Marriage and Doing as They Do, Not as They Say


Leveraging his own wedding to his fellow WPRI reporter, Kim Kalunian, Ted Nesi filled his weekend column with marriage advice from Rhode Island politicos.  Curiously, far-left Senator Sheldon Whitehouse comes closest to the advice that I would offer:

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (married to Sandra, 31 years): “When some little thing annoys you, step back. Remember that marriage is for life. ‘Yes, dear’ is usually a successful end to the conversation.”

In my view, the keystone for a successful marriage — the principal wedge that keeps the entire arch from falling — is the understanding of permanence.  Concern for your spouse’s feelings and a drive for mutual care and assistance, as well as a willingness to let things go, are all critical, but a prior imperative is that you have to work things out.  Overcoming annoyances and even significant and legitimate grievances will make you a better person and your marriage stronger, but you have to believe that there is no out.  (Life happens, of course, and sometimes there has to be an out, but the threshold should be so high as to be unthinkable until the alternative is even more unthinkable.)

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This sounds difficult.  Even Jesus’ disciples reacted to the permanence of marriage by saying, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry” (Matthew 19:10).  But the difficulty is short lived and should be periodic at worst.  As a general proposition (accepting that some people’s experience will be different), having incentive to get over differences quickly should make life easier than living with a sense of insecurity.

The irony — oft noted in recent years — is that the left-wing politicians who make up the largest part of Nesi’s column (and Rhode Island politics) support and create policies that erode the incentives toward stable families.  Therefor, the benefits thereof accrue to those in advantaged classes, for whom social mores continue to support a traditional view of family contradicting their articulated progressive principles.

The rest of us should do as they do, not as they say, and push back on government policies that undermine our ability to build a strong marriage culture among ourselves.

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  • Rhett Hardwick

    I have observed this from an unusual perspective. I have an apartment house that I bought when I was 21 (right after the Civil War). Back in the day most of the tenants were young married couples. They were “saving for a house”. Rent was early to protect their credit history.

    I haven’t seen a married couple in what must be 15 years,. They are simply “couples.. On those rare instances when there is trouble with the rent, I hear “I paid my half”. They don’t see it as a joint venture, they seem to think I rent the apartments by halves. I notice that they rarely buy furniture.

  • Merle The Monster

    “The irony — oft noted in recent years — is that the left-wing politicians who make up the largest part of Nesi’s column (and Rhode Island politics) support and create policies that erode the incentives toward stable families. ”

    Interesting that you seem to agree with one of those left-wing politicians on thoughts about marriage but support policies of the right-wing .

    • Guest

      Perhaps the author has an open mind and doesn’t dicount ideas by from whence they came, but on the merit of the argument. Something we all can try and emulate.