Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More pieces


Those two concepts, love and commitment, seem to be inseparable. If you love someone, then you are committed to them. My dad said this so concisely when he firmly stated, "Love isn't emotion, it's commitment." My parents have now been married for over twenty-two years and just recently finished training as marriage mentors. They love each other even more now and are even more committed to each other than when they were first married. To our society, that sounds wonderful but strange. Wouldn't it be hard to maintain those loving emotions for each other for that long? My father made the observation, "Our society thinks love is all about emotions." Most seem to have this view that the love must be gone if the touchy-feelings are gone and there is no longer an emotional high. As psychologist(s), Wallerstein & ___, state in their book, The Good Marriage, "Happy marriages are not carefree. There are good times and bad times, and certainly partners may face serious crises together or separately" (12-13) But even if they have separate battles, they will always be able to depend on one another for support. (continue addressing this issue & incorporate sources)

As everyone knows and my communication teacher stated so succinctly, "Relationships take work" (Wobbe). Work is hard. Not many people like to work and toil. What makes the work and toil worth it is that pay check at the end of the month or that good feeling for helping someone in need. Marriage is rewarding. "We want to be loved and know that someone will always love us" (Leininger) Committed marriages have this guarantee. However, the reason for this relationship should not be for what you can get, but what you can give. Selfishness has nothing to do with love. Love is what you can do for someone else, not what you can get. (continue...)


"[W]e see that this unity is to encompass all of life. It is not simply a physical relationship. Nor is it simply the giving and receiving of emotional support. It is rather the total union of two lives on the intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, physical levels" (Chapman 58). (copy thoughts already written elsewhere about this here & expound)


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Pieces from Paper


When the Air Force moved my family to Germany, my parents, Alan and Barbara were having a difficult time with their marriage. They had already been married for fourteen years, but they were not communicating effectively and weren't doing anything to fix that. Even though I was nine years old at the time, I only occasionally noticed it and did not think that it was as bad as it really was. My mom said that she would yell at my dad to get a reaction from him, but my dad would close down and become reserved so that he would not get hurt by her words or tone of voice. As my dad became reserved, my mom would yell louder to try to get her anger and frustration through to him. This would cause him to become even more reserved. Thus, an endless cycle would start. My mom would yell, my dad would withdraw. My mom would yell even louder, my dad would withdraw even father. If there was ever a time when my parents would have thought about getting a divorce, it was then. "There were times when I was telling him 'I hate you,'" my mom said, "but I never thought about leaving him. Divorce never even crossed my mind." Even though she felt hatred for him, she still loved him. With his arm around my mom, my dad recalled, "There were times when we couldn't even talk to each other. However, it was during those times that we held onto each other even more." What would have been the cause for divorce for other people was embraced by my parents as a time to grow together. When they said "for better or for worse," they really meant it. With a gleam of love for my father in her eye, my mom explained, "It was in the worse times that we experienced the better, because we were completely relying on each other [so that they could get through it]." They love each other and always have. They are committed to each other and always have been. Those two concepts, love and commitment, seem to be inseparable. If you love someone, then you are committed to them. My dad said this so concisely when he firmly stated, "Love is commitment. (insert rest of quote)" My parents have now been married for over twenty-two years. They are love each other even more and are even more committed to each other.

It is not the touchy-feely love that holds a marriage together. "The tingles," as Gary Chapman, (insert qualifications), calls those feelings, are not always going to be there. Couples still have to work or go to school. During a work or school day, walking around constantly feeling the tingles of love would be tiresome. "The tingles" would get old and hard to sustain, especially when children come along. My parents said that their relationship changed a lot after they had their first child. ...

