Graham

Posts Tagged ‘Marriage’

I REMEMBER WHEN

In love on January 2, 2012 at 8:27 pm

To Judith Anne Graham

When we were young and thought we knew what life was all about,
We did not need, nor seek, nor take, advice about our doubts.
For that was weak, and we were strong, filled with courage, hope, and pride.
Until we met the one, and only one, who touched us deep inside.

My heart would stop, then skip a beat, when you were in the room.
I pretended not to see, turned away, as you passed through.
Then a stolen, secret glance, next a meeting thought by chance,
You intended not to be in love with me — already in your own romance.

Do you remember when I said,
I love you for your mind, your head,
Your brain, the inner beauty that is you?

You smiled, laughed, teased me, too,
for admiring your mind before loving you.

I remember when I was ten, and loved the girl next door, back then,
When life was simple, full of fun, and a girl was just a friend.
I remember as a teen, I loved a girl, lived down the street.
But neither one could cause my heart to stop and skip a beat.

When first we met we talked all night, you on one side, I the other,
A locked screen door between us. In our minds, already lovers.
Paths intertwined from years before we find each other, and discover,
Each was never far, not knowing yet always knew, there was another.

I remember when you said,
How you dread
To tell your father you love me.

But he saw the change in you,
loved you. Therefore loved me, too.

My early years were hard to share, were filled with problematic fears,
And inconsistencies with truth, causing untold failures, masked by tears.
The middle years were not much more,’til the day you touched my hand,
looked deep within my soul, smiled, and said, “I finally understand.”

“Your heart is burdened with your past, an empty hole, needs love that lasts.
Together, we will end your pain, close the hole, let go the past.”
Then your heart stopped, skipped a beat, awakened love from deep sleep,
And I remember then, I gave my heart to you, to have, to hold, to keep.

From Tad Laury Graham
Merry Chrismas, 2009

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Weinergate! Another Perspective

In Politics on June 6, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Anthony Weiner is just one more distraction from the real problems we face as a nation. It may or may not be appropriate to put him through public humiliation for his “failure of character,” but before we go too far in committing to a course of action, lets consider what we might want as the desired outcome of this never-ending stream of human foibles.

Consider the following:

  • Thomas Jefferson (President 1801-1809) allegedly had an affair with his slave, Sally Hemings
  •  Grover Cleveland (President 1885-1889, 1893-1897) alleged to have fathered illegitimate child
  • Warren Harding (President 1921-1923) alleged affair with Carrie Phillips and Nan Britton
  • Franklin Roosevelt (President 1933-1945) alleged affair with Lucy Mercer—The man who guided us through the Great Depression and World War II
  • Dwight D Eisenhower (President 1953-1961) tried to end clandestine warfare, i.e., the “Cold War,” sought to establish honesty and morality in his administration; alleged affair with Kay Summersby (his chauffeur)
  • John F Kennedy (President 1961-1963) tried to dismantle the CIA and end organized crime; Created the space race; alleged affairs with Marilyn Monroe and Judith Exner
  • Lyndon B Johnson (President 1963-1969) pushed most of JFK’s program through Congress; unidentified affair alleged
  • George Bush Senior (President 1989-1993) alleged with Jennifer Fitzgerald
  • Bill Clinton (President 1993-2001) restored healthy economy; alleged affair with Monica Lewinsky

Each of these former presidents has something in common with Mr. Weiner: Had we drummed even one of them out of Government for behaving badly, history would have been quite different, not to mention the setting of, or reinforcement of, a precedent that moves us one step closer to the loss of certain “inalienable rights.” Despite what we may think is a flaw in his character, he seems to have some impressive company.

It appears that Mr Weiner has broken no laws (this may change, but presumably a change would result in less of a circus and more of a judicial process); He doesn’t appear to have lied about his experience, qualifications, or performance; in fact his constituents seem to hold him in high regard. (It is true he did lie about his predicament for 10 days, but how many of us would not try to lie our way out of the biggest mistake we ever made in our lives?

As for the nebulous connection between character and morality, this country was established as a nation of laws. Morality is an opinion, often based on religious beliefs and  sometimes codified in the law (wherein lies the confusion). In an ideal world, Mr Weiner would have to commit a felony before it became anybody’s business outside his immediate family. It seems that voters are, in general, more aware of this fact than are their elected representatives. The magic word is still jobs, not weiners.

