Posts tagged "Marriage"
Another Week Ends: Bloated Syllabi, the Jeremiah Option, Better Call Saul, Brangelina Vows, and New Culinary Imperatives

Another Week Ends: Bloated Syllabi, the Jeremiah Option, Better Call Saul, Brangelina Vows, and New Culinary Imperatives

1) Our friend at The Dish, Matt Sitman, gave a poignant response to the question of Christianity in modern life. As opposed to Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option”, where stalwarts of Christian virtue create a new community devoid of distractions, Sitman prefers the “Jeremiah Option,” as described by Samuel Goldman, that life as God intended is meant not in escaping Babylon, but in building our houses there. Sitman (hat-tipping our beloved Thornton Wilder) looks to what makes Christianity fundamentally unique anyways—not the stringency of time-honored virtues (many religions honor them) but the power of God to forgive.

Goldman gets at something important…

Read More »

‘No Divorce’ Pacts and the Benefits of a Recession

‘No Divorce’ Pacts and the Benefits of a Recession

A touching installment of Modern Love appeared in this past Sunday’s NY Times, entitled “We Pledge Allegiance…”, in which Debby Greene traces how the “no divorce” pact she made with her husband has played out in her marriage, thirty years down the line. Clearly the survival of any relationship is seldom a matter simply of resolve. Still, in a society biased toward self-determination and individual ‘freedom’, their pact seems downright radical. I should let her tell it:

Our first summer together, we read the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy to each other below high cliffs on a beach in Southern California….

Read More »

Love Lessons from Fungus: Married at First Sight

Love Lessons from Fungus: Married at First Sight

In case you haven’t heard, the Biography Channel ain’t your Dad’s late night insomnia cure any longer. Over the past few months they have relaunched as “fyi,” (yes, the weird comma is in the logo). And they are turning out some really wild programming.

Married at First Sight (Tuesdays at 9ET/10PT) is a show billed as a “social experiment” where people volunteer to get married to complete strangers. They meet for the first time when they exchange their vows. Six people were narrowed down from hundreds of applicants to be paired together in attempted wedded bliss. Four experts, a sexologist, psychologist, sociologist,…

Read More »

Let’s Hear It for the Boys… And Girls

Let’s Hear It for the Boys… And Girls

Another great contribution from Stephanie Phillips:

“This could be our last big surprise in life,” I said to my husband on our way to the gender-reveal ultrasound of our second child a couple of months ago. He laughed at the melodrama of the statement even as we both acknowledged that the news was likely to be anticlimactic, since the perinatologist had already guessed–and we had suspected–that we were having another boy. An hour later, our suspicions were confirmed. I was set to be the lone female in a house populated by Y chromosomes.

Read More »

The Priesthood of All Couples Counselors

Building on last week’s Fargo post, some food for thought from pages 119-120 of writer-philosopher-‘religious atheist’ Alain de Botton’s provocative How to Think More About Sex (other brave portions of which we excerpted here):

treeoftrust

“In a perfect world, all couples would be visited by a psychotherapist on a weekly basis, without even having to put themselves forward for the service. The session would simply be a regular feature of a good, ordinary life, as the Friday evening meal is for Jews, and would offer some of the same cathartic function as this ritual. Above all, neither party would be made to feel by society that he or she was crazy for having therapy–which is currently the main reason people neglect to see therapists and therefore slowly go crazy.

This ideal therapist would take a history of a relationship, explore its current tensions and try to serve as a catalyst for the sort of change that the couple themselves were too weak, busy or confused to bring about on their own. She would remind her clients that every exchange, however minor, had meaning and could set off a chain of recriminations and resentments that would prevent them from wanting to have sex. She would teach them to treat the complicated business of being in a relationship with extraordinary care. She would ask them both to arrive at every session with a list of issues that had arisen during the previous week, and insist that they each listen to the other’s complaints compassionately, without resorting to angry self-justification or injured self-pity… She would review their individual psychological histories and endeavor to help make the couple aware of some of the ways in which, because of their particular pasts, they might both be likely to distort or misread reality. And when arguments did flare up, she would urge each of them to see the other as being wounded and sad rather than malicious or spiteful.

This therapist would belong to a new kind of priesthood, designed for an age that no longer believes in religious forgiveness and understanding in the afterlife but that is still very much in need of those same qualities in the here and now.”

Marital Contempt, Fargo the Miniseries, and One-Way Love

Marital Contempt, Fargo the Miniseries, and One-Way Love

When my husband Josh and I were newly engaged we underwent a series of pre-marital counseling sessions with a therapist. While I wish I could tell you what I remember from that expensive experience, I cannot. We probably checked a mental box of “reassurance about us being okay” and moved on. Some weeks before our wedding, Josh’s bishop in Atlanta asked to meet with us. Years later, that meeting is something I consider on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Here’s what he said: if true contempt enters into a marriage, it is over. After years of counseling to-be-joyfully-wed couples, this…

Read More »

Infidelity in the Age of Transparency? But Why?

Infidelity in the Age of Transparency? But Why?

