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Posts tagged: marriage

The institution of marriage…


Good morning, Netizens…


I have referred to my wife as “my strong right arm”, which could be construed as a play on words since I happen to be left-handed, the latter of which I will concede is a demographic anomaly in its own right. It stands to reason that this balance of nature works for me since, as a former wild child of the 60's and 70's, I would be lying if I suggested for a moment I never sowed any wild oats in my past. However after nearly 20 years of living together in relative marital bliss, it also stands to reason that I would begin to reflect upon the state of our matrimony.


I did not begin this retrospect lightly, either. The Pew Research Center actually did most of the hard journalistic foot work for me, in their far-reaching study of the decline of marriage as an American institution. While some of the Pew findings surprised me somewhat, some of them were nearly predictable, given the various ways our society has changed over the last few decades. It stands to reason that people are not getting married as often as they were twenty years ago, and those that do fall within a number of social and economic parameters that increasingly are part of the new face of society as we know and accept it to be in America today.


According to Pew, people who have better-than-average incomes stand a better chance than everyone else to have a sustained marital community, as do people with college educations. Pew also states that “In 1960, two-thirds (68%) of all twenty-somethings were married. In 2008, just 26% were.” They raise the question, as do I, how many of today's youth will eventually formally tie the knot, as they seem much more inclined than their elders to view cohabitation and various other forms of family, including gay and lesbian relationships, in a much more positive light.


I have always had a nearly morbid curiosity, perhaps even a suspicion about other people's marriages. Given the statistics from Pew, I have always had a hunch about how faithful and monogamous apparently-happily married couples really are. Pew suggests, and I once again concur, that the number of truly monogamous couples has been steadily dropping in the last decade. I cannot help but remember a well-respected member of the community, a Mormon with a good professional career and a picture-perfect family according to everyone who knows him, who was accused by his spouse of infidelity. I am somewhat surprised that their marriage still survives.


That is not to suggest for a moment that our marriage has not been tested in the fires of turmoil. Despite the fact my wife is very reticent about my discussing details of our private lives together, perhaps as well she should, we have had a number of personal tribulations that would perhaps try others. We conceived a daughter late in life, which we lost with terrible sadness and grief. We have endured financial hardship just when we thought we were safe. I lost several close personal friends, one to murder, several others to cancer, and in each case, we drew closer to one another rather than apart.


We have close personal friends who are not married, at least in the conventional sense our more-austere predecessors would have accepted. The thread of divorce runs as rampant through the lives of our friends as in our combined pasts, and yet we believe in the institution of marriage itself.


In the coming days and weeks, I will be exploring more about the bond (some refer to it as a jail sentence) of marriage. Feel free to share any insights you may have into marriage or other form of family-building.



The state of matrimonial bliss…

Good morning, Netizens…

This rerun of a David Horsey cartoon still bears careful consideration over the passage of time. It speaks to the ageless question, just what is marriage anyway? Of course Judeo-Christians quickly will assert that marriage is defined as a union between male and female; some may even go so far as to suggest said marriage is blessed by sex performed in the “missionary position”, as anything else is suspect.

However, as Dr. John Olson is often wont to say, there is a virtual village of “other” living in marital bliss out there who, as Horsey’s cartoon suggests, simply want to peacefully coexist with the sanctified world of married couples out there and be left the hell alone to their own devices.

My favorite tale outside the demarcation lines that define traditional marriage, involves the two ladies of lesbian persuasion who once lived on South Grand in Spokane. At first glance they appeared every bit as wholesome as any women in the 90’s might appear, both were buxom, tall enough to be imposing and yet very vivacious, well-educated and quite friendly, even to straight men and women. They just wanted to be left alone.

Their landlord, George, however, was a homophobic mean-spirited SOB who, until he learned of their “other” tendencies, was willing to leave them be, assuming they were both students at Eastern, which was true. However, during a routine stop to fix a leaky hot water heater, he discovered their “secret” and all deals were off.

George’s burly maintenance man, whose name eludes me for the moment, simply came in one afternoon uninvited and beat the crap out of them with a baseball bat, tore up their apartment and tossed their brand-new refrigerator across the kitchen and through a pantry door. This where the story would have ended in a different age and time, but one of the pair was studying pre-law and knew a good attorney.

This ugly incident cost George a private substantial damage settlement out of court and coincidentally a divorce, once his wife found out about George’s garish collection of pornographic pictures. One of his favorite themes, it seems, were of lesbian women. You no more can judge a book by its cover than you can the state of another person’s matrimonial bliss with a pair of binoculars.

Thus ends my object lesson of the day with thanks to David Horsey.


I do, he/she said mechanically…

Good morning, Netizens…

May 17, 2010

Picture Credit: Itsuo Inouye/AP

‘I do,’ she repeated robotically: Bride Satoko Inouye puts a ring on her groom Tomohiro Shibata as I-Fairy, a four-foot robot wearing a wreath of flowers, directs their wedding ceremony at a Tokyo restaurant. This was the first time a marriage had been led by a robot, according to manufacturer Kokoro Co.

We’re going to take yet another swing at organized religion this morning, having already muttered thickly to myself about gay Episcopal Bishops in the church. Here we have a tin can with wheels and a handful of robotic chips marrying people for fun and profit for its manufacturer. Who the hell ordained this robot? Is it even qualified to marry two people? Not to be old-fashioned or any such thing, but the next thing we’re going to see is robotic judges and town clerks which, in some jurisdictions, are allowed to marry couples. Come to think of it, having robots as court judges might be a step upward, given the current precedents being tossed into play in Spokane by judges and barristers.

