And Marry Our Fortunes Together

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Perhaps not coincidentally, I’m thinking a lot about marriage, (mine is fine, thank you. It’s a combination of the kid getting married and seeing a Peterson lecture on it, mostly.)

Mostly I’ve been thinking — a lot — on the changing nature of marriage.  We won’t go into same sex marriage, because I don’t want that donnybrook in my comments again and also today, fundamentally, I have a wall to paint and this would distract me.

But the thing is that those who hold onto the traditional definition of marriage, as it exists now, beyond the sex of the people engaging in it are, with few exceptions, holding on to a dead form.

Look, two things have fundamentally altered the nature of marriage.  Four, except for two being  subclauses of the other, which make the marriages we contract, and our understandings of it completely different from what it was, say, 100. years ago.  Note I’m not saying this is better (in many ways it’s not) nor that a lot of us aren’t doing our best to hold onto traditional marriage. But even then, the bits and pieces of the “real” (secular) world intrude as they can’t help doing.  Because marriage, while a contract between a couple is also a contract with the wider society. It’s a contract upon which other contracts are formed, the smallest grouping that is fundamental to society (including the creation of new generations. Something on that later.)

The fact that it’s in flux is a lot of the problem. In fact, societaly speaking marriage right now might not be functional in any sense, including traditional and modern.

In the traditional sense marriage was ordained to make two into one: “for the procreation of children, as a remedy against sin and for the help and support the two would have of each other.”

Part of that, ultimately, ties in to the idea that in Eden woman came from man, i.e. we are pre-ordained as a dual being.  Something like that.  It’s hard to explain mystical concepts in every day words.  Interestingly that idea pre-dates Christianity and is central to a lot of very old myths: the idea that we’re always two meant to be one, and that the two halves of one person have to find each other to be complete.  If you’re a believer, this is very old because it’s right. If you’re not, it’s because the very duality of humanity suggests it to the human mind.

That idea is under attack on several points.

First of all the procreation of children: it seems a lot more people avoid that, and it’s easier to avoid by several means, mostly the pill or course, but others as well.

A subclause of that is that we have more means of entertainment than any of our ancestors.  I see people lamenting that younger people are having less sex, as well as looking for physical reasons for this up to and including lower testosterone in males.  And that’s probably part of it, (the lower testosterone, btw, might be induced by the role of males in society right now, since a lot of testosterone production comes from perceived victories. This would also explain higher testosterone in women. In which case all the current nonsense is not just annoying and a bad idea, but leads to extinction.) But the other part of it is probably that we — in Freudian and therefore not quite right terms — can sublimate our sexual impulse into a lot of other things. And the more creative you are, the more you do so.

I think our ancestors defaulted into sexual activity a lot out of boredom and a need for connection, while we’re fueling pursuits not-sexual from the same needs.

Second subclause is that women are — because contraception is a thing — expected to work outside the home and put at least some of their self-worth into a career rather than “the procreation of children” and their upbringing.  This makes marriage… subtly different. You’re two independent people coming together and the terms of union are not the same as they were in most of the past.  Possibly the forms of marriage first appeared to protect the pregnant woman/the infant.  While that’s still sought out by those of us who want children, the game has changed.

The other major change — not a subclause — is longevity.  For reasons known only to the psychiatrists they desperately need it has become fashionable on the left to deny the advances of longevity over the last hundred years. This might be because they desperately want us to believe we can sign onto something like the Green Nude Heel, or give up all our health autonomy to the government and we’ll live “about as long.” I’ve learned to be suspicious of this type of squid ink in the cultural water and ask myself what they’re trying to obscure.

Pish. And tosh.  I was 14 the first time I met an 80 year old. He was barely connected to the world and had constant tremors.

You’ll say “ah, but that was selection bias.”

Hardly. I lived in a village. I met people of all ages. 75 was considered VERY old.  Hell, 60 was the beginning of OLD and 65 was “old enough to die with no remark.”

Portugal was not a third world country. It was at least second, maybe first and a half.

And when I became conscious of such things it was at least the mid to late seventies.

I’ve mentioned here before that once you got the kids married/out the house people “prepared to die.”  This was not subtle. They basically shuttered all interests, except grandkids.  Consider that born when parents were 28 and 31 I was considered a very late child, almost late enough to be my parents’ grandkid and you’ll see when that “get kids out of the house” was.

I’ve talked to people my age who grew up all over the world and their experience is similar.  Right now my 60 some year old friends consider themselves late middle age. (Or sometimes middle, middle age) and some are studying for or embarking on new careers.  There’s a whole second life after your raise the kids. And 85 is considered old, but certainly not decrepit for at least half the people, who are active, engaged and might have businesses.  I know losing friends at 80 some feels like “well, they were old/not very well, but d*mn.” Losing someone at 65 incites “so young” comments.  And medical son tells me getting 100+ year olds in the hospital isn’t even unusual.  I remember a long discussion in the mid 80s about whether 100 year olds existed in any numbers or it was just bad record keeping. It seems silly to argue that now.

What does all this mean, and what does longevity have to do with marriage.

Why… everything.

Look, marriage was a bond for life, but you didn’t have a ton of life past your reproductive age.  Now you might have half your life after that, as a couple.

Add to that the “more entertainment”thing which includes more spheres of action, and what you get is “more identities”.  Depending on what people work in/get fascinated by or the causes they adopt, people might have many identifies in a life time.

One o the enemies of marriage is changing the rules of the game.  Say (I’ve seen it) a woman becomes an all-in feminist activist in her late 40s and this affects her relationship with her husband to the point of questioning minor things such as whether sex is patriarchal oppression?  Or take something seemingly less crazy, like someone decides to pursue a passion for… piano playing or crocheting in middle age.  Even if they don’t quit the day job, and simply channel all their energies to breaking in to the new field: that’s going to affect the couple’s options of work and play and what they do together to the point it might break them.

At some point, because marriages were breaking anyway, no fault divorce seemed the logical answer to all of this.

If Peterson is right, it was rather a step in the WRONG direction.  The reason he claims marriage is essential to happiness goes around all those definitions of marriage as was (but not counter them. While having a fairly traditional marriage, this applies to us, with hobnail boots on, for instance) is because it is an indissoluble association. That is, the fact that you can’t run away from each other makes marriage THE safe space where you can see each other without veils, and be each other and have someone else accept you.

Because we’re all broken (or as Peterson puts it “full of snakes”) it is important to working on our brokenness to know there is someone who knows it and can’t run away.  It’s easier to deal with secondary effects if our back is protected.

Mind you, in the age of divorce this is not true, which makes marriage fairly worthless.  Also, no one tells anyone this as a real and very needed reason to get married, which means it took Dan and I a couple of decades to find that this was one of the very important things in our marriage.  We could be ourselves, even the parts we didn’t like very much, because the other one was here for keeps.  And being able to be ourselves allowed us to improve ourselves, if that makes sense.

