Tag Archives: marriage

I’m Gonna Need Some’a Y’All to Shut Up

Opponents of same-sex marriage have some arguments they like to fall back on a lot. Never mind that most of them fall into wet, sloppy shreds if you apply even the smallest amount of critical thinking.

marriage-equality-symbolThere’s the famous “slippery slope” theory that tells us gay marriage will lead to legalized pedophilia and bestiality and incestuous marriage between first-order relatives. Of course, because same-sex relationships and marriage are between consenting adults, there is no correlation to pedophilia and bestiality. And also, on the topic of animals, same-sex intimacy is actually pretty common in various species, and rarely do they fuck up fellow members of their species for indulging in such acts. As for legalized incest or incestuous marriage, it also isn’t anywhere near the same thing, as some kind of coercion or control is often in play, making the whole consent thing questionable from the get-go. Also, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any cultures through the ages that smile when incest takes place. It is typically taboo.

Speaking of history, there’s the argument that historically, there is no precedent for same-sex marriage. Hell, I used that one myself in younger years, even though I knew damned well that in various cultures, ancient Greece being the most well-known, there is much history of homosexual liaisons and full-fledged open relationships being not just condoned but often encouraged. Also, I’ve become aware of the fact recently that in the early Christian church, there are documented cases of same-sex marriage ceremonies taking place.

But, when all else fails, there’s the trump card, right? Same-sex marriage shouldn’t exist because marriage exists for the purpose of raising kids.

Now, this is the point where many people, even those who aren’t sure about letting men marry men and women marry women, might point out that many people get married with no intention of having children and many infertile people get married, and same-sex opponents have no problem with that.

That, of course, is because the people spouting that theory of marriage-is-all-about-spawning will tell you that people can change their minds about having kids and infertile people sometimes (though with vanishingly slim odds and a frequency that comes close to “never”) do end up conceiving.

But you know what, even though I think the argument of marriage being only about raising biological kids is stupid, I’m prepared to let the same-sex marriage opponents have it…and back them up on their refusal to allow same-sex marriage…if they make some fundamental(ist) and necessary changes to marriage laws nationwide.

Here’s what has to happen:

  • If you are married but have no children, you cannot get the tax benefits for being married.
  • If you are married but have no children, and your spouse dies without a will in place, the inheritance will go to blood relatives. If none exist, the state gets it all.
  • If you are married but have no children, you will have to go through a much more complex and difficult process to adopt than those with children do, because marriage is for the purpose of actually having kids and you haven’t proven yourself by doing that yet.
  • If you are married but have no children, you must defer to blood relatives of your spouse on any matters like surgical consent, end-of-life decisions and other major health and legal matters.
  • Once you no longer have any minor-aged children, you lose all the benefits of marriage as noted above.
  • Adopted children don’t count, as marriage is for the purpose of spawning families, not acquiring them.

So, once those changes are in place, you same-sex marriage opponents have my backing. Because then, you’ll finally be practicing what you preach about what marriage really is about.

Loosening or Tightening the Knot

I dislike absolutes in life, especially casually tossed out, hyperbolic blanket statements. They dig under my scalp and into my brain like psychic chiggers.

I know, I know…given past experience, you probably figure this is a post that’s going to be about racial stuff. And then you go back to the headline and get confused and wonder, “Is it about lynching somehow, whether literal or metaphorical?”

Nah.

The blanket statements and knots I’m talking about relate to marriage (or any other similar relationship between two people—any theoretically committed, long-term gig to be by each other’s side, in each other’s bodies and juggling each other’s hearts).

I’m a veteran of marriage, having been in one for more than 14 years now, and having dated my amazing (and lovely, and talented and smart and yes every so often frustrating and infuriating) partner for a couple years before she became my wife. I don’t think that makes me an expert, but I have enough hours logged now that I can say a few things with authority.

First, no marriage fails in a vacuum and second, no marriage is doomed.

Save your retorts for the end; give me a chance to explain. This isn’t one of those religious “You can’t ever let your marriage go to pieces” posts.

