Give Away the Bigger Portion

I was a greedy child.  No, seriously.  Looking at the pictures of me as a little kid, all legs, teeth and eyes, you wouldn’t know I had to have a lot of lectures on not taking the better portion of (whatever) when we had guests.

Last time I was back in Portugal, I was talking to my dad and he got into his early years of marriage.  Dad is an enlightened male, particularly for his time and Portugal.  (Yes, he still has weird stuff, like it’s not manly to carry plastic bags, but that’s because he’s human.)  He got mom from a far more traditional family, so he told me with some indignation that when he first married her she insisted on giving the bigger portion or the best portion to him, while she and my brother took the rest.  He thought this was upside down, because d*mn it, his wife and kid should have the best.  He cited this as “the bad habits I had to get her over.”

I did not tell him his attempts had failed.  Long before I was marriageable age, mom had instructed me in “let your dad have the biggest or better portion.  Men need this.”

Yes, I hear feminists in the audience pull their hair out, so let me say right now: mom was wrong.  She was also right.

She was wrong in thinking MEN needed this.  There is after all a reason that dad thought women and children should have the best (and it’s a good reason, evolutionarily speaking.)

She was right if you just put it as “let your spouse/friend/relative” have the best part/the decision/the thing he/she really enjoys doing.

Look, I put it up above that I was a greedy child.  I’m also an incredibly self-centered person.  Part of this is being driven.  I have so much to do, I want to have my break the way I want it.  I want to enjoy my meals the way I like them.  I want to–

The problem with that is that if you do that, you’re not only going to end up divorced, you’re going to end up alone.

My first year of marriage, I often felt as though the inner child were throwing a massive tantrum.  “But I wanted that food/amusement/time.”  But I had had early training.  “Give him the best part.”  And the training helped.  I did.

After a while, I found that he did too.  I.e. he was doing things/not doing things because he knew my tastes and was seeking to accommodate them.

I know this sounds horrible.  “But then neither of you were doing what he/she likes.”  Ah.  but it doesn’t work that way.  The way it works is more that you find things you both like to do, or you learn to take pleasure in what the other likes.

I’m fairly sure 90% of our museum thing is me (I think.)  Watching silly movies is Dan (and yea I do it too, when I’m not infernally busy.)  As is finding goofy restaurants and having long talky meals.  Or finding cool new music.  I’d never listen to any music without Dan.

Eventually, by both of us trying to cater to the other, we’ve forged several things we like doing together, as well as giving each other enough time alone to pursue what each needs to pursue.

And we’re still married.

But this is not for spouses only.  Robert, for instance, has this thing with elephants.  When he was really working very hard in undergrad, I started forcing sudden holidays to “go look at elephants” because it always cheered him up.

Would I have preferred the Natural History Museum?  Sure I would.  That’s my thing.  But elephants are HIS thing, and I learned to enjoy it, just because it made him so happy.  And we developed other, joint, favorites.  Secretary birds, for instance.  Or the red pandas.  And just walking in the zoo in the rain.

Then there’s my friends.  Sometimes what they like is goofy, but I’m so cheered by seeing them enjoying themselves that I’m willing to cooperate.

The thing is, if you insist on keeping the better portion/bigger portion/the “right” thing in any relationship, it won’t last long.  You’ll end up in a desert of your own making.

So mom was right.  Give him the best portion.  She was wrong too.  Give her the better portion too.

And you’ll find it comes back to you a hundred fold.

 

 

205 responses to “Give Away the Bigger Portion

  1. I tell women to “take an interest in their husband’s life.” Funny– it seems to be a new concept… Also, you can’t orchestrate what you’re husband likes to do. 🙂 It’s that idea that you get a basic man model and then mold him into what you want. lol It doesn’t work like that —

    • The pernicious idea so many girls have that a husband is a great little fixer upper that they can make better is responsible for great unhappiness, much unfaithfulness, and a fair number of divorces.
      Men tend to marry women for what they are, while women pick a husband for what they think they can turn him into. And as Cyn says, does not work and often ends badly.

      • I am not so sure but that men will marry women for what they think they are.

        Another issue is not realizing that people change over time. I have yet to meet a young couple who think, ‘you know one of us could contract an illness or suffer a accident that will change the course of our lives forever.’ But should that happen, if you go into a marriage set on the other’s best it will be far easier to forge that new course together.

        • I always consider how to adapt our house for mobility issues that neither of us have. Yet.

          • I just framed a 36″ door from the master bedroom to outside. Becuas there’s no way EMTs could get a gurney through the tiny hallway without standing it on end and walking it like a ladder…

            • When my dad died, they had to carry him out of the hallway in their arms. My mom was surprised—she’d removed a bookshelf from the hall in order to allow EMTs access, but she’d never measured how wide it was.

              On that note, coroners have unmarked vans. It tends to not scare the neighbors that way.

          • My aunt and cousin were recently selling her and my uncle’s townhouse to buy a single-floor house because my uncle had suffered a stroke. With its usual suddenness.

            • My house is a single floor but has one of those annoying step-up entries that was common in this area in the late 70s. It’s theoretically to keep water out of the house, but we specifically bought in an area without localized flooding, and it’s raised up from the street level anyway.

              Eventually, I want to both level that and move the door out about six feet—we have an overly-deep narrow “porch” (not a porch) that came from the builders adapting the house design on the cheap. That way, we get an improved entryway and a better flow in the other part of the house.

              • Ours is similar, with three steps up onto covered entryway/porches. Fortunately there’s plenty of room for a wheelchair ramp at the front, alongside the porch.

                When I get a little further along in the project I;m going to start watching for one of those nice aluminum ones that show up on Craigslist every now and then. Even though neither of us are in a chair yet (and hopefully never) it would make it easy to roll groceries in with one of those collapsible carts. Our local water is terrible, so we use a lot of bottled water, and that stuff is heavy…

        • It happens to both sexes, marrying the person and only seeing what they *think* that person is. I know. I’ve seen it all too often around here.

          Couples can and do get past that. Everyone has this issue, at first, you don’t have enough information to go on. The early stages of the relationship are usually awesome (and I know some serial daters that never get past the first fight, because butterflies or something equally silly). Things get stressful. And fights, reconciliation, and so on.