On Marriage and Maintaining the Relationship

In Marriage on December 27, 2009 at 9:49 am

Love between two people does not usually last without the support of friends, relatives and other well-wishers who are willing to provide an atmosphere of growth, security and realistic expectations. While the bride and groom carry most of the responsibility for the success of their marriage, in a very real sense each actually marries the other’s entire family. If you can’t stand your in-laws then you should not be surprised to learn that your marriage is going to be difficult.

I don’t suggest that a couple planning marriage should be dominated by well-meaning others, or that Mom and Dad are the best judge of how to handle these matters. I do suggest getting input from as many people that you trust, as you can, while you can. And that the bride and groom, as a minimum, talk to each other, members of each other’s  families, and perhaps one or two long-time friends of the family. Find out up front what is important to each of them, and what is not—before making one of the biggest decisions you will ever make during your lifetime.

By understanding what is important, we understand the person for whom it is important. The question is: Can two separate views of the same issue coexist under the same roof without major adjustments? The older we get and the longer we let these issues fester, even a trivial difference of opinion can become an irritation that eventually becomes a hill to die on, from which there is no return. Divorce does not occur because two people stopped listening, but because they never started—at least, not the important stuff.

Most of us are just winging it, with only wishful thinking as our guide. Ideally, we would agree up front on major differences of opinion and on how we are going to handle fundamentally different views, held by the most important people in our lives. To do this well, the wedding couple needs to document, as a minimum, what is important and why it’s important.

For example, you might write:

  • Jane was raised in the Episcopal Church; John is currently an agnostic, but is thinking he might eventually choose atheism. We have decided that neither of us will proselytize the other, and that our children will be provided opportunities to understand their parents’ choices, without pressure to do likewise, beginning at age 13. Prior to age 13, on any given Sunday, the children are welcome to join their Mother at the church of her choice or stay home with their father. After age 13, we will encourage our children to learn more about the various world religions, without expressing a preference.
  • [ Views on Managing Money ]
  • [ Views on Parenting ]
  • [ Views on Abortion ]
  • [ Views on Politics ]
  • [ Etc ]

You might list some general behaviors, as well, such as:

  • We will never criticize each other in public, to friends and confidants, or in front of our children
  • We will do our best to resolve all differences equitably
  • We will strive to always show respect for each other
  • We will raise our children using only one, agreed upon, consistent approach, i.e., we will not undermine each other
  • [ Etc ]

No more than 1 or 2 pages, but short, succinct descriptions that both review and sign, on every anniversary, for mutually accepted changes.

It takes about a year to get to know someone, and the likelihood is that they are not going to change, even if confronted and a promise is extracted. Changing any behavior in a mature adult is quite difficult for reasons that are both physiological (physical brain mapping which organizes how the brain will deal with the outside world) and psychological (personality traits, or how I see myself).

One can be on their best behavior in short bursts, but the brain maps our habits and encourages us to follow these maps (unconsciously). We think of these behaviors as our personality, as defining who we are, and nobody is going to mess with who I am! But a minimum wait period of one year will almost always reveal true character.

Marriage is such an important decision that, like all of life’s important decisions, we do not know how to decide until we actually decide and observe the feedback. In the initial stages of developing (or discovering) our relationships, we often focus on only one or two attributes. Most of the time, the dominant attribute is physical attraction.

  • Too little of this attribute and there is no interest to spur us on to the next step in courtship
  • Too much of this attribute and we find ourselves in arrested development, and our lives thrown out of balance

However, we should not view ourselves as having arrested development solely on the basis of feeling an attraction to more than one person (regardless of marital status). The likelihood is that the new attraction is based on a similarity that does not have the same level of richness or intensity as the original. (If this is not the case, some reevaluation of the original relationship is in order.)

Often, exercising caution rather than acting on such feelings will remind us that what we do matters more than how we feel. It has more impact. Inaction provides time to evaluate how we really feel. For me, the test has always been to look into her (or his) eyes, below the surface, and if I still see the face of the woman I married 37 years ago, then I know I am in the right place.

