Tag Archives: marriage

1 Good Reason Not to Read 5 Good Reasons

… a new view of marriage emerged from the eighteenth and nineteenth century Enlightenment. Older cultures taught their members to find meaning in duty, by embracing their assigned social roles and carrying them out faithfully. During the Enlightenment, things began to shift. The meaning of life came to be seen as the fruit of the freedom of the individual to choose the life that most fulfills him or her personally. Instead of finding meaning through self-denial, through giving up one’s freedoms, and binding oneself to the duties of marriage and family, marriage was redefined as finding emotional and sexual fulfillment and self-actualization. (Keller, The Meaning of Marriage)

As if our culture needed further pretext for thumbing its collosal snoot at marriage, Elite Daily‘s Paul Hudson has written a piece entitled “5 Good Reasons to Wait Until You’re 30 to Get Married“.

The good reasons given are (predictably) nothing of the kind. Were there any honesty in the world of titling, it would have been called 5 Good Reasons Why Our Generation is Relationally Screwed, with a disclaimer about the dangers of reading sans tequila.

As with so many flaccid pomo write-ups on life, the universe, and everything, it’s difficult to justify a lengthy retort. Life is short, pearls rare, swine swinish. Hudson’s article – a triumph of crib-level narcissism if ever there was one – is so bad, so really, truly, and awfully bad, that the thought of picking it apart is tiring to consider. When the author begins by declaring that he’s “not entirely convinced there is a reason to ever get married”, you know it’s all downhill on greased rollerblades from there.

So how about that one reason not to read Paul Hudson’s five? Simple: each and every word reeks of selfishness. His advice is only conducive to the propagation of navel-gazing immaturity, and we have more than enough of that already.

Just think about it. We’re dealing with a culture that exalts the Self above all else, to nauseating extremes. This is why we give thumbs up to crushing an unborn child’s skull if you, as its mother, just don’t want it. This is why Mr. Paul Hudson can write about marriage like it’s a ball-and-chain to be avoided as long as possible, if not altogether. We’re smitten with ourselves, and God forbid the appearance of any rival suitor.

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“Sanctified” Exhibitionism

facepalm_stencil_by_killingspr-d4ngb9nThe other day I happened upon a Christian blogger who felt led to share an erotic poem he had written for and about his wife. I’ll refrain from linking to the thing; all considerations of taste and discretion aside, the poetry itself is really rather bad, and sounds like fifth- or sixth-rate Chaucer. The most interesting part, in my opinion, is that when challenged as to the wisdom of sharing his poem with the world, the author responded by saying that “my marriage, like all marriages, is a public sexual relationship.”

[clears throat]

And now it’s time for Silly Songs with Larry, the part of the show where Larry comes out and sings a Silly Song.

Marriage as a public sexual relationship. Gotcha. I can honestly say I’ve never heard that one before, but as Josip from Island of the World would observe, “you learn something new every day.” You learn, for example, that some people are chowderheads, and ought not to be taken seriously about much of anything – sex least of all.

We are the pirates who don’t do anything/We just stay at home and lie around…

Public sexual relationship. Public sexual relationship. Pray, what crazy hermeneutical gymnastics does one have to perform for this to be a viable statement? Has irony crawled off somewhere and died, or is he just asleep? Can someone please wake him up? My word, people. Some things really should not be said with a straight face. The man who combines “public” and “sexual” in this way and for this purpose clearly has a doubtful grasp of the true meaning of either.

And I’ve never bathed in yogurt/And I don’t look good in leggings…

Let’s not kid ourselves: if escaping the ditch of Victorian prudery tumbles us into the ditch of “sanctified” exhibitionism – all in the name of Christian liberty – we still have not found the road yet.

But what is harmless in private is not necessarily harmless, let alone beneficial, in public; and those who think that their private and public behavior should always be the same, for fear of introducing hypocrisy into it, have a view of human existence that lacks subtlety, irony and above all realism. (Theodore Dalrymple, Spoilt Rotten)

Book Review: I Love You, Ronnie

iloveyouronniePrior to reading this book, “romantic” is not one of the words I’d have chosen to describe Ronald Reagan. After reading this book, it most certainly is. Which is to say: after reading this book, I like the guy even more.

Shortly after they met in 1950, Ronald Reagan began writing letters to his wife, Nancy. I Love You, Ronnie is a collection of many of those letters (together with Nancy’s reflections on them), revealing a side of our 40th President most people never knew existed.

So how exactly does one review a book like this? I’m not sure. But I think the best way is probably to share one of the letters. That, of course, means I have to choose, and choosing is hard when I’d like to share all of them. But… how about this one, from March 4th, 1972?

My Darling Wife,

This note is to warn you of a diabolical plot entered into by some of our so-called friends – (ha) calendar makers and even our own children. These and others would have you believe we’ve been married 20 years.

20 minutes maybe – but never 20 years. In the first place it is a known fact that a human cannot sustain the high level of happiness I feel for more than a few minutes – and my happiness keeps on increasing.

I will confess to one puzzlement but I’m sure it is just some trick perpetrated by our friends – (Ha again!) I can’t remember ever being without you and I know I was born more than 20 min’s ago.

Oh well – that isn’t important. The important thing is I don’t want to be without you for the next 20 years, or 40, or however many there are. I’ve gotten very used to being happy and I love you very much indeed.

Your Husband of 20 something or other

Yeah. That’s Ronnie.

Maybe it’s because I appreciate the art of letter-writing, romantic or otherwise. Maybe it’s because I enjoyed seeing another side of Reagan. Certainly – I say this with a smile – it’s because I’ve recently fallen in love myself (she’s something amazing, I’ll have you know). However you slice it, I thought this book was smashing, and I really think you ought to read it sometime.

And by sometime, I mean now.

So Long As They Stand Together

“Government grows more elusive every day. But the traditions of humanity support humanity; and the central one is this tradition of Marriage. And the essential of it is that a free man and a free woman choose to found on earth the only voluntary state; the only state which creates and which loves its citizens. So long as these real responsible beings stand together, they can survive all the vast changes, deadlocks, and disappointments which make up mere political history. But if they fail each other, it is as certain as death that ‘the State’ will fail them.”

– G.K. Chesterton, in his essay “Marriage and the Modern Mind”

Wouldnt Hold A Candle

Mac nodded. He put the cigar in his teeth and pushed back the chair. Wait here a minute, he said.

John Grady listened to him going down the hall to his room. When he came back he sat down and placed a gold ring on the table.

That’s been in my dresser drawer for three years. It aint doin nobody any good there and it never will. We talked about everything and we talked about that ring. She didnt want it put in the ground. I want you to take it.

Sir I dont think I can do that.

Yes you can. I’ve already thought of everything you could possibly say on the subject so rather than go over it item by item let’s just save the aggravation and you put it in your pocket and come Tuesday you put it on that girl’s finger. You might need to get it resized. The woman that wore it was a beautiful woman. You can ask anybody, it wasnt just my opinion. But what you saw wouldnt hold a candle to what was on the inside.

– Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain (p. 215)