Tag Archives: Relationships

It Ain’t as Bad as They Say

I’ve been struggling the past week to write.

There’s been a lot going on. Today is my mother’s birthday – the first since she died.

My father was recently diagnosed with leukemia, although at his age, it’s kind of a wheel of misfortune. Something was bound to come up.

I had a referral to yet one more specialist, and I’ll be undergoing yet another procedure on Monday.

All this is distracting.

However, I’m neither complaining nor asking for sympathy.

I love my family and any time I get to spend with them. I love my job and the people with whom I work. I enjoy music and being able to play a little. I can go upstairs to my office and turn on the ham radio and talk to people all over the world.

I am working on a thrift store telescope because I love the skies.

My dog thinks I’m the greatest thing in the world. My parrot thinks I’m his entire flock.

Best of all, my wife is my best friend, and everything I’ve ever dreamed of.

I’m blessed with everything anyone could want.

However, recent events have prevented me from writing any brilliant insights, major philosophical revelations or earth-shattering thoughts.

But, then again, I’ve never done that before.

Go figure.



What is it that makes two people a “Couple”?

Usually a casual date may be referred to as a couple, such as “the couple at the next table” but a Couple acknowledges something more significant. After thinking about it for a while, I decided that when two people present themselves to other as a Couple that is the deciding factor. It’s similar to the old concept of common-law marriage; if you tell the world you’re a married couple, you are.

Some people enter into serial Coupleships. A person may have a dating relationship, be engaged, or married on a sequential basis. Relationships may be with different partners. Sadly, a person may be married to one individual, but be Coupled to someone else.

The ideal, in my mind, are two people who are committed to each other and to their relationship at a higher level than they present to others. The best example might be the married Couple who are truly bound together, well aware of each other’s imperfections who still share the good, the bad and the ugly. Their private commitment is to love and support one another without question and without limit.

How are some Couples able to achieve this? I think they cheat and have a Couple of three. They tend to have a relationship in which God is the center through which their love and commitment to one another flows. They love God first, and happily take a close second place. In this way, God is neither a distraction nor a competitor, but an integral part of their relationship. Since God’s love is perfect, iIf their love for one another is linked to and modeled on God’s love, it I no longer merely a worldly love, but one that aspires to otherworldy.

Sex and Marriage in the Future

It was a very nice meal at one of those restaurants that people save for special occasions. It had included Cloned Breast of Duck with a delightful artificial orange flavoring, genetically engineered hydroponic rice and even a very nice bottle of Ohio’s finest hybrid sugar beet wine. Afterwards the couple walked along one of the main thoroughfares, down the escalator and into the public transportation dematerialization chamber.

They rematerialized several hundred kilometers away and walked from the station to her home. He followed her inside and sat down as she removed her coat.

“What a nice night,” she offered. “I know lots of girls have sex with their dates just because it’s expected, but you really went out of your way to make me feel special, so I’m actually looking forward to it.

“Uhh, I’d rather not,” he replied.

“Are you breaking up with me?” she asked.

“No,” he replied. “But, we’ve known each other ever since we were kids, we’ve been spending a lot of time together and I think you’re special – really, really special.”

“You think I’m special so you don’t want to have sex with me?”

“Not exactly.” She looked at him puzzled as he continued.

“You know I’m working on my dissertation in anthropological history, and as I was doing research I came across some very old data files. I mean these date from before the twenty-first century. They were so old that they had originally been printed on paper in a form called a magazine.” He paused.

“You could at least come over and sit by me,” he offered. She hesitated and sat next to him making sure to leave space between the two of them.

“Anyway,” he continued, “They used to have a custom in which one man and one woman would make an agreement to spend their life together and share everything. They promised to stick together through the good and the bad. The only people they had sex with were each other.” She looked at him with interested amazement.

“Did that arrangement work?”

“Not always. Some couples parted when life got challenging. Some got bored with each other. Some had sex with other people – they called that ‘cheating’ and since it negated the exclusiveness it seriously endangered the marriage.”

“Why did they stop this marriage thing?”

“As near as I can tell, the celebrities were the trend setters and didn’t value marriage, so people lost interest. The definition of marriage changed and eventually marriage could include two or more people of whatever combination of sexes. Once it lost the sense of commitment, it eventually just faded away.”

“So how did this marriage thing originally work?” she asked.

“Well, a couple would date for a while – like we’ve been doing – and decide if they loved and liked each other enough to commit to each other exclusively. This led to something called an engagement, a period when they let others know that they were planning to be married. Finally, they would have a big ceremony with family and friends at which they would be declared married, followed by a huge party. Then they’d start their life as a couple.”

“That sounds wild and radical,” she began, then paused. “And very romantic.” She tried to move closer to him on the couch, but to her surprise he suddenly stood up, turned to face her and knelt on one knee.

“The engagement usually started with the man proposing and offering his intended partner a gift.” She watched as he opened a small box that contained a diamond ring. He asked her a question, but she didn’t really hear his words. All she knew was she answered with a yes.

The Evolution of Manners

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, people tried hard to communicate, but could only shout at one another and wildly wave their arms. Over time they developed language to communicate and eventually those who lived together developed certain common traits. In most cases whatever word they used to refer to themselves translated into “We the people.” They made decisions so that everyone would know what to expect. These might be that everyone ate with their hands, or chopsticks, or whatever. Are we going to belch in appreciation after we eat?


They decided how men and women would interact. Do we admit that women are the bosses, or do we pretend that men are? No one group’s set of rules was better than another’s – it just was a way to make it easy to know what to expect.

Over time, these conventions were not only used to include the people who created them, but could be used to exclude others. It was obvious that the stranger was a savage because he did not follow our ways. This was the first of several unfortunate consequences.

Eventually, the use of manners changed from being a tool to put everyone at ease to a tool to not only exclude outsiders, but to separate the elite from the riff-raff. The elite not only ate with knives, forks and spoons, but had a secret code as to exactly which fork to use when, and frowned mightily at the riff-raff who didn’t know a salad fork from a dessert fork. (Harumph!)


But the Age of Aquarius arrived, and with the moon in the seventh house, and Mercury aligned with Mars (and peace will guide the planets, and love will steer the stars… Sorry) we discarded many of the conventions because they had outlived their usefulness (let’s face it, who knows how to use grape shears at formal dinner – in fact have you ever even seen grape shears?) and a great egalitarian movement was carried forward.

Without the artificiality of meaningless etiquette, people began to coalesce.

Unfortunately, about the same time, cable television entered the scene. Twenty-four hour news channels and opinion programs reigned supreme. Debate was in the air.

So today, once again, the norm is that people shout at one another and wildly wave their arms.