          Sarah is absolutely correct about the giving. It’s the personal responsibility thing again: you cannot change other people, you can only change yourself. To love it to be vulnerable, by it’s very definition. The not-seeing another person is just another aspect of defense of self, I think. Not intentional, at least not initially, but that’s how it seems to work out. “Love it blind” can have many meanings. *chuckle*

        • I was, ah, lucky that way, what with Peter having the heart attack after we were affianced, but before we wed. I knew exactly what an old soldier I was getting. (Okay, I didn’t yet realize shrapnel comes back out, back then, but… eh. Live and learn.)

          When we bought this place, we went with wide doorways and laminate flooring before we moved in, sufficient unto accomodating the wheelchair I’m putting off as long as possible. Right now we’re upgrading the drainage to take storm runoff away from the foundation, but the next major internal project may be upgrading one bathroom to a walk-in shower stall with a bench. Better to plan these upgrades and get them in as and when we have enough in savings, than to need the help for a non-ergonomic house when you don’t have the savings.

          • With the price of scrap metal, consider it a treasure hunt.

          • > runoff

            Yeah, WTF? The developers sank all the crawlspaces in my neighborhood a few inches below grade, then shaped the lots to run water under the houses. It’s really noticeable when you know what to look for.

            I discovered the crawlspace swimming pool while replacing a section of rotted floor. Well, at least I knew what caused the damage to start with…

            It’s that kind of thing that’s stretched a three-month remodel job to years, now.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Worse, there was a lecture (years back) about why men don’t want to “commit” to a relationship (even prior to marriage).

        The woman actually talked about how some women were driving “their” men away by seeing them as “great little fixer uppers”.

        The worse part was (according to the woman) was how “sneaky” the women were attempting this.

        The women thought they were being subtle in their attempts to “change their man” but too often “their” man knew exactly what they were doing and when “called on it” the women would lie about it often using the “don’t you love me” attack on the men. 😦

      • The odd thing on the unfaithfulness is men are often unfaithful to stay married, as a relief from the nagging or lack of sex. Look at how many working girls on Craigslist advertise the “full girlfriend experience”.

        It is common enough I’ve heard one councilor state it as “Men are unfaithful to stay married; women are unfaithful to escape marriage.”

        • I need to know, how does this work? How does it “save” the marriage rather than ending it?

          • I think the theory is, given I heard this specifically in the presentation on sex starved marriages, is the man is getting the romantic/sexual attention he needs. If that is the primary reason he is dissatisfied with the marriage it would seem that would keep him from paying the higher price of divorce to meet it.

            • Lovers for fun, and marriage for duty is an old idea, but it someone thinks catting around is going to save a marriage, what they end up with won’t be much of a marriage. I swore a vow to forsake all others, and meant it, just as I meant it when I swore for better or worse. And my wife did, too.

              • Not everyone swears to “forsake all others” in their marriage vows anymore. And unfortunately, the number of people who are people of their word and don’t forsake their vows, sworn oaths, or even what they say have gotten scarcer than hen’s teeth.

                I have heard, read, and even seen plenty of cases that HerbN describes. Comes down to one of the partners not meeting the needs or expectations of the other; for whatever reason. Very rarely will the two sit down, discuss those needs and expectations, much less arrive at a mutual understanding, solution or compromise. What’s really sad is that for many people, it’s easier to just get a divorce than it is to do that.

                Of course I have no idea what many of Hollywood relationship pre-nuptials stipulate. For all I know they contain clauses that let either party seek outside the relationship if they don’t get it together nightly.

                • Something about hypocrisy and virtue and vice fits here. I suspect for most of history marriage vows were honored in the breach a significant portion of the time but it was thought to be better to not notice and I’m not sure they were wrong.

                  I don’t judge people like that too much a lot of the time…people often are just muddling through the best they can.

            • Isaac Asimov flipped that once. Wrote a story who had a wife Trump would’ve killed for. Gorgeous, sexy, willing, able, every guys fantasy. He had a mistress to have somebody he could *talk* to…

              • It’s why geishas had to have such a strong education.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  IIRC the ancient Greek version of the geisha were also able to discuss “intelligent” matters that an educated Greek man wouldn’t think of discussing with his wife (who apparently existed to provide heirs).

                • From what I read, and have heard (from my father, who would take his guests to such venues) bar girls and hostesses, in Japan, and at least the places he would go to, were generally intelligent as well as attractive women. A fair number were in college, and this side job helped them pay for educational expenses or helped support family. They were there to chat up the men, provide either ego-stoking or intelligent conversation, and well, hostess. Sex was not part of the arrangement; though it’s entirely up to the girl if she wanted to make arrangements (sugar daddyhood) outside of the establishment.

                  Interestingly enough, my father said that some of the really successful girls weren’t ‘beautiful’ in any conventional sense. They certainly were pretty – makeup and flattering clothing – but they had very sociable personalities and were clearly smart. Dad described a diplomat (from another Asian country, I forget where) who would regularly engage a particular girl for the simple fact he wanted someone to argue and discuss politics with – the girl was a law student, I think. His wife, apparently, found such things mind-numbingly boring, and didn’t mind that he would go off to ‘let off steam’ at the bar (there were times he would apparently get shooed out to do just that!) At no point ever did the diplomat in question behave badly to the girl and the only time he waited for her outside was because it was raining hard and he hailed a taxi for her, that he paid for, to take the girl to her home. Then he got into his own taxi and went back home to his wife.

                  I always thought of such set ups as being a rather neat arrangement for the woman – you are paid for the pleasure of your company and time, brain and personality, not sex. Dad always described the girls with respect, and noted that it was a point of pride amongst the ladies that they didn’t have to sleep with their customers, and they took pride in their abilities to keep a man engaged without it ever going to a hotel room.

                  From what I understand, formal escort services are the same thing, really. You’re paid to be a lovely, elegant and intelligent companion; and that one is no barrier to men.

                  I’m sure that everything I wrote above would be highly offensive and enraging to the feminists of today. After all, it requires that they be, at the very least, pleasant, in appearance and personality to the opposite sex, and to take care with one’s appearance and conduct.

                  • I always thought of such set ups as being a rather neat arrangement for the woman – you are paid for the pleasure of your company and time, brain and personality, not sex.

                    See above about “full girlfriend experience” in escort ads. I think some are realizing there is more money in being a full, social person with a pretty face than just being a pretty face in a bed.

                    • As Dr. Franklin said, “in the dark all Cats are grey.”

                    • Terry Sanders

                      Remember that sequencemin *The Mechanic,* with Charles Bronson visiting his girl? She complains about his disappearances, etc. “I even wrote you a letter. Didn’t know where to send it.”

