Love, Marriage, and Character Development

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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21 Responses

  1. Avatar phoebesmother says:

    That was just lovely. In the most loving sense.Report

  2. Avatar zic says:

    I think we’re often negligent, when talking to our children about love. We don’t really put much emphasis on helping them understand that ways the people we love treat others will eventually come home to roost, and that’s how they’ll treat us. We don’t really tell them that how they treat us will have great influence on the people we will become. Too much of our notion of the person we are seems fixed and not flux.

    We celebrate the thrill of falling in love, the notion that there’s some one soul mate, etc.; but don’t really discuss the people we’ll be once the thrill is gone or worn thin, unless it’s as people looking for the new thrill.

    Particularly for women, there’s this sense that she’ll rein him in, help him be a better person. But never much acknowledgement that the reverse — he (or she) may well help you become a worse person. As a result, we see so many people stumbling around, shell shocked from the trenches of love, so many families disintegrate.

    One thing I greatly admire about my Catholic friends is the conversation, study, thought, and planning they seem to partake of with the aid of their church before wedding. I do not know if envisioning their future selves and their moral growth is a part of this, but it seems to be.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to zic says:

      Opposites attract. But mix vinegar and baking soda and you get a volcano.
      Similar people are generally more compatible — but it’s less of a rush.

      If there’s one bit of advice all parents should give, it’s “Don’t Date Crazy”…
      I know it looks like fun, but oh, man, it will burn you bad.Report

  3. Avatar James Hanley says:

    Great post, and thanks for that brilliant song.

    I remember, at the religious college I once attended, the serious discussions about whether God had a one-and-only-true-partner for each of us. And then the follow-up worry about, “what if I make the wrong choice and don’t end up standing in front of city hall in El Paso, TX at the exact moment she walks by and drops the stack of papers she’s carrying, giving me the opportunity to pick them up for her and meet her?”*

    To which my response was, “You’ve got yerself a mighty weak God, then,” which somehow never went over well (they always took it as me criticizing God, instead of their faith).
    _____________________
    *The example might be slightly exaggerated.Report

    • That’s just about the perfect response (I say as a person of faith).Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to James Hanley says:

      Whatever half-assed version of a deity I might talk myself into sort of believing in, surely isn’t the type to reach into creation and micromanage the romantic entanglements of hairless primates on a tedious backwater planet.

      So, I tend to take the opposite tack – if there is one and only one soulmate for us, odds are we don’t speak the same language and will never set foot on the same continent, we’re quite possibly not of the same species, living on the same planet, or even coexisting in time.

      Given that, it’s practically impossible that anyone you ever met has met their soulmate, much less ended up married to them. And yet look at all the happy couples you know. So chill out about the soulmates already – not meeting them is clearly no big deal.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

        I’m pretty sure that the theory involves soulmates instinctively being drawn to each other to the point where they’d deliberately be born near each other, or be in a hurry to move away to somewhere else, or *SOMETHING* so that they end up close despite the ignorance of the host knowing why s/he chose to go to Dartmouth instead of Worchester.

        I mean, assuming the existence of souls and then soulmates.Report

  4. Avatar Chris says:

    I think one of the things it took me too long to understand is how much who I am is, perhaps not determined, but at least influenced by the person I share my life with. I think this gets at part of what love is, in fact. It’s not simply a matter of caring or lusting or whatever. It is an opening up of oneself to another person, and if the dynamics are off, or limited, the opening can be as well.Report

  5. Avatar Maribou says:

    I liked this post a lot. Jaybird and I often speak of having grown up together (even though we fell in love when I was nineteen and he was twenty-four), and this is part of what we mean.Report

  6. Avatar Kazzy says:

    “I didn’t marry the girl with the green eyes. I married the girl with the brown ones.”

    As far as I’m concerned, anything that allows you to utilize a Van Morrison song is a positive development.Report

  7. Avatar Dan Miller says:

    This is a really great, thoughtful and insightful post. Thanks, Will.Report

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