I am truly excited about re-locating to the northeast corner of 144th and Dodge in what is known as the 1st National Bank Business Park. It is that first building as you turn right one block past Dodge. It will be on the first floor to the left as you enter. While there is a receptionist there and a small waiting room, this is an office that serves lots of different businesses. My office will be but one and it will mean you using your phone more to connect and communicate with me when you arrive so I know your out there. The receptionist will not be contacting me upon your arrival. It might at first be a bit confusing, but I think you will like the new office and find it very workable once you arrive and see me for that first time. Nothing else will change. Only my address. I look forward to seeing you there as of September 30th.
The hysteria over banning gay marriage brings a smile to my face. The viewpoint that the bond of marriage is somehow a right to be shared only by heterosexual couples would make one believe that those couples have something wonderful and lasting to protect. I beg to differ.
Don’t get me wrong. I know for a fact that human beings need a committed relationship. Research shows us that those who live alone don’t do as well emotionally and physically as those who are married. It’s actually more stressful to be single. Our need for attachment is compelling. But we need to be realistic as a society about how we try to accomplish this.
Listening to thousands of couples over many years of practice has left me in awe of how difficult it is to maintain a long term monogamous relationship with another human being. The late historian Stephen Ambrose titled his book on the Lewis and Clark expedition, UNDAUNTED COURAGE. One could well use that title to describe what it takes to enter into the state of matrimony. It is truly a challenge.
I routinely see couples in their 30’s, 40’s and older who are literally sexless. Either they have no sex or it is very infrequent. Affairs are frequent by both sexes. The divorce rate is high. Divorce rates for second and third marriages approach 70 – 80%. The state of marriage in our country is dismal.
Too many couples live in what I would term “marriages of convenience”. These are sexless, emotionless “relationships” that are capable of enduring for years and years. They are often filled with bickering, arguments, distance and silent resentment.
Over the years, I have noticed marital anniversary announcements of 40 years or more in the newspaper. These seem to confirm that marriage is indeed a wonderful thing. However, too often I personally have known that many of these same couples have endured a relationship that few of us, including their own kids, would desire. They argued frequently, slept in different bedrooms, and rarely talked or worse yet, were emotionally abusive to each other. Is that something to celebrate?
With the high divorce rates and ”marriages of convenience” accounting for far too many marriages, it’s obvious that a sizable number of marriages are dysfunctional,arrangements that are anything but desirable.
I have worked with gay couples and straight couples since 1971 in my practice as a clinical social worker. The problems they encounter are pretty much the same. Their desires, wants, conflicts, and struggles are very similar. So too is their desire for companionship and emotional fulfillment.
Heterosexuals don’t seem to be very good at this “marriage” thing. Few of these couples seem to take their vows very seriously. They pop in and out of marriage so easily. At one time it was rare for me to work with someone who had been married two times. Now it isn’t rare at all for people to be in their third marriage.
I hardly think that gays and lesbians could do much worse. Let’s give them a try and see if they might be better at it than their heterosexual counterparts. I have a hunch that they just might be better at it. Perhaps they could restore marriage to it’s proper place……….as a desirable, lasting, meaningful institution. Or, at the least, let’s allow them to be married and be as miserable as the rest of us.