                      Next morning he gets up, dresses–and pays her. Adds a bonus.

                      “Do the letter again next time. I liked the letter.”

                      Creepiest thing I ever watched…

          • I can only speculate, but it seems likely that in having such an affair the husband is getting elsewhere that which his wife is disinclined to provide — as opposed to dissolving the relationship over a simple (and easily remedied) shortfall.

            The premise is, I presume, that men are more apt to find sexual satisfaction absent emotional connection, while a woman who seeks an emotional connection not available within the marriage has already, for all practical purpose, left the relationship except for the purely financial (and social) benefits offered.

            Or it might be as simple as men are swine and women are bitches, a view which is generally uncomplimentary to all.

            • There is a desperately cynical view of this – and note that mostly it isn’t one I take as an operating system for a marriage or any kind of rewarding long-time relationship – which posits that men fake intimacy to get sex, and women put up with sex to get intimacy.

              • …which posits that men fake intimacy to get sex, and women put up with sex to get intimacy.

                So one gets superficial experience and the other gets only a facsimile, likely leaving both dissatisfied in the end.

                That is a sad way to live.

                • Ummm, yeah. Pretty much. Sad, but I can’t help thinking that this is what a lot of so-called relationships have been based on, over the last couple of decades.

              • I’ve seen this happen, SO MANY TIMES it’s not even funny – or one of the people involved weaponizes either sex or intimacy or both, to get control. Both Rhys and I have seen that, and from both male and female abusers. There are often other factors that make the relationship toxic for both people involved. “Break up” is not a piece of advice we often give, but when we do give it, and it’s actually followed? We see those people get into different relationships where they are so much happier with their new partner.

                Most of the people we’ve advised away from toxic relationship have been men – the women, they tend to ignore that advice, and a number of them have ended up in emergency rooms, lucky to be alive – and only then do they start thinking -MAYBE- ‘I probably should get out of this.’ And because all of these women tend to be net-friends, they’re not the sort we can physically give shelter to.

                Folks out there who think women cannot be abusive to perfectly decent men, and that women will listen to friends warning them about abusive relationships? are soooooooo wrong.

                • Reminds me of a story one of my First Sergeants told me. He was going to send this one young airman on a 90 day TDY. Kid freaked out, crying and begging him not to send him. That particular Temporary Duty assignment was actually a pretty choice one; so he dug deeper. Turns out the guy’s wife and mother-in-law were both mentally and physically abusing him.

                • Thank you for posting this. Both men and women can and do manipulate and abuse.

                • Folks out there who think women cannot be abusive to perfectly decent men, and that women will listen to friends warning them about abusive relationships?

                  Perverse note:
                  the women that do? Are TOTALLY SCREWED.

                  If you leave the house on anything besides a stretcher, unless the other guy leaves in cuffs, you WILL NOT get custody of your kids. You willnot get any sort of recognition of the abuse. Even if you went to the doctor for it– anything less than “this or dead” and you’re F***ed.

                  My sister listened.

                  To her HUSBAND’S friends.

                  Who told her to GTFO.

                  It would have been better if she’d grabbed the kid and fled to another state, rather than treat him as abusive to her but not life-threatening and at the time had never been violent to the boy, although he claimed it wasn’t his son because of birth defects that aren’t even genetic.

            • One of my main sources for the saying to give some context:

            • which his wife is disinclined to provide

              “Unable to provide” is also an option here.

          • They get what they want, so they don’t have to stop being married.

            (In some cases, what they want is to keep the girlfriends they had before being married; know one guy who managed to keep the girlfriends a secret for 15 years because he was a trucker whose habits didn’t change from before they were dating up through when she finally figured out what some of the “travel expenses” were– he ‘visited’ one girlfriend the weekend after their honeymoon. The divorce was still, of course, “her fault.”)

        • Men are unfaithful to stay married? I can’t wrap my head about that.

      • There’s a country song about that…..

    • Larry Patterson

      A book on marriage has this:
      “But I can change him.” So who are you in love with? Him or what you intend to change him into?

      • I knew a woman who tried to change her husband by sacrificing herself for him. The problem came when she *expected* him to do the same for her in return. It didn’t work. On the one hand, he was rather clueless and didn’t even notice what it was costing her. On the other, he resisted being manipulated, even by such subtle means as this.

    • The flip side of taking an interest in your spouse’s life is understanding that your partner will have an interest in things that you won’t find utterly fascinating – or even boring – but that you should encourage them to enjoy it even if you don’t. And vice versa. And it shouldn’t be taken as a ‘personal insult’ that he or she isn’t interested.

      One of the things my hubby is really into are drones. It’s a side-sprout of an interest in robotics. I’m only vaguely interested in the things, mostly because I see them as fragile, expensive toys, and I have enough expensive (either financially or timewise) hobbies of my own that I am working hard at not getting into more ‘ooh, that’s fun’ things. But it’s one of the things I go into ‘enabler’ mode for, because he really has fun with the things (he has a little two-wheeled thing that he chased the kids around with, to much laughing from all involved). And I take pleasure in watching him have fun.

      • One of the things that vanished with “men’s stuff” and “women’s stuff” was the idea that each would have his or her own hobbies and friends, which should be provided time. But even if you redefine it as “Bob’s stuff” and “Mary’s stuff,” people benefit from doing things as individuals as well as doing them as couples.

        • I think one of the things that vanished along with it is the trust that goes along with that separate friendships/hobbies/etc. Yet, a few years back I was seeing a rise of advice (parenting sites, girl magazines, women’s magazines) that women should make ‘me time’ for mental health, but nothing like that, ever, for the guy.

          • Of course not, because men are real people with real desires and needs…they are just beasts who exist to please women.

            Most feminist writers make the worst stereotype bitch queen FemDom look like a model of love and affection who champions men to the utmost.

          • This is actually something I impressed on my wife when we were first married – I wanted her to keep “her” friends and “her” hobbies. While we would do a lot together – it would also be normal to do stuff apart and then bring it back to the other person. She was leaning toward merging like the borg and doing EVERYTHING together – which I think burns out a lot of couples.

            -John

      • Exactly… My late-hubby was really into amateur radio… yes, an expensive hobby. But other women who had husbands into the hobby would get really upset about how much time and money the guys were putting into it. My thought was… most of the hobby was done at home. The guys weren’t drinking and carousing .. so it was a win. 🙂

        • That last sentence is one I’ve heard about a lot of thing. Guess some wives don’t get power tools, gaming books, ham radios, and so on mean there is no “hookers and blow” budget.