You see, one of the people I follow on Twitter (and who follows me) is going through a separation (her second with this man, I guess) and probably to divorce. We’ve traded a few tweets and I’m sure many other people on Twitter have communicated with her too, with support, commiseration, questions and maybe even criticism.

She seems to have a pretty healthy outlook overall about the situation, even though it’s stressful, obviously. But she made a tweet today that took me aback, about how she wasn’t innocent in the breakup, and that it is entirely her fault.

No, it isn’t.

I can say this with assurance, and it goes to the first of my earlier assertions: No marriage fails in a vacuum.

Just as it takes two people to make the relationship (well, usually two; it can be more, of course), it takes both of them to tear it asunder. In the heat of emotional things like this, it’s easy for both parties to point the finger of blame, or even for their friends and family to assign the role of villain to one person.

But I’ve come close to the abyss in my marriage. There have been some rough times in recent memory and moments I thought it was all over. My wife and I have come back from the brink, and I have a very good feeling that we either won’t get to the brink again, or we’ll figure out again how to avoid going over the edge if we do.

Something interesting has happened for me in the travails I’ve faced in my own marriage: Realizing where I’ve gone wrong (mostly because I was willing to look inside myself and my actions in the context of the marriage; many people aren’t willing to do that). Now, I’m not going to say who was mostly to blame for the near ending of the marriage. But while one of us was noticeably more responsible for the dilemmas we faced, neither of us was anywhere near guiltless.

Fact is that in any relationship like this, no one is blameless. One person might be 99% to blame and the other 1% to blame, but there are always contributions and failures on both sides, and rarely is it so lopsided as to even be 80% or 90% in one person’s corner.

And that is part of the reason why no marriage is inherently doomed to failure (my second assertion). Because there is blame to go around, there are opportunities for both parties to fix things. If both parties are willing to truly look at themselves as honestly as possible and at the other person, those people will be able to get to the heart of what’s causing the rift.

Once the causes (and rarely is it just one thing) are identified, they can be fixed.

I don’t care how dire it is. They can be fixed.

However, the question is often: Should they be fixed?

And another question, perhaps more central to the issue, is: Are both people willing to do what needs doing?

Both people can make the commitment to change whatever needs changing in their behaviors, attitudes, perceptions or whatever else. They can save the marriage.

The question is never “can a marriage be saved” but rather “is it worth the effort/pain/time to save it?”

In our case, it has been worth it. Some major changes have been made. Changes that many would not be willing to make and that some might even say neither person should have been willing to make.

As to the former, not everyone can make the necessary changes. That doesn’t make them bad people or failures. We can only go as far as we feel we have the strength to go.

As for the latter point, whether the changes should have been made, well…that’s no one else’s fucking business. It only matters that we felt the marriage was worth keeping and that whatever discomforts might come with making changes were worth the payoff. No one looking from the outside toward the inside can truly judge whether there’s something worth saving; only those on the inside can really decide.

That’s not to say people on the outside can’t help with insights, observations and advice. But they don’t get to make the decision, and they sure as hell shouldn’t be coming out with “I told you so” comments if an attempt to save things fails. Because, bottom line, it isn’t their marriage; it isn’t their call.

Married Life

Gotten off the blogging track again. *Sigh* Difficult space right now. Too many things to do, trying to keep my thoughts and emotions reined in…not enough time.

Many, perhaps most, of you know the drill.

Anyway, just a quick thought today. Maybe I can at least manage quickies for the rest of this week, and maybe sneak in another installment of the novel before the weekend.

Today, marriage in on my mind, if for no other reason that my own is going through some changes right now.

No, not getting divorced, unless Mrs. Blue is planning something behind my back. Unlikely, since if she wanted out, she’d just tell me straight out. 😉 No, not separating. No, not fighting. No, not sleeping in separate beds.

Just changing.

Part of it comes from our youngest child, who in now almost four years has turned our life upside down (and that’s not always a bad thing) in ways Son of Blue never did. In fact, at 17 years old, Son of Blue never turned our marriage inside our or upside down at all. Little Girl Blue, whole different story.

Part of it financial woes and stresses related to them.

Part of it is just getting older.

