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Author Topic: Marriage and Family  (Read 18072 times)
rachelg
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« on: July 03, 2009, 04:17:28 PM »

I am back and hopefully we have time to respond to other posts tomorrow.   I have wanted to post this for a while but I couldn't figure out where to put it.



My Husband's Other Wife
By: Emily Yoffe

Posting Date:
06/16/2009 - 7:50am

Shortly after my husband John and I were married, on a day he was at work and I was home moving my things into his house, I opened a cardboard box in the attic. It was filled with photos of his other married life, the one he’d had with his first wife, Robin Goldstein. She was 28 when they got married, and six months later she was diagnosed with breast cancer. My husband was nursing her at home when she died just after her 34th birthday. The box contained wedding photos, honeymoon photos, and random snapshots of parties and birthdays. As I excavated, I could chart her illness by her hair—a cycle of dark waves, then wigs and scarves. After I’d looked at them all I closed the box and cried for her, and for my guilty awareness that her death allowed me, five years later, to marry the man I loved.

When our daughter was born, one of the sweetest gifts we got was a tiny chair with her name painted on the back. It was from the Goldstein family. How final it must have felt to them to send this acknowledgement of John’s new life. Robin had wanted children, but her long illness and the brutal treatments made that impossible.

All of us exist because of a series of tragedies and flukes. I’m here because 80 years ago my grandfather’s wife, Ruth, died suddenly of the flu, leaving him a young widower with a toddler and an infant. (They say he had to be restrained from jumping into her grave.) Eventually he remarried to my grandmother, and my mother was born. My grandmother banished all traces of Ruth. Her sons had no contact with Ruth’s relatives, displayed no photos of her. It was if she never existed. At the end of my grandfather’s long life—he lived to be 95—his distant past became more present to him, and he began to tell stories about Ruth. My grandmother was more incredulous than angry. “Can you imagine?” she told me. “Do you know how long she’s been dead?”

Maybe when my husband and I get old, memories of his life with Robin will become even more vivid than our years together. If so, I hope I’ll welcome those memories. I’m grateful to Robin, not jealous (even if she left it to me to convince our joint husband that the laundry hamper was invented for a reason). I knew my husband for only four months before we got married. But I heard from others how protective, tender, and devoted he was to her. Because of their relationship, I knew that this was a man who could be trusted, who stayed, for better or worse. I also knew that it’s possible to have more than one love of your life. I am the love of his, and so was she.

Robin was born in Newark, N.J. in 1955. She was a striking, slender young woman with huge dark eyes. She started her career as a city reporter in a small New Jersey town, and both the cops and the mobsters she covered had crushes on her. When she reported on a trial of the Genovese family the judge threatened Robin with jail for protecting one of her sources, a mobster turned government witness, and her case became a test for a newly passed press shield law.

She was just as brave about her illness. After the first surgery, radiation, and chemo, it looked as if she’d be OK, as if the diagnosis might be just some ghastly glitch. But a year later the cancer came back, and for the next five years she endured everything the doctors threw at her, while convincing other people not to pity her.

Robin decided that for however long she had, she would make it a normal life. She kept working and traveling—there were many vacation photos in that box—and when the cancer spread to her bones, she went to the office on crutches. She had to stop when it got to her brain. In her final week, at the hospital, she still got excited about fixing up a radiation technologist she liked with a bachelor journalist friend.

Although they spent their entire marriage moving toward her death, my husband says they didn’t spend much time talking about this destination. A therapist once told him those discussions were like “looking at the sun” —something one could do only glancingly because of the pain. At the end, Robin told him she wanted him to have a child. She made him promise he would do that, because she knew how much he wanted children. In their conversation Robin acknowledged that if he did it would mean he had found a new wife; she said that was harder for her to think about, but she wanted him to find love again. I asked him what he said when she told him this. He told her, “I can’t imagine life without you.”

A few months after we were married, when the sixth anniversary of her death was approaching, my husband fell into a depression. He became silent and burdened. After several weeks of it I wondered if this was what my marriage would be like. I decided that maybe I could be in a happy marriage even if I was the only one who was happy. Then, when the day of her death came and went, his darkness lifted for good. It was a last spasm of guilt about having left her behind.

I am sarcastic and occasionally (sometimes? often?) harsh. Robin wasn’t—I know because I asked, not because John holds her over me or compares us—and he would have had a gentler life had she lived. I try to remind myself that I owe it to her to do as good a job of taking care of him as she would have. I will catch myself about to say sentences that begin “How many times have I ...” or “Weren’t you listening when ...” and stop thinking that if he were still married to Robin, he wouldn’t have to hear this.

When our daughter was about 6, she and her father were exploring in the attic when she came across an unfamiliar box, filled with Robin’s things. She came running down the stairs in tears. “I found a box of jewels and Dad won’t let me touch them!” she cried. My husband and I talked it over. I understood his desire to keep all that was left of Robin safe. But I suggested she would have liked that a little girl was enchanted with her jewelry. So we told our daughter she could play with these rings and necklaces, but that they were precious. We explained that Robin had been a good friend of her dad’s who died, and Dad was the one who had kept her things.

When our daughter was 8 she found the same box of photos that I had seen that day I moved in. She brought them downstairs to our bedroom and said she wanted to look at the old pictures of Daddy. She asked about the pretty, dark-haired woman always standing next to him. My husband told her that was Robin. After a few more minutes she looked up and said, “There are so many pictures of her.”

“Dad loved her,” I said.

“If you loved her so much, why didn’t you marry her?” she asked her father.

He looked at me, and I nodded.

“I did,” he replied.

Our daughter looked at the picture she was holding in her hand, her eyes widening, then at me. It was like one of those moments in Dickens when a foundling discovers her true origins.

“It’s like I have two mothers,” she said in a kind of astonishment.

I liked her formulation. And I thought Robin would be satisfied with how well her wish for her husband, now mine, had been fulfilled.

My husband and I have been married for 15 years, more than twice as long as he was married to Robin. My daughter is 13 now and long ago outgrew the chair that Robin’s family gave her. I keep it stored safely with her bassinet, the clown rattle, and her favorite jacket printed with elephants. I hope someday a granddaughter might use these things. If so, when that little girl is old enough, I will tell her the story of her other grandmother, Robin.


Source URL: http://scribe.doublex.com/section/life/my-husbands-other-wife

« Last Edit: October 08, 2010, 08:13:37 AM by Rachel » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2009, 02:32:42 PM »

Rachel:

That is a utterly remarkable piece.

Thank you for bringing it here.

Marc
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rachelg
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2009, 09:19:17 PM »

Thanks Marc.

I really enjoy that piece I have been reading it over and over again.  It encapsulates the best of married Life.

She also posted a sweet defense of marriage that has nothing to do with children or dying.

http://www.doublex.com/blog/xxfactor/hello-young-lovers

Hello, Young Lovers

    * Posted: July 2, 2009 at 4:42 PM
    * By Emily Yoffe


Jessica, my husband and I have been married for 15 years. Last weekend, we drove from Maryland to New Jersey and during the many hours of crawling in traffic we wrote a rap song together about the Delaware Toll Plaza. We stay up too late talking to each other. We hold hands at the movies. Since we're in our fifties, sure we've talked about who's going to get to pull each other's plug—but eventually being able to do this honor is not why we're together. So do not despair that marriage is an enterprise devoted to raising children, fighting over litterbox scooping duties, and holding the horror of fidelity over each other's heads.

There are long-time married couples who still genuinely enjoy each other's company and would be bereft without their spouse. I say this as someone who grew up in a home where my parents' marriage required the police to be called in. So finding marriage to be an oasis has been one of life's sweet surprises.
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rachelg
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2009, 08:45:33 PM »

August 2, 2009
Modern Love
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/fashion/02love.html?_r=1&ref=fashion&pagewanted=print
Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear
By LAURA A. MUNSON

LET’S say you have what you believe to be a healthy marriage. You’re still friends and lovers after spending more than half of your lives together. The dreams you set out to achieve in your 20s — gazing into each other’s eyes in candlelit city bistros when you were single and skinny — have for the most part come true.

Two decades later you have the 20 acres of land, the farmhouse, the children, the dogs and horses. You’re the parents you said you would be, full of love and guidance. You’ve done it all: Disneyland, camping, Hawaii, Mexico, city living, stargazing.

Sure, you have your marital issues, but on the whole you feel so self-satisfied about how things have worked out that you would never, in your wildest nightmares, think you would hear these words from your husband one fine summer day: “I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did. I’m moving out. The kids will understand. They’ll want me to be happy.”

But wait. This isn’t the divorce story you think it is. Neither is it a begging-him-to-stay story. It’s a story about hearing your husband say “I don’t love you anymore” and deciding not to believe him. And what can happen as a result.

Here’s a visual: Child throws a temper tantrum. Tries to hit his mother. But the mother doesn’t hit back, lecture or punish. Instead, she ducks. Then she tries to go about her business as if the tantrum isn’t happening. She doesn’t “reward” the tantrum. She simply doesn’t take the tantrum personally because, after all, it’s not about her.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying my husband was throwing a child’s tantrum. No. He was in the grip of something else — a profound and far more troubling meltdown that comes not in childhood but in midlife, when we perceive that our personal trajectory is no longer arcing reliably upward as it once did. But I decided to respond the same way I’d responded to my children’s tantrums. And I kept responding to it that way. For four months.

“I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did.”

His words came at me like a speeding fist, like a sucker punch, yet somehow in that moment I was able to duck. And once I recovered and composed myself, I managed to say, “I don’t buy it.” Because I didn’t.

He drew back in surprise. Apparently he’d expected me to burst into tears, to rage at him, to threaten him with a custody battle. Or beg him to change his mind.

So he turned mean. “I don’t like what you’ve become.”

Gut-wrenching pause. How could he say such a thing? That’s when I really wanted to fight. To rage. To cry. But I didn’t.

Instead, a shroud of calm enveloped me, and I repeated those words: “I don’t buy it.”

You see, I’d recently committed to a non-negotiable understanding with myself. I’d committed to “The End of Suffering.” I’d finally managed to exile the voices in my head that told me my personal happiness was only as good as my outward success, rooted in things that were often outside my control. I’d seen the insanity of that equation and decided to take responsibility for my own happiness. And I mean all of it.

My husband hadn’t yet come to this understanding with himself. He had enjoyed many years of hard work, and its rewards had supported our family of four all along. But his new endeavor hadn’t been going so well, and his ability to be the breadwinner was in rapid decline. He’d been miserable about this, felt useless, was losing himself emotionally and letting himself go physically. And now he wanted out of our marriage; to be done with our family.

But I wasn’t buying it.

I said: “It’s not age-appropriate to expect children to be concerned with their parents’ happiness. Not unless you want to create co-dependents who’ll spend their lives in bad relationships and therapy. There are times in every relationship when the parties involved need a break. What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?”

“Huh?” he said.

“Go trekking in Nepal. Build a yurt in the back meadow. Turn the garage studio into a man-cave. Get that drum set you’ve always wanted. Anything but hurting the children and me with a reckless move like the one you’re talking about.”

Then I repeated my line, “What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?”

“Huh?”

“How can we have a responsible distance?”

“I don’t want distance,” he said. “I want to move out.”

My mind raced. Was it another woman? Drugs? Unconscionable secrets? But I stopped myself. I would not suffer.

Instead, I went to my desk, Googled “responsible separation” and came up with a list. It included things like: Who’s allowed to use what credit cards? Who are the children allowed to see you with in town? Who’s allowed keys to what?

I looked through the list and passed it on to him.

His response: “Keys? We don’t even have keys to our house.”

I remained stoic. I could see pain in his eyes. Pain I recognized.

“Oh, I see what you’re doing,” he said. “You’re going to make me go into therapy. You’re not going to let me move out. You’re going to use the kids against me.”

“I never said that. I just asked: What can we do to give you the distance you need ... ”

“Stop saying that!”

Well, he didn’t move out.

Instead, he spent the summer being unreliable. He stopped coming home at his usual six o’clock. He would stay out late and not call. He blew off our entire Fourth of July — the parade, the barbecue, the fireworks — to go to someone else’s party. When he was at home, he was distant. He wouldn’t look me in the eye. He didn’t even wish me “Happy Birthday.”

But I didn’t play into it. I walked my line. I told the kids: “Daddy’s having a hard time as adults often do. But we’re a family, no matter what.” I was not going to suffer. And neither were they.

MY trusted friends were irate on my behalf. “How can you just stand by and accept this behavior? Kick him out! Get a lawyer!”

I walked my line with them, too. This man was hurting, yet his problem wasn’t mine to solve. In fact, I needed to get out of his way so he could solve it.

I know what you’re thinking: I’m a pushover. I’m weak and scared and would put up with anything to keep the family together. I’m probably one of those women who would endure physical abuse. But I can assure you, I’m not. I load 1,500-pound horses into trailers and gallop through the high country of Montana all summer. I went through Pitocin-induced natural childbirth. And a Caesarean section without follow-up drugs. I am handy with a chain saw.

I simply had come to understand that I was not at the root of my husband’s problem. He was. If he could turn his problem into a marital fight, he could make it about us. I needed to get out of the way so that wouldn’t happen.

Privately, I decided to give him time. Six months.

I had good days, and I had bad days. On the good days, I took the high road. I ignored his lashing out, his merciless jabs. On bad days, I would fester in the August sun while the kids ran through sprinklers, raging at him in my mind. But I never wavered. Although it may sound ridiculous to say “Don’t take it personally” when your husband tells you he no longer loves you, sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do.

Instead of issuing ultimatums, yelling, crying or begging, I presented him with options. I created a summer of fun for our family and welcomed him to share in it, or not — it was up to him. If he chose not to come along, we would miss him, but we would be just fine, thank you very much. And we were.

And, yeah, you can bet I wanted to sit him down and persuade him to stay. To love me. To fight for what we’ve created. You can bet I wanted to.

But I didn’t.

I barbecued. Made lemonade. Set the table for four. Loved him from afar.

And one day, there he was, home from work early, mowing the lawn. A man doesn’t mow his lawn if he’s going to leave it. Not this man. Then he fixed a door that had been broken for eight years. He made a comment about our front porch needing paint. Our front porch. He mentioned needing wood for next winter. The future. Little by little, he started talking about the future.

It was Thanksgiving dinner that sealed it. My husband bowed his head humbly and said, “I’m thankful for my family.”

He was back.

And I saw what had been missing: pride. He’d lost pride in himself. Maybe that’s what happens when our egos take a hit in midlife and we realize we’re not as young and golden anymore.

When life’s knocked us around. And our childhood myths reveal themselves to be just that. The truth feels like the biggest sucker-punch of them all: it’s not a spouse or land or a job or money that brings us happiness. Those achievements, those relationships, can enhance our happiness, yes, but happiness has to start from within. Relying on any other equation can be lethal.

My husband had become lost in the myth. But he found his way out. We’ve since had the hard conversations. In fact, he encouraged me to write about our ordeal. To help other couples who arrive at this juncture in life. People who feel scared and stuck. Who believe their temporary feelings are permanent. Who see an easy out, and think they can escape.

My husband tried to strike a deal. Blame me for his pain. Unload his feelings of personal disgrace onto me.

But I ducked. And I waited. And it worked.

Laura A. Munson is a writer who lives in Whitefish, Mont.

I don't know if I could or would act like the author if G-d forbid I was in a situation like that but the article was  definitely food for thought.
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G M
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2009, 10:30:33 PM »

That's a good woman. Her husband disgusts me.
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bedens
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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2009, 11:11:33 AM »

That's a good woman. Her husband disgusts me.

Sounds like he needed to find himself, as much of a cliche as that is... At least he came back... Most "men" don't...
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G M
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2009, 01:09:47 PM »

Phrases like "I need to find myself" need to be replaced with "Man the fcuk up". Psychobabble from the 60's/70s is nothing but destructive.
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ccp
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2009, 09:46:09 AM »

and possibly a nice Jewish boy.
But is he politically correct in his views?
Anyone care to bet if he is a secret Beck admirer?

