Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Yesterday, my husband had a rotten day at work. He forgot to do something he was supposed to do, and his boss gave him a talking to. So last night, I listened. I made him a real treat for dinner, and sent him off to work this morning with a message in his lunch. This week, the weather has been bad for my headaches, so he's done his best to help out - treating me to dinner on Tuesday, and bringing me water cut with a little bit of lemon juice to help me cool off every evening.

My marriage is mixed - that is, my husband and I come from very different backgrounds, religiously, socially, many ways. My whole town growing up was smaller than his grade school - and we lived a few miles out of that town. He had never had grits or fried green tomatoes or listened to bluegrass before meeting me. I had never gone to the opera or had a pierogie before meeting him. Now experts will tell you that communication is especially important in such marriages. I'm here to tell you that it's important no matter who you're married to. Every marriage involves two people who grew up in different homes, different families - okay, except for some royal marriages where they all seem to have the same great-grandparents.

Being married to my husband has given me a chance to grow - to learn not only about "city ways", but about being patient and really listening, about trusting someone to listen to me, to learn about my ways, to become part of my family. And beyond the whole finding out about each other, we've gotten to discover stuff together. Lampworking, reading various books together, advanced Latin grammar, that little vegetarian Indian place around the corner, the walking path that leads to a grade school playground...

The last time I saw my brother, we were talking about how society gives a preferential status to my relationship with my husband over my brother's relationships with his boyfriends. Even before we were married, my now-husband was able to come into the active part of an emergency room to see me after I'd had a dangerous drug reaction. When I was in university, a nurse even gave information about my health status to a male friend who had just driven me to the clinic. To make things worse, they didn't give me the same information.

For my brother, the issue isn't same-sex marriage, it's basic security - security in person, in property. Being able to walk down a street, holding hands without being called names, without being attacked. And I have to agree - I want that, too, but I think the way we achieve that end is to acknowlege the element of caring, of love that can be present in all relationships and to give the same opportunities to express that love and caring to all couples. I think we need to get government out of the business of marriage - that's between a couple, their religious community, and god or gods. I, for one, am more than willing to have my only legal status in that regard be a "civil union" and let the issue of whether I am properly married or not rest with my husband, myself, and God.


Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Oh, and thanks to Thee, Hannah for inspiring me to write on this. Your post on infidelity brought to mind all the wonderful parts of marriage that these folks say that they want to keep, even as they are destroying that intimacy with lies.

8/04/2006 9:28 AM  
Blogger Andrew McAllister said...

This post shows a lot of thoughtful insight into relationships. An interesting read. Thanks!

To Love, Honor and Dismay

8/04/2006 5:37 PM  
Blogger Andrew McAllister said...

Dear Plain,

Thanks so much for visiting my place and participating in my question of the day. And I agree, blaming the chunky appearance of a particular garment on anyone other than the designer would be... (everyone say it with me now) ...JUST PLAIN FOOLISH!

8/05/2006 8:44 AM  
Blogger Lorcan said...

Great and thoughtful post. I've really grieved to see how some Quaker meetings have split on the issue of same sex unions. I wonder how people who have love in their lives can't understand or accept love in the lives of others.
Thine in the light

8/07/2006 6:56 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Part of what has not been sitting well with me is the whole idea that in prioritizing my heterosexual relationships over my brother's homosexual relationships, we have set up a situation where he is more vulnerable than he should be. I'm his big sister. Nobody picks on my brother but me - and I haven't for about 15-20 years now.

8/07/2006 7:29 AM  
Blogger Little Black Car said...

Great column, Andrew.

I hope nobody thought I was picking on gay men; I suppose I should have made that clearer. I was just sort of blindsided by the article because I'd never heard that line of reasoning before. (I would never pick on somebody about that aspect of their lives.)

Our meeting had a very nasty row about same-sex marriages a number of years ago. I think the biggest problems were communicative; neither "side" was listening to the other. I don't know what the outcome would have been even with less-violent communication since there were very strong feelings on both sides, but I'd like to think that it could have been accomplished with fewer hurt feelings.

I want to think that this will become a less-charged topic and that progress will be made if younger people grow up more accustomed to GLBT's as "people" rather than "others". I wish it wouldn't take so long, though.

8/08/2006 7:07 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

I didn't see it as you picking on gay men for something you wouldn't pick on straight men for. While I can certainly understand being frustrated with a marriage, and even more so can only imagine the frustrations that must come with a marriage to a partner to whom one is not even attracted, I think there's also a missing sense of responsibility for the well being of their spouses, even as they count on their spouses to provide for their well being. (At least the guys interviewed for this article.)

As I stated in another post, I'd like to see gay marriage become yawn-worthy. I think only then will people be able to stop the destructive patterns that have developed, such as these marriages without attraction. Once interracial and interreligious relationships were also unthinkable, and fraught with all kinds of baggage, and yet not a single reporter showed up for my wedding. That's what I want for gay marriage.

8/08/2006 10:14 AM  
Blogger Little Black Car said...

I hear you on that!

8/09/2006 8:07 PM  

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