          • lol yep… not that I worried about it… Trust again.

            • Some years ago, my SO bought me a pallet of bricks. OK, I NEEDED the bricks for a back-yard project. The dear man knew what I wanted, and bought them for me.
              I also have/had a father who bought me an industrial-grade toolbox. Chocolate is nice — but somewhat overrated.

          • Starting point: our big budget problem is that I, Mrs. Budget Person, have a hell of a time saying “No, I adore, you can’t have the thing I think you might like.”

            That said, “at least it’s not objectively immoral” doesn’t make it all OK. You know this, I know this, but it has to be pointed out because Internet: hobbies CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO TAKE OVER PRIMARY RESOURCES. I’ve seen guys whose wife flipped out of his gaming hobby taking away from her and her shoe budget, I’ve seen guys flip out over their wives “fussing” about paying for the house when there are games to buy.

            Short version, if you foist the budget on to the other guy, they’re in charge of it. Suck it up unless you’re willing to actually do the paper work.

            • Rhys and I split who handles what budget. He handles the bills (utilities, rent, car requirements) and I handle things that keep the house running smoothly (food, cleaning, household supplies, keeping track of growing kids’ clothes, their allowance, and school requirements) and keep each other informed of any big expenses that come up. Some times, Rhys will ask me to adjust the budget for absolute minimal food grocery (tighten the belt time!) and that’s when my pantry really helps.

              Whatever is left over is what we spend on pleasures. Some months, there’s nothing spare. Some months, there is spare, but nothing of interest, so it gets shoved into a little ‘pocket’ that is essentially a slush fund.

              I look at the people who lose everything because they prioritized rewarding themselves with pleasures and ‘me spending’ over bills, food and rent and think “You bloody idiots.”

              We try to at least have twenty dollars each to spend on a small pleasure (our own version of allowance, I suppose) because even that itty bitty little pleasure spend gives us the sense that we got rewarded for the work done over the last fortnight. Some days that bit of pleasure spend money gets dipped into for necessities, but those times mean that we buy ourselves an edible treat instead, or rent a movie (5 AUD or less.) Rhys has his own and I have my own and we don’t mess with each other’s fun budget. Yes, there’s an element of trust there – we trust each other to be functional, responsible adults and NOT short the necessities because those have priority over everything else.

              Yeah, I might have encouraged my hubby to go and try order that cool expensive drone, but he was going to essentially deprive himself of any other pleasure spending for a while, and a chunk of the convo was ‘can your fun stuff budget manage that?’ Talking out the pros and cons really is more for the benefit of the person who is thinking of doing that spend.

        • Exactly! And the last time he considered buying a drone it was a couple of thousand dollars, and we sat there putting out scenarios and ‘but OTOH there is that rifle you’ve been eyeballing…’ for the next few evenings. He eventually decided against it because he had a premonition he was going to need the cash. Still, it was fun discussing pros and cons.

          And yes he did need the money later for car repairs and computer repairs. The drone was seriously cool though.

  2. A speaker at a marriage seminar once said, “Any marriage based on 50/50 is halfway to failure. A working marriage takes 100% commitment from both of you.” That’s been a truism I’ve successfully adhered to for nearly 35 years of marriage.

    And it works in friendships, too. I have few real friends (large tribe, yes!) but those are friends I stick with thick and thin. And if I hear someone diss them, I speak up and defend them behind their backs. I would hope they’d do the same; but we’re talking about me. This is my choice.

    To quote that expert at human relations, Lazarus Long: For a happy marriage, budget the luxuries first! Decent relationships are a luxury worth working at.

    • One day my wife and I were at a grocery store together, laughing and having a good time working through our list, and we encountered an older lady needing something from the highest shelf. After I got it for her, her husband came back from fetching something else and they both said how happy they were to see such a content young (In their eyes) couple as we were. They then said they just celebrated their 60th anniversary and said the secret to a happy marriage was exactly what that speaker said: go in with the mindset to give 100% rather than taking 50 and giving 50, and in the end you’re left with 100% effort and an extra 100% of joy.

  3. Reblogged this on Cyn Bagley's Shadowland and commented:
    Some really good relationship thoughts from Sarah Hoyt.

  4. Some things that works on. Others it does not.

  5. I understand what you’re saying. Every successful marriage and relationship I know of requires a give and take; with a bit more emphasis on the giving. After all, it’s an investment in the relationship. I still have problems with graciously accepting a gift, even from my sweetheart; but I have gotten wee bit better over the years.

    Unfortunately, some might misinterpret it as, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” A Marxian connotation I don’t think is quite what you had in mind.

    • But you see, close interpersonal relationships are the only kind where communism actually has a prayer of working. When you truly care about the happiness and welfare of all the members of the group you will contribute to the best of your ability, not coast along just getting by. And the needs of your fellow group members is as if not more important than your own.
      And it all falls apart the minute even a few of its members feel that others are taking advantage of them.

      • I’ve read commentary that I’m afraid I can’t cite that part of the reason that communism and other forms of collectivism are so perniciously successful at pulling in the gullible is that they sort of hijack the mental imagery of the family in their sales pitch. Swapping the state for one’s family is what they’re aiming for. Orwell called the omnipresent head of IngSoc “Big Brother” for a reason.

      • “But you see, close interpersonal relationships are the only kind where communism actually has a prayer of working.”

        What our present-day ‘progressives’ seem to want to do is to make the country, or the world, work according to the principles of an extended family, while *within* a family, running things in a bureaucratic manner. Roughly, Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaft reversed.

        • Thus: It Takes A Village

          The progressives want to be in charge of this great family they are creating (because they know best) and it will be one where Everything Is Awesome.

      • Sorry, but if that’s not reciprocal, it ain’t going to work. More like being brainwashed into being a slave.

      • Unless, of course, the taking advantage of member of the group is a small child. Those little beggars get away with it because, well, they haven’t got much other option to survive, have they? They don’t bring any ability to the table, because they haven’t yet developed any, but we keep them and care for them and eventually they learn useful skills and can contribute to the family.

    • No. It’s from you, as much as you can give.

    • There is nothing wrong with “from each according to his ability, to each, according to his needs” if it’s individuals deciding the needs and abilities. I know my abilities, and I know my wife’s and my children’s needs. Conversely, they know my needs and their abilities. When we work to together to fulfill our needs according to our abilities, we improve each other.