Sometimes I wonder if all the necessity for “safe spaces” is because we lost that one, fundamental safe state, where we could take off the armor and let the other see the cracks. I know, since we were recently reviewing insurance and what the plans for the other would be if one of us woke up dead tomorrow (yes, I know, but that’s how grandad said it) which in turn affects the amount of insurance. My thought was that  don’t know if I can go on without that one place I can be me, and that one person who still loves me (mostly defined as sticking around) despite knowing me.

It amused me highly this morning, while doing housework to a Rex Stout audio book (I’ll resume it while painting. It’s Homicide Trinity) that bizarrely Nero and Archie fit the Petersonian definition of marriage.  I.e. lifelong, indissoluble union where you know each other and still stay.

Note nothing is said about sex in it.  I don’t know if sex has anything to say in that definition, except that if you’re both seeking it elsewhere it tends to send your loyalties elsewhere too.

I also don’t think it works with more than one person. I think revealing yourself wholly to multiple people at once would be impossible.  The necessity to manipulate your image to different people (even with friends we do that) would make group marriage untenable as a safe place and a life-long union.

Which means Heinlein correctly diagnosed the stresses on marriage, but went in a completely sideways direction, at least if we agree with Peterson’s thought.  I agree with it more than with Heinlein, which doesn’t detract from my admiration from Heinlein on most things.  Making predictions is hard, particularly when they’re about the future. He got the nature of man more right than not.

Again, mostly I’m going on my own experience, which leads me to believe that whether you believe in traditional marriage or not, the most important nature of such a union is that it be permanent and indissoluble.

I’m not telling you that’s how it should be.  I just think that in the long run we’ll find for society to persist and civilization to continue that’s the most important thing of all.  Perhaps even sex between spouses doesn’t matter as much (I know married couples who had to give it up usually for health reasons, and yet continue to function as married people. Which means the seventies obsession with what’s happening in bed for the functionality of marriage was probably wrong.) as the ability to be “naked” in a metaphysical and psychological sense before each other.

In which case our years will be considered even crazier than not.

As in all things, I only know how this works for me and some friends close enough to give me some insight into others’ lives.

But I thought it was worth pondering. (Besides giggling at the idea of NW and AG as a married couple, mostly because I can see both gentlemen glaring in my head. 🙂 )

Now I’m going to paint walls. Try not to burn anything down.

 

 

 

164 responses to “And Marry Our Fortunes Together

  1. The comment about “safe states” reminds me of something I heard long ago. Apparently people who live together before marriage are more likely to get divorced than people who don’t live together until after they’re married. I think it has something to do with expectations carrying over. If you’re living with someone that you’re not married to, then there’s often a sense that the relationship is still in the “trying it out” phase, and that leads to a sense that you don’t need to work as hard to try and keep the relationship going. If a couple gets married afterwards, then that attitude likely unconsciously carries over into post-marriage relationship. In contrast, a couple that doesn’t form a household until after marriage goes into the household with the idea that it’s going to be a permanent relationship. As a result, they will (hopefully) be more willing to make allowances for each other when problems arise.

    • Hasn’t worked that way for my sister. They lived together before marriage but they’ve been married for almost 40 years. I think (my idea I have no idea if this was true. ) I think that they acted as if they were already married but hadn’t had the ceremony yet when they were living together.

      • I’m sure that there are plenty of people who lived together first who have remained happily married. And we all know that there are plenty who got married first, and still split up. It’s not as if one group only does the prevailing thing, and never does the opposite.

        • I know of one case where the couple couldn’t get married (his [clinically] insane ex was making threats against the kids if he remarried) so after seven years of “publicly acknowledged cohabitation” they eased over to the county court house and got a common-law marriage certificate. I think they’re up to twenty years, plus the initial seven, together.

        • I think it depends on why they live together as well. A “Let’s see” is probably more likely to be what you observed. The “Lets move in and get married when we can” are more likely to be the successful ones.

      • It’s the people, not the institution. It was several years from when I made the commitment for life until it was “officially recognized” – and that made no difference whatsoever. A ceremony, a vacation, and back to the rest of my life. OTOH, I have always been a person (and the spouse tends that way) that cares not a bit about what the State, or the Church, or a random stranger on the street thinks about such matters.

        My sister, however… Married (twice!) for “tax reasons.” Divorced (twice!), and messily so. Apparently a slower learner than I had ever thought, but the persons she’s stayed with for (hmm, I think about 30 years now) is not her “recognized spouse.”

      • Pretty much the story of my wife and I. 8 months living together, and 34 years married so far.

        • Ditto. 5 months co-habitation prior to marriage. 40th year anniversary was last December.

          There was a time when the betrothal was the official start to couple hood, to break that was NOT like breaking an engagement; Betrothal was a legal contract. Betrothal could happened years before the official marriage. The official marriage (discounting underage betrothal for reasons of state) was completed when the couple was able to financially setup a household together. Also a western culture addition the marriage was recognized when circuit clergy was available locally.

      • I think that they acted as if they were already married but hadn’t had the ceremony yet when they were living together.

        I find that this tends to be why relationships will last. I know of a couple that only got married after nearly 40 years of cohabitation simply because they didn’t feel the need for a certificate to formalize or acknowledge the relationship beyond their own acknowledgment of it, and tied the knot in a quiet civil ceremony for legal reasons only when they got old (they’re … in their seventies?)

      • Public recognition of an existing fact; definitely exists. (That’s why ‘common law marriage’ is a thing!)

        I’d argue that couples like that are a natural example of the fact of marriage– there’s a long chain of philosophy there, including the seemingly minor fact that the Catholic Church ‘blesses’ a marriage, they don’t create a marriage.

        • The ceremony creates the marriage because the ordinary ministers of the sacrament are the spouses.

          The priest (except under some circumstances) and the other witnesses are needed for conforming to canon law to make it clear whether they are married later.

      • Sample size is insufficient.

  2. Some thoughts:

    1. I’m pretty convinced that if you (generic “you”) go into marriage really meaning the “till death do us part” section of your vows, i.e., if you (both of you) have decided right up front that divorce is not an option for you no matter what, then your marriage is far more likely to succeed. But if you go into marriage thinking “Well, if this doesn’t work out, there’s always divorce as an option”, then you’ll always be asking yourself whether this fight, this argument, is worth pulling the ripcord over. But if you don’t give yourself that option, if you consider that marriage is supposed to be for life no matter what, then you’re far more likely to place a higher priority on working out the issues so that the marriage will be smooth.

