His and Hers XIX

His and Hers is a weekly discussion of a question or topic relating
to marriage. On Friday, my wife and I each write our thoughts on the week’s
topic. I invite other bloggers to do the same with their spouses as an exercise
in celebrating marriage. This week’s question is:

What is your favorite joke?

Mrs. Happy’s response

<Mrs. Happy has had an exhausting week and fell asleep
before she could come up with a response. I know that she’s always been partial
to
A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says, "Why the long face?"
but I can’t say for sure that it’s her favorite joke. Perhaps tomorrow
she’ll be able to come up with something.
—Curt>

Curt’s response

Adam was in the Garden of Eden questioning God about Eve. "God," said Adam,
"why did you make the woman so beautiful?"

"So that you would love her," said God.

"Okay," said Adam. "But why did you make her so stupid?"

And God replied, "So that she would love you."

Love and commitment

I don’t have much time to write today, but I would like to share something. The pastor of my church, Steve Switzer, focused his sermon last Sunday on marriage, adultery, and divorce. You can listen to it online in MP3 format. It’s about an hour long, but the whole thing is a blessing so listen to as much of it as you can.

A few quotes

"Did I pick the right person? This question inverts the starting and ending points.
We do not pick a perfect match because we ourselves are not perfect. The universe
hands us a flawless diamond—in the rough. Only if we are willing to polish off
every part of ourselves that cannot join do we end up with a soul mate." —Hugh
and Gail Prather, Only If We Are: Notes to Each Other

"What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should
rest on the same pillow." —Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Newlyweds become oldyweds, and oldyweds are the reasons that families work."
—Anonymous

"In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The
trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage." —Robert
Anderson, Solitaire & Double Solitaire

"In the opinion of the world, marriage ends all, as it does in a comedy. The
truth is precisely the opposite: it begins all." —Anne Sophie Swetchine

"One of the good things that come of a true marriage is, that there is one
face on which changes come without your seeing them; or rather there is one
face which you can still see the same, through all the shadows which years
have gathered upon it." —George MacDonald

"You should never kiss a girl unless you have enough bucks to buy her a big
ring and her own VCR, ’cause she’ll want to have videos of the wedding." —Jim,
age 10

"It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I’m just a kid.
I don’t need that kind of trouble." —Kenny, age 7, when asked if it’s
better
to be single or married

The paradox of manhood

I like movies. I like watching them, thinking about them,

analyzing
them, and talking about them.
I can offer a measured opinion of nearly every movie I’ve ever seen. Some
of those opinions are more controversial than others, especially among
sci-fi
and comic
book geeks. For instance, I think Batman
Returns
(which featured Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer, and
Danny Devito
as
the
villains)
was
superior
to Batman (starring
Jack Nicholson),
and that Gene Wilder would have been an exponentially better Joker than
Nicholson could ever have aspired to, and that I will never forgive Nicholson
for destroying what could have been a great movie. I think that the ending
of
The Usual Suspects ruins
what is an otherwise excellent movie.
I also think Fight Club is
a total chick flick.

Trust me, I have good reasons for all those pronouncements, but I’ll explain
the last one because it’s relevant to today’s post. See, I have a theory, which
may be right or not—feel free to disagree in the comments—that women are drawn
to warriors and repulsed by aggression. There is something primal and intensely
masculine about a man who can lay waste to all around him, and a woman feels
her own femininity in direct proportion to her man’s masculinity. However,
women are also gentle creatures and often feel shock and horror at the idea
that a man would be capable or desirous of
inflicting harm upon another human being. This is a contradiction that has
plagued sensitive high school boys ever since the first high school was built.
"They say they like sensitive guys and yet they only date jocks," is the plaintive
cry of every non-athletic adolescent male.

Well, Fight Club eliminates the contradiction. Here is a group of
men who fight each other for no reason at all. They have no feelings of ill
will or aggression, they (usually) stop before anyone gets hurt, and they’re
all
friends
afterward.
Fight Club is a school for turning men into the perfect blend of warrior
and pansy. Throw in a few scenes of a shirtless Brad Pitt and you have a movie
that leaves guys wondering, "What was the point of all that?" while their dates
drift off in reflective reverie. I would bet that most men who say they like
that movie enjoyed it only because they thought they were supposed to. Like
I said, though, I could be wrong.

Anyway, however women feel about men’s physical prowess on a field of battle
or athletic competition, men want women to be impressed by their skills in
those arenas. I’m no exception. Problem is, I’m not really that athletic. I’m
too small for football, too short for basketball, too slow for soccer, and
too uncoordinated for hockey. I do possess a fierce competitive streak, however,
and that sometimes gives me an edge against more capable but less driven competition
when I do participate in a game. I’d like it if my wife recognized that and
felt some measure of pride because of it, but she rarely sees me play any sport
at all because it just doesn’t interest her.

Recently, though, our church had a picnic in the local park in which the youth
group challenged the church deacons to a game of dodgeball. We accepted the
challenge…and beat them into the ground. I hadn’t played dodgeball since the
age of 12, at which time I was the smallest person on the court by 100 pounds.
This time, the teenagers only outweighed me by 25 or 30 pounds, and for some
reason they seemed a little intimidated by the old men. Let me tell you, I
made some spectacular plays. Both my teammates and our opponents were wowed
by my performance. After two games in which the rickety grownups dominated
the vigorous teens (some of them jocks, even, heehee), I found my
wife and asked, "Did you see me out there?" Her reply? "Oh, I watched for about
five minutes, but then I heard someone singing and went over to listen."