      And we do this, in part, by “giving away the bigger portion” so that those we love are a little happier.

      The problem with Marxists, though, is that they believe that capitalists horde everything they can, and refuse to give things out; that this is the source of all human misery; and that this can only be fixed when someone takes from the evil capitalist horde and gives to the masses. Never mind that we have no objective criterion for choosing the person who will justly perform this wealth transfer; never mind that this benevolent all-powerful person will *never* know what a capitalist is truly capable of, or what the poor masses really need; never mind that this “benevolent” person will kill capitalist and mass alike, for doubting in his abilities; never mind that the “benevolent” person will almost inevitably skim off the top of the taking from the rich, because he’s doing the People’s Work, and deserves a reward for the service he does.

      The irony of Marx’s Communist Manifesto is that Capitalism, with its hordes of masses working out for themselves the complex calculus of the needs and wants of themselves and others, have done *far* more to obtain the goals of Communism than *any* communist, or even merely socialist society *ever* has.

      So I don’t mind it if someone catches a glimpse of “from each, to each” in this post, so long as we keep the bureaucrats from the maxim. With 10-foot poles. Tar and feathers. Lamp-posts and ropes. Whatever it takes to keep the bureaucrats away from this, it doesn’t matter: we have more than enough data points to know that bureaucrats can’t be trusted with this much responsibility.

      • Of course all preppers are therefore evil hoarders; and all right thinking socialist grasshoppers have a moral duty to take the preppers well-earned wealth that they sacrificed to save for just such periods of want. At least the ones with a residue of morality give them a voucher as an IOU to be paid back later. Most probably never even give that.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          Yes, there is a curious strain of “prepared for disaster = bad” in left-wing thought.

          • It stems from their proclivity toward Magical Thinking, which holds that to think a thing is to cause it. We see it even more dramatically in their philosophy that to prepare for war is to invite it, as if a country was ever invaded for being too strong.

          • It’s because they think ALL aspects of life are fixed-pie, zero-sum games; therefore the prepper who is “hoarding” food and other supplies is taking them away from someone else. They have never realized how vast the sum of human wealth really is, and how the two years’ supply of canned food in Mike’s basement in no way impairs Joe’s and Susan’s and Fred’s and George’s and Mary’s abilities to accumulate their own two years’ supply of canned food, should they choose to do so.

            If your only exposure to food supplies is the grocery stores in big cities, where they keep just enough inventory for what they need and order more on a just-in-time basis when they run low, then it’s understandable that you might think that: Mike buying 24 cans of corn means that there’s none on the shelves for Joe and Susan (etc.) to buy — today, at least. The store’s next order of canned food won’t come in for a week, so if you extrapolate that to *all* food, you could think that Mike could conceivably make Joe and Susan starve by “hoarding” all the available food. But although it’s understandable, it’s still entirely incorrect, because the reality is that there’s so MUCH food available (thanks in large part to the unsung efforts of heroes like Norman Borlaug) that nobody is going to run out because Mike has two years’ worth of food.

            So the grasshoppers justify to themselves that their theft is necessary because they’d starve otherwise, and thus it’s a form of self-defense. But since there is no possibility that they would actually starve, their theft is just plain old unjustifiable theft.

            • Except, even then, their thoughts are foolish. NONE of them actually prepare for disaster, and then starve.

              I don’t disaster prep, but everyone who ever visits my house takes a look at the shelf of various canned goods, dry goods and cereal, the corpse-holding-capable-sized freezer full of frozen meat, vegetables and pre-prepped ‘Mom is sick, heat something from the freezer’ meals and say “Wow, you’re prepared for the zombie apocalypse!”

              I’m like, “No, that’s ingredients to help me make weekly meals for maybe two months of food in case car registration, utilities bills, HDDs die and kids have school expenses bills decide to suddenly show up and eat grocery money allocation, and all I can buy are the kids’ lunchbox makings, eggs and milk.”

              These are just average folks, working tradies. I’ve seen the lightbulb go on. And most of my friends RL aren’t leftists by any stretch of imagination.

              It’s not ‘years worth of food’ but it does scrape us through those lean times when ‘every single bit of shrapnel change is accounted for” in a way that doesn’t deprive anyone of a healthy meal three times a day.

              It’s that attitude that actually pulled us through when a natural disaster DID strike back in 2009, flooding the whole lower half of the house. That, and my going “Juuuuust incase this gets worse, let’s start moving stuff upstairs, starting with dishes, utensils, and the kids’ food.”

              • I totally get this: “I’m not a prepper, just a guy who lived through a CT winter when it seemed every Thursday for a six weeks in January and February there was a snow storm that shut things down for three days.”

              • Almost physically smacked someone a couple weeks ago. Was complaining about lack of space in my fridge freezer after I had done a bunch of cooking and shopping. “Oh, you have too much meat already”. Well, perhaps according to some people. The thing is though I tend to stock up on cheap cuts and sales so that when the prices are higher I am not rushing out and spending $$$$ for food for myself and the Squire. I like having adequate resources to prepare good meals on a small budget. So that means I tend to have a lot of food and ingredients on hand. Which reminds me. I REALLY need that chest freezer and have to stock up on other things like flour and rice. 🙂

                *starts checking the Costco flyers…..*

                • Pork shoulder from Costco, cooked down in the slow cooker, portioned off and vacuum-sealed, gives us three MONTHS of carnitas options. Same sort of thing with ground beef. Chest freezers are awesome.

                  • How do y’all prevent freezerburn?

                    • I sprung for a Foodsaver vacuum sealer. I also cut big 2 pound blocks of cheese in half and seal those as well. One of my better investment choices for the kitchen and food storage.

                    • so the answer from both of y’all is the same: vac seal

                    • Third, yeah, kinda– didn’t involve water or a machine, but lots of pushing all the air possible out

                    • The vacuum-sealing helps immensely (a lot of freezer burn is from ice evaporating through sublimation), and if you have your freezer full, the stability of the temperature helps, too.

                    • That’s what the vacuum sealer does. In the absence of one, you can fill a basin with water, portion your meat into freezer bags, lower the bag into the water (with the top out, of course), and close them that way.

                    • I’ve only very rarely had that problem– usually when I chucked the “bulk package” stuff straight into the freezer, then left it a few months.

                      Zipplock, push out as much air as possible, freeze, awesome?