The great Isaac Asimov probably would chortle or perhaps even nod his head in approval at this event, having written the quintessential “I, Robot” a copy of which graces my humble library shelves. Despite the fact I have read the book several times over, and am enamored of Asimov’s literary license, it does make me hesitant when I see the underlying premise put into action in my life despite the Rules of Robotics.

A few of my more fundamentalist friends, already brow feasting on the idea of gay Bishops in the Episcopalian faith, are doubtlessly up in arms over this marriage/non-marriage, as it seems that each religious faction has its own version of who can marry couples. Can a robot lawfully marry two people in these United States? I have no idea, but the thought does tantalize my sense of right and wrong.


Cast out from the Garden…

Good morning, Netizens…

Everyone in the news media seems to have taken their shots at Tiger Woods lately, so it comes as no surprise that cartoonist David Horsey hauls off and takes a shot of his own. Why should that surprise anyone?

Unfortunately, the news stories of Woods’ infidelities with various women does not seem to be related in any way to his undeniable ability to play golf with incredible skill, but it does impact his billion dollar bottom line in other ways. Global consulting firm Accenture Ltd. became the first major sponsor to drop Woods. The move ends a six-year relationship during which Accenture credited its “Go on, be a Tiger” campaign with boosting its image significantly.

Everyone, it seemed, once wanted a piece of Tiger Woods, but as of last week, Woods announced on his web site that he was leaving golf, at least for awhile. When or if he will return hasn’t been discussed, but it does seem premature for the news media to continue to put stories of his infidelities on page one. It is not news anymore.


My only comments on Tiger Woods confessions…

Good morning, Netizens…

The tabloids and various other news media have pounced on Tiger Woods like a panther hungry for fresh meat. Using such words as scandal, sin and confession, they attempt in various ways to portray marriage as an arcane institution that we should move beyond. Television shows have increasingly, over the last few years, promoted our acceptance of infidelity and made it headline news. Smut becomes news; news becomes smut or so it seems.

Woods’ adulterous affairs which have threatened his reputation if not his his opulent product endorsements, have rapidly become fodder for the laugh track on late-night television. Television networks appear to be denigrating the significance of loving relationships between husband and wife with unwashed humor, and be damned the consequences.

Mind you, I am not immediately opening that can of worms called what is marriage? Marriage, at least where I come from, is a monogamous relationship between a man and a woman. There are some who believe that the government should regulate or otherwise enter into the act of marriage, but I think not. They have enough trouble running the government. I probably will catch hell from Dr. John for saying so, but I also do not believe marriage is a relationship, monogamous or otherwise, between two men, two women or two aardvarks for that matter. Those are contracts; close but no cigar.

I understand that Elin Woods, Tiger’s spouse, has hit paydirt in wake of the scandal. Various media outlets have reported that Tiger Woods and Elin Woods’ prenuptial agreement has been amended in light of current “transgressions” becoming public. What’s does Mrs. Tiger Woods stand to gain? Rumor has it that Elin Woods has been offered a financial package worth $80 million for sticking around with Tiger Woods. She also gets an immediate $5 million payout.

That doesn’t sound like a marriage to me. That sounds like a heady financial arrangement with a marriage remotely attached.


The Bonding…

Good morning, Netizens…

Until yesterday it has been decades since I last attended an old-fashioned marriage ceremony. Please note I did not use the word wedding, for that implies the surreal episodes of semi-lackadaisical frolics that precede the ceremony, more white lace than any other events held in a church, far more flowers than are needed for state funerals and the semi-lucid alcoholic overindulgences that follow the reception. Normally the actual ceremony that accompanies these events is anti-climactic, terse and typically quite predictable.

The minister at yesterday’s marriage had a coy sense of humor, that crept into the otherwise serious and somewhat lengthy ceremony, like an uninvited but gleefully-accepted friend dropping by the house for a visit. In his comments, the elderly minister stated to the groom, “this is no piece of hamburger you have here. This is prime rib, and you need to understand this.”

Fairly glistening in her white wedding gown, her face glowing with that mysterious radiance that spread from face-to-face among the onlookers, the lovely bride yesterday had struggled and fought a good fight to end up at the altar with a good man, but as bride and groom stood there before the minister, the battle was over, and a greater combat began.

Marriage is a process of bonding two lives into one, creating a world of give-and-take, and nothing could be closer to the truth in my opinion. In this complex and mind-altering world we live in, when you take two diverse lives and inexorably bond them into one flesh, one mind and one heart, you are asking a miracle to be performed. Given the statistics of marriage and divorce, it appears that sometimes the miracle simply fades over time. The bond falls asunder and the ugliness of divorce takes over.

In my most-quiet moments, if I had a simple prayer to say from this time forward, I would pray that my friend Mel and her newly-conjoined husband live long and prosperous lives, and that they have children who, someday may hear about how their mother and mother, stood before the altar, anxious to be off on their lives together, but willing to hear the admonishments and comments of an old minister full of wisdom.

Perhaps they will tell their children how, at the altar, Mel was a ‘piece of prime rib’ and should always be respected and loved. For if you build a marriage on solid rock, with just a twist of humor to make one smile when things get rough, they will live long and contented lives.


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