    2. I think that sex between spouses does matter, a lot, unless (specifically unless) the spouses are having to give it up for health reasons as in the cases you mentioned. From what I’ve read on “sexless marriages”, defined as marriages where sex happens less than once per month on average, for the most part there’s one spouse who really wants sex, and one spouse who’s refusing to have sex. And in those circumstances, the spouse who’s being refused sex tends to experience this as a betrayal, and as cruelty on the refuser’s behalf. There seems to be something inherent in the human psyche that says “marriage should imply sex”, and when that is absent, it’s perceived as wrong. Note that in cases of medical necessity, the “betrayal” part is absent, and so even though some marriages might be sexless for medical reasons, the spouse who still wants sex won’t feel betrayed by the other one. It’s like the difference between being divorced and being widowed: in both cases the marriage has ended, but in the case of being widowed, the surviving spouse doesn’t feel betrayed. So absent medical grounds for a sexless marriage, I think that it’s important to continue having sex with each other for the marriage to stay strong, because a feeling of betrayal isn’t conducive to wanting the good of the other person.

    3. Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin as a married couple makes me think of the scene in Babylon 5 where Londo and G’Kar have been arguing with each other for a full minute while two humans watch, bemused. They walk off camera still arguing, then one of the humans turns to the other one and asks, “How long have those two been married?”

    • A tangent about sex.

      I am increasingly of the opinion that a contributing factor to the divorce rate is the modern obsession with sex. Not that previous generations weren’t obsessed too, but I don’t think they were obsessed in the same way.

      In the first place, sex as a recreation is overrated. Masturbation is at least 90% as pleasurable as moderately good sex, one hell of a lot less risky, and easier to clean up after. Ok, that’s me. But I think it’s a lot of other people, who think (thanks to Hugh Hefner, drat him) that if sex isn’t better than that, they are doing it with the wrong person. And – BOOM! – there goes that relationship.

      Getting on together from day to day is FAR more important than ‘sexual compatability’ (by which too many people mean ‘fireworks every time’). Do you enjoy each-other’s company? Can you watch most of his/her favorite movies? Can you discuss news, ideas, what-have-you, or is one of you quickly reduced to monotone grunts? Hell, can you field a ‘I’m not really interested in that’ without feeling slighted?

      I agree wholeheartedly with the ‘safe space’ idea. That’s why I came to back the ideal of Gay Marriages; I didn’t see why Gay couples should not have a recognized kind of stable union, with penalties for breaking it. And I knew damned well that if the Civil Unions idea was pushed through it would mean decades of Gay couples having to fight to have it recognized as legally the same,meven though that was the intent. Not because there are that many antiGay bigots, but because there is a widespread type of personality that enjoys saying ‘no’ and causing trouble thereby, on any pretext. And they tend to gravitate to positions of minor bureaucratic power.

      • In the first place, sex as a recreation is overrated. Masturbation is at least 90% as pleasurable as moderately good sex, one hell of a lot less risky, and easier to clean up after.

        I’ll agree with this. I was on record once on a sublist of the old Boston Netgoth list saying I would rather attend the ballet than have sex. I was being honest.

        All the replies but one said I was doing it wrong. I think that is the mindset you’re talking about with the Hugh Hefner era obsession with sex.

        One reply, and years later I thanking the person who said it for saying it, was I was doing it with the wrong person.

        A person who wasn’t the wrong person came along and I “got” sex. At 34.

        I also wonder if our focus on sex as recreation means it is harder for any given person to be the right person, or a right person.

        Not because there are that many antiGay bigots, but because there is a widespread type of personality that enjoys saying ‘no’ and causing trouble thereby, on any pretext. And they tend to gravitate to positions of minor bureaucratic power.

        Sadly, the advent of gay marriage has given the same people even more power just focused on the religious instead of gay people.

      • I think you’re right about how people view sex as “it should be perfect every time”, and how that false idea undermines their attitudes towards marriage. In any long-term relationship, whether married or not, there will be ups and downs, and being actually committed to the relationship* will help you push through the downs to the next “up” period. But if people think that one or two less-than-ideal sexual interludes mean that they’re married to (or living with) the wrong person, they’re going to bail far too early, rather than pushing through to the better times they would have had in the future.

        * This, BTW, is why marriage “till death do us part” is so important. If you’re not married but just living together without making those vows, are you really going to be nearly as committed as a couple that has stood up in front of witnesses, and vowed to stay together “till death do us part”, and meant it? And the greater your internal commitment, the better your marriage outcomes will tend to be.

      • Hmm. I think sex as recreation is better with a partner than solo. And cleaning up together afterwards can be fun too.

      • I think the sex is a very minor component of a marriage. It’s the “mutual aid and comfort” that makes it worthwhile.

        • *nod*

          Elf and I were setting off folks’ “couple” vibe before we even viewed eachother as an option— I suspect that goes for the “public ceremony to witness what was already there” type cohabitation folks, and heck a lot of older married people.

          Although obviously we do have sex, it’s just not the entire point. (Six kids. You wouldn’t BELIEVE how many folks seem to think we have no sex, when surrounded by SIX KIDS. Whiskey tango?!?!)

          • From comments I’ve seen from people who are supposedly functional adults… they may have thought you simply ordered them from Amazon Prime.

      • Perhaps the most memorable line (for me, anyway) from the M*A*S*H TV series was B. J. Hunnicutt saying that it was not just “being in bed with” his wife, but simply “being with” his wife that was what mattered.

      • Masturbation is at least 90% as pleasurable as moderately good sex,

        I disagree… But then again, it might be out of nostalgia. I gave up having relationships when my two younger girls were little because it wasn’t worth the risk of a breakup hurting my girls.

        You might be right about meaningless sex, but no ideas there. I’m an introverted nerd (and an Odd), so “meaningless sex” isn’t something that happens with me. I don’t THINK so, but I can allow that it might be as good as I would expect.

    • From what I’ve read on “sexless marriages”, defined as marriages where sex happens less than once per month on average, for the most part there’s one spouse who really wants sex, and one spouse who’s refusing to have sex. And in those circumstances, the spouse who’s being refused sex tends to experience this as a betrayal, and as cruelty on the refuser’s behalf.

      This, very much this.

      • Unfortunately, there are a significant number of folks who ignore everything their spouse says about problems in the marriage UNTIL the sex goes away. If she’s having sex, then he can ignore concerns about mounting credit card debt, his mooching family, him ignoring bad behavior from the kids, everything, because if there’s sex then the relationship’s fine. (Mostly seems to be guys that make this mistake.)

        If you (not Herb, generic you, I know Herb’s not that oblivious) believe that, you’ll be in for a nasty shock, because inevitably one step past cutting off sex in that sort of relationship is divorce, and you’ve got years of problems you ignored to get to where you are.

        This doesn’t apply to all sexless marriages. Probably not even half. But it does apply to enough to be worth bringing up.

        • On the flip side there’s the female who figures “As long as he’s getting sex with me, what could he possibly complain about?”. Never mind that she’s letting herself go, not cleaning the house, not cooking, letting the kids grow up feral. Or, for that matter, pulling ahead of him at work, flirting with other men in front of him, constantly putting him down.

          There are sooooo many ways to break a marriage.