                  • Well, it’s a bit awkward, fishing around in the depths for stuff. I have a standing freezer, and a vacuum sealer appliance – and it is wonderful, having a store of various meats and things, stored out in the garage. Whatever I want to do for dinner – go out into the garage and fish it out of the deep-freeze.
                    We do a once-a-month trip up to a wonderful meat market in New Braunfels/ (Granzins, behind the BlueBonnet Ford at the IH35 Access Road and Old McQueeny Road) and drop … well, it varies. Usually between us, about $75 a month. Chicken, pork, hamburg, steaks, their made-in-house sausages … I have such a backlog of assorted meats now, I think that I could go for a year or so, on what I have in the freezer before we were totally tapped out of animal protein.

                • I actually used “I want a chest freezer big enough to hold a corpse” as a description to the folks at the shop. “So that if he gets to hunt feral livestock, we have room for meat.”

                  I actually explained why I used that descriptor: anybody can easily envision if an average adult human can fit in there or how big it’d have to be. It’s easier to imagine than a numerical volume. Most city folks like myself also can’t visualise a quarter of beef’s worth of meat and ‘a roast suckling pig should fit in there’ isn’t easy to picture. So, fits a dead body’ works.

                  • Shadow, you just blackened Australia’s name in my mind…..

                    You HAVE chest freezers you CAN’T put a body in?

                    • I have seen chest freezers that were standard cross-section but shortened height … as opposed to full sized freezers laid on their back.

                      I don’t much see the point in them, but I have reluctantly concluded that my not seeing the point of something has little to do with it being in this world.

                    • Lol! They do! Interestingly whenever I used to go to browse/ windowshop/ gaze with longing at the whitegoods section they had either small ones (which suit single or two person households), medium (3 to 4 modest eaters) or the ones that could fit 3 corpses’ worth of frozen food. While the giant ones would have been very nice they were very expensive. The ones in the size I wanted were usually already bought! Eventually I got one and to my delight it cost me only 700-800 AUD.

                      Going into the realms of fantasy, I want one you can walk into, with shelving for pre-prepped desserts and meals, frozen veg sections, and an area for meat by the carcass. Kind of a cross between the frozen food aisle at the supermarket and a butcher’s freeze room.

                    • That’s one that you build. It’s best if you do a two-tier system, with a refrigerator outer portion housing a freezer inner portion. You’d have to check with someone to find out what kind of cooling units, but if you build them with 12″ (30cm) thick walls, the electric bill for them isn’t really that bad, if you don’t open the door too often.

                      🙂

                    • Yeah, something like that. I can marinate meat for DAYS.

                      Heck, I miss having a prep fridge. We had one in the old house, because it was a bigger place. That fridge was specifically for prep of meat, freezing desserts, and keeping desserts like jellies and cakes cool.

                    • Oh, we have freezers in this country that are too small to put a body in, but people normally only buy those for their wet bar.

                • Are you inside of 150-ish miles of a military base?

                  Check Cragslist, they’ll have almost new chest freezers for like 100 bucks.

                  I do the “Hey, it’s spring, chicken is 75c a lb” thing too. 😀

              • I just discovered, today, that the local costco sells FIFTEEN DOZEN EGGS for less than 75c/dozen.

                They’re my favorite protein stretcher– you put in, oh, the really good stewed beef, and then scramble some eggs to “balance” the carbs, veggies and protein in the dish, and they take on the flavor of what they touch.

                Even with all the kids with me, I got some funny looks when we were shopping and I grabbed that!

                • To be fair, I looked at it and went “holy cow, fifteen dozen?”

                  But wait… The Baron will eat two at breakfast, the rest of the non-nursing kids will eat an average of 1.3ish, that’s six right there. So one week of actually COOKING BREAKFAST can eat up four dozen. One dinner of fried rice is another dozen. (Twice a week, roughly, so six.) If I make egg pie that will be 18-24, so fifteen dozen can be just two week’s worth, very easily, WITHOUT anything like “I need to use up this ham, breakfast for dinner time!”

                • AM SO JEALOUS. I’ve been to the local Costco (we make the trip once a month to stock up on some things) and they have the cheapest eggs at 7 AUD for 30.

                  They are my favorite easy protein. Boiled, scrambled, omeleted, or now battered, I love ’em.

                  BTW am trying out the freezing eggs method from Shokugeki No Soma. Just a dozen. I will try making egg tempura donburi this weekend.

            • …the reality is that there’s so MUCH food available…

              I wonder how many people could ACTUALLY be fed by today’s farming techniques, if all the reasonably arable land were cultivated?

              • more than we need. much, much more.

              • Keep in mind that the large majority of 20th/21st century famines have almost all been caused by or continued by government or political control/abuse.

              • Part of the problem is figuring out what you are farming– some countries use land we’d use for cattle to raise plants; we’ve got tons of land locked out of animal use (and objectively suffering from it), which would add a bunch of food sources.

                Switching around motivations as far as ethanol and even alcohol production would change a lot, too.

                That’s BEFORE considerations like water use!

                Basically, “a metric crud-ton.” Many many lots. Much.

                • Realized I assumed some knowledge… in the US, we use a lot of sub-par land that technically COULD be used for plants to raise animals. That’s because we’re not starving to death, and you live BETTER with animal proteins, so working yourself to death to get that extra bit from bad land is a bad idea.

                  I lost relatives to “we really need to farm this land, even though it’s at a 45* angle” type practices. It’s much better to use that for grazing.

            • They have never realized how vast the sum of human wealth really is, and how the two years’ supply of canned food in Mike’s basement in no way impairs Joe’s and Susan’s and Fred’s and George’s and Mary’s abilities to accumulate their own two years’ supply of canned food, should they choose to do so.

              It might even make it easier for the others to buy it, since Mike’s purchase means that the stuff is gone from the shelves faster, so Will the shopkeeper can afford to order more, and in larger batches, which makes it more likely that Joe, Sue, Fred, George and Mary can afford to build up their own stores.

              It’s like the broken window, without anything being destroyed.

          • “Once We are in charge, everthing will be perfect. Therefore your preparations oppose our Narrative and you must be opposed.”

      • Your opening brought to mind an anecdote about House Majority Leader Dick Armey, being confronted by a child care advocate proclaiming, “We know and love your children!” “O.K.,” he said, “What are their names?”

