About Me

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I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Cognizant Choice

About two months before I got married, I trotted my 20-year old self down to my dad's office in Center City, Philadelphia.  He was taking me to lunch.  While there Dad introduced me to a very handsome (we're talking hunk quality) young associate/lawyer/accountant who had just joined the firm.  We chatted while my dad finished up some things and then Dad and I headed out.  Over crab salad and soup, I asked him if it was wrong to be attracted to other people.  He looked up at me and said, "First of all, you don't want to be involved with him; he's a player (Dad was a perceptive dude).  Secondly, you're getting married, not dying.  You will always see men  you find attractive.  If you don't want to marry, don't, but if you do, realize that what you're doing is choosing to commit  to one person."  I remember that conversation we had 40 years ago verbatim; his advice has served me well. 

When we choose to marry, we 'forsake all others' unless, of course, the relationship becomes emotionally or physically abusive and then we cut our losses and do the best we can to remove ourselves from harm's way.  And had I been in that position, I'm certain my parents would have done everything in their power to get me out of danger, and any perpetrator would have been running for his proverbial life.

Now, being a 'serial reader', I love a good story.  I swoon over eloquently written prose, beautifully executed foreshadowing, amazing analogies, and superbly crafted endings.  And even though The Bridges of Madison County is relatively well written, a real tear-jerker, and a compelling story, I hate it.

I hate it because it makes infidelity appear acceptable when a handsome, mysterious stranger comes into a life that's become a bit mundane.  I hate it because she has a husband who is working hard to provide her with what he can.  I hate it because she admits she loves her husband and realizes he loves her too, but strays anyway because she's feeling unfulfilled.  And finally, I loathe it because I think she's done irreparable harm to her family, to herself, and her husband.

Yes,  I'm an idealist.  I also know, though, that relationships take work and what was once spontaneous combustion sometimes requires a little lighter fluid, a little creativity.  You don't set fire to the house because you want to spruce it up.


George said...

I for one am very glad you're an idealist, and a wise one at that. I like your thoughts on what marriage should mean.

Purple Flowers said...

Good post Kathy. I, too, did not like the storyline of that book.

Gilly said...

Amen to all that!

You go on being an idealist - the world needs more of them.

And I could tell you what hard work means in a marriage!! But not on a public site!

Cheryl said...

I agree with your sentiments, and love how well you expressed them.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Absolutely, Kathy. Your last statement says it all (You don't have to set fire to your house to spruce it up.) The biggest problem (and something I learned from my first marriage) is that once people are married, they don't 'work' at their marriages constantly. They get buy working and raising families. Their own needs are not being met.. That's when they 'stray'--looking for love in all of the wrong places.

My 'ex' and I were married for almost 20 yrs and we had 3 wonderful sons. But--our marriage deteriorated --and he found a 'young thing' which would give him the attention I wouldn't give him (or didn't even want to --by that time). We never had counseling --and we never 'worked' to keep our marriage ALIVE and VIBRANT.

George and I, however, have been married for 9 yrs now --and our love just grows and grows and grows. We cannot get enough of each other. We work at our love for one another constantly. I don't think that many people have marriages like ours. We are truly blessed.

Great post.

Kimberly said...

Excellent post, Kathy! Love is a choice.

bettyC said...

The marriage vows say it...for better or worse. We're told that up front. Marriage is hard work but it's worth it. You don't just give up and run. Working through problems/situations/ whatever is what makes us stronger. It makes our marriage stronger.

Palm Springs Savant said...

Yes Yes Yes, I totally agree. I sometimes wonder what happened where people think marriage fidelity is just an option.

Maggie said...

Yes, it's hard sometimes to compromise. I really didn't want to leave my first husband, but he couldn't wait for me to leave. Then I had ten years of playing around wantonly before G came along. I've never looked elsewhere since that day.

Yes, I made that block. The red quilt was the last one I finished before the one I am doing now.

Linda Reeder said...

Your father's advice was wonderful. Marriage is a commitment no one should make lightly, and no one should end easily.

Happyone :-) said...

Very well written!!
I used to think my marriage was perfect but all marriages have problems. Its sticking together and working things out that make them stronger.