          • There are sooooo many ways to break a marriage.

            Yep.

            Guys’ ways tend to be more…physical, more overt, easier to directly identify. Some folks decide that means that only guys are at fault– some folks decide that guys can’t be blamed at all because clearly the woman must’ve been just as bad or worse, every time, and no evidence is needed because even when you KNOW it’s there you can’t find any objectively sound stuff.

        • And some go get sex outside of the marriage, and figure everything is fine. Their needs are fulfilled without her being ‘bothered,’ what’s she got to be upset about?

          (This is related to women filing most of the divorce proceedings.)

          • CombatMissionary

            I’d agree that this is related to MANY divorce filings. But MOST OF? Perhaps in the past. I think the last 40 years or so, we’ve had an increasing amount of divorces being filed for reasons of “I’m just not fulfilled by this relationship anymore.” I’d venture a guess that it’s 50/50 these days, if not a majority filed for “lack of fulfillment.” There’s plenty of rotten men out there, to be sure; but no-fault divorce has opened the floodgates for the rotten women out there to try to have their cake and eat it too in our day. My two cents. 😉

            • Might want to read that again.

              I said it is related to women filing most of the divorce proceedings– notably, the percent filed by women stays roughly the same for at-fault as for no-fault.

              ***********

              “Lack of fulfillment” is basically the lame version of actual needs not being met– it makes sense that it would break out roughly the same as the more dire cases, as far as dissolution vs going elsewhere goes.

              • CombatMissionary

                Sorry, I must have misunderstood. There’s few things that make me go cross-eyed and foaming-at-the-mouth these days more than thoughts of the forces of Stupid that are driving good marriages apart or preventing them from happening to begin with.

                • You and me both.

                  Which is why I responded politely, instead of with teeth. ^.^

                  In violent agreement!

                  (I’m going to be away from the computer for the rest of the day, and maybe for much of the rest of the week, so I can’t really do the subject justice– but what seems to be THE biggest cause of marriages breaking is folks not having the same thing in mind for “marriage.” Say, the Japanese issue where it’s expected the wife will be both a full-time worker, and a super-house-wife.)

                  • CombatMissionary

                    It’s funny, a while ago I was watching I Dream of Jeannie with my kids (Season 1, Episode 15, “Too Many Tonys”). Jeannie had convinced Tony’s command staff that Tony was marrying her that Sunday. Tony in one scene is trying to tell Dr. Bellows that he’s not going to marry Jeannie. Dr. Bellows asks why not.

                    TONY: You don’t know about Jeannie.
                    DR. BELLOWS: Well, I know she’s beautiful. I know she loves you. She’s intelligent. She enjoys cooking and taking care of a home. She has a lovely, sweet disposition. I’d say you picked the perfect bride. You’re a lucky man. You don’t know how lucky.

                    After talking with some Army buddies, we decided that Dr. Bellows’ words were rather prophetic and that rabid feminism has ruined most women. We also nominated Barbara Eden to be the patron saint of marriageable women (apologies to the Catholics out there). I’ve been teasing my daughters that if they want to get married, they should spend at least half an hour per day studying the Divine Attributes of Saint Barbara (luckily they know that it’s a joke, even though there’s that grain of truth to it).

                    I wonder who the patron saint of marriageable men would be? My wife would probably nominate David Boreanaz’s character from Bones.

                    What’s really fun is that now, when we see rabid feminist stuff on Facebook, we start posting memes of Jeannie that say things like, “Saint Barbara Protects Me From This Sort of Nonsense.” 😉

        • It’s even worse when the party cutting off sex is also ignoring the other problems.

          That gets bad fast.

      • I recall years ago a radio lady (I think a gossip monger or something) who was a known looker, being asked about getting married, and she replied “I’m frigid and don’t care for sex.” and went on to explain that would be as unfair to any partner to deny the sex as it would for one to expect sex they knew was a displeasure of the other partner, and any relationship that held that, would be doomed to a bad end.

    • 1 works out only if they’re both in a good headspace. I’ve known of people who see marriage as ‘the other person can’t get away from me then.’ It’s not different from the mindset that seeks having children to ‘keep him/her with me.’

      *shudder*

  3. Ran across one of Those memes the other day saying how it’s not traditional marriage unless it’s securing a feudal alliance.

    Debated remarking on the classism.

    • Same thing going on there as when people who claim to remember past lives always were lords or ladies in past lives, and nobody ever remembers being Serving Maid #17.

      • A rather unusual counter-example…

        General George Patton seemed to believe that he’d lived past lives as a soldier fighting in various wars throughout the centuries. But to the best of my knowledge, he never claimed anything beyond the idea that he’d fought at those battles.

        Of course, he had little need to inflate his ego with the idea that he’d been a successful general in a past life. After all, he was a successful general in his “current” life.

        But he’s the only person I can think of like that.

        • This is vague, because I read about it years ago; Past Lives haven’t always been Trendy, and in the periods when they weren’t you get a smattering of recorded examples of “under-servant in a big Victorian house”, “potter in Alexandria under the Ptolemys”, “Slave on a Delta Plantation”. If you believe it (I’m agnostic” it’s like Celiac Disease; there are people who actually have it, and there are people who claim to have it because they are attention whores.

        • Especially since he didn’t claim to have been a general in all of them. Pirate, Roman soldier in the ranks, ordinary French knight at Crecy, etc.

      • We were all Chinese peasants in a previous life.

      • The more common one I’ve seen is having been reborn as a descendant, but was an ancestor before. (“I remember holding you like this when you were a baby,” said by a child to the parent) Or having memories of their past family (per a case I read about where a boy even lead his family back to the village where he ‘previously lived’) or this one:

        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1209795/Reincarnated-Our-son-World-War-II-pilot-come-life.html

        So, it’s not all “I was once a princess/king/queen/etc”

    • And you’d be right. They’re just idiots.

    • Well, most of the people who make those remarks:

      1. Think they are the new aristocracy.
      2. Think the world will be better when they change the rules to keep the peasants in line.

      If they get #2 my one solace will be watching them learn how wrong they were about #1.

      • The thing is, they aren’t actually WRONG, per se. The classic Aristocracy had no better reason for its position in society than these pillocks do, certainly once they stopped being primarily concerned with “How do I protect my People?” and started being concerned with “How do I keep these bloody Peasants in line?”. And the REAL pleasure will be seeing the proved RIGHT about #1. Because where they ARE wrong is in believing that they can keep the common folk, who are NOT peasants, cowed indefinitely.

        Especially here in the US, where the Common Folk are armed, and get along with the Military rather better than the self-nominated Aristocracy.

        • Aristocracies that despise their warrior class don’t last long.

          There is a reason most aristocracies start out as the warrior class after all and why those kings looking to become despots hire private armies and take away the swords of the aristocrats.