      • Commonly (and flippantly) summed up as “I have no abilities. But I have lots of needs.” For big screen tv’s, new cars, and so on…

  6. Read “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry, if it has never come your way before.

  7. My wife and I are blessed that we already shared a lot of the same interests when we first started dating, and since getting married we’ve only added onto that. There are times, though, where we each move to accommodate the other in certain situations, and that’s just part of it. I’ve given up things I like to do in order to spend more time with her, and I know she’s done the same with me.

    I will say that in regards to mealtime portions, it does make sense for the grown male to be eating the larger portion, especially if his work is physically demanding. Men tend to burn more calories than women, and need to eat more because of it. At the same time, I know where your Dad is coming from, Sarah. I’m the same way, and if my wife cuts back with her eating for whatever reason then I feel inclined to do the same, even if it’s not healthy to do so.

  8. Self-sacrifice is one of the primary hallmarks of true love.

    • Free Range Oyster

      “The Third Principle of Sentient Life is the capacity for self-sacrifice: the conscious ability to override evolution and self-preservation for a cause, a friend, a loved one.” -Draal

  9. Very good advice. Something I think everyone can use.

  10. I think the sad thing is so many young people never get the advice your mother and father both gave. Instead they get at best the 50/50 bs or the “equal partners” speech. Often they get no instruction or modeling at all except TV relationships which yeah…

    If you had asked me before I got very active in the scene if D/s and S&M would have age skews and what they would be I would have figured the latter was more young kids being adventuresome and the former older couples trying to re spark passion.. It is actually quite the opposite. Older couples do the later to res-park passion which does make some sense.

    What is interesting, and relevant here, is how many young people are exploring D/s to find a way to organize their relationships. Recent surveys showing millennials actually prefer traditional gender roles more than GenXers or Boomers fits in.

    Now, successful couple with openly chosen rules/power exchanges/authority transfers/wtf they are going to call it next week to seem more enlightened and “twue” than the next guy still have that give and take. Like any other couple they have to negotiate it over time.

    What they have, and what your parents had and you and Dan had was a starting point. You had a framework of “this is how marriage is supposed to go” to counter balance you own internal drive to have it all, which is a very human drive. I had some from my parents but my first wife had none. Our marriage finally died when after surrendering and surrendering a drew a line in the sand and said, in effect, “you will give this much to me.” She had no framework to process that and see it as anything other than me being unreasonably greedy.

    So, teach your children “give the bigger portion” to your partner or “give this to the man, but give this to the woman” or anything that teaches them that something belongs to their partner. They might not follow it exactly but that isn’t the key. They key is to teach them early that others have the right to something of them in a relationship because that is the key insight.

    • I don’t see anything wrong with remembering that the two people in a relationship are “equal partners”. There are too many relationships where one person expects to dominate over the other.

      Indeed, I’ve been taught this as far as I can remember. But then, I also remember being taught early on that relationships are not “50/50” propositions, but really “100/100” ones. Both notions have served me and my wife well.

      • Too often “equal partners” devolves into bean counting or analysis paralysis. I have yet to meet the couple where someone didn’t take the lead although most couples who leads seems to be very fluid by topic and time. Yet, too often equal partners seems to result in an unwillingness to step forward and lead and accept the leadership of the other at the same time.

        Domineering behavior is not only alternative to “equal partners” . I know of two vastly different people who have adopted the label “Captain/First Mate” for their preferred relationship arrangement and they do not know each other or of each other (as I asked the second one I heard the idea from directly if she knew the first). So called “50s housewife” roles are another and if you think the 50s housewife doesn’t rule the roost in some areas you are mistaken.

        There is a world of options out there but the whole “equal partners who make every choice together in complete agreement” is not a framework you can use to guide you to anything but mush.

        • Agreed. The “partners” bit is the important part of that phrase. Different folks will have strengths in different areas- it doesn’t make one the boss of the other, it just makes sense to take advantage of those strengths for the benefit of *both.* And quite often, the one does it out of love for the other, bot because of some silly quota system. *chuckle*

        • It hadn’t occurred to me that people would view “equal partners” as bean-counting; I would definitely see that as a problem.

          But things like “make sure both spouses are involved in major decisions” and “trust the spouse in smaller ones” and “try to make sure spouse is happy” are all what I would consider to be parts of “equal partners”.

          I would also go so far as to say that “Captain/First Mate” and “50s Housewife” situations to be equal partners, if the two partners respect each other and each spouse has input in their decisions.

          I think the disconnect between your understanding and mine about “equal partners” is that throughout my life, when I was taught that we need to be equal partners, I was also taught that that means certain things…and that without that framework, “equal partners” when done incorrectly is disastrous…

        • Turner Ashenden

          Who uses the Captain/First Mate label outside of Redpillers?

      • It might help to remember that legally, when two people form a partnership they may* share the benefits 50-50 but each owns** 100% of the liabilities.

        * Partners do have the ability to share disproportionately, according to whatever formula they decide, but as we are here examining the concept of “equal partnership” it seems appropriate to assume a 50-50 distribution of profits.

        ** That is, each partner is fully liable for the debts and obligations of the partnership and can, in the event of failure of one partner the other can be called upon to make whole all debtors.

      • It’s not so much that one partner is dominant, as that their relationships are clearly defined. “My responsibilities are this, your responsibilities are that. Together, our responsibilities are the other.”

        As opposed to, say, “Well, I thought you knew this was supposed to be an open marriage…”

        A lot of D/s couples don’t practice any noticeable kink; but each knows exactly where they stand, at least on the things that are important to them.

        Old-time pre-marital counseling works much the same way, laying everything out in the open to be inspected. Because lust, infatuation, and twu wuv aren’t enough to make it over the long haul.

    • I’ll cut the cake, you get first choice. Easiest lesson to teach kids.

  11. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Something Dad told me a few years back.

    “I really didn’t want to take the trip to visit your mother’s brothers & sisters, but she wanted to visit them so we went.”

    Oh, a funny story about my parents.

    Mom had seen this female beagle and “fell in love with her”.

    I said to her “Why not get her?”

    She said, “Do you want me to sleep on the couch? Ralph (Dad) doesn’t want a pet.”

    I laughed and said “Mom, ask him. I know he thinks that you don’t want a pet”.

    Well, they brought Lilly (the beagle) into their home and I currently have Lilly.

    Here’s IMO the real funny. The reason that I knew that Dad didn’t think Mom wanted a pet in the house was that I had asked him about me getting a pet.

    After we got Lilly, she decided that she was my pet not Mom’s pet.

    Not that Mom was upset about it and Lilly loved Mom’s attention.

