I got curious and looked up “cleaver” for the Spanish translation…

            “cuchilla de carnicero” is what I got back. (That’s Webster’s – another one that I’ve never heard of, Harap’s, has it as “cuchillo de carnicero”.)

      2. My mother bought a Peace rose. The grafted part died. Now she has a very pretty deep red single rose.

      3. Daddy’s Mom, had one of the most spectacular private rose gardens. She told me that for the best roses you have to do a great deal of preparatory work before you planted them. She had employed Daddy, then in high school, to deeply double dig those beds. While he still complained about it years later, he had to admit that the ground work paid off.

    2. … deprecating women who choose family over work

      One of the intrinsic flaws of modern feminism stems from its Marxist roots: the tendency to devolve everything to its fiscal core. Such materialistic analysis turns everything into a constant cost:benefit equation which devalues significant non-material components (such as trust your partner won’t have you put down when the value of your component parts exceeds the cost of repairs.)

      1. “No, we don’t believe that any woman should have this choice. No woman should be authorised to stay at home to bring up her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one. It is a way of forcing women in a certain direction.”

        1. How many fictional Progressive societies had the State raise children? [Frown]

            1. And yet, all studies indicate that such State-sponsored activities provide no material benefit to the child.

              Considerable benefit to the State’s bureaucrats and the unions leveraging daycare to force folk to join pay dues.

              1. didn’t one group of progressives believe in getting rid of the family with the state taking its place?

                1. One group? How about most of them. From what I’ve been told, the original kibbutzim in Israel had communal nurseries and children quarters at their start;. And reality set in and for the most part in most kibbutz were quickly abandoned. Seems most women once they’re actually mothers WANT to see their children.

                  1. Amazing how that works.

                    I confess that the idea of never being by myself is one of the more intimidating things about the prospect of having a baby — I mean, obviously she’s here now that I’m pregnant, but it’s not the same sort of interaction — but on the other hand… I’m a little bit worried that I will snarl at the nurses or something when they come to take her to be weighed and so on.

                    1. I believe pretty much all socialists did up until Russia actually tried to implement the program and discovered the problem with it: parents will care for their own children for free while employees of the state who are asked to care for the children of strangers will expect to be payed.

                    2. That’s complete nonsense — they have no interest in eliminating The Family.

                      If they did that, who would they hold hostage to enforce behavioural compliance?

          1. I have this recollection that state creches were in Heinlein’s “Friday”. It could have been some other book.

            1. Not state creches – well, “corporate state” creches, I suppose. Friday was a genetically engineered “product” for them.

              The only other place I definitely recall creches in his books was “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” – Hazel Stone was in one, which the Davis Family got her out of by adoption. That absolutely was not a state creche, all private, since the Lunar Authority didn’t care about orphans at all.

      2. Contrast: Remember all those lovely articles supposedly addressing the cost of replacing the work done by the stay at home mom? They included cleaning, day care, tutoring, chauffeuring, nursing, cooking, laundry, mending, household maintenance and repair, etc … usually concluding that no one could afford the cost of stay at home mom if she were to be paid the going rates.

        1. I had considered those arguments, but concluded their advocates lack of sincerity justified ignoring them. The arguments were not put forth to honor home-makers but to “prove” patriarchal society exploited their contributions. It isn’t as if “they” regarded the cook, housekeeper, child-minder and other roles as other than menial.

          As I recall it, their main thrust was to argue stay-at-home moms should be taxed, just as they wanted to tax you for “imputed” rental income if you owned your own home. And that since nobody could afford a stay-at-home mom, nobody should be allowed one.

    3. Everyone’s got their own talents – I’m more than happy to let someone else cook while I clean up the kitchen after them.

      Shortly after we were married, my mother in law called up, asked what we were doing. I was baking cookies – ‘manly’ cookies from a mil-surplus can of oatmeal raisin mix. My wife was rescreening the porch. Mum just laughed, and asked to speak with her daughter.

      A large part of success in marriage comes from family support – I was blessed doubly there…

  14. As for taking relationship advice from Heinlein: while much of it is irrelevant to the monogamists among us (including yours truly), he has some sound advice for all couples. (You generally can’t go far wrong with “rub her feet”.)

