A Good Marriage Isn’t A Mutual Admiration Society

(publicity still from Taylor Swift's "Style")

In the middle of a column on married couples ineptly supporting single friends, Sara Eckel had a weird model of what happy and healthy relationships look like:Couples are weird. Relationships — happy ones, anyway — put you a strange bubble, a closed loop of positive reinforcement. “I love you!” “I love you, too!” “You’re the best!” “No, you’re the best.” And so forth. It’s like Fox News, except in this case, the propaganda re-circulates between your party of two. The mutual adoration ca … [Read more...]

Can’t I Love You Into Being Happy?

Image source: Golbats for Equality

When Ellery Weil guest posted yesterday on The Last 5 Years and the demanding kind of support that Jamie offers Cathy, I realized that Jaime could have benefited from internalizing a meme I've seen floating around on tumblr.Golbats for Equality spun up a quote from Nidoqueen into this image:In the musical, Jaime doesn't know how to coexist with Cathy's misery and exhaustion.  He does try to help, in good faith, but I think Ellery is right that Jaime needs to feel like his help is wo … [Read more...]

Asking a Lover for Too-Limited Support

The Last 5 Years Movie

When I hosted a party to watch The Last 5 Years, one of my guests tried to play diagnose-the-heresy with the two leads and claimed that they were both Pelagians, seeing happiness/success/virtue as simply a result of their own efforts.  I disagreed for several reasons, the most important being that I think Pelagians think that a good life is harder to achieve than either Jamie or Cathy does, and that Pelagians see their own weakness as the primary obstacle to their salvation, while Jamie and Ca … [Read more...]

When Discerning, Fewer Relationships are “Failed” Ones

(image from SceneSisters)

Ilana Yurkiewicz explained, as a doctor, how she has to make an active effort to avoid learning callousness from the occasional deceptions of her patients.  Meanwhile, in the Federalist, Teresa Mull is tackling a similar problem in modern dating.  She's worried about the danger of being emotionally overextended, and would like to see folks engage in fewer high-turnover, emotionally-intense assignations. The practice of bonding and staying close until one partner arbitrarily changes his or her mi … [Read more...]

Throwing Spaghetti at the Modern Dating Wall

Lawrence Alma-Tadema's The Proposal

I've been seeing a fair amount in my feeds (both RSS and social media) about the Perils Of Flirting, and how to navigate them of late.Everything from a married friend mentioning that she gives positive feedback to the people who flirt with her well without noticing her ring, because she wants to encourage positive public flirting to a lot of internet discussion of the professor who shared how his anxiety about having any appropriate way to approach women drove him to (a) consider suicide and … [Read more...]

Struggling to Offer an Open House

comfy chair

I picked up Robert Farrar Capon's Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage after reading Melanie's post on The Wine Dark Sea on "What has Beatrice to do with Bed?"  The quotes she assembled were easily enough to get me to order the book for myself.And I suspect they're a little more generally appealing than the quote I want to highlight from my reading, so perhaps you want to pop over chez elle first?I really liked Capon's book, and, if I'm ever lucky enough to be verging on getting engag … [Read more...]

“Safety” is a Piss-Poor Pitch for Chastity


A recent First Things post aimed to arm its readers with a positive case for chastity, one that could appeal to non-Christian friends.  But I struggled to find anything positive or invigorating in the sample arguments presented.  For example: A case at University of Houston may serve. According to a legal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, the facts aren’t unusual. One evening, after attending a UH event, a male student went to a nearby bar and met a female student for the first time. They … [Read more...]