    But every time I entered the living room where Mom & Lilly were, Lilly “perked up” as if she was glad to see me. 😀

    • Rhys bought me Riley, our parrot, because he was going to be away for a few months, right after we’d moved house.

      Riley loves sitting on Rhys’ lovely broad shoulders though, and learned in a few hours how to make kissy noises when I’d tried to teach him the same in a week. He’s recognized the car and would regularly climb down the staircase to meet Daddy, chirping happily all the way. He’ll fly off my shoulder to greet Rhys when he gets home (We’re going to have to get him to stop doing that.)

      Riley now has two very specific calls we recognize as him calling for “Mum” or “Daddy.”

  12. In crisis the rule is women and children first because they represent the future survival of the race. Operationally speaking warriors, hunters, and pregnant women get first pick of the portions as they represent safety, continued resources, and that whole investment in the future thing.

  13. Larry Patterson

    Wow! We just celebrated our 40th anniversary yesterday. What Sarah writes is so true. Success in marriage and any other relationship hinges on doing things for your partner. We would forget this at times, and stormy weather blew in.
    When you set giving the better portion, you do get 100 fold. And maybe some forgiveness for when you forgot.

  14. “Love is when another’s happiness is central to your own.”

    It also helps to cultivate a taste for giving gifts (not always monetary in value) tailored to the recipient. It’s so much fun when you get it right.

    • Yes. 😀
      Robert loves the Rodizio grilled chicken hearts. I despise it, but he loves it. So, the other day when he was really snowed under his studies, Dan and I saw chicken hearts for sale at the store. We got a pack, and I found a “copycat” recipe on line.
      We were like little kids, keeping the purchase secret from the older son…
      It was all worth it to see his face when, after Dan and I got a rather ordinary dinner, I put two skewers of hearts on his plate. And even better when he tasted them and said, “These are better than Rodizio’s. :D”
      Most of the fun for Dan and I was surprising him and seeing him be shocked, then light up.

  15. The minor, short term gains from getting “my way” are generally trivial compared to the the pleasures of making a loved one happy. If no other benefit, it helps maintain one’s own desires in proper proportion.

  16. Hey! You stole St. Paul’s bit: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3–4, NRSV). 🙂

    And I think I going to email this to my wife, and copy myself so I can remember!

  17. Martin L. Shoemaker

    Papa Heinlein said it shorter: “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”

    Mathematicians will note: essential (i.e., necessary) is not sufficient. Their unhappiness will prevent your happiness; but that doesn’t mean that their being happy guarantees your happiness.

    But it goes a long way. Doing something for others can produce a very happy, loving feeling.

  18. This is what it looks like in fiction:

    “I have to say, Beatrice, that this thing you’re so ashamed of is where I live all day, every day,” said Jimmy. “I’m proud, afraid, mean, angry and generally vengeful all the time. I’m even mean to you sometimes, Beatrice. I get mad and take it out on you. And this morning I took the best pastry for myself and gave you the second best one, Brunhilde.” That last he admitted with deep shame, that one he never wanted anyone to know. But he had blurted it anyway.
    “You cad!” said Brunhilde with a smile. Seeing his pain at the admission, she kissed his cheek tenderly. “I saw your brain go sideways this morning, that’s what it was, eh? Poor Jimmy. Such small and silly things, but they cut so deeply.”

  19. Professor Badness

    Bravo!
    Of course, when discussing it with my wife (Masked Pain) I put it in more humorous terms.
    “Making you happy makes me happy, so it’s entirely selfish on my part.”

  20. Sorry to go a little maudlin here – but enjoy your moms and dads while you have them. I just lost my father unexpectedly (he was snorkeling in key largo and then…. as a friend put it… “angelfish, angelfish, hey, St. Pete, what are you doing here?”) Everything was fine in the relationship – it was just a shock to lose him so early (his father died only 4 years ago, grandpa hit 94, dad only hit 70). He was healthy, EKG the prior week was fine – but when the big man (or woman) wants you – they get you.

    Anyway, we hit our 15th in August, and we live this advice as well as we can (imperfectly of course).

    But, give your parents an extra hug next time you see them. 🙂

    -John

  21. Do that for all your loved ones. Not just your Mom and Pop.
    When The Big Kahuna decides it’s time for you to come home, there’s no putting it off. Guy was riding his motorcycle during one of the recent windstorms and at the precise time he was passing it, a tree came right down on top of him, killed him instantly.

  22. Em and I will be celebrating 16 years this coming Saturday.

  23. Something (or things) I’ve been thinking about lately:

    Jesus said, over and over and *over,* that if you want to be great in the Kingdom of God, serve the others.

    When, at the Last Supper, the Twelve started squabbling (*again,* for cryin’ out loud) about who was gonna be the Alpha Apostle when the Boss trampled the uppity (lol) under His feet, said Boss proceeded to go around the table doing the most humiliating slave’s job available–just to make the point (again).

    All through the Gospel of John, at least, He kept reiterating that He did nothing He hadn’t seen the Father do.

    Implications:

    The Father–Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth–is of the opinion that He is Above All because *He serves us more than we serve Him.*

    The idea that the great are served and the lowly serve *did not come from God.* That doesn’t leave a lot of places for it to come from.

    Speculations:

    Satan’s sin wasn’t–strictly speaking–pride. It was the conclusion he came to (God certainly tell him so!) that it was shameful to serve, and his absolute determination to serve no one if he could help it.

    In the Garden, he went to Eve, not because she was the lesser of the two (though he probably thought so–see above), but because he could stir up resentment in her that he couldn’t as easily stir up in Adam.
    Adam would have had a much harder time with “It’s not fair! Just because God is infinitely more powerful than you, why should he be the boss?” Telling Eve that Adam being the boss of her was unfair? Not so much.

    Much of the curse of Eve covered direct consequence. Instead of leader and follower, director and worker, etc., being simple job descriptions, they became markers of relative *importance.* Resentment and rebellion on one side, and arrogance and brutality on the other, became the order of the day. “You will try to undermine him, and he will beat you down.”

    Much of the Old Testament was a description of God trying to deal with people who simply *would not listen* unless He browbeat them, threatened them, and generally threw His weight around. Jesus came when he did because no one would have listened before. Not many listen even now

    ***

    Seemed relevant to the present discussion…

  24. It was ringing bells… and then the back of my mind popped up my mother hissing “FHB” when we had guests at the house. Family Hold Back. Let the other people take what they wanted first. Whoo, that’s an old memory.

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