    As it happens, just today I posted a piece on Renoir and his models/muses/mistresses (click on my handle and open the top post if interested) it is interesting that even in the libertine, bohemian environment of Parisian art studios, Renoir eventually married one of his models and stayed with her until her death. By all evidence, it was a happy marriage, BTW. There’s enough material for a historical fiction novel in his life with his models…

    1. I enjoyed his point that formal politeness is especially important between husband and wife. (Notebooks of Lazarus Long)

    2. (You generally can’t go far wrong with “rub her feet”.)

      Generally, perhaps not. But for goodness sake find out if her feet are ticklish first. Ideally in a way that does not provoke reflexive kicking.

  15. > (Yes, we were VERY bored.)

    I’ve occasionally wondered how much of history came about for that very reason…

    1. Most of it? I know that most of my sessions with the “Belt of Knowledge” came about that way.

  16. “My mom is fond of telling that her grandparents used to share a plate (apparently an old Portuguese custom for married couples. It strikes me as bizarre, but I don’t even see why.”

    Used to be English too.
    Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
    His wife could eat no lean.
    And so between them both, you see,
    They licked the platter clean.

    Notice they were eating from the same platter.

    1. In medieval times, the custom among French and English nobles was that seatmates at table shared the same trencher, and the polite person picked out choice morsels for his seatmate. I think this came from the Romans reclining together.

  17. “The wise old fairy tales never were so silly as to say that the prince and the princess lived peacefully ever afterwards. The fairy tales said that the prince and princess lived happily ever afterwards; and so they did. They lived happily, although it is very likely that from time to time they threw the furniture at each other.”

    ― G.K. Chesterton

    1. A favorite quote of mine on artguing in marriage:
      ““Aravis also had many quarrels (and, I’m afraid even fights) with Cor, but they always made it up again: so that years later, when they were grown up they were so used to quarreling and making it up again that they got married so as to go on doing it more conveniently.”
      C.S Lewis “The Horse and his Boy”

      1. He came back the next day, and the next, and the day after that, and they argued. The arguments always started about the binding itself, but then they began to stray out into the more interesting topics – the relationships and interrelationships in their families, the politics that went on, and the doings of the kingdoms and lordships of the world; and finally, about themselves, or rather, each other. The arguments started early and ended late; it was almost improper.
        After about three days of this, T’Thelaih realized that she was going to have to be bound to this man, just to have the leisure to argue properly with him.
        On the fourth day, she realized, with a start, that she was in love with him, and he with her. He realized it, for his part, the next day. The argument that day was particularly noisy.

        …how each pair of eyes, resting in the other’s gaze, told the other that the locking had already happened, perhaps a hand of days ago, while both parties were shouting at one another at the tops of their voices.

        …They lay together that night and found that there was at least one thing about which they had no argument whatsoever; though afterward there was some sleepy discussion as to had a right to the most of the sleeping silks.

        Spock’s World

        That particular side story had always made me laugh. Also the part about the Vulcan ‘screaming with great enthusiasm’ after being bitten by an intelligent silicone based lifeform during a debate.

        1. “And I heard you, too. Better have that looked into.”

          Proving that the academic mindset jumps species, and logic is no defense.

  18. I started to compose a long sad post on this, but then thought better of it. Said more than I should have yesterday, and y’all have enough tales of your own to tell.
    For those of you who have worked hard to build a marriage that works, you have my great respect and admiration. Do keep doing it right for whatever definition of “right” works in your relationship. It is after all different in every case as we are an incredibly diverse and individual race we humans.

  19. If you’ve heard the phrase “more Catholic then the Pope” that would describe my wife’s family. She graduated from a small all girl Catholic HS. I was baptized Methodist, and went to a medium size public school. We’ve been married 37 years now, doing it the 1950’s way with me working and her being housewife and mother. Guess what? It works!

    Her parents were married until death did he part. Mine divorced when I was 10. One of the key factors, methinks, in our successful marriage and raising of kids, 4 successful adults and one still being successful in HS, is that I used my father as sort of a role model. Whenever I wasn’t sure what to do, I’d think back to what my father did or didn’t do in a similar situation, then did something different.

    Oddly enough, of her 4 siblings who married, one other had a successful first marriage. His was also mixed; he married a Methodist woman. If you’re both religious, but of different persuasions, your pre-marriage talks tend to cover a lot more ground. I have not been able to predict which one of my friends, families, and acquaintances marriages would be long and happy. But both my wife and I have a 100% success rate in predicting those that will break up.