Part of it is changes in each of us, the wife and I, where we haven’t necessarily drifted apart but where we don’t synch in all the ways that we used to.

It’s hard, because on top of all my other life stresses, I don’t want to deal with big changes in my marriage. After 12 years of doing this, I don’t want to try to discover new ways to connect and to re-evalaute the ways we relate to each other.

And that’s understandable. It’s also selfish.

Things do change. That’s a fact of life. And marriages are among them. People change and marriages consist of two people.

Not all the changes are bad, but there are one or two things that have gotten lost recently that I would like back. Fact is, they might never come back into the equation. Or they might with some work. But I have to be prepared that their loss may be a permanent thing, and I may need to find other things to replace them, or simply adjust to the changes and focus more on what’s still there.

The Bible tells us that a man and woman should cleave together and become one. I agree with that. But marriage is always a work in progress. Hell, when I was single, I had to deal with changes within myself, and they weren’t always pleasant. I didn’t get rid of myself, and I’m not getting rid of my wife, either.

In the end though, the question I have to ask is, what’s most important? Love. And the question is, do I love my wife and do I look forward to making this marriage work better, even when things change in big ways?

And to that, I can only say what I said some 12 years ago.

I do.

Two-fer Tuesday: Marriage by Deacon Blue

I don’t know how many among my readers are against the idea of legalizing same-sex marriage. But if there are any of you out there, with strongly held opinions that you can argue well, would you please tell me something?

What the hell is so wrong about legalizing same-sex marriages?

Please don’t give me biblical arguments, though, despite the fact I expound and ramble about spiritual issues around here a lot. Because frankly, marriage is a civil union, ultimately. That license comes from the state, the recognition of your rights as a married couple and the status of your inheritance, custody, etc. are defined by the state. You might get married in a church and say your vows to God, but the institution of marriage is not a religious or spiritual thing inherently.

So, again, what is wrong with same-sex marriage? How is it going to lead to the downfall of the family? How does it fly in the face of honest, wholesome values? What apocalyptic thing is it going to unleashed societally?

Two of my best friends where I live right now are a gay couple. They are raising a little girl. They raise her as well as the traditional married couples whom I count among my real friends. They raise her better than average married couples based on married folks with kids whom I’ve encountered. In every way, the model nuclear family.

Opposite-sex couples separate and divorce and remmary at alarming rates.

Same-sex couples pay the same taxes the rest of us do and follow the same laws and are equal citizens, so why are they denied—or why should they be denied—the right to get hitched?

I really want to know. I really want to see some defensible argument. Because so far, all I see among the people who protest against this and rail against the idea is a bunch of mean-hearted, closed-minded, ill-informed religious folks who are trying to bolster a civil debate using biblical arguments.

Two-fer Tuesday: Marriage by Miz Pink

Deke agreed to let me be saucy with today’s topic, while he’ll throw his body on some other grenade topically speaking.

So, how’dya all feel about open relationships?

No, silly, I am NOT asking you if you’d like to get all jiggy with me or Sir Pink. Don’t email me with any photos of yourself or offers of salacious intent. I’m pretty much keeping my bedroom off limits to outsiders and I don’t much like the idea of me or Sir Pink going visiting anyone elses private parts. No matter how much I suspect he might want to go…there…someday. Maybe it’s just because I don’t see any good pickins for myself and won’t ease up on that idea until I have some options to pick from for myself too.

But I do wonder, is it all that bad? Is adultery really adultery if the two people in the marriage are OK with it? It’s not really cheating. No one is being lied to in the marriage.

Marriage may be between two folks, but does that mean you can’t invite a third or fourth or the entire crew of the good ship S.S. Open Minded for a visit?

Marriage I think is largely what the two people in it want to define it. Supposedly, everything is good in that ole marriage bed so I think as long as people are in agreement, I don’t think we can really be casting stones at people who go off on a little different track.

Anyhoo like I said, it’s not the kinda thing I’m into…at least not right now. And if Sir Pink is into it, he’s wisely keeping his mouth shut and waiting for cues from me before he broaches it.

So don’t send me any photos or emails. But I’ll keep an open mind about the whole notion. Sort of.

