Animal, Mineral, Vegetable

Animals live in a moment-to-moment world of surviving. Right now.

We, on the other hand, mildly live in that world, but we also live in a future world. We can look forward and visualize what we’ll need to survive (and thrive) three days, three weeks and three years from now.

That raises the tricky question of trade-offs. Sometimes we must sacrifice something in the present in order to make a more certain future.

Relationships, – especially marriage – are an example of this. Male nature is to satisfy sexual hunger with less than perfect discrimination. To forgo that drive in the interest of creating something valuable is a choice to trust that higher goals are worthy of giving up short term pleasure.

That choice also pushes back the chaos, the chaos of unrestricted gratification. It also demonstrates faith in our ability to maintain those long-term advantages, but like any investment in the future it requires conscious maintenance. That’s the hard part.

Seeking Shelter

It’s the fault of McDonalds. The fast food “restaurant” people taught us that we can have the same food – precisely the same food – no matter where we are and irrespective of the time of day. Everything that comes out of that place will look, feel, smell and taste the same, reliably and at an acceptable cost.

Even the downside of the whole experience doesn’t matter that much. Pink slime, underpaid staff and questionable ice machine cleanliness are realities we all accept because food is only the vehicle for what they sell. Their real game is safety and an anchorage. When everything else is changing, THIS remains the same.

Finding couplehood is at least in part about the same thing. A best friend, a lover, a confidante: the ideal yin to our yang is – or should be – a safe port and refuge from a world where change is unavoidable. We accept some of the downsides of relationships to gain the repose of certainty in at least one person.

Trouble is that unlike your favourite drive-thru burger joint, people do change. Like a ship’s captain sleeping soundly in his or her cabin, content in the knowledge that the anchor is holding firm, we merrily carry on. But what is really happening on the sea floor? Is the anchor hooked tight or one big wave away from slipping?

The question becomes: Can we ever think that we’re in a safe harbour, or will we always be steaming?

Change-Up

Lots of men find themselves stuck in high school when it comes to relating to women. This, a consequence of poor attention to knowledge about relationships, detrimentally affects both sexes, creating misunderstanding and resentment.

Here’s the problem: when guys are beginning to date and relate to females, they learn specific behaviours. Teenaged females react to certain modes of bloke communication and interaction, so our typical young man learns those lessons.

Women then grow older and change. Experience modifies the way they look at life and themselves, and as a consequence they expect men to provide different inputs accordingly. Unfortunately, men don’t apply the lessons of change they’ve seen in their lives, and don’t stay up with the updated female view of the universe.

Move on a few years, and the dating scene looks dire. Grown men applying the same techniques they learned as callow youths find themselves rejected by mature women looking for something else entirely. We can call this a mismatch; I prefer disaster.

It wouldn’t be so bad if we’re just talking dating. Sadly, we’re also talking marriage, and those who feel the most stinging repercussions are the children.

Guys get stuck – early on – and women are on the move – all the time. That’s what we are all dealing with.

Annoyance

There’s no telling when it will happen, but it will happen. The person you chose will reveal their most annoying habit, that one reservoir of behavior that will push your button every time.

Good dating protocols will prevent the worst of this, but everyone has a pool of stuff we’re gonna hate. Knowing that you dislike people who are dismissive of servants or road ragers or enjoy launching zingers is one thing; choosing to not couple with them is another. And yet one more thing is discovering that the person sleeping next to you has, out of nowhere, found an entirely new way to raise your blood pressure and prepareĀ  you for war.

This is the risk of coupling, the stuff we think we can extrapolate from what we’ve observed, but cannot truly know until we’re committed. That’s the downside of accepting the upside and downside of someone.

My advice is simple: you must face them with your rage. In your weekly “No Repercussions Chat” or at the time you have predetermined you can open up to each other, you must vocalize what’s happening. If you don’t, it means you don’t care about yourself, your other half nor your relationship.

Talking about what launches your emotions has a funny way of muting them thereafter. And what do you have to lose? Nothing.

Podcast #81 Give Me Room!

When experts say things like Giving your sig oth room inside a relationship is more important than the sex it’s time to take notice.

Can it be true, that the distance between us is more valuable to our couplehood than our physical intimacy?

Kregg and I fool about with the idea.

Here’s Kregg’s website, too.