Being in a committed relationship can be a wonderful
At its best, a good
relationship feels welcoming, warm, secure, supportive, and nurturing. The partners can depend on each other, they
trust each other, they’re in each other’s corner. They share a level of intimacy with each
other that they don’t share with anyone else, and they become bonded in a
In many ways, this bonding is necessary and adaptive. A couple whose bond is strong will be more
resilient through the stresses and strains of ordinary life, such as job
changes, buying a home, and having children.
November 24, 2014
At the end of my last post, I said that this post would be
about “the trap of Couplehood.” But
before I begin on that topic, I wanted to say a little more about Denial of
Self, and what that means.
What is the Self? Simply
speaking, the Self is our identity. It is
who we are, separate from other people. Aspects
of the Self include our age, race, sex, beliefs, values, ability status, and so
on. Also included are things like our chosen
line of work, our talents and abilities, and personal or professional goals,
such as completing an advanced degree or having children.
November 5, 2014
Last post, we talked about Denial of Self, which is sacrificing
parts of who you are, in order to keep your relationship running smoothly. The opposite of Denial of Self is Personal
When we partner-up (married or not), we usually stop
thinking of ourselves as “single” and start thinking of ourselves as part of a “couple.” This new status is reflected in all kinds of
ways: couples are invited places together, bring each other to family functions,
they may get engaged, move in together, or get married.
October 20, 2014
So, lo these many months ago, we were talking about the old “Closed
Contract” of marriagevsthe new “Open
Contract.” As I mentioned previously,
the book that inspired this blog series is “Open Marriage,” by Nena O’Neill
and George O’Neill (see my list of references).
We spent the last two posts talking about ownership of our
partners (clause #1 in the closed contract), so now I’d like to move on to “Denial
of Self.” This one can be tricky,
because on the surface, it looks like a virtue.
February 19, 2014
In my last post, I started a discussion contrasting “ownership” of our partners, with “undependent living.” (SeeOpen Marriage, in my list of references.) Since this can be a challenging idea to embrace, I wanted to expand on it a little.
When we talk about ownership, we don’t mean it literally, of course. But in our marriages and other long-term relationships, we often behave in ways that look a little bit like ownership.
Free time is a great example.
January 13, 2014
Good relationships aren’t easy. Goodlong-termrelationships (whether marriage or something less formal) are especially difficult, because we demand so much from them over such a long period of time. Paradoxically, researchers have found that good relationships, including marriages, do best when expectations arehigh, not when they’re low. But if that’s true, why is marriage, as an institution, floundering?
Two reasons: first, we expect way too much; but perhaps more importantly, we’re expecting the
December 17, 2013
Last post, we all had a good little laugh about the rules of courtly love. But as silly as they look to us, they were taken very seriously at the time (the time, of course, being the Middle Ages). However, we must remember that these were the rules of agame– albeit a very elaborate one – that was designed to NOT interfere with the sanctity of marriage.
How’s that again? Asking and giving of ladies’ “tokens” (usually a scarf or handkerchief), singing of love songs, and outrageous flirting…all with someone else’s spouse?
December 9, 2013
So, here we are, trying to figure out the rules for modern marriage…but where to start?
Well, before we start making up new rules, let’s take a look at the source of some of the old ones. To do that, we have to go back to the Middle Ages. Yep. I’m serious. TheMiddle Ages.
In the Middle Ages, the ruling classes spent a lot of time “at court,” that is, staying in and around the palace of the king. And with not a lot to do (especially during the winter), the nobles made up the game of “Courtly Love” to keep themselves amused.
November 25, 2013
As I said at the end of my last post, traditionally, marriage was more about what youdothan who youare.
It may sound a bit strange to us, but for many hundreds of years, husbands and wives were partners in a professional and financial sense, rather than in the romantic sense. And because they knew their survival depended upon each other in a very literal way, they had to make sure that each of them had the necessary skills to make their partnership work – and I do mean
November 4, 2013
This week’s post begins with a small “housekeeping” note: I’m going to start a running list of resources at the end of this blog. The list will be alphabetical, and I’ll just keep adding to it as I use more references. None of it is required reading (although much of it is very interesting); it’s just a list of a few of the works that have informed my thinking on the subject of relationships.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming!
I ended my last post on a somewhat provocative note, asking, “Do we still marry for dynastic reasons?