Clinton daughter Chelsea engaged to be married
         NEW YORK – Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton has become engaged to her longtime boyfriend.

Matt McKenna, a spokesman for former President Bill Clinton, confirmed that 29-year old Chelsea and investment banker Marc Mezvinsky got engaged on Thanksgiving and announced it in an e-mail to friends.

Chelsea is the only daughter of the former president and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The couple was rumored to be getting married last summer in Martha's Vineyard but the stories turned out to be premature. The engagement was first reported by ABC News.

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ccp
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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2009, 12:00:12 PM »

Well Chelsea's future father in law as a felon fits right in with the family.
I assume he has money so he can finance her eventual run for office.
Unfortunately another very liberal Jewish guy who spends all his time making every cent he can then turns around and pleads he is worried for the world's poor and hence MUST be a Democrat.  I don't understand the hypocracy of my some of own people.  I guess it is guilt for some.

****Will Father of the Groom Be Welcome Figure at Chelsea Clinton's Wedding?
Convicted Felon Ed Mezvinsky Cheated Friends and Family Out of Millions of Dollars
By JOSEPH RHEE and DREW SANDHOLM
Dec. 1, 2009 
5 comments Font Size   PrintRSSE-mailShare this story with friendsFacebookTwitterRedditStumbleUponMore
If Ed Mezvinsky, the disgraced father of Chelsea Clinton's newly-announced fiancé Marc Mezvinsky, attends his own son's wedding, he might want to consider ducking out before the reception. Mezvinsky was convicted in 2002 of bilking his associates, friends and family members -- even his own late mother-in-law -- out of millions of dollars. Despite being released in April 2008 after serving five years in prison, Mezvinsky remains on federal probation and still owes almost $9.4 million in restitution to his victims.

Chelsea Clinton and fiancee Marc Mezvinsky are shown in this file photo, left./Marc's father, Edward M. Mezvinsky, is shown in this file photo.
(AP Photo/Reuters)
More PhotosAn ABC News investigation revealed that Mezvinsky, a former Democratic Congressman from Iowa, had been caught up in a series of Nigerian e-mail scams and began to steal from people to further his schemes.

"He was always looking for the home run. He was always trying to find the business deal that would make him as wealthy as all the people in his social circle," said federal prosecutor Bob Zauzmer. According to Zauzmer, Mezvinsky, who is now 72, will be on supervised release, the federal version of probation, until 2011.

Related
PHOTOS: Inside Look at Nigerian Scam ArtistsPHOTOS: The Secrets Behind the 'Black Money' ScamMore from Brian Ross and the Investigative TeamABC News was unable to reach Ed Mezvinsky for a response, but did reach his wife Marjorie. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky refused to comment on whether or not her husband would be attending their son's wedding, referring all questions to a Clinton family spokesperson. Margolies-Mezvinsky did confirm that no wedding date has yet bAsked whether Ed Mezvinsky would be attending the wedding, a spokesperson for former President Bill Clinton said he didn't know. "I don't know anything at this point beyond the fact that they're engaged," Matt McKenna told ABC News in an e-mail.

In their heyday, Ed Mezvinsky and his wife Marjorie, herself a former Democratic congresswoman from Pennsylvania as well as an ex-TV reporter, were part of the political and social elite in Philadelphia. The Mezvinskys were close to Bill and Hillary Clinton and were frequent guests at the White House. Prosecutors say Mezvinsky exploited his ties to the Clintons, including his son's relationship with Chelsea, to woo investors to contribute more money to his schemes.


  Suspected Con MenMarc Mezvinsky's Dad Served Time For Nigerian E-mail Scam
Mezvinsky used those funds to travel to Nigeria to pursue one hare-brained scheme after another. He ultimately lost more than $3 million to the scammers, falling especially hard for the notorious "black money" scam, where victims are told millions of dollars have been coated with black ink so the money could be smuggled out of Nigeria. The scammers then offer to sell a special, expensive chemical to clean the ink off of the money. Prosecutors say Mezvinsky fell for at least three separate "black money" schemes.

Mezvinsky pleaded guilty to more than 30 counts of fraud, and was sentenced to 80 months in federal prison. He has blamed bipolar disorder for his behavior.

In an interview with Des Moines Register from prison in 2003, Mezvinsky said he found the scam convincing. "The man later came out with a chemical, threw it on the money, and it all turned to $100 bills. He gave me 10 to have them tested back home. And they were real," Mezvinsky told the Register.****
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rachelg
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« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2010, 08:17:02 PM »

DEPLOYMENT DIARY
The Perils of Living Off-Base
I've slogged my way to the halfway point.
By Alison Buckholtz
Posted Friday, Feb. 5, 2010, at 10:30 AM ET
Most military spouses experience the mid-deployment blues, and as I near the halfway point of my husband's 14-month absence, I recognize the signs; in my case, though, the mid-deployment black-and-blues have rendered me useless. Last fall, I fractured my foot and wore a cast for six weeks; just as that was healing, I slipped on a patch of black ice and hit my head. One concussion and 15 stitches later, I emerged bloody, bandaged, and as bruised as a Civil War casualty. I looked terrible, but there was something deeply satisfying about it. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, my broken outside finally matched my (heartbroken) inside. That mid-deployment feeling of floating in time indefinitely—the separation has lasted eons, but homecoming is still many moons away—leaves some spouses angry, some depressed, and some simply exhausted. I fight hopelessness.

For me, long separations don't get any easier with time. I don't get used to it, but I do go numb. After my mid-deployment accidents, when people approached me with sympathy for my physical distress, the spiritual numbness that enveloped me began to wear away. I tricked myself into believing that their tenderness toward my wounds was actually directed at my desolation and that those buried feelings suddenly had a sympathetic audience.

It was liberating. Since my outer appearance matched my inner attitude, there was no longer a need to pretend that our family situation was acceptable. I wasn't required to play the stoic military spouse. The answer to the well-meaning, "How are you doing?" was written in stitches across my swollen face.

But feeling right, or even self-righteous, doesn't help anyone feel better. And in my solo effort to stave off halfway-point hopelessness, I found myself longing for the institutions of military spousehood. (Because of the nature of this deployment, my husband and I decided that the children and I would move away from our military community to be near family. It was the right choice for us, and we don't regret it.)

Military spouse clubs regularly transform lemons into lemon meringue pie, and the groupthink goes something like this: Halfway is nearly there. Halfway is when you start trying on outfits for homecoming. Halfway is when you landscape the yard. Halfway is when you struggle to shed that last five pounds. It's the only deployment-related milestone of any consequence, and like a warm spring emerging from a cold, dark winter, it is fragrant with optimism, bursting with hope.

So I picked up the phone recently and called an old friend, a fellow military spouse who has seen it all. When she asked, "How are you doing?" and heard my hesitation, she translated it with the expertise of a native speaker. "Just muddling through, huh?" she said. There was deep understanding in her light touch. I remembered Emily Dickinson's famous line, "Hope is the thing with feathers."

And suddenly I was hopeful, because muddling through implies forward motion. I might reach the shores of homecoming dirty and disheveled, if not outright bruised and battered, but I'll get there. It's only seven months away.

Alison Buckholtz is the author of Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War.
Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2243618/
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rachelg
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2010, 08:50:52 PM »

DEPLOYMENT DIARY
My Husband Is Finally Home From Iraq
After a year's deployment, I can't believe the ordeal is over.
By Alison Buckholtz
Updated Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010, at 7:10 AM ET

The clapping, the hooting, the whistling: It was all very familiar. As I hurried toward the terminal at Baltimore-Washington Airport, where U.S. troops land after serving overseas, I spotted the cheerful retirees from Operation Welcome Home who applaud each servicemember returning from deployment. These greeters, clad in American flag T-shirts and carrying handmade signs thanking the troops, organize themselves to be present for every incoming military flight, even ones landing at 2 a.m.

I remembered them from exactly one year ago, when I hugged my husband Scott goodbye as he left for a year in Baghdad. Now he was finally coming home. But after 12 months of planning for this moment (I ordered an enormous "Welcome Home" banner for our porch only weeks after his departure), I feared I had missed it.

There had been some confusion when Scott called to relay the date and time of his return from Iraq. His itinerary said noon, but administrative staff in Iraq had mentioned 1 p.m. I decided to arrive early, and it was only 11:45 a.m.when I stepped on to the escalator. But from the sound of the greeters' enthusiastic cheers, I was too late. I ran the rest of the way, feeling my face redden from exercise and anxiety. A few of the greeters, looking sympathetic, approached and assured me that the flight I was waiting for had just startled to trickle in. Scott hadn't walked through the double doors yet. I stationed myself off to the side, and scanned the terminal. Only one other family waited alongside me—a twentysomething woman with long brown hair and her two biracial children, who held hand-crayoned "I [heart] Daddy" signs.

There were so few other families because the terminal at BWI is only the first point of entry into the United States for many returning troops; most then board a series of connecting flights to their local airports, where husbands and wives and moms and dads wait with bouquets and balloons. We live relatively close to BWI, so I could welcome Scott as soon as he arrived. But many of the troops were still many hours away from a real homecoming. That's why the greeters make it their mission to applaud and thank every single returning servicemember.

I knew about Operation Welcome Home from the documentary The Way We Get By, a moving look into the lives of three elderly troop greeters in Bangor, Maine. The last time I saw these eager, vocal volunteers, I wasn't feeling very generous. I admitted as much in my first Deployment Diary, where I confessed that I was unable to be happy for the families I saw embracing their returning servicemember at the terminal where I'd said my heartbroken goodbye to Scott. My own misery prevented me from being gracious, and the whistles and cheers of the greeters shredded what was left of my nerves. I so desperately wanted it to be my turn to have my husband home.

"Come closer," one of the greeters urged, pulling my elbow forward. He had a camera in his hand and his patriotic T-shirt was tucked neatly into his chinos. But I was rattled after convincing myself that I was late, and from absorbing, for the first time, the magnitude of this moment. I started to cry, and I covered my mouth. We survived this, I thought. We did it. The greeter seemed sympathetic, though I hadn't said a word. He returned to his spot, leaving me alone.

Scenes from the past year played unbidden: Last August's departure, as I walked to the airport parking lot alone, numb with misery and uncertainty; my 6-year-old son Ethan waking in the middle of the night a few times a month for the past 12 months, crying out for his father; my 4-year-old daughter Estee climbing into my bed every morning, her lean, warm body wrapping itself around me and readying me for the day ahead; the three of us, homebound during the past winter's snowstorms and power outages.

As I wiped my eyes and watched the greeter return to his spot, I was relieved to have left the kids at camp that morning. Scott's permanent homecoming was still several days away—he would fly to California after a two-hour layover at BWI to complete administrative details before coming home for good, and we didn't want to confuse the children with another goodbye.

We decided to tell them he was coming home just the day before his return from California, when we were more certain of the details, and could assure them he would spend a long summer vacation with them. After that break, he will start a Navy staff job in the D.C. area, driving to work every morning and pulling up to the house every evening. The domestic dullness I've long craved is imminent.

More servicemembers in camouflage stepped through the double doors, blinking in the bright light of the terminal. The greeters cheered and clapped. Soldiers, sailors, and Marines navigated the gauntlet of outstretched hands, some reaching back eagerly, most nodding politely and smiling, a few staring straight ahead, acknowledging no one. They carried little, and they all looked exhausted. "Thank you for your service," the greeters called out over and over. But it never sounded rote; it was impossibly original and real each time. It was as if they had a secret which re-energized them each time they shared it.

I've thought a lot this past year about the idea of service. I have a better understanding of what it entails—not just in the military, but in any field that demands similar sacrifice and devotion. I'm still not sure where the obligation of service ends. I'm not even sure if thinking of service as an obligation negates the authenticity of that service. Clearly, the greeters set out to serve their country each time they met these flights, vowing that no veteran will return to the United States unappreciated. If they consider it an obligation, it is one they fulfill joyfully, which is more than I can say for how I feel about our family's commitment to the military on most days.

My eyes were still on the double doors. Scott walked through, and I heard myself gasp. He looked exactly the same as he does in the photos hanging throughout our house, but this time, he was smiling back at me. I ran to him. I was still crying, still thinking: We made it. We survived this. I heard applause as we embraced. I don't know how long we stood there, but when we pulled apart and made our way toward the exit, dozens of greeters reached toward Scott. He tried to shake every hand and return every hug.

"Thank you for your service," one woman said, but I didn't look up. "Thank you for your service," I heard again, insistently, the same voice. I searched her out in the crowd. She had close-cropped gray hair and was so small that she barely peeked out among the others in the group. When I found her, she was already looking into my eyes. I realized she was actually talking to me, and not to my husband. I appreciated the sentiment, but I didn't know what to say. She disappeared into the throng. I held Scott's hand tightly, and we kept walking.

Like Slate on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Alison Buckholtz is the author of Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War.
Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2265662/
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rachelg
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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2010, 08:17:13 AM »

A Father-to-Be's Promise to Break the Cycle
http://www.theroot.com/print/44373

By:
Posted: October 4, 2010 at 8:01 PM


I'm 32 years old, and I'm about to do something that I've never really witnessed. I'm about to be a father. Sure, I've seen other fathers close up. There were a few scattered about in the Montgomery, Ala., neighborhood where I spent my teen years, and there definitely were tons on the Air Force base I lived on with my military mother. But my observations were those of a safari vacationer, jotting down mental notes and wondering if one species' habits were like those of another.

You don't have to go far to see bad examples of black fathers. Just throw a stone in any black neighborhood and you'll hit a house containing children but no father. Just last week, we as a nation collectively smacked our teeth and shook our heads as we read about Howard Veal, the 44-year-old man who fathered 23 children with 14 different women and owed $500,000 in child support. There are great examples of black fathers too, but you'll have to aim carefully with that rock to hit those houses.

My own fatherhood is about two months away. Until now I've managed to distract myself with work, side projects and healthy doses of ESPN. But now, as my beautiful wife's belly balloons with life and we feel our unborn son's kicks, hiccups and squirms against our palms, the reality and weight of fatherhood is sinking in.

My two best friends, like me, were both raised without fathers in their homes. It's a fact that we unconsciously bonded over in our youth.

"I'm always going to be there for my kids," we said to one another when we were 15. We exchanged those words at the same time we talked about the cutest girls in school and the new pair of Jordans each of us wanted.

But unlike my two friends, I haven't seen my father since I was toddler. My two friends have hugged and shaken the hands of their fathers as grown men. Like many of my generation, I could easily have walked by my father on the street yesterday without recognizing him.

He isn't in jail, and I don't think he's dead. No, he's just a dude who jettisoned my mother and me after a divorce. I've spoken with him once by phone in 25 years -- it was a random call after two decades of silence to see if I had been in jail or had any children.

"What's up?" he had said, as if our last conversation hadn't been on the eve of my 6th birthday, with him promising gifts that never arrived.

"Nigga, what's up with you?" I said in my mind. But what came out of my mouth was a dry, "Uh, what's up?"

No kids, no jail, I told him. A journalist, I told him. Shock, he expressed. Yes, my mother is awesome, I said. The conversation lasted five minutes, and he left a number that later didn't work.

 

In some ways, having a father who was deceased or locked up would have felt more reassuring to me as a child than having one who had just washed his hands of me. There is a discarded feeling you carry with you when you know that some cat who fathered you is out there but doesn't care enough to nurture you.

I once hurt my mother's feelings when I was about 13 and she asked me if I would like to live with my father. I had said, "Sure, that be cool. I'd jump at the chance." The answer wasn't meant to trample the sweat and tears she had expelled to raise and mold me. It was just an honest response from a boy who wanted a father.

There have been men -- two in particular -- who stepped up and played fatherly roles in my life. I love them for their guidance, phone calls and visits to my college. But even though I know both of them would say they'd drop anything to help me through a trivial problem or counsel me through a challenging period, as I grew older I began to feel that my own expectations were a presumptuous intrusion on their lives and, quite frankly, not their responsibility.