Keeping it Together

Mrs. Blue and I have had our moments over the years, as have all married couples. With the decline of income over the years and the addition of Little Girl Blue along with Son of Blue, pressures have been higher than ever and, I dare say, we’ve had more big arguments in the past four years than we did in the prior seven we were married and the two during which we dated.

There have been times I was certain my marriage was over. In truth, those feelings have never lasted very long. Both myself and Mrs. Blue love each other and despite the occasional animosity that happens in life, we are devoted to each other and committed to our marriage and family. That isn’t to say that things couldn’t break at some point, but we’ve fought for our relationship, and staying together has always been the choice.

This kind of thing is on my mind a lot in recent months, not so much because of any particular pressures in my own marriage, but in those of people whom I know online (no, not personal, real-life friends, but people I do feel a kinship for online). A while back, it was SocietyVs, author of the Losing My Religion blog, whose wife had cheated on him and left him for a time. The separation didn’t last terribly long, and last I heard, they were still working hard on the relationship and SocietyVs, far from wanting payback for marital infidelity, had used this as a chance to see where he’s gone wrong emotionally and otherwise in the relationship.

On the less positive end of the spectrum, one of my top three or four favorite bloggers of all time, Chez at Deus Ex Malcontent, seems to be at the end of his marriage, after recently bringing a child into the world. He’s posted very honestly, even brutally at times some might say, about the situation. Through it, he has been careful not to lay blame at his wife’s feet but also to make clear that separation or divorce aren’t his choices. They pulled their marriage back from the brink a couple years ago, I understand, but it doesn’t look good this time around.

It’s been long enough that I’ve forgotten most of the responses to SoceityVs when he was posting about his marital travails, so I don’t recall if people were giving him some of the party lines of either you must stay together and fight for your marriage or you must break up now because otherwise you will both hate each other eventually. I seem to recall most comments were in the supportive range and more neutral and useful in their advice.

So, too, comments for Chez have trended toward balance and logic, but there are those who have said things like:

  • You must stay together for the good of the child
  • You must break up or you will make life hell for the child
  • It always takes TWO people to ruin a marriage
  • So, which of you gave us first!

And so on. While not the most common of comments, some of those on the fringed ends of the spectrum infuriate me with their black-and-white approach.

All of that is a very long-winded introduction to what I think will be relatively brief marriage advice from me here to anyone whose marriage is on the rocks or seems to be.

You must be willing to fight.

But you must choose your battles carefully.

And you must be fighting a good fight.

Now, the tricky part is knowing which battles to pick and understanding whether you’re really fighting the good fight. To me, I think it is important that in deciding these things, one must take their own interests out of the equation if at all possible.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t look out for yourself, your sanity and your own interests. Such things are important, but they don’t always involve a “fight.”

What I am talking about is when you make choices like:

  • Will I fight to keep this marriage together?
  • Will I fight for custody of the child or children?

Those are the two biggest fights I can think of. There may be others, but those are the most primal, I think, and neither of them can be made properly if you are considering your own wants and needs.

So, to the first bullet point, which might generally be called fighting for something: Staying together only makes sense if the two of you truly both need and want each other. You must be useful to each other and supportive of each other, whether that support is active and overt or more subsoncsious and subtle. If you aren’t both bringing something invaluable and irreplaceable to the other, why be married? Why be together at all? And this is why you must start by considering what the other person needs before you factor in your needs.

The second bullet point is more of the theme fighting over something, and it, too, requires you to divorce yourself from you own desires. Especially in the case of children, are you fighting for them because they are best off with you, or because you simply want to hurt the other spouse? Scoring points with children is a godawful thing to do, and I personally like the idea of God striking people with a bolt of lightning for using kids as weapons in a relationship. When my parents divorced, they refused to put me in the middle of things, and I will always be grateful to them for that.

I think that those people who stay married “for the sake of the children” are not that different than people who fight for custody in a divorce, just the flip side of the same coin really, and special attention should be paid to whether it really is best for that child that the parents be together. It might be, but it also might be the worst choice you could make. So again, think of the children first before thinking of yourself, or yourselves as a marital unit.