Slate interviewed (the fascinating) therapist Esther Perel a couple weeks ago, the new age Dr. Ruth, the “sexual healer” of Mating in Captivity, about her most recent project, Affairs in the Age of Transparency. In this new research, she speaks solely to patients involved in extramarital affairs, the vast majority of whom describe themselves as “content” in their marriages. In being asked whether or not her patients are interested in leaving their marriages, the vast majority say ‘no.’ Why, then, the infidelity? Why do we cheat, when today we are asked to be more honest than ever about our lives—more…

Read More »

Wendell Berry, “Marriage” (1968)

sleeping-woman-meditation-1904.jpg!BlogFor Tanya (his wife)

How hard it is for me, who live
in the excitement of women
and have the desire for them
in my mouth like salt. Yet
you have taken me and quieted me.
You have been such light to me
that other women have been
your shadows. You come near me
with the nearness of sleep.
And yet I am not quiet.
It is to be broken. It is to be
torn open. It is not to be
reached and come to rest in
ever. I turn against you,
I break from you, I turn to you.
We hurt, and are hurt,
and have each other for healing.
It is healing. It is never whole.

A Little Is Enough (for Pete Townshend)

A Little Is Enough (for Pete Townshend)

I’ve just finished reading Pete Townshend’s brutally honest autobiography Who I Am, and one section struck me as good Valentines Day fodder. Which may be a little ironic, given that Townshend and The Who are not known for making terribly romantic music. But by way of context, the end of the 70s found Pete in a pretty low place. The Who had suffered the death of drummer Keith Moon (and would soon endure an incredibly tragic riot at one of their concerts in Cincinnati), Pete’s drinking and drug use was off the charts, and that, combined with his philandering, had…

Read More »

Don’t Gimme Shelter

Don’t Gimme Shelter

If I burden myself with a little help-mate during my adventures, it is not out of sentiment or caprice – it is that he has many fine qualities of his own that he has overlooked in his obsession with me. Indeed, any reputation I have for mental acuity and sharpness comes, in truth, from the extraordinary contrast John so selflessly provides.

–Sherlock, Sherlock, Season 3, Episode 2

Two items appeared on Andrew Sullivan’s blog Sunday morning that seemed, in proximity, to sharpen each other. The first item repeats a suggestion by Tom Ehrich, an Episcopal priest, who wrote in the Washington Post…

Read More »

A Little Interfaith Marriage Humor on Cheers

One wonders how many times the Book of Concord has been mentioned on a prime-time sitcom… ht TB:

Mike Tyson and His Beloved Trainer

Mike Tyson and His Beloved Trainer

If any professional athlete has the gift of gab, it is Mike Tyson. Words have proven to be profoundly significant in his life, from the infamous interviews about his relationships with the women in his life, to cussing out/threatening opponents in press conferences, to his now rather candid reflections on his crazy life in documentaries and stage shows and now his new autobiography. Grantland‘s Jay Caspian Kang’s recent piece on Tyson’s life and career is an extremely thoughtful observation on the complexities which mark Iron Mike’s life. The article especially sheds light on Tyson’s relationship with his former trainer/guardian, Cus…

Read More »

Vince Gill Gets Told One More Time About Jesus (and Divorce)

Vince Gill Gets Told One More Time About Jesus (and Divorce)

This week country music star Vince Gill made news for his confrontation of the Westboro Baptist protesters. While this ‘colorful’ group of believers normally likes to target military funerals, this week they had their sights set squarely on Gill and his adulterous ways. But when they showed up to protest at his Kansas City concert last week, Gill decided to confront and engage with them. As he approached the group one female protester asked him, “What are you doing with another man’s wife? Don’t you know that divorce plus remarriage equals adultery? Jesus said that.”

For those of you who don’t…

Read More »

Marital Expectations and Baby Bottle Cleanliness

Marital Expectations and Baby Bottle Cleanliness

“I have waited my whole life to be oppressed” admits Lynn Messina in the opening line of her incredible Modern Love column that appeared in the Times this past Sunday. In “Chained to Hearth or Warmed by It?” she comes clean about the ramifications that her yearning for victimhood–or predilection for self-pity (aka justification by suffering)–has had in her relationship with her husband. But it is also a story of grace triumphing over law in a very visceral sense. Some might say the writing is on the wall when Lynn describes her pre-parenthood agreement with her husband, Chris. Because he…

Read More »

Start-Up, Stay-at-Home Visionary: Solace for the Perfect Mom

Start-Up, Stay-at-Home Visionary: Solace for the Perfect Mom

The New York Times Magazine’s cover piece for this past week is a rejoinder to one from 2003, about mothers “opting out” of ambitious, lucrative career fields, to become stay-at-home mothers. This time, ten years later, Judith Warner catches up with and spotlights three women in particular who want a way back into their careers, and the picture given is definitely (and mercifully) mixed. Of the three women, one is divorced and living in a condo, one is living her dream as the CEO of her own non-profit, and another just lost her new job, worrying how the kids will…

Read More »