    • A feudal alliance…
      *snicker*

  4. What? I wasn’t doing anything. Why are you looking at me like that? *closes Zippo lighter, eases it back into holster*

    I wonder if the shortening of “forever” is something affecting marriages among younger people. “Forever” seems to be 20 to 30 years, going by the teenagers I listen to or overhear. A “long relationship” is one that started during the previous school year. The idea that a marriage might last 50 or 60 years seems odd, even for kids whose parents have been married almost 30 years [the uncle of one of my former students went to high school with me. Said student was mortified to learn this. Uncle and I were amused. Uncle and Aunt got married the summer after we graduated, er, escaped high school.]

    Another thing affecting marriages and lack thereof might be the culture of absolutes. “If you do not agree 100% on X, Y, and Z, don’t get into a relationship.” There’s no room for compromise, or so the media and anti-social media seem to be insisting. So the first time a couple disagrees on something, that’s it. It MUST be the end, because that’s what “everybody” says.

    • On some things being absolutes, there are some things that should be absolutes, definitely, when it comes to getting married. Things fundamental to one’s personality for example. Such as say, a man who holds family as being very important to him, loves his family, loves getting together with his kin, and wants to become a father, and a woman who doesn’t think family is important and is adamantly child-free getting together. Those are some big fundamentals that don’t crop up in the fun and games and initial interest part of the dating scene and tend not to appear until a few years have passed. They might have had common entertaining interests but the core things won’t be.

      (The example I gave is a real one too. That relationship blew up very spectacularly.)

      • Neil Clark Warren (the founder of eHarmony) calls this the “Must haves (or must not haves)” vs the “nice to haves”. He’s got several books about the many dimensions of compatibility, including energy levels, educational attainment (or intellectual curiosity), and various things. Once you get pas the gimmes like honesty, good hygiene, non-smoker (or smoker/smoker compatible if you are one), no active addictions, it can get very granular very quickly.

        But “wants the same things” is always going to be on there, because why be with someone if you don’t want to build a life together? It doesn’t necessarily matter what “the things” are, just that you should be on the same page about pursuing them.

        • In the case of my example, I think one of them expected the other would ‘give’ on that very basic fundamental – in this case the girl felt that she would get all that she wanted from him; she hated his family (from what we could tell, because they took attention away from her) and she didn’t want children but would use the possibility of changing her mind as a bargaining chip if they had fights. That was … explody, and when it did, woah.

          As far as I know, it started as a casual that got into a steady relationship because they got along otherwise.

          I gather that the ‘gets together because getting along’ is common, and the ‘wants a permanent relationship and build a life together’ is not common any more, until a certain point.

  5. I think back to the Good Morning America segments were the guy used to wish happy birthday to 100+ year olds. The list got longer and longer and iirc it slipped to like 102 or 104 before it was stopped.

  6. (the lower testosterone, btw, might be induced by the role of males in society right now, since a lot of testosterone production comes from perceived victories. This would also explain higher testosterone in women. In which case all the current nonsense is not just annoying and a bad idea, but leads to extinction.)
    Knowing so many of our “betters” this is a goal.

    • But mostly it’s from all the estrogen/progestin in the environment that ends up in the food chain. Not to mention the by-product of all the soy in the food chain…

      • You’ll get my tamari when you . . .
        hmmm.

      • seriously, probably no. It is the apes thing that when you lose a battle you lose testosterone. It’s part of making you survive under a band leader.
        And see, the thing is women are going UP in testosterone. Same process.
        The schools, from elementary on give as many wins as possible to girls.
        If it were environmental, women wouldn’t be getting MORE testosterone.

        • “The Hour Between Dog and Wolf” gives an interesting analysis of success/failure influence on testosterone. He argues that a testosterone feedback loop tends to drive excessive risk-taking by men, to the point that “the trading community at the peak of a bubble or in the pit of a crash may effectively become a clinical population,” and cites a British politician who has also become a neurobiology researcher, to the effect that the same syndrome affects political leaders.

          He doesn’t explicitly discuss women as traders, but concerning women in the financial world in general, the author dismisses the common argument that the short supply of women in trading jobs is due to their distaste for the rowdy trading-floor environment, pointing out that there are plenty of women doing well in sales positions on those very same trading floors. He suggests that women may not be as good at, or as inclined to, very-short-cycle decision-making of the kind required of traders, but are equally good or perhaps better at longer-cycle risk-taking as is required of asset managers, and cites the much higher % of women among asset management companies than among traders.

          I suspect that the decline in overall testosterone levels has multiple causation: both the win/loss psychological factor, *and* environmental factors.

        • Which is one reason why it is harder and harder to find true sopranos. Alto voices are far more common than they were 20-30 years ago. I’m still singing first and second, more first actually, than I did *cough* years back. I should be singing lower (age), but there’s just not as many ladies with the top notes. Between singing along with pop-rock and hormonal differences, women’s voices are lowering. Some things can be improved with training *waves paw* but others…

          • There’s that, and then there’s the “croaking voice” thing that seems to be all the rage now.

            Perhaps I’m too retro too see the attraction, but “throat full of phlegm” or “five pack a day rasp” make me think “diseased; avoid” instead of anything positive.

          • A lot of young women today have the top notes, but are totally unaware of their own range because they do not sing along with sopranos.

            OTOH, there is nothing that brings out top notes like talking in a girly coo, as taught in call centers.

        • Doesn’t Peterson talk about this in his discussion of lobsters and lobster fighting, as well? That once a lobster loses a fight, they’re unlikely to ever win another one?

          My copy of “12 Rules” is apparently in the last box that hasn’t yet been sent to me, or I would look it up.

    • “Knowing so many of our “betters” this is a goal.”
      Ironically, the religious types of my personal acquaintance tend to have 4 kids on average- with 6+ not all that uncommon.
      The whiny SJW special snowflake types may well be replaced by the children of the religious because the snowflakes aren’t breeding.

  7. Coming up this year on our 41st anniversary. Her expectation was once we had our first child she’s be a full time housewife and mother- and that’s the way it’s been. We had 5; on our second date she told me she wanted 14 and I subsequently became her first third date since she started saying that… From oldest to youngest spans 18½ years. so they’re a generation apart.

    Both of us have siblings who have been successful in their first marriage, and who’ve been less successful in multiple marriages. From a little observation, the key to success is knowing what you’re BOTH agreeing to before you agree to it, and committing yourself to making it last. One of the things mentioned above is sex. One of the things we did discuss. And agreed on. Whenever the question “Sex?” is asked, the answer, barring severe illnesses or broken bones or whatever, should always be “Yes.”. Doesn’t matter which half is asking. Part of that, and we discussed this, is making sure the other half wants to ask….

    Another big thing- children. How many and how far apart. In my case it was whatever, whenever. She is a good Catholic, so they happened when they happened. I’m surprised we didn’t have more….