Lately I've grappled with the fear that I'll overcompensate with my son. Will I be too strict? Will I be too focused on his education? Will I have unrealistic expectations, all in an attempt to ensure that he is smarter than I am, achieves more than I have, earns more than I do, is happier than I am, is better than I am? I know that's the wrong way to go about it. I've seen the movies.

I know I need to steady myself, relax and trust that this is just another phase of life that comes with its successes and missteps. I've experienced failure before, but until now those letdowns have largely affected only me. That's no longer the case, and it's easy to feel the pressure to be a perfect parent.

I know that viewing fatherhood like this is juvenile and unfair to my son. But at my most honest moments, these are the thoughts bouncing in my head.

OK, now that I've been honest with myself, it's time to do a hard-drive erase of my expectations. It's my job to put all of my issues on a shelf and love the heck out of this kid. With all of the Michael Jordan-Thurgood Marshall-Ralph Ellison dreams I may have for my son, it's simply my duty to love him. I'll be working his entire life to ensure that my dreams for him do not eclipse my love for him. That's what my mother did so well, and because of it, I am who I am. While far from perfect, I turned out OK.

The one promise I can make to my son is that his father will never discard him. He will always feel my love and presence, even if my fathering is a work-in-progress.

Topher Sanders is a newspaper reporter who is shopping his first novel. He and his wife live in Jacksonville, Fla. Their baby boy is due in November.
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« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2010, 09:43:24 AM »

I remember reading a study that found children that were without a father because of his death were psychologically/emotionally better off than children of divorce. Look at prison populations and you'll find that the vast majority of inmates grew up without fathers.
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rachelg
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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2010, 09:15:19 AM »

This is a little more moralizing than my usual posts on this thread. However two friends marriages just fell apart because  the wife "fell out of love"  " He is a good guy but I'm just not in love with him anymore". What does that mean?  

Anyway ---

Putting Marriage First
by M. Gary Neuman
Why we avoid the real work of marriage.

Unconscious Assumption: Our Marriage Will Run by Itself While We Deal with Everything Else

It's the number one myth of marriage: "After you fall in love, you don't have to work at it anymore." Countless couples have told me, "If it takes so much energy, we must not be made for each other." Somewhere we have been improperly taught that true love is supposed to come easy. Once we've committed to each other through marriage, our love will take care of itself while we get on with life. We can now focus on jobs, kids, and acquiring things.

I think many want to resist having to work so hard at love. It takes enormous energy to create and maintain a wonderful marriage. Great marriages are about a fully engaged connection that requires constant attention, a deep, soul-searching understanding of yourself and how it affects your ability to love. Giving it everything you've got sounds exhausting and disquieting.

We may say we want that wonderful marriage, but deep down we recognize that being sensitive to another human being is harder than most things we do. If all you're giving your spouse is the energy left over from balancing work and family, you're cheating your marriage.

Putting your marriage first is about a state of mind. It's believing that everything else that you feel is important is dramatically impacted by your marriage. Whether you feel in love or lonely will affect every decision and action you take today. Marriage is a foundation for your world. With love in your heart and a sense of someone who cares deeply for you as your partner, you have greater energy and greater abilities to handle all of life's tasks. Aren't you a better parent on the day you feel close to your spouse than when you've just had a fight? Aren't you more focused and energized at work the day after a romantic, loving evening with your spouse? Don't you want to live more passionately when you feel loved and able to give love?

For every ounce of effort you put into your marriage, you will benefit tenfold, not only from the direct love you feel but from the energy and focus you'll have for everything else in your life.

The idea that you need to focus more on kids, work, or friends than your marriage is an excuse for running away from having an exceptional marriage. You didn't marry to be absorbed by everything else but your marriage. You'll never lose from any other part of your life when you make marriage your priority. Obviously you may have less time for your kids today if you go out to dinner alone with your spouse. But you will be offering them a supremely better parent on your return, Start at the top -- the love in your marriage -- and allow that intense love to flow into the rest of your life.

Unconscious Assumption: If I Don't Invest in My Marriage, I Can't Be Blamed If It Fails

Another reason why so many people avoid the work that marriages need is that being in love demands that we be true to our spouse and give. We unconsciously hold ourselves back because if we make this ultimate commitment and fail at it, it might truly break our hearts and push us into a deeper understanding of ourselves and our shortcomings. It's easier to simply "give love a shot" without the intensity of deep love. That way, if things go wrong you can blame it on things like, "I was young," "I married the wrong spouse," "We didn't know what we were doing," and avoid looking deeper within.

There is little else as hard as confronting who you are and why you act the way you do. Once you open up to yourself and see some of your deeper issues and frailties, you can never pretend them away. Too many of us deny our innermost feelings and don't give to our spouse the way we could precisely to protect ourselves from that deeper understanding of ourselves, which can be painful. However, you can't possibly know or truly love another human being without learning a great deal about yourself along the way. It's a spectacular, albeit difficult, journey that takes bountiful energy and concentration.

And it isn't even easy once you do understand yourself. Ask couples who have been genuinely happy in their marriages for 25 years or more and you won't find one who says, "It was easy." Sound depressing? We would prefer not having to work at it. We'd like it to just flow easily. But is there anything else worthwhile in your life that came easily? We don't expect parenting or creating a thriving business to be easy. We don't even treat important friendships with ease. We know that we will have to be there physically and emotionally for our dearest friends, our children, and our family if we want to reap the benefits of a loving relationship. But when it comes to our spouse, too many of us don't believe we need to put forth the same energy. We think our relationship should be able to thrive on what's left of us after we've given to everyone else.

Unconscious Assumption: Being Vulnerable Is Dangerous

Yet another reason you may shy away from putting in the daily effort to develop a wonderful marriage is that it makes you extremely vulnerable to your spouse. Your spouse knows you better than anyone else. You can hide somewhat from your children or from your parents. But your spouse will know every detail of your weaknesses and strengths. Your spouse will know what you really think about your parents, boss, friends. He or she will know the truth about who you are deep down, even when you've been able to fool the rest of the world.

Being close to your spouse means being an open book. Perhaps you're not as comfortable with yourself as you think. Perhaps you're hiding from yourself emotionally and are therefore avoiding the closeness of a loving bond, as it will force you to deal with your issues. Perhaps you're afraid to become so close to your mate. Closeness will make both of you depend on each other. Maybe you can't handle that, or you're afraid you'll disappoint your spouse. Maybe you feel deep down that you're just not good enough to deserve a wonderful marriage. When we love deeply, we lose control, and we're apt to get hurt and suffer deep emotional pain.

I'm not suggesting any of us consciously uses these fears to sabotage our marriage. I don't believe you get up in the morning and say, "I'll put time and effort into every other relationship except my marriage because that closeness makes me uncomfortable." I am merely pointing out the potential push-pull struggle of being close to your spouse. In front of your spouse you are naked, plain and simple.

People are surprised to learn that they may be shying away from the very thing they say they desire. But we are complicated beings. We say we want to work harder but find ourselves leaving the office early. We say we want a fabulous marriage but don't do a whole lot to make that happen. You can only challenge this contradiction when you see it clearly.

When I explain to couples how much work marriage takes, they respond with comments like, "Who has the time?" You do have the time to dedicate if you want to. We always find time for the things we see as a priority. If your child had an accident that required hours of physical therapy, you'd find the time to do whatever you needed to do to care for your child. Make marriage the priority it deserves. You're not as busy as you think.

Excerpted from Emotional Infidelity by M. Gary Neuman

This article can also be read at: http://www.aish.com/f/m/97259269.html
« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 08:45:59 PM by Rachel » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2010, 01:36:38 PM »

39% in a poll say marriage is obsolete.  What does this mean for us?  I am on my way out so I don't care for me but what about the future of our nation?  Our society?

****Four in 10 say marriage is becoming obsolete
             By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Hope Yen, Associated Press – Thu Nov 18, 6:20 am ET
WASHINGTON – Is marriage becoming obsolete?

As families gather for Thanksgiving this year, nearly one in three American children is living with a parent who is divorced, separated or never-married. More people are accepting the view that wedding bells aren't needed to have a family.

A study by the Pew Research Center, in association with Time magazine, highlights rapidly changing notions of the American family. And the Census Bureau, too, is planning to incorporate broader definitions of family when measuring poverty, a shift caused partly by recent jumps in unmarried couples living together.

About 29 percent of children under 18 now live with a parent or parents who are unwed or no longer married, a fivefold increase from 1960, according to the Pew report being released Thursday. Broken down further, about 15 percent have parents who are divorced or separated and 14 percent who were never married. Within those two groups, a sizable chunk — 6 percent — have parents who are live-in couples who opted to raise kids together without getting married.

Indeed, about 39 percent of Americans said marriage was becoming obsolete. And that sentiment follows U.S. census data released in September that showed marriages hit an all-time low of 52 percent for adults 18 and over.

In 1978, just 28 percent believed marriage was becoming obsolete.

[Photos: Secret celebrity weddings]

When asked what constitutes a family, the vast majority of Americans agree that a married couple, with or without children, fits that description. But four of five surveyed pointed also to an unmarried, opposite-sex couple with children or a single parent. Three of 5 people said a same-sex couple with children was a family.

"Marriage is still very important in this country, but it doesn't dominate family life like it used to," said Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University. "Now there are several ways to have a successful family life, and more people accept them."

The broadening views of family are expected to have an impact at Thanksgiving. About nine in 10 Americans say they will share a Thanksgiving meal next week with family, sitting at a table with 12 people on average. About one-fourth of respondents said there will be 20 or more family members.

"More Americans are living in these new families, so it seems safe to assume that there will be more of them around the Thanksgiving dinner table," said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center.

The changing views of family are being driven largely by young adults 18-29, who are more likely than older generations to have an unmarried or divorced parent or have friends who do. Young adults also tend to have more liberal attitudes when it comes to spousal roles and living together before marriage, the survey found.

[Related: Sudden celebrity splits]

But economic factors, too, are playing a role. The Census Bureau recently reported that opposite-sex unmarried couples living together jumped 13 percent this year to 7.5 million. It was a sharp one-year increase that analysts largely attributed to people unwilling to make long-term marriage commitments in the face of persistent unemployment.

Beginning next year, the Census Bureau will publish new, supplemental poverty figures that move away from the traditional concept of family as a husband and wife with two children. It will broaden the definition to include unmarried couples, such as same-sex partners, as well as foster children who are not related by blood or adoption.

Officials say such a move will reduce the number of families and children who are considered poor based on the new supplemental measure, which will be used as a guide for federal and state agencies to set anti-poverty policies. That's because two unmarried partners who live together with children and work are currently not counted by census as a single "family" with higher pooled incomes, but are officially defined as two separate units — one being a single parent and child, the other a single person — who aren't sharing household resources.

"People are rethinking what family means," Cherlin said. "Given the growth, I think we need to accept cohabitation relationships as a basis for some of the fringe benefits offered to families, such as health insurance."

Still, the study indicates that marriage isn't going to disappear anytime soon. Despite a growing view that marriage may not be necessary, 67 percent of Americans were upbeat about the future of marriage and family. That's higher than their optimism for the nation's educational system (50 percent), economy (46 percent) or its morals and ethics (41 percent).

And about half of all currently unmarried adults, 46 percent, say they want to get married. Among those unmarried who are living with a partner, the share rises to 64 percent.

Other findings:

_About 34 percent of Americans called the growing variety of family living arrangements good for society, while 32 percent said it didn't make a difference and 29 percent said it was troubling.

_About 44 percent of people say they have lived with a partner without being married; for 30-to-49-year-olds, that share rose to 57 percent. In most cases, those couples said they considered cohabitation as a step toward marriage.

_About 62 percent say that the best marriage is one where the husband and wife both work and both take care of the household and children. That's up from 48 percent who held that view in 1977.

The Pew study was based on interviews with 2,691 adults by cell phone or landline from Oct. 1-21. The survey has a total margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, larger for subgroups. Pew also analyzed 2008 census data, and used surveys conducted by Time magazine to identify trends from earlier decades.****

 



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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2010, 12:08:48 AM »

Two faiths, two women and their friendship
In the film, Arranged, shared values bridge the faith divide in an unexpected way.



Jennifer S. Bryson is Director of the Islam and Civil Society Project at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey. Her article is reproduced here with the permission of The Public Discourse.


“I heard that the Muslims want to kill all the Jews,” says a fourth-grade student to his Muslim teacher while an Orthodox Jewish teacher sits with them in the classroom. Just about any way one looks at this it sounds like a recipe for disaster.

And yet, by this point in the film Arranged the students’ Muslim teacher, Nasira, and the Orthodox Jewish special education teacher, Rochel, have begun to suspect that they may have more in common with each other as religious women than with anyone else in the secular environment of their Brooklyn public school.

The lunchtime chit-chat of the other female school teachers is about parties and sleeping with guys. Nasira and Rochel have, however, opted for a different approach to life. This means eating lunch alone instead—until they discover each other, that is.

There are those who would like to get Nasira and Rochel to abandon their “backward” ways. In the view of the school principal, for example, the religiosity and consequent modesty of Nasira and Rochel are outdated and irrational. At a workshop to instruct teachers about tolerance, the principal simply assumes and then goes on to tell the whole group that she thinks Nasira wears a headscarf because her father forces her to do so. Nasira, however, refuses to let this snide remark pass and shares with the group an eloquent explanation of her personal choice to follow her religious faith and how this informs her understanding of feminine modesty. She does so gracefully and confidently, not angrily or bitterly. This piques Rochel’s interest. Rochel discovers that Nasira too is facing the challenge of trying to fit in but not give in to the culture at their school.

Nasira’s explanation of why she chooses to wear the hijab does, however, not alleviate the principal’s crusade to ‘enlighten’ and ‘liberate’ Nasira and Rochel with her own brand of feminism.

The principal’s enthusiasm for diversity and tolerance wanes when it comes to the modest attire these young women have chosen out of their religious convictions. The principal considers these women among her two best teachers in the school, but for her that’s not enough. She tells them, “You’re successful participants in the modern world, except for this religious thing. You know I mean—the rules, the regulations, the way you dress… I mean come on we’re in the 21st century here for crying out loud. There was a women’s movement!” Nasira and Rochel try to be polite, but clearly they feel more irritation than liberation at hearing this. The principal, on the other hand, is so flustered by Nasira and Rochel’s calm, confident disinterest in the type of free-for-all feminism she promotes that she finally resorts to offering them her own personal money for them to go out and buy some “designer” clothes as a replacement for “those farkakte outfits” (which seems to be a Yiddish nod, from the secular Jewish principal, to the line from the Blues Brothers, “What are you guys gonna do? The same act? Wearing the same farkakte suits?”). Nasira and Rochel decline and walk out of her office.

This is a delightful film with a positive, substantive message. It deserves more viewers than its somewhat confusing title might attract. Arranged, as in arranged marriage, conjures up for many images of child marriage and forced marriage. This film does not attempt to downplay the abusiveness of such practices. Rather, in this film the “arranging” of marriage refers to family engagement in the process of searching for a suitable spouse.

(In fact, it is worth noting that today there are devout Muslims and Jews working to protect women and men from potential abuses resulting from distorted concepts of marriage. For example, this Fall the Muslim chaplain at New York University, Imam Khalid Latif, devoted a Friday sermon to differentiating between marriage and forced marriage.)

Nasira and Rochel discover they are both exploring the possibility of getting married, and that both of them are from devout religious families with cultural traditions of parents’ involvement in suggesting and getting to know eligible bachelors.

At the same time, even with a role for their families in seeking a suitable spouse, each woman has veto authority over any of the proposed suitors. And they exercise it.

But when Rochel spots a handsome, single Orthodox Jewish student with kind, bright eyes in a university study group with Nasira’s brother, some dreaming and scheming ensue. The most helpful person along the way proves to be her Muslim friend Nasira, who comes up with a humorous ploy to bring him to the attention of the women helping Rochel find a husband.