Yes, marriages and custody and the like are often worth fighting for. But sometimes, the war is already lost by the time you realize you’re engaged in yet another battle. Sometimes, there is nothing left to fight for, or fight over, and you need to make sure you aren’t still in a conflict that you are no longer likely able to win.

Hot Pink by Miz Pink

Tisk Tisk…

Deke has really gotten away from his prurient roots hasn’t he? Deacon Blue indeed. Sure he’s got that naugty language of his still going on around here but where’s the sexual tension we used to enjoy?

Is it up to me?…I guess so.

I mean I like sex and I think I’d like to keep having it in my marriage since I figure that’s the best way to keep Sir Pink from going astray and me from turning to reality shows, the Tyra Banks Show and Lifetime TV for my satisfaction (*shiver*)

Personally I think that as much as we want to chill out when we get married we need to keep at the sex thing and the being sexy thing. Kids and work and chores and stuff make it tough I know but we’ve gotta work at it. Even if it has to be scheduled nothing brings me and my hubby closer than when we get busy. Sometimes I treat it like a chore but just like the household chores, I get into it once I start and I have immense satisfaction when I finish the job right.

The ‘getting sexy’ part isn’t so hard I think. The BEING sexy part is tougher. We all get older. We get bumps and paunches and wrinkles and all sorts of other assorted un-wanteds whether we like it or not. Short of a huge bank account and miracle working cosmetic surgeon on speed dial we’re all gonna start to slip.

But that doesn’t mean we gotta just settle. Flab? Work it off a little bit at a time. Walk, eat more salads, whatever. Even if you wear jammies to bed get some that are coordinated, without holes and look decent. Don’t need to be silky though that’s nice. Nibble on your loved ones ear for no reason. Give neck rubs. Fetch them a glass of water or whatever when they need it. Talk dirty sometimes. Send a flirty e-mail or IM (just make sure to send it to the right person). Make an effort to show you’re still attracted and be as attractive as you can and the rest will follow more easily.

Love Lessons by Miz Pink

pinklips-candySo…ahem…it was just like what…a few days ago that Deke and I posted on the topic of sex and I mentioned how it was an important glue to hold the marriage together. Mmmmmm well next time maybe I shouldn’t speak until my own affair are in order. It’s all good now I think but I spoke with authority while in the midst of my own problems. Or maybe it was just Satan getting a jab in at me. I don’t know.

You see last week a certain issue came up between me and Sir Pink and for the sake of protecting identities I won’t say whose problem was who’s. Let’s just say Spouse A and Spouse B and leave the genders out of it okay?

Last week Spouse A expressed a concern about something that was lacking in the sex department. Spouse A did so in the form of a letter and expressed desire to talk about it more spouse to spouse. Week didn’t go well and times and moods weren’t right for that and so the issue was tabled until this week.

A couple days ago Spouse A wanted to talk about it. Spouse B agreed with some reluctance. It still wasn’t a especially good week. Discussion became at points a quasi argument but Spouse B suggested an idea that Spouse A agreed was worth a try.

Next day Spouse A tried to broach subject again so that the two spouses could figure out the ground rules for the suggested idea. Spouse A suggested (unfortunately at the end of the day when Spouse B was in need of down time after a hard day) talking the next day. Spouse B said, “Why not now?” and Spouse A began discussion. Discussion turned bad. Feelings were hurt. Word were yelled. Feet were stomped. Teeth were gnashed. Wailing was heard. In short, discussion became argument. Ultimately a truce was declared and both parties agreed to put anger aside so that cuddling could take place at bedtime.

Following morning, Spouse A and Spouse B resumed discussions. Discussion didn’t become argument but feelings continued to be hurt (mostly Spouse A’s but really both of them got hit hard). Deeper problems were unearthed. Both spouses decided that there had been failings in terms of intimacy going way back. Also, Spouse A may have done (or failed) to do certain things that may not have helped intimacy be what it could have been. Spouses agree to cuddle later in the day, since both will be home early and before kids are around.

Before cuddling commences, Spouse B throws Spouse A a special bone intimacy wise.

