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The cake, the dress and the drunken uncle

I seem to have started my fast on an energetic note by eating something poisonous, so spent a pitiful stint moaning in the bathroom as my body attempted to purge itself of, it seemed, everything it had ever eaten. Damn you, Virgo rising, and the acutely sensitive digestive system.

Fell into that weird, deep kind of dreamless sleep that's more like unconsciousness, woke up in the small and incovenient hours to catch the tail end of Kannathil Mutthamital, which was unexpectedly good and unexpectedly sad. I wonder if there will come a time when I can watch a film featuring civil war and not be achingly reminded of Yugoslavia.

And still failing to sleep, I'm watching Bob Geldoff babbling on about marriage, and finding myself saying Bullshit, bullshit which is doing nothing at all to help me sleep but is very invigorating for the mind.

I'm not saying that I disagree with everything, but I don't like the way that he presents because the emphasis seems to be on confused people and what seems an undertone of simplistic machismo.
e.g.
"When you've had a shit day, and you come home and she's done something simple like make a meal, it's just so powerful, and so feminine and so sexy".

I know I've got at least four happily wedded persons on my friends list, and hats off to you; My problem is not with marriage itself, simply the idea that marriage is necessary to sanctify, or seal a union.

If I got married, I think I'd like it to be secret and private, witnessed by only a few people who I considered to be closest and dearest to me. I would not wear white and I would not get married in a church, unless it was a church in ruins whose roof was sky.

And I resent the sentences such as *risk of divorce* as though divorce was something contagious, or insidious like cancer. As though it ought to be preventable, that things would be somehow better if it were.

I know that people can certainly gain something very valuable by *sticking it out* as it were, with another human being after the initial buzz and honeymoon romance has worn away. That proofs of love are not roses and poetry but washing the dishes, and saying *I;ll make dinner, you're tired* and getting up to soothe and change the screaming baby so your partner can get some sleep.

All these things I respect and value, as I do people who treat each other well, who work on themselves and their relationship even (and especially) when that work is neither easy nor pretty. It's something I'm ready to experience now, a long-term relationship in which you hopefull grow together, and find a whole new level of intimacy that comes of seeing all the repeated proof of one another's faults and irritating habits and still electing to love that person.

But at the same time, if people have stopped being able to communicate and grow together, if they are stagnating, if they no longer connect, if they feel like they are deceiving themselves, or flogging a dead horse by trying to do CPR on a dead union- is that a thing to be lauded and encouraged? Should not part of healthy relationships be also healthy endings and letting go?

Certainly if I no longer felt that the person I was with was no longer connected to me, to our relationship, I would not want to be in that kind of relationship. I have experienced this, and it was shatteringly painful to let go but it was less painful than the ache of the wall between us and him being secret and drifting away while we were *together*- because then it felt like I was being left continuously, in every moment we were together.

And if I no longer loved someone, but stayed with them- I don't think that was a good idea either. I've done this, and frankly never want to do it again. I hated my partner, I hated myself, outwardly I was civil and present, but in my mind I was not there. My true self, my core self had left long before and was in places and realms he could not hope to reach. I deceived him with my every thought, as I lied about who I was and what I wanted and frankly no matter what the surface appearance none of this strikes me as a fundamentally loving or honourable act.

I considered it more honourable and loving to be honest, even though it was very hard- because I thought that by staying together I was killing myself and leading him on, when we could have both been getting on with our lives and finding people and experiences we were more suited to. Our relationship had served a purpose, it had completed itself and when it was over that was an ending not a statement of value, or of failure.

One of the points in the program is about taking marriage more seriously, and learning not to follow our fickling happinesses, so that I quote: *we can be chained in a good, not a bad way*. I of course allow that this may well be just me, but the idea of being chained at all , of chains of any kind (Moon-Uranus say hello) fills me with such a terror and rage that I want to fling all the cords off me and vanish Road-Runner style.

And should the idea of the personal pursuit of happiness be dissed, or dismissed? I realise that personal gratification to the detriment of someone else is hardly the fastest way to uplift the spirit. But at the same time is not the personal unhappiness and entrapment also to their detriment, as they eat and sleep and absorb one another's misery? Is being with someone with your physical body while your heart is somewhere else, not a false gift?

I do realise that my fierce need for independece is not a common trait. I can think of people who are delighted with the notion of being bonded to someone as securely as possible. I like the idea of partnership, I dislike the idea of co-dependency because co-dependency to me is based on insecurity, where Fear threads itself through Love. The biggest gift I've been able to give my partners was tell them: "I don't need you to make me whole, or make me happy. I am already whole. But I will expand the circle of my being to link with yours. I will share myself with you, and I will not deceive you. I choose you not from fear, or from a thinking of lack, but with my full heart and I ask you to treat me with love, and connect with me in the time you are with me, and never lie to me." Yes, of course it's devastating and painful when the person you're not finished loving tells you they can no longer be with you because they love someone else. But I consider it preferable to deception.

People say that there need to be more serious consequences to the dissolution of marriage in order to encourage people to commit to each other and reduce divorce, and my fundamental qualm with this is why are we focusing on preventing divorce?

If the fear of something is what keeps two people in a union, is that the best message to send? Does that not devalue the union, and the people themselves?

What is it that we fear so much about divorce? Yes, obviously, broken homes, unhappy children- but I can say that children of unhappy still married parents are also unhappy.
I remember as a child how terrified and distressed I was at the sounds of my parents arguing, of feeling their frustration and anger radiate outwards from the room as they let their pent-up fury at thier lives fly at each other.
I remember being asked as a three year old if I knew what Divorce was, and replying:
That Thing Which Mommy and Daddy are not allowed to do if they have a three-year old girl , and of course what I was reacting to, what I was terrified of was the thought of losing a parent, of being abandoned (which I don't think necessarily has to happen with divorce) and that I clung to emotional security which was totally missing by looking for any physical manifestations of union.

In my older age I joked that if my parents had divorced it would have probably meant I'd have seen a lot more of my father, and definately seen him on a regular basis. Certainly in his incarnation as husband he had the ability to say *I'll be back in an hour, and come back the next morning (Comically usually at 5am when the bakeries had just opened, so he'd stop to buy fresh bread and be oooh'd at by all the housewives and held up as an example of magnificent and thoughtful husband).

I object to the notion that a divorce means that a marriage has somehow failed. That duration seems to get mixed up with the idea of worth, or quality and that ability to stay with a human being seems to be touted as an example of moral fibre.

Of course it could be that I'm reading too much into Geldoff's ham-fisted philosophising, but still. I think the basic point remains.

What is is that draws us to marriage? Makes us want to stay there? Is the ideal of One Person for the Rest of a Life a healthy thing?

I am not sure.

Comments

saucebook
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:11 am (UTC)
wise words on marriage and partnership, none of which I would disagree with. but I feel an irrational desire to defend saint Bob, even without having seen the programme.
rainsinger
Oct. 19th, 2004 12:15 am (UTC)
Fair enough :)
I've got nothing against the man's music mind.
And as dubaiyan said he is pleasingly scruffy.

However, outside of music scenarios at which he's great i was mostly getting insight into why his wife might have left him.

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rainsinger
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