Copyright © 2010 by Tad Laury Graham

Gay Marriage Is About Equality (California Prop 8)

In Civil Rights on November 23, 2008 at 4:13 am

There has been a lot of talk about dissolving the 18,000+ gay marriages which were performed in California before the referendum, but it can’t be done. The US Constitution states that no ex post facto law shall be passed by Congress. Then it defines “an ex post facto law [as one that] applies to an act committed before the law was passed, or that was not illegal at the time it occurred.”  [Article 1, Section 9, Limits on Congress] It goes on to say that no state is permitted to pass any ex post facto law. [Article 1, Section 10, Limits on the States] In plain English, no new law can be enforced retroactively.

It remains to be seen whether or not the state can dissolve marriages performed after the date of the rollback (presumably November 4th) because those 18,000 voices are not going to be silenced, and there is no compelling reason why some are and some aren’t allowed to be married. There may be some additional legal issues, as well; for example, I’m not certain, but I believe it takes a 2/3-majority vote of the legislative branch to actually make a constitutional change (not 51% of the voters). I think we should give some thought to why our founding fathers imposed that requirement before we start changing our fundamental agreement on what constitutes freedom.

Furthermore, the state has already come most of the way towards legalizing gay marriage by enacting “separate but equal” legislation: “Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.”  [California Family Code: Section 297.5.(a)]  Let me suggest that in trying to please everybody, we have come full circle and pleased nobody. Do we really want to go down the “separate but equal” path again?

In my opinion we have already established a precedent regarding “separate but equal,” which is to say we already know that it doesn’t work, that it isn’t right, that it isn’t honest and that it isn’t “equal.” But it is “separate.” Nothing better illustrates this fact than being required to identify yourself as a “registered domestic partner” instead of as a “spouse.” How many ways are there to say “registered sex offender?” How about for our first shot at equality, we start using the term “registered house spouse?”—”domestic” and” house” being reasonably synonymous for the one who stays at home. Better yet, we can just stamp “gay” or “straight” on everyone’s work records, making it much easier to invade their privacy.

With regard to California’s proposition 8, I have only heard two arguments for preventing same-sex marriage, both of which are born of fear and have no compelling justification for singling out and excluding a rather large segment of the US population: (1)  We have to protect our kids from gay sex education; (2) We have to protect our churches from being forced to perform gay weddings.

If anyone actually believes the first argument, I would ask why didn’t you think of protecting all of our kids, back when we legalized gay parenting and gay school teachers. But lets face it, more kids have been molested by straights than by gays. Different problem—a crime in fact that we should take seriously after due process in the legal system, or do we take that right away, as well? As to the second argument, I think the Church is on firm ground in refusing to go against their beliefs by performing the ceremony. Freedom of Religion doesn’t mean except for marriage.

If you don’t like what your kid learns in school, then get involved with the schools. Join the PTA. It isn’t the Government’s job to do your parenting, and it damn sure isn’t worth a constitutional amendment to enforce your version of parenting. But it is Government’s job to protect everyone’s rights, and that might just take a constitutional amendment. Pray they get it right if we go down that path because there is nothing worse than being next in line of an angry mob who wants to control your rights.

Personally, I believe that gay people will continue to fight this battle long after the rest of us get tired of it, although I don’t understand why we require them to fight for what the rest of us already have. I applaud them, I encourage them to continue, I feel grateful and indebted to those who do because the next battleground for protecting our rights may be on my front porch. Furthermore, I predict that one day we will all wake up and realize that we are quarreling over the legal meaning of a word, and that words should never be defined by lawyers because they have already abused and obfuscated the language quite enough.

So here we are again: lawyers all primed to make a killing on billable hours, costing in the millions of dollars (which you and I as taxpayers will pay); voters all primed to protect the churches and the children from imaginary threats to argue a no-brainer in perpetuity. Somehow we ignore the fact that the threat is everywhere, such as decades of heterosexual attacks on children by one of the largest churches in the world. Somehow we forget that unlike the churches, gays aren’t recruiting to expand their ranks, so they don’t spend a lot of time proselytizing. They are simply asking for “equality” in place of “similarity.”

The solution is not all that difficult. First, separate matters of church from matters of state. For marriage as a “sacrament” let your church define it (prescriptive), for marriage as a civil ceremony let the dictionary makers define it (descriptive), O.K., and the law-makers if we must, and for marriage as a personal experience, that bonds two people together for the rest of their lives as soul mates, don’t try to put it into words because the experience is inherently mystical and words cannot do it justice.

Copyright © 2008 by Tad Laury Graham

Version #2,  © 2009