    I’m Facebook friends with a large number of my HS classmates. Some have been married once, some divorced multiple times. Something I’ve noted about that. The higher the economic/social class I perceive them to be in, the more likely they are to have been married but once. Especially true for the ladies. I think this is borne out in statistics for marriage.

    One odd thing. My wife has 6 siblings, 5 who’ve married, one of whom married once. My wife, a good Catholic, married a Methodist, me. We met in January, were married in August. Her brother who married only once and is still married, a good Catholic, married a Methodist. They met in grade school, dated for 5 years starting in HS, and were engaged for 4 after that. So the one question I truly don’t know the answer to is- How long should you know someone before you get married?

    • I don’t know how long, but I do have a good metric for saying it’s been lomg enough; are you chiming in on each-other’s quotes? If she (he) quotes on line from some source, do you have the answering line on the tip of your tongue?

    • There’s a known strong inverse correlation between class and divorce rate. Professionals stay married.

    • CombatMissionary

      I think you’re right on about “knowing what you’re agreeing to.” Anecdotally, prior to the sexual revolution, weren’t there a significant number of “marriages of convenience” in which parties were perfectly happy? Whether they were simply older couples who enjoyed each other’s company, or people simply uninterested in sex (whether specifically with their partner because they were homosexual, or in general because they were asexual) but enjoyed a comfortable home life and having someone they genuinely liked being around?
      I doubt there’s been any research into it, but the phrase “equally yoked” comes to mind (I know the Bible doesn’t actually refer to being equally yoked in the marital sense, but it’s applied a lot outside of the Bible and makes a lot of sense). As long as both parties have equal expectations and get along well, and place the other’s needs before their own, they’re probably going to be pretty content with their marriage.
      On the other hand, the culture of slavishly following the dictates of one’s gonads tends to be pretty disruptive to actually getting to know the personality, temperament, desires, beliefs, convictions, and background of one’s partner before making a commitment.

  8. “(Besides giggling at the idea of NW and AG as a married couple, mostly because I can see both gentlemen glaring in my head. 🙂 )”
    Good friendships are a lot like good marriages: safe spaces to be what you really are.
    Holmes and Watson are another instance.

    Archie Goodwin is one of my character role models.
    His archetype tends to be my favorite in any book.

    • They are. Sadly, today people are trying to retroactively making them all gay relationships, especially if the principles aren’t married. I’m not sure if this is done more to fictional or real friendships.

      • Ever notice how they only want to claim ‘good’ characters or historical figures as Gay.

        Bruce Vilanch once commented on a series of protests the Gay community mounted over the depiction of a historical villain who is known to have been A) Gay and B) an absolute swine, saying “If we want to claim Michelangelo, we’re going to have to accept this snake, too” or words to that effect.

        • Well, being gay is now de facto (and increasingly de jure proof of moral virtue ergo no historical villain can be gay by definition.

      • Reminds me of how people lost their heads when Steve Rogers kissed “Agent 13” (i.e. Sharon Carter) in the last Captain America movie, while Bucky looked, on happy for his best friend.

        The idea that Cap and Bucky weren’t head over heels gay for each other was apparently inconceivable to a lot of people.

        • And the people who insist that Sam and Frodo were gay because of the final scene in the LotR movie… *SIGH*

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Or the idiot once quoted here or MGC who was complaining Star Wars 8 was homophobic or something for not canonizing their shipping of a gay pairing.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I’ve come to the following literary opinion after reading a bunch of fanfic and Japanese LNs.

        The type of fictional relationship often written by and for straight girls who are terrified of writing a realistic male female relationship is yaoi. This model seeks to explain the fujoshi. See an awful lot of fics in FFVII, and similar fujoshi bait series.

        The type of fictional relationship often written by and for straight boys who are terrified of writing a realistic male female relationship is harem. This model seeks to explain things like Campione, Blade Dance, etc… Stuff like Love Hina has a little bit too much cross gender appeal, IMO.

        Are these perfect models? Far from it. It isn’t anywhere near as absolute as I make it sound, and I’ve probably made some avoidable mistakes in wording things. I think I’m on to something, or at least there is some sex selective tendency to prefer one or the other.

      • The revisionism happens to both fictional and factual, male and female.
        As if people can’t just be room-mates or house-mates, because some of them choose to be more than that.

    • A friend is someone who sees you as you are and likes you anyway.

  9. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    On the subject of “sex in marriage”, I can’t help but remember how those “Nasty” Puritans thought about that.

    It seems that in Puritan Society, a husband would be in Big Trouble if he didn’t sexually satisfy his wife. 😈

    • They considered sex one of God’s good gifts to humanity, to be enjoyed responsibly.

      I’m pretty sure most of the ‘repressed old-timers’ perception is from the public-facing propriety of Victorians.

      -Albert

      • Not even sure that the Victorians were all that prudish … given that sex within marriage was seen as something to be enjoyed …

        • They weren’t. But the Victorians refused to frighten the dogs and children.

        • CombatMissionary

          Almost any culture in history would seem prudish when compared to our modern “be sure you’ve tried every perversion before you say you’re not into it” culture.

    • Geoff Withnell

      One of the husband’s duties in the traditional Jewish wedding contract, the ketubah, is to sexually satisfy his wife. The rabbis assumed the husband needed no guarantee, since men are easier to please. As far as more traditional attitudes to sex and modern ones, at our 35th wedding anniversary, one of my son’s friends said he could not imagine having sex with only one woman for the rest of his life. I said there is something very addictive about sex with a woman who has spent DECADES learning where all your buttons are, and how to find them in the dark.

    • There is probably some serious market potential for a book titled ‘The Puritan Guide to Hot Sex’. Wonder if there’s enough surviving writing on the subject for someone to create such a book without just making it all up?

      • I’m not sure about original sources, but if anybody wants to try to recreate it– look into NFP, Natural Family Planning, circles.

      • Given how many volumes Cotton Mather’s writings alone fill, I’d say yes, there’s plenty of material, but you have to be able to read the language of the time, and understand which writer is being literal and which is being mystical. (Some of Mather’s writings… He’s up there with St. John of the Cross in terms of the Mystic Marriage. Wow, was I surprised. And there are other Separatist/Puritan writers of that ilk.)

    • My understanding from my Jewish wife is that’s also the rule in Judaism. At least Orthodox and Conservative.

  10. That is, the fact that you can’t run away from each other makes marriage THE safe space where you can see each other without veils, and be each other and have someone else accept you.

    I would honestly put this under “the support the two would have of each other”.

    I don’t know if sex has anything to say in that definition, except that if you’re both seeking it elsewhere it tends to send your loyalties elsewhere too.

    It does and it is why “alternate” sexualities are to be avoided if at all possible (yes, I know…why do you think I say this loudly).

    One of the best things about the sexual revolution was giving those who are sexual odds a bit of breathing room to be who they needed or what circumstances made them.