    1. My first girlfriend went to a Catholic girls’ school thru HS, and then to a Catholic college. I took her to see “The Gay Divorcee'” and another Busby Berkeley musical, and had to explain to her why they had to check into a hotel, who was this Italian guy, what a co-respondent was…

    2. heck, I might be more Catholic than the current Pope, and I, though raised Catholic, am an atheist.
      The Current Pope is Reverend Wright without the paint job. (both being Liberation Theological maroons)

            1. There’s a conspiracy theory that ties his election to Benedict’s resignation, both being allegedly caused by the same liberal movement within the Vatican. (Benedict resigned, the theory goes, because he was sick and tired of having to argue about every little thing he wanted done, and the stress of it was draining him so much that his health was failing.)

              I find that theory all too plausible.

              1. knowing some of the “touchy feely”(as my cousin the former altar boy calls it) nonsense they brought into Mass, yes, that sounds entirely plausible.
                I know my Aunt (said cousin’s mom) has been known to go to the Lutheran church from time to time. This is on par with Pope Benedict heading to one, by the way.

                1. I was a Catholic Church altar boy way back when we had to dodge stegosaurii on the way in to mass, and what caused me to drift away over time was the all the liberation theology crap that was inserted into every little corner.

                  At the time we heard from neighboring parishes that this was not happening so much to their services, so it was likely the result of the (very) left-leaning inclinations of our particular parish priest (privately to us kids he was “Father Leningrad”).

                  It was refreshing when I eventuallty attended mass where a Navy chaplain was running things – much more straightforward. Plus we sang the Navy Hymn.

                  From what I hear these days, the fuzzywuzzy stuff is all being imposed top-down. Nothing I’ve heard has made me want to return to the fold.

                  1. I watched a Latin Mass done on TV some years back, There is a serene beauty to it, and there was no sermon to have some nonsense spewed. (the priests I had as a kid were often boring as all get out, and the last sermon I heard from a priest at one the local churches of my youth (family wedding) was rather insulting to those in the pews who were there only for the wedding. Not quite as insulting as the preacher at the funeral of a co-worker’s son (tragic death of a 3 yr old) who managed to enrage two rather large gentlemen who had to be calmed by their wives (who the insult was aimed at, both women are Thai and not Christians) to keep them from adjusting the preacher’s attitudes.
                    Always a great way to gain adherents, insult the possibles.

  20. Volcanoes have a splendour that is grim,
    And earthquakes only terrify the dolts,
    But to him who’s scientific
    There’s nothing that’s terrific
    In the falling of a flight of thunderbolts!

    Yes, in spite of all my meekness,
    If I have a little weakness,
    It’s a passion for a flight of thunderbolts!

    A successful marriage is somewhat like enjoying single malt scotch. An acquired taste but profoundly satisfying.

    Married for 35 years.

    1. There is beauty in extreme old age —
      Do you fancy you are elderly enough?
      Information I’m requesting
      On a subject interesting:
      Is a maiden all the better when she’s tough?

      Ko-Ko and Katisha. There’s a match clearly NOT made in heaven. Thank you W.S. Gilbert

  21. Interesting that this is the topic today, as I am writing about a marriage that is falling apart, although the protagonist does not want to recognize it. The fault is mutual, in the fictional case, although outside events are not helping an already strained relationship. Something about being Polish nobility married to Hungarian gentry when the Hungarian nationalists and fascists take over puts a wee bit of additional stress on things.

  22. Not to mention the delusion that women are entitled to a high-paying, emotionaly fulfilling career, as much time with her kids as she wants, with never a trade-off to be seen.
    And if this impossible dream isn’t realized, it’s somehow the fault of men, and the man closest to her in particular.

    And it’s only getting worse.
    “Dear Future Husband”? Honey, you ain’t gonna have one. Not too many people are interested in signing up for slavery.

    1. ” as much time with her kids as she wants”

      and no more. and other people ought to provide day care for her because motherhood is a sacred vocation as far as making demands on others, but a hobby in terms of maternal responsibilities.

  23. Together for 40 years, married for 36. A few times we contemplated dissolution. The time, I remember most was when she was commuting 90 miles one way and working 50 hours a week, and I was without a job, but responsible for the 3 kids (adopted all at once). One of which was retarded (a cocaine baby), one which was angry because his biological mother had given him up, and the other carried a permanent mad because she had to take care of her brothers (at age 6) while her mother was out partying. I still don’t know how we managed to stay together. But, I guess love conquers all. Plus, we’re both stubborn as can be about what we think is right, and we both know that, and cede the others position even when it’s wrong. Staying married was the right thing for both of us.