Over the past several years, I have made it a point of observing married couples and engaged couples. (continue observations made as well as point & support for observations)

... "Divorce is not an option." For most people, that would be too forward and blunt, especially so early on in the planning stage. It would seem too narrow and confining. People do not like to be confined. They do not like for the choices or options to be limited. America is the land of opportunity. It is also the land of diversity. Not only are there numerous different nationalities that are immersed in our culture and our heritage, but there are also numerous different options available to Americans. When going to the grocery story, there is usually a whole aisle dedicated to chips. There are so many different flavors, brands, textures, colors, styles, and tastes of chips available for the person who is not sure what mood they are in to stand there and let their head spin. Coming from Germany, where there were only about four to six options, I was overwhelmed when I saw that enormous aisle full of poofy bags of chips. It was so difficult for me to chose the one that I wanted, to evaluate them all and finally decided to buy it. These days, Americans seem to look at marriage in a similar way as they look at their favorite bag of chips. When they don't love the taste of that chip anymore and no longer enjoy it, they move on to a different bag. After all, there are so many good chips to chose from, why just stick with one? In marriage, a lot of Americans seem to think that after they stop loving the person and enjoying them, then they should divorce and move on to a new relationship. After all, there are so many good people out there to chose from, why just stick with one?


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Exercise 4.3 - Third lead

"In the past twenty years, marriage in America has undergone a profound, irrevocable transformation, driven by changes in women's roles and the heightened expectations of both men and women. Without realizing it, we have crossed a marital Rubicon. For the first time in our history, the decision to stay married is purely voluntary. Anyone can choose to leave at any time—and everyone knows it, including the children. There used to be only two legal routes out of marriage —adultery and abandonment. Today one partner simply has to say, for whatever reason, 'I want out.' Divorce is as simple as a trip to the nearest courthouse." (Wallerstein)

Marriage commitments are so easy to break these days. It really is just a "simple trip to the nearest courthouse." The reasons for divorce do not have to be complicated or even significant. There might not even need to be reason. Divorce is seen as a fact of life these days. However, it is not the fault of our government for making it so easy to obtain. It is the common lack of commitment in marriages. Why else would a German politician propose that marriages have expiration dates? Where is the commitment in that? If your marriage is going to expire in a certain number of years, commitment is not necessary. However, in order for marriage to unite two people, there must be a willing commitment.

Exercise 4.3 - Second lead


Divorce & Marriage. Those things actually have several things in common. Both must be witnessed. Both are legally binding. Both involve two people. Both involve the consent of those two people. Both require the signatures of those people. Both affect the future of those people. Both involve a life adjustment. Both involve a commitment to the decision being made.

Although they have these aspects in common, there is a significant difference. Marriage is unifying. Divorce is dividing. One binds two people together and the other breaks that bond. One testifies to the union of two people and the other declares the separation of them. These important details cause their stark contrast to be exceedingly evident.


The good marriage : how and why love lasts /
by Wallerstein, Judith S.

Scott Air Force Base
306.81 WAL
Main Collection Room/Non-Fiction
checked In
Barcode: 30183018458651

I have been using this book from online, but I want to get a hard copy.

Exercise 4.3 - First lead

Scene & Questions

Tears glisten on the cheeks of a mother as she watches her daughter, dressed in white, walk down the aisle. Beneath her veil, the bride's cheeks are flushed and her face glows as she smiles and tries to walk at an even pace. The groom stands at the altar, waiting patiently for his beautiful bride. The numerous friends and family in the audience are joyfully awaiting the moment, in a few minutes, when the two shall pledge their love to each other by simply saying, "I do."

But how long will that "I do" last? It is said that "one in two American marriages ends in divorce" (Wallerstein). That is sad. How can that be? That means that every other wedding that you attend will end in divorce. The tears shed by a brides mother will become tears of sadness instead of tears of joy. How can that happen? If that man and woman who married truly loved each other and really meant it when they said, "I do," why would the get a divorce instead of working out their problems? If you truly love someone, you will try to understand them and resolve your differences. Perhaps they did not love each other as much as they thought. Perhaps they did not have the same understanding of the word love when they pledged their undying love to each other forever. Love is more than a feeling, it is a commitment.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007