My Brother on Marriage

July 18, 2009 at 1:12 am (By Amba)

From his anniversary post — good description of the thing, I think!

Right now is a challenging and transitional time. . . .

But that’s life, right?  It’s all challenging, it’s all transitional. All relationships are confrontations, collaborations against solipsism, alliances in combat, diplomatic relations between different planets. Marriages are the closest and most mystifying of all partnerships: the twinning of strangers, the merging of galaxies. The alchemical conversion of an emotional attachment into a business arrangement, or vice versa.

His stepdad post is good too:

Middle Daughter turns 20 today.She is one of those rare individuals whose child-self shines through her adult self. As a child, she was dreamy, distracted, funny, very loving, resolutely happy. As an adult, she is still all those things. To have known her for 17 years is to have watched her grow lovely translucent layers — a sweet onion of a human being.

Keep going and you’ll come to his dad posts.  At almost 50, he’s in academic (not pastoral) divinity school (always sounds to me like something divine to eat — do they learn to make angelic pastel  fudge and taffy?), but given that the most sacred things in Judaism are Book and Family, in either order, I wonder which is his real religious education.

It’s nice to hear my brother being emotionally eloquent, especially when I’m feeling, in that respect, inexplicably mute.  Most of my five siblings are having these empty-nest reunions with their spouses.  (I say “most” only because one of my sisters is fairly newly married, for the third and best time.)  The next generation is pretty well launched, and the generation after that has begun arriving, with the generation before us still here to welcome them.  I feel at once very much a part of it all and like a bit of an outlier — like a comet:  of the solar system but not in it, with a life cycle stretched to extremes, an eccentric elongated orbit  that has taken me far out but not away.



  1. Donna B. said,

    I read all the posts and what a great way to start off a Saturday — love emanating from people I’ve never met.

    Some people are born with silver spoons, but you guys came with keyboards :-)

  2. amba said,

    That’s one of the nicest compliments we ever got!

    P.S. Please put Opining Online on the blogroll if I don’t beat you to it. I hope the author/admins will all do that, but if not, I will.

  3. Rod said,

    “I feel at once very much a part of it all and like a bit of an outlier — like a comet: of the solar system but not in it, with a life cycle stretched to extremes, an eccentric elongated orbit that has taken me far out but not away.”

    The very expressive statement above is amba’s version of being inexplicably mute.

    How many feel more like asteroid belts – pulled apart by forces of the solar system, or perhaps, simply unable to pull themselves together?

  4. Rod said,

    This was just too eloquent a post, touching on marriage, loss and renewal, children, and the overarching role of family, to draw just three comments. Boldly going where Angels fear to tread, I offer these observations.

    First, congratulations to your brother. To remain in love for two decades is no mean task. To find a platform for growth and self discovery in your most central relationship can only result from good fortune and hard work.

    I would add a qualifier to your brother’s first quoted paragraph, and it was probably implied anyway. All MEANINGFUL relationships are combinations of confrontation, collaboration, etc. We all have superficial relationships with some of the people in our lives. The business world is filled with alliances and combats, sometimes in mutual exclusion and sometimes in combination. Sometimes, for whatever reason, we go deeper with someone. That is where the fun starts, because meaningful relationships ultimately call us to choices about sacrifice, vulnerability, jealousy, and a parade of virtues and vices, and the choices we make usually leave solipsism in the dust.

    The measure of our lives can largely be taken by examining our roles in those special relationships, like being a parent, or a daughter, or a husband, or a real friend.

    Amba: You note the centrality of Book and Family to Judaism. From my point of view as a friendly outsider, I think there is a third pillar, the People of the Book. The same ultimately applies to Christianity, at least if one is serious about it, although one would might say the Church to describe the People of that Book. I was struck by how easily your brother’s description of relationships describes our relationship with God or the fellowship we share through our religions.

    One final note: does anyone notice the often humorous juxtaposition of posts with the auto generated links? This one came with, “When your spouse is hotter than you.”

  5. amba12 said,

    At first I wanted to disable the auto generated links, but no. They provide much food for thought and laughter. It’s always worth seeing what the bots think!

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