In a day and age in America when public discussion of marriage tends to be limited to either vicious fighting or depressing divorce statistics, Arranged provides a welcome respite from this. The film offers instead a focus on the centrality of relationship, commitment, and family in marriage.

This story—devout Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women discovering common ground in valuing feminine dignity and family—is not just some fictional tale of unrealistic wishful-thinking. Arranged is based on the real life account of an Orthodox Jewish woman, a teacher in the New York public schools, and her experiences getting to know the Pakistani-American Muslim mother of one of her pupils.

These filmmakers are not naïve. As one of them explains in an interview about the making of the film, included on the DVD, Israel and Lebanon were at war during the shooting of this movie. Challenges abound and they are very real. And in the film Nasira and Rochel have to maneuver their budding friendship through the obstacles of family members’ skepticism and even opposition to their Muslim-Jewish friendship. But even so, real friendships are also possible, and alliances to protect religious freedom can cross unexpected lines.

(For example, in Montreal the Orthodox Jewish community is fighting against a bill which would ban the Muslim facial veil, niqab, in Quebec for women seeking government services. The Orthodox Jewish community there has expressed concern about the government trying to regulate the attire of religious believers and doing so by targeting one minority.)

Shared values provide a bridge for Nasira and Rochel. They are women with humble self-dignity in a world not disposed to support integrity or family. What these women learn is that kindness begets friendship, and genuine friendship can handle differences. They don’t have to deny their difference to get along. The bridge they build proves to be stronger than cross-currents around them. Friendship, and healthy relationships, ensue and grow.

Jennifer S. Bryson is Director of the Islam and Civil Society Project at The Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, NJ.

Copyright 2010 the Witherspoon Institute. All rights reserved.

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« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2011, 04:59:24 PM »

Beautiful and inspiring story! Thank you so much for sharing. It's rare that a spouse would be so excepting for a previous life and it's uplifting to hear her story.

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« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2011, 07:36:27 AM »

Why Monogamy Matters
By ROSS DOUTHAT
Published: March 6, 2011
 
Social conservatives can seem like the perennial pessimists of American politics — more comfortable with resignation than with hope, perpetually touting evidence of family breakdown, social disintegration and civilizational decline.

 
But even doomsayers get the occasional dose of good news. And so it was last week, when a study from the Centers for Disease Control revealed that American teens and 20-somethings are waiting longer to have sex.

In 2002, the study reported, 22 percent of Americans aged 15 to 24 were still virgins. By 2008, that number was up to 28 percent. Other research suggests that this trend may date back decades, and that young Americans have been growing more sexually conservative since the late 1980s.

Why is this good news? Not, it should be emphasized, because it suggests the dawn of some sort of traditionalist utopia, where the only sex is married sex. No such society has ever existed, or ever could: not in 1950s America (where, as the feminist writer Dana Goldstein noted last week, the vast majority of men and women had sex before they married), and not even in Mormon Utah (where Brigham Young University recently suspended a star basketball player for sleeping with his girlfriend).

But there are different kinds of premarital sex. There’s sex that’s actually pre-marital, in the sense that it involves monogamous couples on a path that might lead to matrimony one day. Then there’s sex that’s casual and promiscuous, or just premature and ill considered.

This distinction is crucial to understanding what’s changed in American life since the sexual revolution. Yes, in 1950 as in 2011, most people didn’t go virgins to their marriage beds. But earlier generations of Americans waited longer to have sex, took fewer sexual partners across their lifetimes, and were more likely to see sleeping together as a way station on the road to wedlock.

And they may have been happier for it. That’s the conclusion suggested by two sociologists, Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker, in their recent book, “Premarital Sex in America.” Their research, which looks at sexual behavior among contemporary young adults, finds a significant correlation between sexual restraint and emotional well-being, between monogamy and happiness — and between promiscuity and depression.

This correlation is much stronger for women than for men. Female emotional well-being seems to be tightly bound to sexual stability — which may help explain why overall female happiness has actually drifted downward since the sexual revolution.

Among the young people Regnerus and Uecker studied, the happiest women were those with a current sexual partner and only one or two partners in their lifetime. Virgins were almost as happy, though not quite, and then a young woman’s likelihood of depression rose steadily as her number of partners climbed and the present stability of her sex life diminished.

When social conservatives talk about restoring the link between sex, monogamy and marriage, they often have these kinds of realities in mind. The point isn’t that we should aspire to some Arcadia of perfect chastity. Rather, it’s that a high sexual ideal can shape how quickly and casually people pair off, even when they aren’t living up to its exacting demands. The ultimate goal is a sexual culture that makes it easier for young people to achieve romantic happiness — by encouraging them to wait a little longer, choose more carefully and judge their sex lives against a strong moral standard.

This is what’s at stake, for instance, in debates over abstinence-based sex education. Successful abstinence-based programs (yes, they do exist) don’t necessarily make their teenage participants more likely to save themselves for marriage. But they make them more likely to save themselves for somebody, which in turn increases the odds that their adult sexual lives will be a source of joy rather than sorrow.

It’s also what’s at stake in the ongoing battle over whether the federal government should be subsidizing Planned Parenthood. Obviously, social conservatives don’t like seeing their tax dollars flow to an organization that performs roughly 300,000 abortions every year. But they also see Planned Parenthood’s larger worldview — in which teen sexual activity is taken for granted, and the most important judgment to be made about a sexual encounter is whether it’s clinically “safe” — as the enemy of the kind of sexual idealism they’re trying to restore.

Liberals argue, not unreasonably, that Planned Parenthood’s approach is tailored to the gritty realities of teenage sexuality. But realism can blur into cynicism, and a jaded attitude can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Social conservatives look at the contemporary sexual landscape and remember that it wasn’t always thus, and they look at current trends and hope that it doesn’t have to be this way forever.

In this sense, despite their instinctive gloominess, they’re actually the optimists in the debate.
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Vicbowling
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2011, 11:38:30 AM »

That's a good woman. Her husband disgusts me.

I don't think the husband is disgusting. I think it's hard to really encapsulate what he was going through. I'm not condoning it but at the same time, people are human and it's impossible to say how you would react if you would have such overwhelming feelings like he probably had. I think the wife was really taking a gamble but I'm really relieved that everything worked out for her!

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G M
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« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2011, 05:04:32 PM »

Vic,

Exactly what would he have to be "going through" to justify his behavior?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2011, 07:09:25 AM »

By ROSE MCDERMOTT
Polygamy is a popular punchline these days, from HBO's drama "Big Love" to TLC's documentary "Sister Wives" and the Broadway musical "The Book of Mormon," written by the creators of "South Park." Yet plural marriage is as serious an issue as it's ever been—and is even on the rise in the West.

Warren Jeffs, the infamous leader of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints sect, is in an Arizona jail awaiting trial on charges of bigamy and sexual assault. North of the border, Canadian authorities have been trying to nab his co-religionists. In 2009, prosecutors charged Winston Blackmore and James Oler, two leaders of the fundamentalist community in Bountiful, British Columbia, with polygamy.

The case was thrown out on a technicality, but now Canada's anti-polygamy statute, which dates to 1890, is being put to the test in a so-called "reference case." In effect, the government is seeking an opinion from the court on whether the statute is valid. Opponents say that it violates the country's commitment to religious freedom. "Consenting adults have the right—the Charter protected right—to form the families that they want to form," Monique Pongracic-Speier of the Civil Liberties Association has said.

Supporters of the statute say that it's not about persecuting religious outliers or maintaining a traditional definition of family for its own sake. Rather, it is about protecting human rights. The case has begun to inflame passions far from the rural communities of small Mormon breakaway groups.

Polygamy—or more specifically polygyny, the marriage of one man to more than one woman—has been widespread in human history. And it is becoming increasingly common, particularly in Muslim enclaves—including in Paris, London and New York.

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Associated Press
 
Warren Jeffs is led from the Tom Green County Courthouse in San Angelo, Texas after his pretrial hearing in Jan. 2011.
.A 2006 report by the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights reported that approximately 180,000 people were living in polygamous households in France. For decades, France allowed entrance to polygamous immigrants from about 50 countries where the practice was legal. When the French government banned polygamy in 1993, it tried to support the decohabitation of such couples if a wife wanted to move into her own apartment with her children.

In Britain, where immigration laws have banned the practice for longer, there appear to be about a thousand valid polygamous marriages, mostly among immigrants who married elsewhere, such as in Pakistan. Such families are allowed to collect social security benefits for each wife, although the government has apparently not counted how many are doing so.

In the United States, where numbers are more difficult to come by, anecdotal reports indicate underground communities of polygamists in New York City, particularly among immigrant communities from West Africa.

Where the practice remains common in Africa it cuts across religious lines. But in the West, it has been concentrated among Muslims and breakaway Mormon sects. Under Islamic Shariah law, a man is allowed to marry up to four women as long as he can provide for them equally. This should constitute a limiting factor, especially under conditions of poverty. But one way polygamists circumvent this problem is by getting their governments to support unofficial wives whose ambiguous legal status allows them to make claims for aid.

There are more serious problems that come with the practice of polygamy. My research over the past decade, encompassing more than 170 countries, has shown the detrimental effects of polygynous practices on human rights, for both men and women.

According to the information I have helped to collect in the Womanstats database, women in polygynous communities get married younger, have more children, have higher rates of HIV infection than men, sustain more domestic violence, succumb to more female genital mutilation and sex trafficking, and are more likely to die in childbirth. Their life expectancy is also shorter than that of their monogamous sisters. In addition, their children, both boys and girls, are less likely to receive both primary and secondary education.

This is at least partly because polygynist cultures need to create and sustain an underclass of unmarried and undereducated men, since in order to sustain a system where a few men possess all the women, roughly half of boys must leave the community before adulthood. Such societies also spend more money on weapons and display fewer social and political freedoms than do monogamous ones.

When small numbers of men control large numbers of women, the remaining men are likely to be willing to take greater risks and engage in more violence, possibly including terrorism, in order to increase their own wealth and status in hopes of gaining access to women. Whatever their concerns about protecting religious freedom, or demonstrating cultural sensitivity, Western nations should think twice before allowing the kinds of family structures that lead to such abuses.

Ms. McDermott is a professor of political science at Brown University.

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Rachel
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« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2011, 08:18:32 AM »

http://www.aish.com/f/hotm/A_Face_in_the_Window.html
A Face in the Window
by Rabbi Yaakov Salomon

As Father's Day approaches, I am haunted by one most vivid and moving scene from my childhood.

June.

Ah...June.

Tulips. Suntan lotion. Baseball. Graduations. Barbeques. Finals (finally). Summer camp. Really red watermelon. Sunglasses. Father's Day.

What a month, indeed. Someday, when they ask me to re-calibrate the calendar (which, by the way, will definitely happen), I'm going to lop off a good 8-10 days from each of December, January, and February and add them to June. No reason in the world why the greatest month of the year shouldn't have 60 or 70 days, at least!

Until then, 30 will just have to do. Oh well.

But for me, June always had an additional significance. It contained my father's birthday. Not that he ever made much of it (and, in typical European fashion we never knew how old he was, of course), but it did add a dash of supplementary luster to an already celebratory time of year.

Come to think of it, Daddy never really made very much of Father's Day either. And since the birthday and Father's Day inevitably fell so close to each other, my brother and me usually cheated and rolled the festivities into one. Daddy just kind of smiled approvingly at our annual shortcut, perhaps gladdened that less of a fuss would be made over him. In fact, if I didn't know better, and if he hadn't been born in Poland, I'd have suspected that he orchestrated his own birth to land in the vicinity of Father's Day, precisely to escape some additional rays of limelight. He was reticent and unassuming. In short, nothing like his son.

I wonder if he was always unassuming. Who knows? Was he indeed born, or brought up that way, or did he become inconspicuous later in life – either in response to his war experiences or perhaps as a desperate or feeble survival tool. Maybe unobtrusive inmates had a better chance of "hiding" in the Nazi death camps. I just don't know; he never really spoke to us about his six years of hell on earth.

As Father's Day (and his birthday) approach once more, I think about this delicate and understated father of mine and I search for glimpses into his humble, yet loving soul. And I am repeatedly haunted by one most vivid and moving scene from my childhood. But first some contrast.

Several years ago, on a particularly warm Tuesday morning in very late June (yes, June), I found myself walking past a school building in my neighborhood. Lined up in the adjacent street were six idling "coach" busses, brimming with jubilant and frenzied kids. A momentary chill trickled through me. Instantly, one of my fondest childhood memories appeared. Camp departure day had arrived.

Starting at age nine, for 13 years, I had lived and breathed my camping experience, not for 2 months a year, but for practically every single day of the year. I was obsessed with everything about camp. Various scenes from camp routinely visited my dreams all year. (Some still do!) So camp departure day was by far the number one day of the year for this kid. To say that the anticipation bordered on the euphoric would probably be an understatement.

So watching those busses revving up and listening to those kids howling with glee was a gripping moment for me. But then it struck me. Something was wrong; very wrong. I felt like I was confronting one of those magazine puzzles – "What's wrong with this picture?"

It didn't take me long to figure it out. There was something missing from the scene. The parents. Where were they?

"HEY!" I shouted internally. "YOUR CHILDREN ARE LEAVING FOR CAMP! WHY AREN'T YOU HERE? CAN'T YOU WAIT FOR THE BUSSES TO PULL OUT???"

An inappropriate sweat saturated my collar. I had to find out. I ran to a burly chap with a whistle. He would know.

"Excuse me," I blurted, "I see you're going off to camp."

"Leaving any minute," he offered, crushing a torn duffle bag into the final empty corner of the luggage bin.

"Can I ask you a question?"

"Sure."

"WHERE ARE THE PARENTS?"

"Oh, a lot of them were here before, but they left. Work, I guess. Who knows? No big deal – these kids are in good hands."

My heart sank. "A lot of them were here," did he say? "No big deal?" Of course it's a big deal. IT'S THE BIGGEST DEAL OF THE WHOLE DARN YEAR!!!

I was clearly losing it.

It took me a minute or two to fully grasp the reality of the episode before me. I guess the parents did have places to go. Work, appointments or otherwise. A lot of the kids do have older siblings with them. Why should the parents have to wait for the busses to pull out? Suitable goodbyes, including kisses, nosh, and money, are presumably permitted even prior to the busses leaving. And maybe the kids actually prefer to get those mushy goodbyes over with early etc. etc. What got into me?

Which brings me to that one vivid and moving experience from my past that I mentioned to you. It happened on camp departure day. And it happened every single year, for many years.

My folks woke me early and the three of us made the 80-minute subway trek to the camp bus. Little Jackie (me) didn't get much sleep the night before, dreaming of extra-inning baseball games and stirring Friday night melodies to come. But rest was the last thing on my mind. "THE DAY" had arrived!

Freshly laundered socks, a chocolate-sprinkle sandwich and my trusted black baseball mitt filled the "Korvette's" shopping bag I usually carried, and no matter how old I was, Mommy and Daddy had a tough time keeping pace with my determined stride to the "Stairway to Heaven," otherwise known as the camp bus.

Creased loose-leaf papers posed as official bunk signs, directing us to the appropriate lines where we received pre-boarding instructions, obligatory bunkmate introductions, and the usual warnings about throwing stuff out of the bus windows and maintaining proper decorum. But when those big bus doors flew open, we all charged full steam ahead like a herd of police dogs on a manhunt. It's a miracle that other than a lot of crushed Devil Dogs and an exploding Pepsi or two, there were no serious casualties in the mad surge of exuberant youth. I would then make my annual pilgrimage to the "back of the bus" and settle in comfortably at a vacant window seat. Seatmates changed from year to year, but it really didn't matter who was sitting with me. My focus was elsewhere.

Long forgotten by that time, were my forlorn father and mother who, missing me already, remained obediently on the now nearly evacuated sidewalk, chatting with other similarly abandoned parents. I peered out the window and watched them. Sending me to camp was not easy for them. Not financially and not emotionally. Such is the reality for survivors of the Holocaust. Separations cut deep. I was pretty young, and I didn't understand it very well, but I knew it was a real sacrifice.

