Loving Supportive Respectful

Loving Supportive Respectful March 30, 2009

The abortion crazy Episcopal woman priest says that a woman who is in a ‘loving, supportive, respectful’ relationship wants an abortion she should have one.

Quite apart from the abortion issue, aren’t you sick of this ‘loving, supportive, respectful’ stuff being the criteria for a legitimate ‘partnership’? Forget about marriage. Forget about divorce and re-marriage. Forget about co habitation. Forget about lesbianism or homosexuality or transgendered freakery. Forget about fornication or adultery or the ten commandments. What really matters is if two people are ‘loving, supportive and respectful.’
The first problem with this is that it is so patently upper middle class patronizing nonsense. What on earth does ‘loving, supportive and respectful’ mean? It means that the people are nice people. They are respectable people. They have good taste. They don’t shout at one another and use nasty words. They have good table manners. They don’t eat at McDonald’s. They are educated. They read fat books with long words. They dislike television and go to the opera. They know how to use a salad fork and a butter knife. In other words, they are Episcopalians. 
The second problem is: Who defines what ‘loving, supportive and respectful’ actually means? One couple’s love is another couple’s fistfight. One couple’s ‘support’ is another couple’s agreement to leave each other alone. One couple’s ‘respect’ is another couple’s divorce. 
Third problem is that being ‘loving, supportive and respectful’ is not even necessarily human, and doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with marriage at all. My daughter loves her hamster. I support the chickadees on my bird feeder and I respect my mailman because he delivers the mail in the sleet and snow. Big deal.
Fourth problem is that ‘loving, supportive and respectful’ is temporary. What if the relationship stops being loving? What if it’s loving for one person and not the other? How do you know if it is still loving or not? Is it how you feel? What does ‘supportive’ mean? Does it mean I bring home the bacon or I sit and drink tea with my spouse and listen to her while she complains about her corns? What does ‘respectful’ mean? That I like the other person or that she likes me? That she has read my PhD thesis and thinks me clever or that I think she is pretty smart because she can bake cookies and they don’t stick to the tray? And what if one of these three things stop? Do they all have to stop for the relationship to no longer be a relationship?
Marriage, on the other hands, is objective. It is at least a civil agreement and at best a sacrament which unlocks divine love within human love. Marriage is something tangible and real and eternal. Compare the sentimental and subjective ‘loving, supportive and respectful’ to the grim glory of the marriage vows: “I vow to love and to cherish until death do us part, for richer for poorer for better or for worse, in sickness and in health…” Of course a marriage should be ‘loving, supportive and respectful’ (whatever that means) but that on it’s own such a definition has no more substance than a Hallmark card.
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