[lit-ideas] Re: A Question REALLY Answered

  • From: "Andy Amago" <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 24 Dec 2005 10:30:24 -0500

> [Original Message]
> From: John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
> To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: 12/24/2005 9:19:23 AM
> Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: A Question REALLY Answered
> I wonder how many problems that couples have are due to (1)
> self-deluding fantasies and (2) self-fulfilling prophecies. 

I also think people ask too much of each other.  That might be the
self-deluding fantasy part that you mention.

People who
> wish that infaturation could last forever and expect relationships to
> sour are, in the words of my Dad "cruisin' for a bruisin'. 

I'm not sure if people expect a relationship to sour.  It might be that
after the infatuation inevitably ends that some people have the ability to
transition into reality; others don't.  I remember when Tom Cruise fell in
love with his latest and she said they would be in love forever.

I have heard that statistically people who live together before marriage
are less likely to be successfully married than people who don't live
together before marriage.  An explanation might be that people who live
together aren't committed to the marriage, only to their own happiness. 
It's as if people care about the parts, but not the sum of the parts.  In a
good marriage, all three entities are equally important.  

> interesting sociological puzzle is why some families survive their
> rocky passages and achieve a history in which multiple generations
> relationships endure while others fall apart with equal regularity.
> I am, of course, speaking as someone who is enjoying a remarkably
> pleasant Christmas Eve with my wife and partner of 36 years and is the
> child of parents who were still very much in love on their 60th
> wedding anniversary. On my wife's side, her parents did separate
> briefly but came back together. And all of our brothers (1 on my side
> and 4 on hers) are still married to their original spouses. How did
> this happen? And why doesn't it work for others?

My parents had a quintessentially bad marriage until my father died at 57
from a massive heart attack.  I got married at 20 (feminism? what
feminism?), Bill was 24.  We'll be married 34 years next month.  We kind of
grew up along the way together.  We're one of those couples I was talking
about that if one spouse dies, the other dies of a broken heart.  That's
especially interesting since he's in NYC all week and I'm here in the house
and we're only together on weekends and holidays.  When he first started
working in NYC, I cried for months, literally for months, every Sunday when
he left.  He, in true Mars/Venus fashion, was thrilled to be going off to
his week.  Eventually the novelty of the job and of being in NYC every day
wore off and now I have to push him out of the house on Sundays.  I also
got over crying.  His parents too didn't have a good marriage, even though
they never divorced.  Why it didn't work out for our parents but did work
out for us, I don't know.  My Joseph Campbell journey into the self
certainly didn't hurt.  It reduced a lot of my overexpectations of him.

I think Fellini in La Dolce Vita captures a lot of the push/pull of
marriage in the characters Marcello and his girlfriend.  Marcello hates the
girlfriend's mothering of him, yet he keeps going back to her.  John Gray
in the book Mars/Venus talks about that.  Interestingly, Italians no longer
marry at the rates they used to.  

> Any ideas?
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