Sunday, May 31, 2009

Would I lie to you?:
Jim Styro's Meaning of Life, Part Eight

When last we went in search of the elusive Meaning of Life, we were confronting the distressing concept that those around us might not always have our best interests at heart. These situations frequently involve, if not outright lying, then at least the avoidance of full honesty. Avoiding the truth is, I believe, an ultimate happiness killer.

Let's take a look at some of the possible scenarios that could arise in failing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. To keep it simple, I'm going build each of these examples around a decision concerning whether to have children - something many couples consider at some point or other - and oftentimes can be a "deal breaker" in maintaining a relationship.

#1 - The "I know better" scenario

This is the one where both partners tell each they are on the same page (in our example, let's say they have decided to welcome little creatures into their lives) but one of the parties has decided that the time is not right to proceed. Or perhaps the husband doesn't really believe that having children is a good idea - but he's not telling his new bride that. He's just stalling in the belief that she will come to her senses and change her mind - because he knows better.

In these situations, I'm assuming that the deceptive party believes they truly have their partner's best interests in mind. "We don't have enough money for kids, we don't have the right house, we don't have enough time to spend together now - what will it be like with a child?" However valid these points may be, if the party that feels this way is unwilling to share their misgivings, hard times lay ahead. No matter how pure they may feel their motives are.

#2 - The "Kid Yourself" scenario

There are lots of ways that people feign agreement - and lots of reasons they do it. At it's most innocent, this involves agreeing to something without considering the implications. Let's say both parties truly believe they want the same thing - but only one party has thought about it enough to stay the course. The person that agrees without thinking may believe that they are "going along to get along" - but they are likely only deferring either an argument...or a betrayal.

Once circumstances present themselves which one or the other party hadn't envisioned - the situation could quickly turn into a scenario #1 (if , when confronted with what must be done to follow through on the previous agreement, one of the parties decides they know better) - but it could also turn into a scenario 3...

#3 - The "Lyin' A$$ B*tch" scenario

In this situation, of course, one of the parties (in our example, let's say the husband - since we all know men are scum) knows from the outset that they don't agree with their partner about a decision. They don't care whether or not the desires of the other party might be in the best interest of all concerned - they just know what they want - and they intend to try to get their way regardless.

So a guy wants to maintain a relationship with his lady; she wants a kid, he doesn't. He knows she'll dump him if he lets on he has no intention of procreating, so he puts her off. He lies. He makes excuses. He tries to create an environment where having children would be difficult or impossible. Years later, she either dumps him - or her biological clock has stopped ticking and she's screwed - but not pregnant.

I used having children for these examples - but you can fill in the blank with almost any major (or minor) decision that couples must struggle with. Buying a home, changing jobs, what school would be best for the kids - you name it.

How does any of this affect our journey towards the meaning of life? Hopefully, it gives us at least two insights that may be of use. It reminds us that we should not make commitments lightly, nor should we assume silence is assent (just because our partner didn't say "no", doesn't mean they would say "yes"). Discussion of important life decisions should encompass the details of what will be required to make the thing happen. And we need to pay more attention to what people do than what they say. If our partner's behaviors contradict their words, trouble is a-brewin'.

Relationships are hard enough when everyone is pulling in the same direction. When they're not, someone is going to suffer. And then, your only choice is: do you like your suffering long and drawn out - or short and sweet.

And these are not good choices. So - let's keep things on the up and up, shall we?

Take care.

The Stanley Cup Finals - Detroit vs. Pittsburgh

The Wings defeated the Penguins Saturday night by a score of 3-1.
Detroit leads best of seven series, 1 game to 0


Middle Aged Woman said...


Ellie Belen said...


I guess that's why some churches mandate marriage classes before they will perform a ceremony. This was the first time we talked about critical issues such as commitment, hardship, children, fidelity, finances, and sickness and how these things could affect our relationship. At times I was surprised at the answers my future hubby gave.

Great post.

Jess said...

I saw how hockey pucks were made on How It's Made this weekend!!! I thought of you guys! Now I just want to touch one! I realized I have never seen a hockey puck in SAD is that?! Wait, I live in the South...nevermind. It is normal.

Jess said...

And I forgot to comment on the meaning of life part...very well put! It is quite difficult, at times, to put out what you really fear, for fear of ruining a perfectly good moment in time...however, the time will come around when you have to face such things. Ahhhh....

Jim Styro said...

MAW: And I, you, my dear.
(What an interesting reaction to this post...)

Ellie: Thanks. One hopes that marriage classes would be of some use in preparing couples to "take the plunge". But I'll admit - I don't remember much of any counseling that Snoplum and I received from my pastor (one of the few female ordained members of the clergy in our area at the time). I fear that, by the time most couples have decided to get married, there is little that anyone could say or do to derail the Love Train - no matter how justified derailment might seem to others.

Jess: I can see that all our hockey talk has piqued your interest. On your point regarding "ruining the moment": I fear that the sorts of people inclined to take advantage of their "significant other" (as described in MOL, Part 8) are counting on the desire of their partner to "make it work" or "smooth over the rough spots" to help maintain the status quo they wish to remain intact.
I will only say further - if you can ruin a "perfectly good moment" by telling the truth, you've got to ask yourself - how good is the moment?

Sorry for all the preaching...

Jess said...

I think I was thinking on a much smaller scale...a more of a "pick your battles" scale...

For months and months I said nothing about the cleaning of the toilet, sink (total lack thereof) and nothing about the fact that I don't get any help cleaning the rest of the house either.

One day it pretty much came out of me like a rabid monkey. Point being, I should have said something a LONG TIME AGO, before heads were about to roll.

It isn't fair to the others.

Even though my bitching would have probably ruined a moment, I almost ruined an entire weekend with my ranting about clean sinks and toilets.

Sounds retarded now, but it was of utmost importance then!

All that being said, I TOTALLY understand your big picture too...and so very much wish we all didn't live a bazillion miles away...relationships, particularly the psychology of relationships, are one of my favorite topics, and nothing can be better discussed when sitting on the back porch grilling out with peeps!

Jim Styro said...

Well, I've been thinking about adding a webcam feed in addition to the audio recordings of (some) posts. Maybe we could do a Netmeeting barbecue...

Jess said...

OHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh this idea of yours intrigues me! COUNT ME IN! And tell me where to buy the webcam!