Soon thereafter, Spouse A pampers Spouse B a bit.

Spouse A and Spouse B go upstairs to cuddle. Cuddling turns to making up.

I think I can stop there.

I guess what it comes down to is that my own house was in disorder. As a couple we just didn’t have our sexual life where it should be. We had different wants and needs in certain respects and different perspectives (Mars and Venus, anyone?) and we weren’t respecting each other enough in those respects.

Know what I mean?

But in the end despite how rough it was to get to the end we both realized there was not only an problem right in our face but other things we needed to take care of long term for the sake of remaining married (been down the divorce path once and don’t want to take it again) and more important remaining happy married couple.

It was all about sex. And interestingly enough sex was both the problem and the solution. And yet it also wasn’t about sex.

Sex isn’t just relationship glue appareently its also a puzzle wrapped inside a mystery and stuffed inside a riddle that’s decorated with enigma.

Two-fer Tuesday: Sex by Miz Pink

pinkdress-pinupMy little brother…Okay he ain’t so little these days but anyway…

My little brother used to love model airplanes and model cars.

But he didn’t have much patience so usually he’d get mom or dad to buy the snap-on models. The ones that didn’t need glue. The only sticky things in em were the decals. Sometimes he’d get one of the planes or cars that used model glue (that stuff stank) but not often.

Thing is, the ones he glued together lasted the longest. They didn’t break as quickly (or at all) and they were the planes still hanging from his ceiling when he went off to college.

Patience vs. impatience. Precision vs. speed. Long run vs. short run.

Sex my friends, is the glue in a good relationship between a couple of adult folks. Well, it’s one of the glues anyway.

Point is that…well…you can have snap-on sex and maybe your relationship doesn’t hold up over the long run (or maybe you luck out and it does) or you can have gluey sex and increase your chances of never divorcing and never regretting those vows.

Your choice.

Two-fer Tuesday: Sex by Deacon Blue

loving-touchTwo-fer Tuesday is a bit late in coming today. My fault.

Anyway, to today’s topic for this shindig. Sex has been on my mind a lot lately.

Could you please stop…stop snickering damn it! *Sigh*

OK, sex has been on my mind more “a lot” than usual.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking that frankly, the Christian church as a whole, across denominations and regions of the world, doesn’t seem to do very well with sex. It’s the topic that no one talks about. Aside from mention of folks in Sodom trying to do the nasty with new visitors to town, or various people “knowing” each other, you hardly hear a peep about sex in church.

I think that’s bad.

No, I’m not advocating that pastors and preachers start doing sex-related sermons. Yeesh. Imagine how many parents’ hands would be plastered on kids’ ears in a heartbeat and all the simultaneous strokes and heart attacks suffered by the more traditional folks of middle age or senior years.

But I think it needs to be addressed more. I think there needs to be a mechanism whereby young folks learn about what sex should be and why it’s something special. Not something shameful and also not something to rush into.

Couples about to get married, whether the two have done the do yet or not, need pre-marriage counseling as a routine thing. All churches should require that of couples before they get married in that church. This is an area I’ll give the Roman Catholic Church some credit for. I don’t know exactly what they teach or how well, but last I knew, they did require couples to attend classes before getting married.

Oh, stop laughing. Plenty of priests have had sex, and not with altar boys in most cases, no matter what you want to think. Most of them before becoming priests, but there are some horndog Catholic priests who get feminine treats on the side. And even the real honest-to-God virginal ones can still dispense wisdom of some sort, even if it’s from a fucking manual.

My point is that couples go into relationships—and marriages, with some pretty screwed up ideas about sex. People who think it should only be for making babies. Women who think it’s their duty to give pleasure and do what the husband says, no matter what. Men who think that they’ve done their wife a service just by sticking their dicks in them and wouldn’t know a real orgasm, or how to give one, if their lives depended on it. All of those notions are wrong but they’re also very pervasive among Christians. And there are more.

Sex is part of a loving marriage and something that should be a regular part of our adult lives, not just to procreate but to build better marriages. Keeping the topic of sex undercover and out of sight doesn’t help anyone. No one but Satan, anyway, in my opinion.