Sunday, June 1, 2008


One of my idiosyncracies is that I am oversensitive about others' feelings (except when I'm not). For instance, I might not ask about your dad because he is in poor health and he may have died half a year ago and I forgot. Or maybe I forgot to ask you about Dad for half a year, so I never knew.

In any case, I don't want to barb you and make you say, "Dad's dead," just when you thought you would get through an afternoon without dwelling on it.

You may be thinking, "Nah, you don't want to ask about Dad because you'll make yourself look bad for being an insensitive clod for forgetting his death or forgetting to ask about him for six months."

Not so!

I am also reluctant to talk about my marriage unless I know the audience's marital experiences are generally good. Sometimes I forget and blab about how happy we are. By the time the person I'm blabbing to has told me that he/she had two messy divorces and has given up on marriage. I feel so bad for bringing out the contrast that I am usually crying uncontrollably. (Well, I am feeling guilty, at any rate.)

Yes, Julia and I are happy. I told you about when we met and about our first date. We have known each other for 27 years and have been married for nearly 24 years. We have three sons.

After becoming parents, couples often lose touch with each other and find, after the kids are grown, that they do not know each other and don't particularly like each other. Our oldest son is 18, so I think that if we were going to lose touch with each other we would have done it by now. Julia and I often make time to be alone, sitting in the park or driving around or letting the oldest take the other two to scouts and staying home together.

We usually keep each other amused and, after 27 years, we still have plenty to talk about.

We are usually able to work out conflicts before they arise. When we do argue, we are able to resolve things and go on without lingering resentments.

We have similar temperaments about many of the things that cause problems, such as division of household labor and use of funds.

I know all this seems practical and not romantic. But since I am an economist, that is what we are stuck with.

Julia is an art person, so in some sense we are a case of opposites attracting each other. Over the years, we have influenced one another. She is more of an economist and I am more of an artist (at least a little more).

She is very feminine in her approach and, as you can tell, I am very male. We both feel that women and men are different in their ways of thinking and are made to enjoy each other's company. I am consistently surprised by her approach to life, and she bears with me.

Now that I have broken my rule about blabbing about our great marriage, I'll go hide my head in shame for doing so.

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