Before very long, the counselors performed the ritual roll call and head count and I knew any minute we'd be on our way. I looked once more through the open window and felt that wistful pang of exhilaration and yearning. It was a strange combination of feelings and my stomach knew it. Mommy always wore a look that said, "Everything will be fine," but Daddy looked lost. His lips seemed to quiver and his soft eyes were no longer dry.

The engines revved up. By now all the windows were crammed with waving arms and blown kisses.

"Bye-bye!"
"See you on Visiting Day!"
"Don't forget to write!"

The wheels began their tiresome thrust. The bus lurched forward. A couple of drops of already opened soda probably spilled somewhere. And then I heard it. It was a tap on the windowpane. Strong. Determined. No...maybe frightened is a better word. It was Daddy.

One final good-bye. I saw his hands fumbling in his pockets. When they emerged, they were filled with candy, gum, salted peanuts, and some loose change. He shoved them through the window, half of them spilling to the gutter below. One final chance to feed me, nurture me, hold on to me... love me.

I whipped my neck around to steal a glance at those around me. I guess I was embarrassed, but it didn't matter much. By now Daddy was running to keep up with the departing bus. It was the only time all year he ever ran.

Our eyes met one last time. We were both crying now. His arms flailed in surrender mode as we picked up speed. He knew the separation was inevitable and imminent. It was a race he would surely lose. I stuck my head out for one last look...and stared at the peanuts on my lap. Somehow the bus seemed very quiet.

And so went the annual scene. As I grew older, the candy matured somewhat and the change became dollars, but the loving, tearful face in the window remained the same. It was the happiest sadness I could ever feel.

The irony of the situation was that we both knew that Visiting Day would arrive in less than two weeks! It's not like I was going on some yearlong voyage to ‘Never-never Land.' But separations do cut deep.

What really triggered this most reserved man to unabashedly display his most shielded emotions? I don't really know. We never spoke about it. Could it have been a morbid association to the trains he boarded en route to five different concentration camps? Or a menacing reminder of separations – final ones- that he experienced with loved ones? Or was it some overwhelmingly painful image of the bizarre disparity between the camps he went to, and the "camp" I loved so much?

I will never know. But I think I now understand why I demanded to know where those parents were, when the busses left without them that hot Tuesday morning. And I think I know why I love June so much.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy... and Happy Birthday too... I miss you.

This article can also be read at: http://www.aish.com/f/hotm/A_Face_in_the_Window.html
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Rachel
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« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2011, 07:53:24 PM »





Four Ways to Marry the Wrong Person http://www.aish.com/d/w/Four_Ways_to_Marry_the_Wrong_Person.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2011, 03:44:16 PM »



"[M]arriage, redefined to include homosexuals, is now open to further redefinition to suit the homosexual lifestyle. Just a week after the New York law passed, the New York Times ran a piece promoting the practice of 'flexible' monogamy, or infidelity with permission -- a common practice in 'committed' homosexual relationships. The thesis? It 'works' for the homosexual community, so heterosexuals should try it too. ... Societies that legitimize substitutes for traditional marriage (homosexual 'marriage,' civil unions, cohabitation) inevitably witness the decline of authentic marriage. And as marriage declines, family structures weaken, producing cracks in the bedrock of a stable society. The result? Children suffer. ... Be unequivocal with your children. This is not about 'fairness' or 'equality.' It's about morality and the strength of civil society. Homosexual behavior is wrong. And homosexual relationships are not equivalent to heterosexual marriages, no matter what the New York legislature says." --columnist Rebecca Hagelin

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G M
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« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2011, 04:26:07 PM »

**But, but I was told that mainstreaming gay marriage would never lead to anything like this.....

http://blogs.findlaw.com/celebrity_justice/2011/07/sister-wives-lawsuit-to-challenge-polygamy-law.html

'Sister Wives' Lawsuit to Challenge Polygamy Law

 By Cynthia Hsu on July 13, 2011 11:43 AM|



A "Sister Wives" lawsuit is expected to be filed today by the family featured on the hit TLC reality show. The polygamy lawsuit is challenging the Utah law that makes polygamy a crime.

Kody Brown is the head of the family. He has four wives and 16 children and stepchildren. The Browns are members of the Apostolic United Brethren Church, which is a fundamentalist offshoot of the Mormon Church.

The Mormon Church gave up polygamy in the 1890s when Utah sought statehood, reports The New York Times.


Brown himself is only legally married to one of his wives. The rest of his wives are "spiritual wives," meaning that they are not legally bound, reports The New York Times.

However, Brown's participation on the reality show brought scrutiny - and an investigation - into their family and their practices. Police started the investigation, which is still ongoing. In the meantime, the family has moved from Utah to Las Vegas, reports Deseret News.

The lawsuit itself is being filed partially on the basis of the decision in Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court decision that struck down Texas' anti-sodomy and anti-homosexual law, reports The New York Times.

Lawrence v. Texas, in part, found: that the anti-sodomy statutes violated the constitutional right to privacy, and that the Texas statute did not further any legitimate state interest that could "justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual."

But, is the Utah law similar to a law that makes sodomy or homosexuality a crime? Unlike homosexuality, polygamy has never been protected by law - and the state could make the case that there are legitimate state interests in preserving bigamy laws, like preventing harm from one spouse to another.

What will happen in the "Sister Wives" lawsuit is still unclear in these early stages. Though, the Browns are certainly employing their share of legal experts: helming the polygamy lawsuit is Professor John Turley, who teaches law at George Washington University, The New York Times reports.

Related Resources:
 •Sister Wives' Polygamist Plans Suit to Challenge Polygamy Law (ABC News)
 •'Sister Wives' Family Investigated for Bigamy (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)
 •More Information on Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws (FindLaw)
 •The Marriage Debate and Polygamy (FindLaw's Writ)
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2011, 10:55:07 PM »

Fable of the porcupine
It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions. After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the warmth that came from the others. This way they were able to survive. Moral of the story: The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person's good qualities.
The real moral of the story......LEARN TO LIVE WITH THE PRICKS IN YOUR LIFE.
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Rachel
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« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2011, 10:37:58 AM »

http://www.aish.com/ci/s/David_Beckhams_Baby_Girl.html


David Beckham's Baby Girl
by Jeff Jacoby
The Beckhams gave birth to their fourth child. Are they bad role models?

David and Victoria Beckham were overjoyed by the birth last week of their fourth child, a baby girl they named Harper. "We all feel so blessed and the boys love their baby sister so much!!!" the former Spice Girl exulted to her vast following on Twitter. A few days later she posted a picture of her husband cradling his new daughter, with the tender comment: "Daddy's little girl!"

What heart wouldn't be warmed by the Beckhams' delight in their newborn?

The Observer's wouldn't.

In a remarkably churlish article on Sunday, Britain's influential left-leaning newspaper (The Observer is The Guardian's sister Sunday paper) pronounced Harper's parents "environmentally irresponsible" for choosing to bring her into the world. Headlined "Beckhams a 'bad example' for families," the piece was a sour blast at parents who raise good-sized families. "One or two children are fine but three or four are just being selfish," Simon Ross, executive director of the Optimum Population Trust, told reporter Tracy McVeigh. "The Beckhams... are very bad role models with their large famil[y]."

McVeigh also quoted natural-history broadcaster David Attenborough, who recently "made a passionate speech about how the world's baby-making was damaging the planet." Fifty years ago there were 3 billion human beings, Attenborough had lamented. "Now there are almost 7 billion... and every one of them needing space. There cannot be more people on this Earth than can be fed."

Has there ever been a more persistent and popular superstition than the idea that having more kids is a bad thing, or that "overpopulation" causes hunger, misery, and hopelessness? In the 18th century, Thomas Malthus warned that human population growth must inevitably outstrip the food supply; to prevent mass starvation, he suggested, "we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction," such as encouraging the spread of disease among the poor. In the 20th century, Paul Ehrlich wrote bestsellers with titles like The Population Bomb, in which he described the surging number of people in the world as a "cancer" that would have to be excised through "many apparently brutal and heartless decisions." (His list included sterilization, abortion, and steep tax rates on families with children.)

Just last month, Thomas Friedman avowed in his New York Times column that "The Earth Is Full," and that "we are currently growing at a rate that is using up the Earth's resources far faster than they can be sustainably replenished."

For more than 200 years the population alarmists have been predicting the worst, and for more than 200 years their predictions have failed to come true. As the number of men, women, and children in the world has skyrocketed -- from fewer than 1 billion when Malthus lived to nearly 7 billion today -- so has the average person's standard of living. Poverty, disease, and hunger have not been eradicated, of course, and there are many people in dire need of help. But by and large human beings are living longer, healthier, cleaner, richer, better-educated, more productive, and more comfortable lives than ever before.

The Malthusians are wrong. When human beings proliferate, the result isn't less of everything to go around. The planet doesn't run out of food and fuel, minerals and metals. On the contrary, most resources have grown cheaper and more abundant over the past couple centuries -- in tandem with rising population.

The explanation is no mystery. Yes, more babies mean more mouths and therefore more consumption. But more babies also mean more minds and arms and spines -- and therefore more new ideas, more energy, more ingenuity, more initiative, more enterprise. "Human beings do not just consume, they also produce," writes George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan in a new book. "The world economy is not like a party where everyone splits a birthday cake; it is more like a potluck where everyone brings a dish."

It is a beautiful and uplifting insight, but the population misanthropes never seem to grasp it: Human beings, on the whole and over time, usually create more than they destroy. With more people tend to come more progress and more prosperity. That's why the birth of virtually any baby is cause to rejoice, and why parents who decide to raise another child bestow a gift on all of us. To be fruitful and multiply, says Genesis, is to be blessed. The parents of Harper Beckham know that, even if The Observer doesn't.

This article originally appeared in The Boston Globe.

This article can also be read at: http://www.aish.com/ci/s/David_Beckhams_Baby_Girl.html
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Cranewings
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« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2011, 04:14:03 PM »

I'm not sure I understand why someone would doubt that the earth is going to run out of space. I think human behavior is about the same as yeast growing in a jar. Eventually it is going to use up all the space and food and die on its own poisons. I know that sounds pessimistic, but growth is not endlessly sustainable. Just because no one knows when the resources as going to run out doesn't mean they aren't going to.

Right now, most of our food supply comes from farms that are being fertilized with fossil fuels, farms that are losing top soil. As those farms loose top soil, people build their homes on good farming land. As more people come into the world, we use up more of the limited amount of natural gas which is used to make the nitrogen fertilizers. At some point, the declining amount of fuel, the declining amount of farmland, the declining amount of top soil, and the increasing number of mouths is going reach an impasse. What happens next is a population crash.

People who are worried about it are expressing their compassion for the future people yet born, that are going to live in a world without enough food or fuel. It is going to happen. You can't endlessly fill a limited area (the earth) with a constantly increasing number of things (people). At some point the jar will be full.

I don't know when we are going to start having kids, probably in about 3 years or so. We have already talked about the fact that we don't think the world needs us to have more than enough children to replace us. We might have two kids, but not more than that. I agree, anything more is irresponsible.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 04:16:14 PM by Cranewings » Logged
G M
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« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2011, 06:16:20 PM »

CW,

Well, if Malthus was correct, that would explain why humanity went extinct back in the 1800's.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2011, 06:57:48 PM »

Or why we ran out of oil in 1993 as predicted in 1973, or , , , etc.
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G M
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« Reply #30 on: July 28, 2011, 07:00:35 PM »

I'm trying to recall the environmentalist that wrote a book that predicted mass starvation in North America by the 1980's.
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G M
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« Reply #31 on: July 28, 2011, 08:06:23 PM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A12789-2001Oct18

Greener Than You Think
'The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World' by Bjorn Lomborg

Reviewed by Denis Dutton
Sunday, October 21, 2001; Page BW01

THE SKEPTICAL ENVIRONMENTALIST
Measuring the Real State Of the World
By Bjorn Lomborg
Cambridge Univ. 515 pp. $69.95; paperback, $27.95

That the human race faces environmental problems is unquestionable. That environmental experts have regularly tried to scare us out of our wits with doomsday chants is also beyond dispute. In the 1960s overpopulation was going to cause massive worldwide famine around 1980. A decade later we were being told the world would be out of oil by the 1990s. This was an especially chilly prospect, since, as Newsweek reported in 1975, we were in a climatic cooling trend that was going to reduce agricultural outputs for the rest of the century, leading possibly to a new Ice Age.
 
Bjorn Lomborg, a young statistics professor and political scientist at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, knows all about the enduring appeal -- for journalists, politicians and the public -- of environmental doomsday tales, having swallowed more than a few himself. In 1997, Lomborg -- a self-described left-winger and former Greenpeace member -- came across an article in Wired magazine about Julian Simon, a University of Maryland economist. Simon claimed that the "litany" of the Green movement -- its fears about overpopulation, animal species dying by the hour, deforestation -- was hysterical nonsense, and that the quality of life on the planet was radically improving. Lomborg was shocked by this, and he returned to Denmark to set about doing the research that would refute Simon.

He and his team of academicians discovered something sobering and cheering: In every one of his claims, Simon was correct. Moreover, Lomborg found on close analysis that the factual foundation on which the environmental doomsayers stood was deeply flawed: exaggeration, prevarications, white lies and even convenient typographical errors had been absorbed unchallenged into the folklore of environmental disaster scenarios.

Lomborg still feels at one with the basic sentiments that underlie the Green movement: that we should strive toward a cleaner, healthier world for everyone, including animals (he's a vegetarian with ethical objections to eating flesh). But his aim in this new catalogue of environmental issues is to counter the gloom with a clear, scientifically based picture of the true state of the Earth and to take a rational view of what we can expect in the next century.

In a massive, meticulously presented argument that extends over 500 pages, supported by nearly 3,000 footnotes and 182 tables and diagrams, Lomborg revisits a number of heartening breakthroughs in the recent life of the planet. Chief among these is the decline of poverty and starvation across the world. Starvation still exists, but there is less of it than ever, as our capacity to produce abundant quantities of food continues to improve. Likewise with other dire scenarios of resource depletion: We are emphatically not running out of energy and mineral resources, the population bomb is fizzling, and, far from killing us, pesticides and chemicals are improving longevity and the quality of life. Neither need we fear anything from the genetic modification of organisms.

For a factual encyclopedia, the book has immense entertainment value, particularly in the way Lomborg traces the urban legends of the Green movement back to their sources. Consider the oft-repeated claim that 40,000 species go extinct every year. Such an annual loss of species, Lomborg points out, would be disaster for the future of life on earth, amounting perhaps to a loss of 25 to 50 percent of all species in the next half century. He manages, however, to locate the source of the story -- an off-hand and completely unfounded guess made by a scientist in 1979. It's been repeated endlessly ever since -- and in 1981 was increased by arch-doomsayer Paul Ehrlich to 250,000 species per year. (Ehrlich also predicted that half the planet's species would be extinct by 2000.)

Lomborg brings these unhinged forecasts back down to Earth by reminding us that the only actual scientific documentation for species loss is in United Nations figures, which show an actual loss of between a tenth of a percent and 1 percent of all species for all of the next 50 years. This includes beetles, ants, flies, worms, bacteria and fungi, which make up 99 percent of all species, plus a small but unknown number of mammals and birds. Extinction, Lomborg argues, is a problem to be realistically faced and solved, not a catastrophe to be bewailed.

Or consider deforestation. It's been claimed that the world has lost two-thirds of its forests since the dawn of agriculture. The real figure, Lomborg shows, is around 20 percent, and this figure has hardly changed since the World War II. Tropical forests are declining at a small annual rate of 0.46 percent, but this is offset by growth in commercial plantations, which should be encouraged, as their products take the pressure off the tropical forests. In fact, the world's wood and paper needs could be permanently satisfied by tree plantations amounting to just 5 percent of the world's forest cover.