    One of the worst things about the sexual revolution is it taught people being sexually odd was no longer an issue because the only legitimate reasons we divided normal and odd sexually were cured by the pill and antibiotics.

    The other worst things was based on the prior one and that was encouraging everyone to try out being sexually odd for the hell of it. The results range from broken homes or kids who never had one to how rapidly AIDS destroyed parts of the gay male community. When anal gonorrhea is a blow against the man you don’t see the untreatable disease coming.

    I also don’t think it works with more than one person. I think revealing yourself wholly to multiple people at once would be impossible.  The necessity to manipulate your image to different people (even with friends we do that) would make group marriage untenable as a safe place and a life-long union.

    Agree, at least in the world real humans live in. While it is more possible than communism, I have known a stable triad and a stable quad, I’d point out that I’m in those communities and I see how rarely it work and and different the people who make it work are.

    If those really trying it fail at rates of 99% what are the odds for the rest of us.

    Perhaps even sex between spouses doesn’t matter as much

    When sex works it is 5% of marriage. When it doesn’t it is 95%.

    While couples not having sex does not have to be a problem, it often will be depending on the reason and the age of the relationship. If you stop having sex a year into marriage for anything beyond a medical catastrophe the marriage is probably wounded to permanent disability if not mortally.

    If a couple of 15 years stops because aging has lowered sex drives, but otherwise functions and is intimate, you’re probably okay.

    If one partner just quits on the other because of “no interest” you’re in trouble.

    I think the real question is, is the lack of sex a signal that the ability to be naked in a metaphysical and psychological sense is broken. I think for most younger couples (both physical age and age of the relationship) it is.

  11. Betty Freidan went to war against the notion of women finding their primary fulfillment in raising their children. Because she was unhappy in her marriage? This has morphed into a war on motherhood, a war on procreation, a war on marriage, a war on restraint in sexual behavior, a war on masculinity, and even a war on human biology (waged with drugs and surgery as well as reality-defying philosophy) with all kinds of toxic side affects. Her philosophy is to the family what Karl Marx is to politics.
    I’ll concede that many of the traditional restrictions on the social roles of men and women were unnecessarily limiting to women (and men, too, for that matter). However, there were reasons for them, and those reasons were NOT “All men are evil and created the patriarchy to subjugate and oppress women”.

    • it’s the notion of “I failed/can’t figure it out, so no one should be allowed to.”

    • Seriously – I do wonder about Betty F. My own mother was probably one of those who didn’t have much in the way of maternal instincts in her reservoir. She is/was one of those who should have gone out and pursued her dreams …but it was just too easy for her to give up and do the expected 50ies thing. House and hubby in the suburbs, and all.

    • Before now, as far as I can recall, I’d never heard of Betty F. Evidently this is (or was) a Good Thing.

    • I’ll just leave this here. Saw it on BlazingCatFur this AM: https://www.dailywire.com/news/45938/prager-are-women-malcontents-dennis-prager

      He finally read Friedan, and is riffing off of her words and the modern complaints. Short version: She had a point – in the 1950s. Today? Not so much.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I have two problems with what he says.

        One is that I don’t accept the left as necessarily having a natural role to play in the society of the United States.

        Second, the explanation provided is not the only one possible from the observations. Those would also be explained if most women were happier when most women were coerced or pressured into marriage and motherhood generally (but not specifically).

        What follows does not relate to his comments. ‘Coercion of women to study and work or coercion of women to marry and raise children?’ are the wrong question in a non-obvious way.

        Pressure and societal expectations have good and bad results. When young, and out from under the thumb of parents and school? Social expectations might be the difference between drifting into a bad situation, and moving down a path that leads to stability. For young men and young women.

        It looks like young men of the fifties and sixties also found those loads a little heavy to bear, and also rebelled. We see also modern young men ill at ease.

        Probably there were people being pressured onto long term paths who simply hadn’t developed their character to the point of being able to cope with their choices. In the older environment, women with no identity aside from husband and children. In the newer, women with no identity aside from education and and ‘success’. Or men with no identity aside from work, or drifting without an identity in absence of ever having long held employment. Possibly different handling could have recovered those situations. In the fifties, bureaucracies would have been being pushed, and bureaucracies push out individual variations and judgements.

        One could argue that we must look past the fifties, and seek deeper roots in the successes of the progressives in the thirties. Alternatively, it was merely an artifact of increased prosperity in the fifties.

  12. Don’t know what to say here except I think you’re right about this being a critical problem in society; I’ve never dealt FTF with anyone who had a good, stable relationship. And I know my own broken places well enough that… well. I hope to find a place with friendships. That would be progress.

    • Don’t know what to say here except I think you’re right about this being a critical problem in society; I’ve never dealt FTF with anyone who had a good, stable relationship.

      /E-hug.

      I’m sorry.

      For what it’s worth, apparently you understand them just fine, from the way you write them.

      • For that I thank reams of fiction, especially Robert E. Howard, Andre Norton, Barbara Hambly, Heinlein, and a heck of a lot of anime and manga. 🙂

        But yeah; I’m planning on moving sometime in the near future just to get clear of people whose grasp on relationships is… not healthy, to be blunt.

  13. OT but file under “WP Delenda Est:” When I “like” a post from my old computer (Mac OS 10.8) it works. When I try it from this computer (10.11), it doesn’t register.

    • That’s because the 10.11 knows you really love the 10.8 best.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      a) Mac is totes the evulz 🙂 b) check your browser plugins for your old machine.

      WP Delenda est. (I recently stopped my browser from remembering my posting credentials when I post here using one account, but the other account, which I rarely use, still remembers. Had a lot of lost comments before I got used to doing things this way again.)

    • A few months ago WP started demanding I type in my email address and user name for every reply when I was at my desktop. For any of the four browsers on that machine.

      It auto-fills the reply fields just fine on the laptop, and the Raspberry Pi out in the workshop.

      I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a “like” button on any of the machines; scrolling up and down here, I don’t see anything likely.

  14. One problem I’ve seen again and again is that people marry while they’re still infatuated with one another. That’s a terrible mistake. Infatuation evolved (I’m pretty sure) to get women past fear of sex to pregnancy, in an era when perhaps as many as 10% of pregnancies ended in the death of the mother. (At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution it was 5%.) I honestly don’t see why else it would exist at all.

    Carol and I dated for seven years before we married. We dated other people along the way, and by the time we were ready to become engaged, we were sure. Infatuation had been there between us, run its giddy course, and vanished. (We met at 16 and 17. Sex was not involved.) By then we knew who we were and had tested our affection pretty thoroughly. It was time, we thought. And we were right.

    As of this summer, we’ll have been together for fifty years, and by fall, married for 43. We’re still crazy about each other. I’m not entirely sure how we did it, but taking our time certainly didn’t hurt.

    • I’m a believe in this as well. One can also posit that since many cultures tended to pick spouses for the kids, infatuation could also get them through the whole “I don’t really know you, but we’re supposed to make babies together” part until they could get to know each other.