  24. ” But that doesn’t pass the laugh test when your house and your garage, your tree and your cart and your plow are all female pronoun and your cheese, your car, your sweater and your dress are all male pronouns. ”

    I was wondering if the pronouns of languages with randomly gendered nouns were being abused like English. Good to know that my sense that it would be difficult to impossible was probably correct.

  25. “It really touches the office staff that you’re here with him for treatment every day,” was one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard. Where else would I be than with my husband who had sacrificed a lot to make sure I could be home with the kids and now needed me to drive because the medication made it too hard for him to do so safely? And yet, apparently it was a really rare thing. So sad. Also, scary since it made me wonder how many people *were* driving themselves while heavily medicated.

  26. well, never managed to get married, so my observations are limited. Had not gotten anyone I was interested in to be interested in me, and those who were interested in me were sure to be future Ex’s so why bother?
    Anyhow, I have found in what relationships I have had, that arguing is mostly absurd. I almost never got in them, and those that did occur were either cured by the offending party saying “Yes, sorry, I misunderstood you/didn’t realize …” or there was someone just trying to argue for control reasons (and as I didn’t play those games, did little arguing if they were played on my, so they tended to be “Really? Goodbye then!”) and not an actual valid argument. So I never got to the other reasons for arguing that so many blame for break ups.

    1. Our biggest argument ever was over the placement of punctuation.
      Turned out we were both wrong. 😛
      Job loss, illness, major moves, kids illnesses, kids raising… yep. we almost broke up over a comma.

      1. and as has been my observation most of the time, you both were on the wrong side.
        I know people who argue all the time. Also still married after 21 years, but that seems to be the one major basis of their relationship … to argue about everything. The few things they do not argue over, they are holding a grudge against others together. Been quiet now for years, they seem mad at me.

  27. I don’t ever recall Ma & Pa getting into a Serious Argument. I suppose they did happen, but sister & I weren’t witness(es) to anything serious. Mild disagreements and differences, sure, but nothing even remotely stormy.

    Pa used to joke that the statistic that “Half of all marriages end in divorce” was nothing, after all the other half ended in death! And in truth theirs did – his, a few years ago. And while Ma has not remarried, and isn’t interested in such, she has found a friend who is the same way. They both dislike going places alone, so they go off and do things (dinners, tours, etc.) together. It works well for them.

  28. Been married for 31 years. This is my second marriage. The less said about my first marriage the better, except for the four wonderful children out of it.
    We are from vastly differing backgrounds. She is an Episcopalian from Northern Canada, where she was taught all the survival skills that are needed in that area. I am Jewish from Brooklyn(NY) and do not have those mechanical skills.
    As a result, she does the home repair skills and I mostly do the cooking. Once, early in our relationship, the dishwasher in her house broke down and we had to replace it. Sears wanted $100 to install it. She said that there was no way she would pay it, or let me pay it. So she began to install it, which required “sweating” the copper pipes together. I made dinner. As she was cussing about the job, she looked at me, and I looked at her. We both realized the gender reversal we were involved in and both of us broke out in hysterical laughter. I can not imagine life without her.

  29. *nostalgic smile* It used to be such a point of pride for me that I would get my Dad’s coffee “perfect” as a child. Mind, it was instant coffee, but I would get the amount of sugar right. It’s a gesture of love; and years after the fact of his death I’ll still make him coffee as an offering during his birthday and on All Soul’s. (For my maternal grandmother? Cookies. She adored the latest and newest snacks and junk food, which in retrospect is amusing because she was a doctor and all the village called her Doctora in respect. For my boys I’ll leave out cookies and milk, and on their birthdays, a cupcake. One each, so they don’t fight.)

    As for coffee in my household, Rhys and Aff make it for me. Rhys is good at making this concoction that we call “Afterglow,” which I sip and enjoy for the delightful flavors, while Aff is good at making Milo-Coffees, as well as frothing the milk (by shaking the box with great vigour). It’s a point of pride for him (I’m an IT guy, of course I know how to make good coffee) that I enjoy his coffee and his soft-boiled eggs. I once ended up with several servings of both, because he, in his sleep deprived state, forgot he’d made me coffee and eggs, and kept going to rectify his mistake.

    I’m quite capable of making my own coffee, but now that I have my own family, I understand my Dad’s pleasure in the gesture of love and care.