Then there's waste disposal. Are we really running out of landfill space for our garbage? Lomborg shows how the entire trash-dumping requirements for the United States through the whole of the coming century (assuming the country doubles in population) could be met by a single landfill that measures 100 feet high and 18 miles square. That's a lot of trash, but as the total leavings of the increasing U.S. population over a hundred years, it is certainly not unmanageable, and if it's properly dealt with, it need pose no serious pollution threat to air or water.

Speaking of trash, Lomborg favors recycling, but only when it makes sense, and he gives a hilarious analysis of a scheme from Environment magazine to mail used toothbrushes to a plant where they could be recycled as outdoor furniture. This would cost $4 billion to implement for the U.S. population, and that's without taking into account the costs of the postal system handling a billion packages of new and used toothbrushes annually. The recycling cure can be worse than the consumption disease (though I can imagine the U. S. Postal Service might see this idea as a revenue opportunity).

Many well-intentioned environmental policies can have surprising outcomes: Suppose minute pesticide residues have the potential to cause cancer in a tiny number of cases -- one estimate would have it around 20 cases per annum in the United States (not very many in a country where 300 people drown in bathtubs every year). So we ban the pesticides. This in turn, Lomborg points out, would sharply drive up the price of cancer-preventing fruits and vegetables. By reducing consumption, especially among the poor, the pesticide ban in the end would cause more cancer (perhaps 26,000 cases annually) than the pesticides would have caused in the first place. Sometimes, as with toothbrushes, the best thing to do about a "problem" is exactly nothing.

Lomborg enjoys placing what look to be serious environmental issues in a comparative context, which can often cause them to diminish considerably in scale. The Exxon Valdez oil spill was portrayed as a disaster of unparalleled magnitude: For example, it killed 250,000 birds. He shows how the long-term effects of the spill were far less damaging than environmentalists predicted, and also puts the avian mortality claim in perspective: Some 300,000 birds are killed by mammals, mostly cats, in Great Britain every 48 hours, and 250,000 birds die from striking plate glass in homes and offices in the United States every 24 hours. How could he know that? I wondered myself, so here as elsewhere, I followed Lomborg's claims back through the footnotes, traced the sources for myself, and found them to be sound. In fact, since The Skeptical Environmentalist was published last month in Britain, an army of angry environmentalists has been crawling all over the book, trying to refute it. Lomborg's claims have withstood the attack.
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« Reply #32 on: July 29, 2011, 06:06:21 AM »

The case against
Whose rights do we value most: those of children or of homosexual adults?


 

Same-sex marriage creates a clash between upholding the human rights of children with respect to their coming-into being and the family structure in which they will be reared, and the claims of homosexual adults who wish to marry a same-sex partner. It forces us, as a society, to choose whether to give priority to children’s rights or to homosexual adults’ claims. This problem does not arise with opposite-sex marriage, because children’s rights and adults claims with respect to marriage are consistent with each other.

Reasons matter 
Many people who oppose extending the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples do so on religious grounds or because of moral objections to homosexuality. In contrast, my arguments are secularly based and, to the extent that they involve morals and values, they are grounded in ethics, not religion.

Moreover, I oppose discrimination on basis of sexual orientation and believe that civil partnerships, open to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples, are the most ethical compromise in terms of balancing respect for children’s rights and fulfilling adults’ claims to mutually protect each other, for instance, with respect to inheritance, property rights and so on. Legally recognizing civil partnerships, as has been done, for example, in France and the United Kingdom, also neutralizes any claim – although, as I explain below, I do not agree it is a valid one - that legalizing same-sex marriage is necessary to avoid discrimination. That said, I continue to believe that, in order to maintain respect for children’s human rights, the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman should not be changed to include same-sex couples.

In other words, I am against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and against legalizing same-sex marriage. This is a position that same-sex marriage advocates refuse to acknowledge is possible. One of their strategies for promoting same-sex marriage is to allow only two possibilities: one is either for same-sex marriage and against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, or against same-sex marriage and, thereby, necessarily for such discrimination.

My reasons for opposition go to the nature of marriage as the societal institution that institutionalizes, symbolizes and protects the inherently reproductive human relationship which exists between a man and a woman, and, in doing so, establishes children’s human rights with respect to their biological origins and the family structure in which they are reared.

Ethical reasons to give priority to children’s rights over homosexual adults’ claims include that children are the more vulnerable persons and ethics demands that decision making is based on a presumption in favour of the most vulnerable; they cannot give their informed consent to participation in the unprecedented social experiment that same-sex marriage would constitute; and we cannot establish children’s “anticipated consent”, that is, we cannot  reasonably assume they would consent to the mode of their coming-into being or family structure, when their conception is other than between a man and a woman.

Marriage as culture only or biology plus culture

A central issue in the same-sex marriage debate is whether the institution of marriage is a purely cultural construct, as same-sex marriage advocates argue, and therefore open to redefinition as we see fit, or whether it is a cultural institution built around a central biological core, the inherently procreative relationship of one man and one woman. If it is the latter, as I believe, it cannot accommodate same-sex relationships and maintain its current functions.

A common riposte of same-sex marriage advocates to making procreation an essential feature of marriage is that we recognize opposite-sex marriages that do not or cannot result in children, so why not same-sex ones? The answer is that the former do not negate the norms, values and symbolism established for society by opposite-sex marriage with respect to children’s human rights in regard to their natural parents and families, as same-sex marriage necessarily does.

Advocates of same-sex marriage also argue that we should accept that the primary purpose of marriage is to give social and public recognition to an intimate committed relationship between two people and, therefore, to exclude same-sex couples is discrimination. They are correct if that is the primary purpose of marriage. But they are not correct if its primary purpose is to protect an intimate relationship because of its procreative potential. (Note that there is no inherent reason to limit same-sex marriage to two people, as there is in opposite-sex marriage. Moreover, as in a current Canadian case, it can be argued that if it’s discrimination not to recognize same-sex marriage as legal, likewise, it’s discrimination not to recognize polygamous marriage.)

The right to found a family and children’s human rights

Marriage is a compound right in both international and domestic law: it’s the right to marry and to found a family. Giving the right to found a family to same-sex couples necessarily negates the rights of all children, not just those born into a same-sex marriage, with respect to their biological parents and a natural family structure.

Indeed, the Canadian Parliament implemented this change in the second section of the Civil Marriage Act 2005 which legalized same-sex marriage. It provides that in certain legislation where the term “natural parent” appears, it is to be replaced by “legal parent”. In short, the adoption exception - that who is a child’s parent is established by legal fiat, not biological connection - becomes the norm for all children.

In the same vein, in Canada we now have provincial legislation that replaces the words “mother” and “father” on a birth certificate with “Parent 1” and “Parent 2”. And an Ontario court has ruled that a child can have three legal parents: her biological mother and her lesbian partner, and her gay biological father who donated sperm.

Children’s human rights and reproductive technologies

The dangers of same-sex marriage to children’s human rights are amplified by reprogenetic  technoscience. Developments such as IVF, cloning and surrogacy pose unprecedented challenges to maintaining respect for the transmission of human life and the children who result, because they open up unprecedented modes of transmission, which are sometimes referred to as “collaborative non-coital reproduction”. When the institution of marriage is limited to opposite-sex couples, it establishes a social-sexual ecology of human reproduction and symbolizes respect for the transmission of human life through sexual reproduction, as compared, for example, to asexual replication (cloning) or same-sex reproduction (for instance, the future possibility of making a sperm from one woman’s stem cell and using it to fertilize another woman’s ovum).

It merits noting, in this regard, that the Canadian Assisted Human Reproduction Act 2004, for instance, provides that “persons who seek to undergo assisted reproduction procedures must not be discriminated against, including on the basis of their sexual orientation or marital status”.

If we believe that, ethically, there should be limits on the use of new reproductive technologies, we now need the natural procreation symbolism established by opposite-sex marriage more than in past. In the past, the only mode of transmission of human life was sexual reproduction in vivo. Now we must ask what is required for respect for the mode of transmission of human life to the next generation. And what is it required we not do with reproductive technologies if we are to respect the children who would result from the use of these technologies?

If the response to such possibilities is that we should prohibit them, we must keep in mind that if exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is found to be discrimination by way of comparison with opposite-sex couples, not providing same-sex couples with the means for procreation — that is, excluding the couple from procreating with each other — when such procreation is possible, is a related discrimination. In Halpern et al. the Court of Appeal of Ontario expressly ruled that same-sex couples’ inability to reproduce together naturally was not an argument against same-sex marriage, because they could use assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) to found a family, as the right to marry contemplates. Some provisions of the Canadian Assisted Human Reproduction Act 2004 have already been found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada, so a challenge to the legal validity of any prohibitions would not be novel.

Respect for the transmission of human life

Recognizing that a fundamental purpose of marriage is to engender respect for the transmission of human life provides a corollary insight: excluding same-sex couples from marriage is not related to those people’s homosexual orientation, or to them as individuals, or to the worth of their relationships. Rather, the exclusion of their relationship is related to the fact that it is not inherently procreative, and, therefore, if it is encompassed within marriage, marriage cannot institutionalize and symbolize respect for the transmission of life. To recognize same-sex marriage (which is to be distinguished from same-sex partnerships that do not raise this problem, because they do not entail the right to found a family) would unavoidably eliminate this function of marriage.

The alternative view is that new reproductive technoscience means that same-sex couples will be able to reproduce as a couple, so they should be included in marriage as the institution that institutionalizes, recognizes and protects procreative relationships.

Child-centred reproductive decision-making

Same-sex marriage is symptomatic of adult-centred reproductive decision-making, a stance that our Western democratic societies have largely adopted. But reproductive decision-making should be child-centred. This means, among other requirements, that we should work from a basic presumption that children have an absolute right to be conceived from natural biological origins, that is, an untampered-with ovum from one, identified, living, adult woman and an untampered-with sperm from one, identified, living, adult man. This, I propose, is the most fundamental human right of all.

Children also have valid claims, if at all possible, to be reared by their own biological parents within their natural family. If not raised by them, they have a claim to know who those parents and their other close biological relatives are. And society should not be complicit in intentionally depriving children of a mother and a father. We must consider the ethics of deliberately creating any situation that is otherwise.

A common riposte by those advocating same-sex marriage and same-sex families is to point out the deficiencies of traditional marriage and natural families.

 The issue is not, however, whether all or even most opposite-sex couples attain the ideals of marriage in relation to fulfilling the needs of their offspring. Neither is the issue whether marriage is a perfect institution — it is not. It is, rather, whether we should work from a basic presumption that children need a mother and a father, preferably their own biological parents. I believe they do. The issue is, also, whether society would be worse off without the aspirational ideals established by traditional marriage. I believe it would be.

Discrimination

As mentioned already, the reason for excluding same-sex couples from marriage matters: if the reason for denying same-sex marriage is that we have no respect for homosexuals and their relationships, or want to give the message that homosexuality is wrong, then, the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is not ethically acceptable from the perspective of respect for homosexuals and their relationships. It is also discrimination.

On the other hand, if, as I have argued, the reason is to keep the very nature, essence and substance of marriage intact, and that essence is to protect the inherently procreative relationship for the sake of the children who result, then excluding same-sex couples from marriage is ethically acceptable from the perspective of respect for them and their relationships. And such a refusal is not discrimination.

A useful comparison can be made with the discrimination involved in affirmative action. That shows that sometimes discrimination - in the sense of not treating all people in exactly the same way - and the harm it involves, can be justified when it is to achieve a greater good that cannot otherwise be achieved.

It is also argued by those advocating same-sex marriage, that excluding same-sex couples from marriage is the same act of discrimination as prohibiting interracial marriage. This has rightly been recognized as a serious breach of human rights. But this argument is not correct. Because an interracial marriage between a man and a woman does symbolize the procreative relationship, its prohibition is based on racial discrimination which is wrong. In contrast, not extending the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples is not based on the sexual orientation of the partners, but the absence of a feature of their relationship which is an essential feature of marriage.

Some same-sex marriage advocates argue, as well, that any “privileging” (as they see it) of opposite-sex marriage is, in itself, a form of discrimination they call heterosexism. They see traditional marriage as the flag-bearer for such discrimination and believe that if they can eliminate traditional marriage, which they see the legalization of same-sex marriage as achieving, they will eliminate heterosexism.

Wider effects of legalizing same-sex marriage

We also need to consider the wider effects of legalizing same-sex marriage. It can result in restrictions on freedom of conscience and religion, and freedom of speech, as we’ve seen happen in Canada. Complaints have been filed before Human Rights tribunals or courts, and sometimes they have resulted in substantial penalties. Those targeted have included civil marriage celebrants for refusals to conduct same-sex marriages; a teacher and an author of a letter to the editor questioning the morality of homosexuality; a Roman Catholic organization which rescinded an agreement to rent a church hall for a reception when it discovered it was to be used for a lesbian wedding; and school trustees for their decision not to include books on homosexual families on a recommended reading list for kindergarten students.

Holding on trust our metaphysical ecosystem

 As I pen this article here in Australia, my understanding is that the Australian Greens, as is true of groups in other countries who see themselves as supporting what they call “progressive values”, are strong advocates of the legalization of same-sex marriage. They have made an important contribution in raising people's sensitivity to the idea that we can irreparably damage our physical ecosystem and the need to avoid further damage and hold that system in trust for future generations. We have to take care not to leave them with anything less than we inherited and, if possible, in a better situation.

We also have a metaphysical ecosystem - the values, principles, beliefs, attitudes, myths and so on that create the glue that binds us together as families, communities and a society (the societal-cultural paradigm) which for some people includes religion, but for others does not. Like our physical ecosystem that can also be irreparably damaged and, likewise, has to be held in trust for future generations. This means, I suggest, that we must examine the values the Greens are promoting, including same-sex marriage, in that light.

In conclusion, legalizing same-sex marriage would be a very powerful statement against the horrible wrong of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We clearly need such statement. But, in order to uphold children’s human rights with respect to their biological origins and the family structure in which they are reared, they should be made in other ways than legalizing same-sex marriage.

Society needs to maintain traditional marriage in order to continue to establish cultural meaning, symbolism and moral values around the inherently procreative relationship between a man and a woman, and thereby protect that relationship and the children who result from it. This is even more necessary than in the past, when alternatives to sexual reproduction were not available.

Redefining marriage to include same-sex couples would affect its cultural meaning and function and, in doing so, damage its ability and, thereby, society’s capacity, to protect the inherently procreative relationship and the children who result from it, whether those children’s future sexual orientation proves to be homosexual or heterosexual.

Margaret Somerville is director of the McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law in Montreal.

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« Reply #33 on: July 29, 2011, 06:14:32 AM »

second post of the morning

One big, happy polygamous family?
In the wake of New York’s same-sex marriage law plural marriage is getting an airing, but no-one wants to talk about the kids.


Three years ago Texas authorities caused a sensation in the United States with a raid on the polygamous Mormon sect living at Yearning For Zion Ranch, during which 401 children were taken into state custody. The pretext for the crackdown was not so much polygamy, although it is a crime in Texas, but forced sex with under-age girls taken as wives by older men. In other words, the wellbeing of children was the main issue.
Community leader Warren Jeffs, already in trouble before the raid, is currently in jail awaiting trial in Texas on sexual assault and bigamy charges. If he sits tight a bit longer, though, the bigamy charge may collapse; with same-sex marriage apparently in the bag, polygamy is looking like the next big thing in the United States -- and no-one seems to care what happens to the kids.

While Jeffs has been cooling his heels in clink, television networks have promoted his cause by rolling out shows such as Big Love and Sister Wives. The Browns of Sister Wives, all four of them, have talked about how happy they are with their choice and how well adjusted their 16 children are, and how the children are carefully educated about choice and consequences, and how there are no underage or arranged marriages. Fictional versions of the lifestyle add to the gloss by leaving out what one script writer calls the “yuck factor”.

