Tag Archives: Relationships

Team Mates

Marriage has been on my mind this week.  I’m glad to be in a marriage, especially with the right person.  We hadn’t really thought things through when we got married, so I wouldn’t dare give advice on choosing a mate.  We were impetuous young people who happened to get it right.

I heard a discussion on arranged marriages in India.  The upshot of the conversation was that, over the long run, arranged marriages seem to be as good, or better, than marriages where people make their own choice.  I wouldn’t like to have a mate chosen for me, but since marriage is about adapting to each other as we change, why not start immediately?

Newsweek magazine ran an article on research that followed thousands of couples who were contemplating divorce at one point, and then interviewed them 20 years later.  Those who remained married were dramatically happier than those who got divorced – statistically.  That doesn’t mean that many who chose divorce didn’t make the right choice, but on balance, sticking it out was most often a good choice.

Now and then I read about a famous couple who have an “open” marriage.   I’m not exactly sure what the rules are, but it sounds more like dating than being married.  Not even going steady, really.

Some sects practice polygamy, or multiple spouses.  At first blush, that sounds like fun, from the husband’s point of view.  Upon further review, as they say in the NFL, it is probably a nightmare.  One wife to apologize to on a daily basis is enough

I come from a long line of married people.  Not everybody can say that anymore, with so many single parents having children who become single parents, ad infinitum.  Since one of the best predictors of financial stability is having two parents living in the same home, it’s probably not a healthy trend to have fewer marriages.  We haven’t done a good job of teaching young men to respect women, and young women to respect themselves.

In the card game pinochle, a “marriage” consists of a king and a queen of the same suit.  That’s all I know about pinochle.  Maybe human marriages work well when the couple treat each other as a king and a queen without either feeling that they are one.

I’ll soon be walking one of our daughters down the aisle, and welcoming another son-in-law to our family.  I have every confidence that they will have a good life together because they make a good team.

Maybe that’s what marriage is all about.  Sure, sometimes you have disagreements, but when the chips are down, you’re a team, and in this crazy world, it’s sure nice to have at least that one person to depend on, and to have your back.


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Filed under 2015

The Morning Discussion Group

The morning discussion group is an interesting phenomenon. It happens in bakeries and McDonald’s, and cafes in small towns and big cities all over the country. Thousands of conversations take place at a leisurely pace each morning among people who have stories to tell and issues to discuss.

The participants are mostly retired folks, though some younger people sometimes participate when time allows. The discussion groups tend to be segregated by gender, with men gathering around a table, and women around another. Sometimes, the men and women are in two different stores all together.

Because I travel alone quite a bit, and sometimes have time to kill between appointments, I find myself within earshot of these morning discussion groups from time to time. Each group has its own dynamic. In some cases, it seems that everybody chimes in with their stories or their thoughts, while other times there seems to be a real leader of the group, mostly due to having the loudest voice. I see that most in the men’s groups.

In the women’s groups there seem to be a lot of talk about family, weather, health conditions, and home repairs. Men talk about family too, but in different ways. They talk about the weather in terms of how they’re prepared to deal with it. They talk about health as an annoyance, mostly.

At McDonald’s, the discussion groupers mostly order a “senior coffee.” That makes me think about the changing demographics of our country, and a potential hyperactive super hero: “Senor Coffee!”

Most morning discussion groups amble in after the busy breakfast time, which means management doesn’t much worry about the amount of space they take up. And they do order more than coffee sometimes.

I guess people who have always worked and had families have always had somebody to talk with each day. As the kids grow up and leave the house (and come back and leave again), and as spouses move on or pass on, it makes sense that a person would crave a social group. Bars provide a place for that kind of conversation too, but not everybody is comfortable with the tavern ambience.

I have to say that I’ve been sharing stories of when I was young since… well, since I was young. It’s important to find new groups of people if a person is going to keep telling the same stories. My family is very kind not to point out how many times they’ve heard each of my stories – or worse, jokes.

As my memory fades a bit from age, maybe a group of older people would be a perfect place to tell my stories. I won’t remember I’ve already told them, and perhaps they won’t remember that they’ve heard them already.

We all need to spend time with people who share life experiences with us, and not as in telling us their stories, but as in living lives at the same general time we did, with similar experiences and joys and sorrows, and looking forward together to see what’s next.

Oh, one more thing: the morning discussion groups all over the country actually solve all the world’s problems each morning, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to listen in, if you can.


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Filed under 2014