So maybe my theory about women being drawn to warriors is a little wacky.
I hope so. That
dodgeball game was two weeks ago, and I’m just now beginning to be able to move
without feeling the tortured protest of every muscle in my body.

Marriage links for the week

King of Fools posts about an accident in which he, his wife, and his three children
lost
their
family pet
.
His children’s reactions to the event are touching and worth reading about (Beyond
the rim shares something
similar
on his blog).
KoF later took his family to meet another puppy that will soon be joining their
family, bringing them all a
renewed sense of hope
.

Miss
Manners
finally talks
about blogs
. Her main concern is blogdom’s potential for gossip. That’s not
a problem on any of the blogs I read, but I can see her point: "The polite person
at least gossips discreetly and without malice. Blogs do not qualify as being
discreet. "

Marriages Restored has some information about the
dangers of Internet affairs
. It even includes a quiz to see
if you’re in
danger
of an online affair.

Joe Missionary takes a critical look at the
theology of polygamy
. Check out his other posts, too. He writes a lot of
good stuff about being on the missions field in Asia with his wife and one-year-old
son
.

His and Hers XVIII

His and Hers is a weekly discussion of a question or topic relating to marriage.
On Friday, my wife and I each write our thoughts on the week’s topic. I invite
other bloggers to do the same with their spouses as an exercise in celebrating
marriage. This week’s question is:

What is your favorite kind of weather?

Mrs. Happy’s response

Rain and sunshine at the same time. It’s rare, it’s beautiful,
and it holds the promise of a rainbow.

Curt’s response

Misty autumn dusk at about 55° (13°C). I don’t know why,
but it makes me think, "This is how life ought to be."

More heart stuff

Many of you read about our misadventures in Arizona—if not, read the whole story
part
1
, part
2
, and part
3
.
We have since chalked Curt’s condition up to low potassium levels, and have adopted
the mindset that "a banana a day keeps the PVCs away," but lately that hasn’t
been the case. Despite a steady monkey diet, Curt has been feeling strange again,
warranting more visits to the cardiologist. This has brought back unpleasant
memories for me about those days in the hospital with him, but it also reminds
me of the faith and fortitude with which we were able to get through them. As
an artist, I tend to process my feelings through my artwork, and I would simply
like to revisit a collage I did about that time and share it here.

Right now, the doctors are of the opinion that there’s nothing to worry about
and that the causes and results of the PVCs are completely benign. Thank you
for keeping up with our marriage, and thank you in advance for your prayers.

Affinities

In the marriage class I mentioned on Tuesday, my wife and I each did a personality
inventory and found that despite our different interests, we have a lot of
similar traits. Here’s how we match up in four different quadrants of our
personalities:

Leader

determined
competitive
enjoys challenges

Partier

creative

Friend

loyal
non-demanding
even keel
deep relationships
adaptable
sympathetic
thoughtful
nurturing
patient
tolerant
good listener

Worker

controlled
reserved
practical

Of course, this is only where we match up. My wife is much more of a partier
than I am, so she had more attributes in that quadrant, while I’m more of a
leader than she is, so I scored higher there. We found, though, that both of
our personalities center around relationships—the deeper the better. That’s
a big part of why we’re so close. Our needs and ways of expressing love complement
each other quite nicely. We also both have a laid-back attitude toward life
that lends itself to compromise when our interests don’t coincide. We also
have the same goals and a mutual dedication toward reaching those goals. We
do have our disagreements, but the commitment we’ve made to each other’s well
being and the investments we’ve made in each other’s lives always (eventually)
overcome
any conflicts that may arise.


NOTE: I used a width="100%" attribute in this opening table tag. It looks
fine on my computer, but I learned from the last table I posted that Windows
machines interpret things differently. Please let me know in the comments if
this table isn’t appearing properly.

Differences

NOTE: This formatting issue is confounding me. The only thing the slightest
bit strange about the table below is that I originally posted it with an align="left" attribute in the opening table tag. I have now removed that. It displays fine
for me, but it always has. If someone with a Windows PC can see it (or not),
please leave a comment letting me know.


I mentioned last week that my wife and I are taking a class at church that
focuses on strengthening marriages. One of the exercises we did was an inventory
of our interests, which brought to light how different we actually are. We
completed a chart (see below) that spelled out the differences rather starkly.

When it comes to… I like My spouse likes
sports team sports tennis
movies science fiction and fantasy tales dramatic, psychological, and relational stories
being an early bird or a night owl staying up late sleeping late
driving expressing frustration and letting out the road rage staying calm and giving people the benefit of the doubt
holidays visiting family spending time alone together
money and spending buying books and music buying clothes and art supplies
attending social occasions staying home or spending time with one or two friends parties, get-togethers, and shindigs, but not galas, hootenannies,
or box socials
going out on a date staying intimate and casual dressing up and patronizing classy dining and entertainment venues
reading nearly anything realistic fiction
keeping the house clean enacting a laissez-faire policy toward cleaning keeping things neat, with as little effort as possible
food fast food and easily prepared comfort food at home interesting, nutritious meals

We also found that apart from interests, our personalities are pretty similar. I’ll go into that a little tomorrow.