Now that the small screen has demystified and sentimentalised polygamy it is the turn of professors and judges to legitimise it. And what better time to do so than in the wake of the latest green light for same-sex marriage? Straight after New York conferred the right to marry on homosexuals, Ralph Richard Banks, a Stanford law school professor predicted that polygamy and incest must now be legalised: “Over time, our moral assessments of these practices will shift, just as they have with interracial marriage and same sex marriage.”

Right on cue, in mid-July, the patriarch of the Brown family, Kody Brown, filed a challenge to Utah’s law against polygamy. His lead counsel, Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, wrote in the New York Times that the suit is based not on any analogy with same-sex marriage but on the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, that states could not use the criminal code against what two consenting adults -- in that case, homosexuals -- do in private. Privacy is the issue, he insists, not what society finds acceptable.

However, if it comes to acceptability, Turley has an answer ready for critics: society already accepts other kinds of plural relationships. He says: “It is widely accepted that a person can have multiple partners and have children with such partners. But the minute that person expresses a spiritual commitment and ‘cohabits’ with those partners, it is considered a crime.”

We are going to hear this argument a lot more in the new battle for the rights of polygamists. It has been used also by another law professor, Adrienne D. Davis of Washington University at St Louis, in a 92-page article in the Columbia Law Review of December 2010. With interesting timing, the university sent out a press release about the article earlier this month.

But Davis, like Turley, prefers not to hitch her wagon to the same-sex marriage star. She says it’s a red herring in the polygamy debate since same-sex marriage is concerned with the couple relationship and polygamy with plural relationships. In fact she is not really interested in marriage at all (“I am no particular fan of the institution of marriage”); a power feminist, she talks, rather, of “intimate relationships” and rules for “bargaining for equality” within them.

Polygamy, with its “multiple partners, ongoing entrances and exits, and life-defining economic and personal stakes”, presents a special challenge in this regard, one which family law could hardly cope with, Davis admits. But, no problem; it turns out that commercial partnership law has a “robust set of off-the-rack rules” that could be adapted to arbitrate the disputes of polygamists. If the power relationships can be regulated -- and she believes they can (lots of work for lawyers there) -- there would be no reason to withhold social recognition from polygamy.

In social revolutions like this numbers are always useful: a million backstreet abortions; tens of thousands of gay couples already enjoying family bliss but without the blessing of marriage; and now, “50,000 to 100,000” polygamists minding their own business but persecuted for merely moral reasons. (A recent Gallup poll shows that 86 per cent of Americans consider polygamy immoral.) The implication is that what so many people are doing, with little evident harm, must really be harmless.

Many feminists, it’s true, are unhappy about the subjugation of women in communities like Yearning For Zion. Then there’s the problem of young girls becoming extra wives, and there have been disturbing stories about what happens to “spare” boys once they reach puberty. Some, simply expelled from their compounds, have been found living rough around rural towns in Utah and Arizona.

Which brings us to the central question about polygamy, or any other variation on the married mother and father family: what about the kids? Is this form of adult intimacy good for them?

One can almost hear Professor Davis sigh as she reluctantly addresses this issue in a section of her essay headed “Children and Other ‘Externalities’…”. “Part of me wants to radically resist the notion that intimacy cannot be theorised without attention to children,” she protests.

Still, she does take a sideways glance at the children and comes up with the same argument as Turley: we already have de facto polygamy, in both the unmarried (single mothers and nomadic fathers) form and the married (divorced and remarried parents) or serial form, and family law accommodates those. Not only that, but the law is developing norms to deal with claims arising from other multi-parent situations: open adoption, grandparents raising children, and “reprotech families” formed by both heterosexual and same-sex couples using donor gametes and surrogate mothers. Why not add polygamy to the “marriage pantheon”?

Well, yes, marital culture is in a mess, but we know that the absence or divided affections of fathers resulting from transient partnerships and divorce create serious risks for children and much actual misery. And we have some idea from the grown children of donor daddies of the problems being generated by the reprotech variants of family life. So, again, what about the kids? Why expand the opportunities to generate emotional and economic problems for them?

All Davis will say is that it is “unclear that polygamy generates more costs for children than the standard alternatives” (to a married mother and father). That’s it: like, “Since when did we start worrying about children?”

She does have a point (I have made it myself), although it is slightly chilling that a woman, in particular, would make it with such detachment. Adults do already make a lot of trouble for their children. But these are pathologies we should be trying to fix, not spread more widely by recognising another pathway to family chaos on the basis that “it can’t be any worse” than the others.

It may be true that the case for social recognition, or at least tolerance, of polygamy is different to the case for same-sex marriage and the claim to same-sex parenthood that goes with it. But they have one thing in common: they both find their place in a decaying marriage/sexual culture where adult desires increasingly trump the needs and rights of children.

Three years after the Yearning For Zion raid, is the welfare of children no longer an issue in the adult scramble for sexual rights?

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet.
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« Reply #34 on: July 29, 2011, 10:41:24 AM »

While I am not a supporter of polyandry or polygyny, my wife would kill me   grin   and perhaps it's immoral, I do not understand why it's illegal; a criminal act.

"While few present-day states permit polygamous marriages, polygynous male behavior may be observed in the establishment of mistresses, who are openly or secretly supported. In this way, men may be technically monogamous but de facto polygynous.

Economically, polygyny tends to benefit all but the most desirable women, by giving them more opportunities to marry rich men, who are in short supply. Most men tend to be disadvantaged by polygyny, however, since when many women are able to marry a rich man, it leaves fewer women available for the less rich."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygyny
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ccp
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« Reply #35 on: July 29, 2011, 11:04:56 AM »

"I do not understand why it's illegal; a criminal act."

Well if polygamists can organize into a radical semi militant poltical action group like the gays and make it politically correct than it will become legal.

If "father" "mother" is to be replaced with "parent" then why not "parent's", wives and husbands (plural intended).

Just one more step in gutting our cultural norms.

Isn't it all just glorious and beautiful?
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« Reply #36 on: July 29, 2011, 11:13:18 AM »


A central issue in the same-sex marriage debate is whether the institution of marriage is a purely cultural construct, as same-sex marriage advocates argue, and therefore open to redefinition as we see fit, or whether it is a cultural institution built around a central biological core, the inherently procreative relationship of one man and one woman. If it is the latter, as I believe, it cannot accommodate same-sex relationships and maintain its current functions.

I get the idea of reaching a compromise over gay marriage, simply to move along the cause of equal rights. If they have civil partnerships that entailed all the same rights, but weren't called marriage, at least it would be something.

While I agree that this would be helpful, I don't agree that its based on any kind of biological science. Humans are about as far from monogamous creatures as you can get.

Quote
Humans are naturally polygamous
The history of western civilization aside, humans are naturally polygamous. Polyandry (a marriage of one woman to many men) is very rare, but polygyny (the marriage of one man to many women) is widely practiced in human societies, even though Judeo-Christian traditions hold that monogamy is the only natural form of marriage. We know that humans have been polygynous throughout most of history because men are taller than women.

Among primate and nonprimate species, the degree of polygyny highly correlates with the degree to which males of a species are larger than females. The more polygynous the species, the greater the size disparity between the sexes. Typically, human males are 10 percent taller and 20 percent heavier than females. This suggests that, throughout history, humans have been mildly polygynous.

Relative to monogamy, polygyny creates greater fitness variance (the distance between the "winners" and the "losers" in the reproductive game) among males than among females because it allows a few males to monopolize all the females in the group. The greater fitness variance among males creates greater pressure for men to compete with each other for mates. Only big and tall males can win mating opportunities. Among pair-bonding species like humans, in which males and females stay together to raise their children, females also prefer to mate with big and tall males because they can provide better physical protection against predators and other males.

In societies where rich men are much richer than poor men, women (and their children) are better off sharing the few wealthy men; one-half, one-quarter, or even one-tenth of a wealthy man is still better than an entire poor man. As George Bernard Shaw puts it, "The maternal instinct leads a woman to prefer a tenth share in a first-rate man to the exclusive possession of a third-rate one." Despite the fact that humans are naturally polygynous, most industrial societies are monogamous because men tend to be more or less equal in their resources compared with their ancestors in medieval times. (Inequality tends to increase as society advances in complexity from hunter-gatherer to advanced agrarian societies. Industrialization tends to decrease the level of inequality.)

Most women benefit from polygyny, while most men benefit from monogamy
When there is resource inequality among men—the case in every human society—most women benefit from polygyny: women can share a wealthy man. Under monogamy, they are stuck with marrying a poorer man.

The only exceptions are extremely desirable women. Under monogamy, they can monopolize the wealthiest men; under polygyny, they must share the men with other, less desirable women. However, the situation is exactly opposite for men. Monogamy guarantees that every man can find a wife. True, less desirable men can marry only less desirable women, but that's much better than not marrying anyone at all.

Men in monogamous societies imagine they would be better off under polygyny. What they don't realize is that, for most men who are not extremely desirable, polygyny means no wife at all, or, if they are lucky, a wife who is much less desirable than one they could get under monogamy.

-By Alan S. Miller, Ph.D., Satoshi Kanazawa, Ph.D., published on July 01, 2007 - last reviewed on June 18, 2009"
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« Reply #37 on: July 29, 2011, 11:17:19 AM »

"I do not understand why it's illegal; a criminal act."

Well if polygamists can organize into a radical semi militant poltical action group like the gays and make it politically correct than it will become legal.

If "father" "mother" is to be replaced with "parent" then why not "parent's", wives and husbands (plural intended).

Just one more step in gutting our cultural norms.

Isn't it all just glorious and beautiful?


Divorce is quite common, unfortunately.  "father" "mother" is replaced with "parent".

In a polygamist society, you are still with your "father" and your "mother". 

I'm not saying it's "all just glorious and beautiful", but I am questioning why it's illegal and criminal.

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« Reply #38 on: July 29, 2011, 02:31:39 PM »

"but I am questioning why it's illegal and criminal"

I'll answer it a different way:
Only because it is not politically correct to be a polygamist.
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« Reply #39 on: August 14, 2011, 05:04:30 PM »

My Husband and the Suitcase
by Melissa Groman, LCSW
After 18 years of marriage, shouldn't my husband do a little mind reading?

These are the moments that marriages are made of, the millions of small decisions that we make that shape us as we go through the regular, everyday stuff of life. Such was the case of the suitcase in my living room.

My oldest daughter is about to leave for a year abroad in Israel and my mother gifted us three pieces of luggage, two of which were selected to make the journey to the Holy Land. The third would stay behind and reside in our attic until needed. The two chosen suitcases were moved to my daughter’s bedroom, and the one remaining stood tall and lonely in the middle of our living room.



In my house operates what I lovingly refer to as “the law of infinity.” This means that if something is left in the middle of a room, or on the steps, or in a hallway, it will stay there for infinity unless I personally pick it up (or direct someone to do so). Over the years, in deep and abiding gratitude (seriously) for my happy crew, I bend and lift and collect and arrange and sometimes ask my husband or one of my kids to move the sock, put the Lego in the basket, or the stroller back on the porch. I happily accept this as a privilege of motherhood.

But somehow, the suitcase was needling me. After all, it’s bigger than a sock. My husband was part of the conversation that concluded that this poor suitcase would not have the merit of traveling to Israel (its only crime being that it was eight pounds heavier than the others). So he knew it needed to be taken upstairs. For a few days, it sat in the middle of the living room. Then I moved it to the side, and that’s when the trouble started. It began with my lower self asking me why my husband has not taken it upstairs yet (my lower self did not ask it that nicely). My higher self said, “Oh just take it upstairs yourself. Stop being so silly.” To which some middle part of me said, “Oh leave it, he’ll do it when he gets home.”

That was Wednesday, and by Friday I was arguing with myself again. “But you teach this stuff,” said my higher self. “You know men don’t read minds. Just ask him to do it.” To which my lower self said, “Ha, after 18 years of marriage, he should do a little mind reading.” Higher self: “He is busy working and learning and helping with the kids. He cleans up every Friday night after the meal. He mows the lawn; he balances the check book; he gets up with the baby in the middle of the night.” Lower self: “So what, they are his kids too. You work; you cook.”

Quickly my selves had begun debating the merits of my husband, and thrown us into a competition for meritorious contributions to the household. I could see it going downhill fast.

Lower self: “If he loved you, he would know you needed the suitcase moved.”

Higher self: “Oh please, if you loved him, you would not bother with this nonsense.”

Friday afternoon, just before he came home from work, I moved the suitcase to the bottom of the staircase, where it would clearly block anyone and everyone from using the stairs. Lower self, one. Higher self, zero.

Friday night, the suitcase had been leaned heavily over on its side (not by me) where everyone could (and did) step around it without too much effort.

Comes Shabbos morning. The house is quiet; it’s me and the suitcase. Lunch guests are coming soon.

Lower self: “Can you believe it?”

Higher self: “Please, enough already just take it upstairs yourself.”

Lower self: “Move it to his bed. He’ll probably just sleep on it for six months without even noticing it’s there.”

Higher self: “If you asked him to move it, you know he would. He always does. Then you say thank you, and you get good karma.”

Lower self: “Forget karma, I’ll bet it stays there for another three months.”

Turns out that higher self won in the end. When he came home from shul I asked if he would please take the suitcase upstairs. “Sure,” was the answer I got. And he did. Of course lower self was not to be silenced completely. When he came back down I asked him (nicely), “How come you didn’t take it up sooner?”

“I didn’t notice it.”

Lower self wanted me to retort that he should have noticed. That he should notice me more, appreciate me more, pay me more attention. My lower self can be quite adept at carrying things a bit too far.

Behind him, my eye catches the bright yellow of Calla Lilies (my favorite flowers) that my husband brought home for Shabbos. They are winking at me from the dining room table.

I look back towards the stairs and smile, as much to myself as to husband and say, “Thank you, honey.”

This article can also be read at: http://www.aish.com/f/m/My_Husband_and_the_Suitcase.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #40 on: August 15, 2011, 05:24:47 AM »

I'll be sharing that with my wife  cheesy
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #41 on: August 19, 2011, 01:37:00 PM »



http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1029.new#new

http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/the_marriage_gap_thats_destroying_middle_america/

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Rachel
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« Reply #42 on: August 23, 2011, 07:53:56 AM »

Six Habits of Happily Married Couples
by Rabbi Dov Heller, M.A.
Success in marriage hinges on consistent performance of six key habits.
http://www.aish.com/print/?contentID=48937667&section=/f/m

HABIT #1 - GIVE EACH OTHER PLEASURE

Happily married couples are committed to the goal of giving each other pleasure. You must stay focused on the ultimate goal -- which is to give each other pleasure and not cause pain. It sounds simple enough, but can be very hard in practice.

For just one day, try to maintain a consciousness with everything you do, by asking yourself, "Is what I'm about to do or say going to cause my spouse pain or pleasure?"

To monitor how you're doing, each of you should make two lists: One for all the things your spouse does to cause you pain, and another which identifies what you would like your spouse to do to give you pleasure. Swap lists, and now you know exactly what to do and what not to do. No more mind reading!

HABIT #2 - CREATE MUTUALLY SATISFYING LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP RITUALS

Rituals are habits that build and strengthen a relationship. One couple had the following "greeting ritual" at night when the husband came home:

He would first greet the dog and hug the kids. Then he would go into his bedroom, change his clothes, and watch the news, followed by a visit to the bathroom. Finally he would wander into the kitchen and mutter something to his wife, for example, "Let’s eat fast so we can get to the PTA meeting!"

One might say that such a ritual was not exactly increasing their love for each other.

So after watching how their dog greeted them every time they came home, this couple decided to come up with a new ritual. Elated dogs jump all over their masters and lick them. So they decided to greet each other like dogs. They started jumping up and down and hugging each other. They really got into it. They had fun and the kids got a kick out it, too.

Our actions affect the way we feel. How are your greeting and good-bye rituals?

Here are some rituals you and your spouse should consider working on:

* Daily e-mailing each other with a compliment.

