NOAHJAZZ - NB PONTIFICATES

MY REFLECTIONS ON MUSIC, LIFE, FOOD AND WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE . . .

15 Years of Wading Through the Muck Together

Has a “boy band” ever used the word “pedantic” in a song? If not, why not?

On 6/13/13, Kate and I get to celebrate 15 genuinely fabulous years of marriage. I have written before (click here and/or here) about some of the fundamental principles of our relationship. In essence: kindness, patience, respect, appreciation, communication and so on. All good stuff indeed. But when folks ask me to whittle down the “secret” to our longevity, it’s perhaps not the most glamorous thing: willingness to deal with difficulty.

I don’t know precisely when or how it was that I realized that a relationship can only be judged on how it operates in the midst of adversity, but fortunately it happened before I got married. We have been through some life circumstances that have led to choruses of “and how is your marriage doing through all of this?” I’m not about to get into George W. Bush “bring it on” mode, but the fact is that as much fun as Kate and I have and as much as we enjoy one another’s company, the challenges are where we earn our keep as a married couple. Compatibility and affection are great, and I’m really grateful to have both. I’m more grateful, though, that I can trust that both of us will roll up our sleeves whenever something challenging needs to be addressed, whether it is coming from external circumstances or painful realizations of patterns within our own behavior.

Strangely, this mode of thought is not self-evident in our society. I was talking with one of my kids about this recently, about how the Hollywood formula for handling adversity is as follows: couple falls in love (usually with minimal foundation for the relationship), couple fights, couple makes up, couple has sex. Repeat steps 2-4 if the movie is long enough. Pop songs are no better: adversity comes in the form of crappy behavior (either you wronged me or I wronged you) followed by half-baked remorse that is hard to take seriously since it’s just a response feeling lonely and trying to get the other person back, presumably for more of the same. Sure, being able to say “I’m sorry” is important, but I have a hard time believing that singers and screenwriters are typically seeing apology as a gateway to honest, proactive self-assessment designed to address the fundamental issues.

Can you imagine if boy bands sang about working diligently to nurture solid relationships? About how true love manifests through the commitment to stay by one another’s side through all sorts of tribulations? How too many fun-seekers shrink away from this responsibility? Perhaps it would sound something like the song above . . .

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  1. Happy Anniversary! What a great way to celebrate and mark this eternal truth. Nice very nice.

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