  30. This post seems SJW-free. I guess they can’t stand all this let’s-all-get-along-with-our-spouses schtick. Ain’t it great?

  31. Tangentially related, as it talks about how Feminism is paving the way for Islam (to enter Europe) and as a whole, weakened Western civilization and culture.

    Swedish Marxist politician Gudrun Schyman has suggested a bill that would collectively tax Swedish men for violence against women. In a 2002 speech, the same Schyman famously posited that Swedish men were just like the Taliban. A male columnist in newspaper Aftonbladet responded by saying that Schyman was right: All men are like the Taliban.

    The irony is that in an Islamic state similar to the one the Taliban established in Afghanistan, certain groups of people, in this case non-Muslims, pay a special punishment tax simply because of who they are, not because of what they earn. Radical feminists such as Ms. Schyman are thus closer to the Taliban than Western men, although I’m pretty sure that irony would be completely missed on them.

    Schyman’s battle cry is “Death to the nuclear family!” I have heard the same slogan repeated by young Norwegian feminists in recent years. Schyman seethed that today’s family unit is “built on a foundation of traditional gender roles in which women are subordinate to men. The hierarchy of gender, for which violence against women is the ultimate expression, has been cemented.” “Conservatives want to strengthen the family. I find this of grave concern.”

    In the year 2000, Swedish feminist Joanna Rytel and the action group Unf**ked Pussy entered the stage during the live broadcast of the Miss Sweden contest. She also wrote an article called “I Will Never Give Birth to a White Man,” for a major Swedish daily, Aftonbladet, in 2004. Rytel explained why she hates white men — they are selfish, exploitative, vain, and sex-crazed — and just to make things clear, she added, “no white men, please… I just puke on them, thank you very much.”

    Misandry, the hatred of men, isn’t necessarily less prevalent than misogyny, the hatred of women. The difference is that the former is much more socially acceptable.

    If all oppression comes from Western men, it becomes logical to try weakening them as much as possible. If you do, a paradise of peace and equality awaits us at the other side of the rainbow. Well congratulations to Western European women. You’ve succeeded in harassing and ridiculing your own sons into suppressing many of their masculine instincts. To your surprise, you didn’t enter a feminist Nirvana, but paved the way for an unfolding Islamic hell.

    It is correct, as feminists claim, that a hyper-feminine society is not as destructive as a hyper-masculine society. The catch with a too soft society is that it is unsustainable. It will get squashed as soon as it is confronted by more traditional, aggressive ones. Instead of “having it all,” Western women risk losing everything. What are liberal feminists going to do when faced with aggressive gang of Muslim youngsters? Burn their bras and throw the pocket edition of the Vagina Monologues at them?

    Perhaps women can succeed in turning their men into doormats, but it will be on the cost of doing so to their nation and to their civilization as well. According to Italian American feminist Camille Paglia, “If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts.” That may be an exaggeration, but male energy is definitely a driving force in any dynamic culture.

    Muslim anti-female violence in the West is a symptom of the breakdown of the feminist Utopia. Freedoms need to be enforced by violence or the credible threat of violence, or they are meaningless. Even though women can take steps to protect themselves, the primary responsibility for protection will probably always belong to men. Women will thus only have as much freedom as their men are willing and capable of guaranteeing them. It is a major flaw in many feminist theories that they fail to acknowledge this.

    1. Of one thing we can be certain: when the defenses of Western Civilization collapse under the onslaught of misogynist invaders, the women of the West will be bitterly berating their men for failing to protect them, not praising them for their ability to show weakness, to cry, for knowing their shoe size (without having to ask their sisters) or for knowing how to wield a melon baller.

      1. I don’t have that worry, honestly, not for here. At the moment, at any rate. Ultimately, once you convince someone else that you shouldn’t be protected because X group is supposed to be given more rights than your own group, there’ll be nobody left to defend you. (ergo, do not defend Western culture because reasons.) We should not be surprised then at the rebellion of the youth and converting to the group that has ‘more’ than the West.

        There’ve been discussions locally to try come up with programs with the aim of dissuading the youth from running off and becoming radicalised Muslims / DAESH branch offs. I said unless they’re willing to push other religions and uphold them as positive alternatives, you’re not going to get much success, because one of the things that they do not ask is “What is it that Daesh is offering these youth, that the West isn’t ‘visibly offering’?”

        1. Cartoonist Al Capp caricatured the hollowness of Liberal thought over fifty years ago:

          “Good is better than evil because it’s nicer!”

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