* Daily phone call. (especially important for husbands to do)

* Anniversaries deserve special attention. Plan to do something both of you really enjoy, rather than feeling stuck two days before your anniversary arrives and then running out to get some flowers.

* Before you turn in for the night, try saying two compliments to each other. This means coming up with something new each night!

* It is essential to have a "date night" at least every other week.

HABIT #3 - CREATE A SAFE PLACE TO DISCUSS ISSUES OPENLY AND HONESTLY

Abusive relationships are ones in which you are afraid to express feelings and opinions. Happily married couples create a sense of safety that allows each person to feel comfortable expressing his/her feelings, problems, and dissatisfactions. This sense of safety is the foundation upon which a couple negotiates things that are bothering them.

It's common for each person to come into a relationship with certain expectations about how things will be. But without the ability to communicate and negotiate, these issues become sources for power struggles that almost always damage the relationship.

HABIT #4 - USE GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS TO RESOLVE HOT ISSUES

The technique that every couple must learn is called the "listener-speaker technique." The problem with the way most couples argue is that they try to find solutions before fully giving each other the chance to say what they need to say. The speaker-listener technique ensures that before you can engage in solution talk, each person feels they have been fully heard.

Here's how it works: One person holds an object in their hand which symbolizes that he or she has the floor. While one person has the floor, the other person can only listen by repeating back or paraphrasing what the other person said. The listener can stop the speaker if s/he is saying too much for the listener to repeat back.

When couples use this technique, it automatically ensures that each person will be able to say everything s/he needs to say without interruption, rebuttals, criticism or attack. Only after each person has been fully "heard," do you then proceed to problem solving.

HABIT #5 - CONSTANTLY TURN TOWARD EACH OTHER, RATHER THAN AWAY

When you pass your spouse sitting at her desk doing some work, do you stop and rub her shoulders, give her a kiss on the cheek, and whisper something nice in her ear -- or do you just walk on by? This is the meaning of "turning toward" as opposed to "turning away."

Marriage research shows that happily married couples do a lot of turning toward each other whenever they get the chance. They look for ways to be physically and emotionally close to each other. Turning toward each other means making each other your number one priority.

Another important aspect of turning toward each other is doing things together that you both enjoy. Taking walks together, drinking coffee together after dinner, learning Torah together, and listening to music together, are all examples of how couples turn toward each other.

A powerful way to turn toward each other is to show the ultimate respect -- by standing when your spouse enters the room. Sounds old-fashioned? It is. But it's a powerful way to turn toward your spouse, make him/her feel very special.

Couples who "turn away" from each other don't develop closeness. It's a basic principle stated in the Talmud, "A good deed begets another good deed. A bad deed begets another bad deed."

HABIT #6 - INFUSE YOUR LIVES WITH SHARED MEANING

I often ask singles the following question: "After you're married, what do you plan to do for the next 40 years?" And I usually follow-up by saying, "And besides having fun, what else will you do with each other?"

Human beings need meaning like we need water. Happily married couples enrich their relationship by sharing meaningful experiences with each other. The ultimate in meaning is to share a common philosophy of life and life purpose. This is why couples who observe Shabbat together, and learn Torah together, have great sources of meaning built into their lives.

Some other specific ways of infusing your relationship with meaning are visiting the sick together, making a shiva call together, or preparing a meal together for a mother who just gave birth.

When couples share truly meaningful experiences, they bond on a deeper level.

These six habits may seem small, but when practiced intentionally and consistently, they will form the backbone of a deeply fulfilling marriage.

 

This article can also be read at: http://www.aish.com/f/m/48937667.html

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Rachel
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« Reply #43 on: August 24, 2011, 06:50:33 PM »

Ten Rules for Post Divorce Parenting
by Rachel Rose M.Sc.
Ensuring your child's success after divorce.

Ever wonder why some children with parents who have divorced fare better than others? Respecting these ten rules of post-divorce parenting can be a powerful contributing factor to your child's success after a divorce. Keeping these rules will not only help the children, it will help you too.

1. Give your child the gift of not having to choose between their parents.

Asking children to cut off from extended family compounds the loss that divorce creates. Allowing children to maintain regular access to both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins can contribute to a child's self-esteem, as well as their sense of security and belonging.

When children return from a visit, either with the other parent or with relatives, refrain from asking competitive questions. Everyone has something different to offer and children need all of it. They need the parent with more money, as well as the parent with more love. They need the parent who is better at helping with homework as well as the one that makes the best spaghetti and meatballs.

Asking your children to choose one parent over another, whether overtly or through subtle messages, can create anxiety and guilt. Not knowing who to choose creates anxiety. So does fear of reprisal by the scorned parent. Being "unfaithful" to a parent can create tremendous feelings of guilt. This can lead to hurt and anger in the child for having being asked to make that difficult choice. Some children will disconnect emotionally from both parents as a way of coping with having to make a decision. Everyone loses in that scenario.

Accept that your child benefits from having a relationship with both parents. (This obviously does not apply in cases where there is any risk of danger or abuse to the child. For the sake of this article, it is assumed that if such protection is needed it was obtained in court.)
Allow your child to enjoy what each parent has to offer without making them feel guilty.
2. Refrain from speaking poorly of your ex to your children.

It's tempting. Your marriage did not work out as you had hoped. You may be hurt, disappointed and angry. But remember, you're the adult. Children need to respect their parents. It helps them to respect authority in general, and to grow up to be self-respecting. When you are critical of your former spouse you are teaching your child to be critical and judgmental. Even if sarcasm, bitterness and hurtful statements were a trademark of your marriage, lose it in your post-divorce reality.

Even if your spouse bad-mouths you, don't respond, don't retort. It only lowers your child's respect for you. You might feel that if you do not "defend" yourself, your children will think less of you. In reality, it is the on-going fighting that will lead to an erosion of respect for you.

There is another selfish reason to not speak poorly of your former spouse. If someone speaks poorly of someone you love, what do you do? Usually you run to defend them, even if you suspect that they are wrong. When you attack your ex, you are forcing your child to come to your ex's defense, even if it is only in the child's mind.

Negative speech undermines your child's trust in the speaker, as well as the person who is being spoken about. It can even affect their ability to trust adults in general. Be careful not to send your child the message that all members of your former spouse's gender are bad, particularly not to your children of that gender.

Proactively protect your child from having to listen to harmful speech.
Commit to respecting the best interests of your children regardless of what your former spouse does.
3. Spare your children the details.

Sharing too much information about how hard your life has become only confuses and burdens children. Giving your child too much information might be a subtle (or not so subtle) way of asking them to help you. Rather than going into the details of how little money is in your account, stick to a simple "we need to be smart about how we spend our money now." As the adult, you will need to find the best way to pay your bills. Even if it means getting a job, taking a loan, or asking someone to help out financially until you can make necessary changes. That is not your child's responsibility.

Remember that all the changes and issues that are troubling you are probably troubling them, too. If you make them feel that you are unable to handle it, they lose their sense of security. They need you to be there for them; don't make them feel that in addition to everything they're going through, they need to be there for the adults in their life.

Make your calls to your lawyer or your friends to vent about your ex at a time and place where your children are not in earshot.

Spare your children the details of the difficulties your divorce has created. They have their own difficulties to deal with.
Do all of your venting out of your children's earshot.
4. Don't make your child your messenger.

There are numerous ways for former spouses to communicate. Some people choose to speak on the phone, others send text messages or e-mails to one another. Others might continue to communicate through their attorneys. All of these ways work. Using children as the "mailman" between the two parents does not work.

"Tell your father we have nothing to eat!" "Tell your mother that I also don't!" Such exchanges communicate a strong message of insecurity and vulnerability to a child. It leaves them wondering, "If both of the people who I would turn to for the basics don't have, what will happen to me?" Your role as a parent is to protect your child, not to put him in the middle of two warring factions. Children have a hard time separating the words and facial expressions that are spoken to them, and the fact that they were not meant for them, wspecially if they were meant for someone else who that they love.

Choose a healthy method of communication with your former spouse that keeps your child out of the middle.
Hurting your spouse "through" your child is nothing more that hurting your child.
5. Let go of your former spouse.

It seems so obvious. You got divorced. The marriage is over. Some people who can't live together in love try to continue the relationship through hatred. One or both of you have given up on the marriage. If you feel that you were not given a choice about the divorce, ask yourself one question: "Would you really want to be in a committed relationship with someone who does not appreciate and value you?" The sooner you accept that the relationship is over, the sooner you can let go of the need to suffer. Some people mistakenly believe that if they suffer enough their ex will come back (and save them.) It is a painful fantasy to have to live with. Even if your ex did return, it is not the foundation for a healthy relationship.

Rather than interrogating your children about what your ex is up to, focus on what is going on in your house. If you really want to "get even," let it be by moving on and having a good life in spite of the divorce. When you put your energy into punishing or getting back at your former spouse, you are really only punishing yourself and your children.

Accept your divorce, let go of the need to "get back" at your ex.
Focus on rebuilding your own life in a healthy and positive way.
6. Set boundaries and expectations for your children.

Set healthy boundaries for behavior in your home. If you are not sure what they should be under your particular circumstances, seek guidance from a someone who is a competent authority on child-rearing. Don't be afraid that if you set boundaries your children will prefer to be at your ex's house. Some children are quite adept at playing one parent against the other. Don't fall prey to that game. Share your expectations for your children regarding getting up, going to school, homework, chores, curfews, bedtime. Make your expectations clear and reasonable.

The rules for your home may differ from those at your ex's home. That's okay. "That's how your Mom/Dad chooses to do things. Here, we do things differently." If you are comfortable with the rules that you are setting, you increase the chances that your children will be, too. Explain that you are interested in what is good for them, and that you are only doing this because you care.

Strive for balance. On the one hand, you want your children to be responsible and functional. At the same time, you want to encourage your children to continue to enjoy their childhood. If your child seems to be unable to enjoy him or herself, or if you find yourself feeling sorry for your children, speak to a qualified therapist.

Don't be afraid to set boundaries that reflect the values of your home.
Encourage your children to enjoy their childhood.
7. Keep the lines of communication to your children open.

Be there to listen. Don't judge or tell your child how to feel. Validate how they are feeling now, while pointing out to them that they may not always feel that way. Time has a way of changing things. Let your child know that you are always there for them. Don't ask questions that will require your child to point a finger at your former spouse. Ask your child if he or she would prefer to talk about those difficulties with an impartial adult, such as a therapist or an adult family friend.

Many times as a marriage is unraveling, children develop the belief that if only they could be "good" then their parents would stay married. For those children, the marriage's failure is confirmation that they just weren't "good" enough. Communicate to your child that the divorce was not his or her fault. Even if your child says that they never thought that it was, it will be reassuring to hear that you don't think so.

Your child might be quiet and may not want to share any feelings. Respect that. If you think that it might be related to a lack of emotional vocabulary, help your child develop one. As you read to your child, ask him or her what he thinks the character is feeling at different points in the book. Inject your own thoughts, "Well, if I were Winnie the Pooh, I would be sad that Tiger didn't invite me to his birthday party." Then talk about the choices available to Winnie the Pooh.

Be there to listen to your children's emotions without judgment.
Make sure your child know the divorce was not their fault.
8. Become a Bigger person.

Proactively choose who you want to be after a divorce. Set short term, medium and long term goals for your yourself and for your family. Divorce creates the possibility for a new beginning. Let go of the past, and of blaming or complaining. It is over. Only today is significant. Decide who you want to be, starting today. What will it take for you to get there?

Get your own therapist so that you are not tempted to have your children fill that role. A good therapist can help you to process what has happened in your marriage and afterwards. Divorce is a loss that needs to be mourned. Respect that your loss is different from your child's. Model that it is okay to get help to talk out problems. By dealing with your difficult feelings and getting through them you can become a bigger person from the experience.

Being a bigger person means letting go of competition. The competing game is one where everyone loses. What will be etched in your children's memory for life is not who bought them the most toys, but who had values that they could respect. Care enough about your children to guide them onto the path of success in life. Your children need you – your time, your attention, your understanding and your encouragement. Understand that anything that you do that hurts your child's other parent, will hurt your child. Limit what you are willing to do to acquire their love and allegiance.

Decide who you want to be in your post-divorce reality. Create a map of out how to get there.
Let go of competition. Model becoming a bigger person.
9. Create safety.

Regardless of how often you see your children, make your home a place of safety. Your home should be a place where children are respected, cared for, shown love and acceptance and taught responsibility. It does not matter what is going on at your ex's house. In fact, if you feel that there is not enough safety at your ex's house, the safety you create only becomes that much more important.

Be responsible. Be there when you say you are going to be there. Do what you say you are going to do. Apologize when you let your child down. It is better not to commit to something that you will not be able to do, for this erodes trust.

It is the parent's responsibility to make sure that there is food in the house. A child who doesn't have what to eat cannot concentrate in school. Parents have the job of creating a structure for cleanliness and order in the home. A child that can't find their shoes in the mess, will have a hard time getting to school on time. A child with no bedtime routine will struggle through the next day's activities.

Safety means showing your child respect, love and acceptance. Say what you will do, and do what you say.
A safe home means providing food, shelter and structure for your child.
10. Teach resilience.

Resilience is one of the most valuable gifts a parent can give a child. Show your child that even when things get hard you and your children can get through the difficulties without falling apart. Teach your child that everything happens for a reason. There is a silver lining to every cloud. Develop your and their ability to access the good in everything that happens. Believe that this experience, like any test, is an opportunity for growth. Show through your example how to use a tough time as a stepping stool, rather than an obstacle. Model patience, flexibility and acceptance for your children. Encourage them to take little steps towards growth.

Help children to build resilience by staying connected to family and friends. Find "big brothers" or "big sisters" to be there for your children. Encourage your children to do things that help them feel accomplished. Encourage them to look for and develop their strengths. Use hopeful language, talk about meaning. When you believe that you can do something, you can. When you believe that you can't, you won't. Speak the language of positivity. Your belief in a brighter future can help you and your children to really have one.

Help your child develop resilience skills to take with them through life.
Look for meaning. Speak the language of hope and possibility.
 

This article can also be read at: http://www.aish.com/f/p/Ten_Rules_for_Post_Divorce_Parenting.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #44 on: August 29, 2011, 08:38:16 PM »



http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=EwdOMvoRSVc
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Cranewings
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« Reply #45 on: September 01, 2011, 02:10:07 AM »

Ron Paul is great. I've voted for him twice now. I wish he could win.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #46 on: September 01, 2011, 08:47:17 AM »

Government not recognizing marriage would end traditions like spousal privilege or inheritance rights if not specifically willed?
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G M
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« Reply #47 on: September 03, 2011, 01:46:16 PM »

Ron Paul is great. I've voted for him twice now. I wish he could win.

Don't you live in Ohio? I'm pretty sure Ron Paul's Congressional district doesn't include Ohio.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #48 on: September 03, 2011, 03:16:26 PM »

Woof Oh Snarky One cheesy

I voted for him when he ran for President back in the 1980s and I would suspect that it would have been possible for an Ohioan to have voted for him in a Presidential Primary.

Yip!
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Cranewings
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« Reply #49 on: September 03, 2011, 10:22:50 PM »

Woof Oh Snarky One cheesy

I voted for him when he ran for President back in the 1980s and I would suspect that it would have been possible for an Ohioan to have voted for him in a Presidential Primary.

Yip!

Yup, I'm a registered Republican. I'm probably more interested in voting in Republican primaries than I am in presidential elections. I feel like the Republicans bring a bunch of saints and sinners, while the democrats just bring a kind of overall boring / crooked pot. Like last time, I didn't care between Hilary or Obama, but I wanted McCain or Ron Paul WAY more than I wanted any of the other people that were running.

I'll probably vote for Ron Paul again in the primary unless Ohio is divided on Romney vs. the Texas Governor, in which case I have to vote for Romney, being more liberal and all. I wish the republicans would put up better people this time but its my opinion they are just sacrificing all their crappy people to Obama so that they can have a real run in 2016.
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