A Little Over Center: Being prepared to be unprepared

OPINION – Keeping a marriage together for 46 years and serving as a Marine rifleman for 17 months in Vietnam are the hardest things I’ve done in my life to date. Marriage wins “hardest” because combat in Vietnam had end dates; when I was killed, severely wounded, or my tour of duty ended and I rotated back to “The World.” In marriage I saw no workable concept of an “end date.”

In either endeavor one can win or lose, but if one is prepared at being unprepared, has the strength of Job, and thinks and responds with the speed-of-light, the chances for survival improve.

Missives like “Don’t give up,” “Think twice, act once,” and “Do whatever it takes to complete the mission,” help a little to support success in relationship’s drinking-out-of a-fire-hose circus. I know that marine corps boot camp (Re: “Full Metal Jacket”) saved my life numerous times…hmmm, a marital boot camp?

Where am I headed? I hear all kinds of flap about sex education in school. The idea seems to be to convince the highest risk group in the galaxy – in terms of peer-influence, hormonal avalanche, willingness to mindlessly risk, and being relentless searchers for immediate sensory gratification –to exercise restraint or to abstain. This seems akin to Don Quixote’s quest; Sisyphus faced a cakewalk in comparison.

Today folks seem to hold sexual activity as being some kind of weird audition and basically as recreational rather than procreational as a rule. I remember when dating had a baseball analogy: you got to first base, second base,third base, or you hit a home run. It seems now that you hit a home run or you don’t and neither result guarantees another date.

I don’t know what we’re thinking when we continue to let generation after generation find out about manipulation, abuse, betrayal, dishonesty, duplicity, and all of the other Pearl Harbor-type games that surface in a relationship once the hook is set. For some it even plays like: “If our sexual choreography is good we may have a shot at making a relationship work,” while other times it’s: “If you jump in the sack with me in the first rodeo you’re a risky investment.”

Most folks equate intimacy with having sex. What about the value of talking, walking, and skydiving as ways to explore the fears and beliefs that can information about behaviors and behavioral likelihoods?

It seems to make more sense to focus the money and the brain damage on creating a year-long required course titled “Human Relationships: Communication and Intimacy.”

The course would best be held in the eighthgrade and be a per-requisite for graduation to high school. There’s a pretty good chance that a kid is gonna have impulsive sex at least once, no matter what you feed their head. So doesn’t it make sense to give them some formal schooling on what could be described as the “relationship crap shoot?”

Ain’t nothing wrong with falling in lust. All it requires is some fast moves during a slow dance; there just ain’t a lot of moving parts; less is probably best.

Having love work out is a whole another can of worms.

Anyone who knows fishing knows that once you’ve poured the worms outta the can you need a bigger can. To have at least an equal chance at having a marriage work and survive you’d better be good at speed-of-light responding (not reacting), exercising the strength of Job, and be entirely prepared to be unprepared.


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  • skippy February 1, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I like your suggestion of a marital boot camp. And “being prepared to be unprepared” captures nicely the crux of any significant pursuits, whether marital or martial. The educational system could focus more on this sort of preparation, as Mr. Solomon suggests. This incessant focus on “who” you’re going to be (i.e., occupation) could be leavened by some attention to “how” you’re going to be — when, for instance, you experience great disappointment, conflict, loss, etc., in the process of becoming who you want to be. Weave the principal into the entire curriculum.
    P.S. Anyone who knows fishing knows that you never admit to fishing with worms, or worse, PowerBait! 🙂

  • Roger Robinson February 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Semper Fi

  • S Steed February 2, 2014 at 9:07 am

    I’ve noticed with some of our Utah families: that sexual exploration is very private (almost secret) and often solo. The subject is off limits for discussion within the family, this forces kids to look elsewhere for answers. Also the taboo that is taught along with it, magnifies the intrigue. I encourage parents to maintain a trustful dialog, and support our young people in their own search for solutions.

    • Bub February 2, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      “I’ve noticed with some of our Utah families: that sexual exploration is very private”

      as opposed to public sexual exploration ahahahahahahhaah…thx for that 😀

      • S Steed February 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm

        This is public sexual exploration, and if you weren’t so busy trolling, you might have something to contribute. By the way: you are welcome; It makes me happy when people smile.

        • skippy February 2, 2014 at 4:20 pm

          I’m smiling, or rather, laughing. But only at myself. Suppose I need to hook up with others who like to laugh. Maybe in a semi-private setting to start with. Just to get my feet wet, so to speak…”Bub” seems to enjoy laughter. I wonder it he gets out much??

        • Bub February 2, 2014 at 4:34 pm

          pffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff, i didnt even read the article so pffffffffffffffffffff

          • Bub February 2, 2014 at 4:41 pm

            and now have read it…

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