Monday, October 28, 2013

Searching for Ballast

The ship of society needs ballast, don't you think? I'm not saying that everyone needs to think exactly the same. In fact, the possibility of such a condition is horrifying to me. But, a ship without ballast lists and it can eventually founder. Maybe the ballast of society's ship is some kind of consensus of the way things should be in certain areas.

I know many accuse traditional values of being foolish and anachronistic (or even damaging [and some are]) but some of these values have served as "ballast" for quite a long time. Some of them are not only, in my opinion, good, but, they are necessary for smooth sailing. For societal harmony.

I was listening to a morning radio show today and they were discussing the conditions of revealing important life information to family members: pregnancies, engagements, etc. What they were batting around was people's reactions to such stuff -- anger at not being told "first," etc.

Two callers had me chewing on my steering wheel.

Now, many of my more astute readers have warned me against listening to morning talk shows, but, where else would I go to get a grip of the mind of the average dolt?

One caller told a story regarding her four-year engagement to her current husband. The host of the show asked, "Why did it take so long for you to get married?" Her response? "Well, a year into our engagement, I got pregnant, so..."

The "so" carried a tone of conspiratorial logic. Like...of course. You can't get married in the middle of something like that.

[clank] (That was my jaw hitting my lap.)

Here is a couple that had already decided to get married. If the choice there wasn't obvious, I don't know what choice ever has been. In a society with ballast, the choice would be, indeed, clear. Alas... (To the credit of the show's hosts, she was lovingly ridiculed for her statement. The main host said, "Yeah -- God forbid you should solidify the deal under those conditions.")

Another caller, following more along the lines of the topic, called to say she told her parents about her pregnancy before she told her husband. In fact, she woke up, got out of the bed she was in with her husband, took a pregnancy test, got in the car, and drove to her parents to tell them. Why? "He was asleep and he works nights."

Here I go judging marriages again, but...what is the state of a marriage like this? I just question the quality of the glue, that's all.

The problem is, of course, that we all have these secret frameworks of values in our minds. Sure, we talk about stuff in dribs and drabs, but, we never lay it out, unless we are preaching something. And, even then, the microshifts in perspective from person to person are impossible to define.

Let me try. Here's a proposal for ballast, without much adornment:

When you are a child, and until you get married, your most important relationship is with your parents and with your immediate family. They deserve your respect and attention (especially your parents). They are the center of your world. And they should be.

When you marry, your most important relationship is with your spouse. He or she supplants your parents, and all others. (Including friends, by the way. Friends are a wonderful -- and even necessary -- constant; they are the seasoning on the pork chop of life, but they are never a priority over family, either immediate or chosen. I find it disturbing how many people seem to value friendships over marriage.)

When you have kids, your most important relationship is still with your spouse, but, the children supplant your spouse, for a time, in terms of focus. They are your most important task -- your priority -- and maybe the recipients of most of your affections, but, when they leave, it will still be just you and the Mr. or Mrs. When the parents are gone, it's just you and him (or her) watching The Price is Right on the cold, cold nights.

This is one man's perspective. Sadly, one man tends to think everyone shares such views. Often, he is roughly shown that it just ain't so. He is, however, always open to discussion and he is driven more by experience and personal logic than by established ideologies.

But maybe we can agree on this: If you  get pregnant, tell your husband first, okay? Even if you  have to wake him up.


No comments:

Post a Comment