  15. “Losing someone at 65 incites “so young” comments.”

    Neither of my parents lasted that long. 😦

    • My in-laws passed away at 73, each. They were considered “young”. But then my grandparents were still alive (78) and they lived another 15 years.

      Dad died “young” at 73, 10 years ago. Mom is still going strong at 84.

      • Maternal grandmother died at “only” 77 (generally the women on that side of family live much longer) due to ALS. Paternal grandmother died at 91 – and was in relatively poor health for some time, but nothing specific. Key to life? Keep moving. Now, you don’t need to move terribly fast, but motion is life.

    • Paternal grandmother died at 91 in dubious (but nothing *specific*) health. Maternal grandmother (that line tending toward longevity) at a ‘young’ 77 due to ALS. My youngest aunt* (at about my current age) due to strange accident. I cannot figure the male side of the family due to tobacco use (father excluded from *primary* effects).

      * Mother always figured, being oldest, she’d be first, but she walks a LOT and is in relatively good health/shape, unlike her younger sisters who are.. in need of walking more, shall we say?

      Key to life? KEEP MOVING!

  16. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I’ve been thinking about some of the hows and whys of courting and marriage recently, attempting to do said thinking seriously.

    I’ve said some fairly unpleasant things here and elsewhere. Obviously, not mentioning anything at all about that while courting would be unjustly opening someone to the possibility of surprise. (Possibly someone could guess from knowing me in person.) On the other hand, mentioning it all would perhaps be excessive. Not to mention, I wouldn’t feel comfortable exposing that much to a bunch of prospects. It could also fall under the heading of being unmannered in polite company.

    But I really do have a wide range of significant philosophical differences with the general consensus of society, some of them fairly outrageous in most eyes, and some people would find them difficult to live with.

  17. Having a special needs son taught me some things. The divorce rate of parents of special needs kids is 90 %. Everyone has a breaking point. We stayed married. I think it was because we had agreed to “whatever it took”.

    Would anyone go into business with someone who said “I will work with you as long as there are no problems, but if there are problems I quit.” ? They asked Billy Graham’s wife if she had ever considered divorce. Her answer: “Divorce never, homicide yes.”.

    Trust is the glue of marriage. You are trusting another human being with your life. Living together teaches that you can leave if there are problems. Will you offer yourself as a gift to the other, with no thought of return?

    • They asked Billy Graham’s wife if she had ever considered divorce. Her answer: “Divorce never, homicide yes.”.

      Perfect.

  18. I’m watching this evolution with my nephew. He is hardworking and loving, but he can’t seem to catch the interest of a “good” woman. He has also bought into the thought that he will know her when he sees her. I’m not sure about that … but we’ll see. However, since he has been under my brother’s tutelage, he has gone from boy to man. I like the change. It bothers me that in this society a boy is not allowed to be victorious. So we have a lot of stunted boys running around that never make that change into manhood.

    • There may be a reason why some cultures decided that the age of 30 was about right for men to marry and settle down.

        • Does he want a family? Would he be interested in pursuing that with an older woman? (Not like hugely older. Eight years.)

          Men are also assumed by some people to not be interested in their own children (thus the need for the father’s rights movement), and that any desire to be involved in their children’s lives and activities is proof of their evil. A man being a single father to girls just can’t happen. It’s wrong on the face of it. (I might be a little bitter because of some family issues going on right now.)

          • He wants a family. An older woman might not give him children. Sorry about your problems. Yep– I am seeing a father’s rights movement… girls need their fathers and boys need their fathers.

  19. That is, the fact that you can’t run away from each other makes marriage THE safe space where you can see each other without veils, and be each other and have someone else accept you.

    A possible messy but related factor– there is another place that you’re supposed to be able to do that.

    Family.

    I’ve mentioned before that one of the things my sister and I use to do was have vicious, screaming fights…because we knew that five minutes later, it would be fine.

    I know my mom will love me no matter what.

    And what is destroyed by no-fault divorce? What is the threat, that Mad Marx and his bandits have GOT to get rid of, the naturally occuring alternate power structure that keeps screwing up the plans of totalitarians everywhere?

    The family.

    • The little Commonwealth, as the Puritans put it, that was the foundation for a Godly* Commonwealth.

      *The Separatists who founded Plymouth Colony considered themselves the Godly and others to be Strangers or Worldly. Either way, they recognized that if the family wasn’t solid, the state would crumble as well.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      As a child it had occurred to me that if the romantic ‘falling out of love’ was possible, and could lead to divorce, that there were also questions of personal interest relating to parental love.

      Long term, my reaction was that there were extremes that I could and would go to in order that I my becoming a parent would be a decision, and one that I would make after being fully committed to the consequences.

    • > I know my mom will love me no matter what.

      Doesn’t work that way for everyone, alas.

      Just because we share some common DNA doesn’t make me “family” to a particular group of users and drug addicts.

      • I know that is sadly that way for some people– just like I know marriages are not always true.

        But I start to get suspicious when all the sanctuaries are under attack.

  20. “Portugal was not a third world country. It was at least second, maybe first and a half.”

    I understand the statement, and I know you know the difference… but it still bothers me that 3rd world and 2nd world has come to mean 3rd rate and 2nd rate in many people’s vocabulary, instead of the historic meaning of the Cold War global divisions.

    But then I also chafe when newsreaders use decimated to mean anything other than to reduce by a tenth and killing all the officers. It literally annoys me.

    • As we got it in school in the early ’70s:

      First World: natural resources and industrial development. (US, Canada, etc.)

      Second World: natural resources OR industrial development: (Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Brazil)

      Third World: no pot to piss in, nor window to throw it out of. (Haiti, Solomon Islands, Bangladesh)

    • yes. I know it’s not what it was meant to mean. I just find it funny to put it that way.

  21. Have you heard of ‘The Feminine Mystique’?

    I knew the book, but not the author.

    Short version, she wrote the mythology of ‘all those house-wife moms in the suburbs getting dosed out of their minds and being miserable’.

  22. Serendipity does its thing.

    http://americandigest.org/wp/the-secular-vs-the-sacred-archbishop-chaputs-meditation-for-palm-sunday/

    The Word of God tells us several key things. First, love is more than a feeling or instinct. It’s an act of the will. And it always has a cost in some form of suffering for the sake of others. It involves the free gift of ourselves to another person even at the risk of being hurt. This is why marriage is a covenant and not simply a contract. Contracts always have an escape clause. Love freely refuses an escape clause. Marriage is not a negotiated settlement between two sovereign parties, but two persons irreversibly submitting themselves to each other and becoming one flesh. And what results? New life in children. But in fact, all love, married or celibate, results in new life in one form or another. Just as Christ’s death on the cross watered the earth with his blood to redeem and renew the world, so every act of selfless love bears fruit in new life.