Blogsam and Jetsam

Flotsam is the part of the wreckage of a ship or its cargo found floating on the water. Jetsam is cargo or parts of a ship that are deliberately thrown overboard, as to lighten the ship in an emergency, and that subsequently either sinks or is washed ashore. This is my personal blog version of the above. Loot freely.

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Location: The Hinterlands, Upstate NY

I'm annoyed that the world is going crazier faster than it used to be. But it's interesting to watch.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I Feel A Rant Coming On...

A few days ago my dear friend V sent me an article about same-sex custody issues. Which got me thinking...

First, I just do not GET the whole fuss about same-sex marriage in the first place. Have never understood the outrage and never will. When I was a kid I was surprised to learn that two people of the same gender couldn't marry-- after all, they were both grownups. I still feel that way some thirty-odd years later. I completely do not accept the notion that "traditional" marriage is somehow threatened or endangered by same-sex unions and think all the opponents of the idea should just mind their own business and stop trying to tell others what to do. Of course same-sex couples should be able to marry and have the full weight of law behind them. Life is hard enough: when you do find someone with which to share it the whole community should be 100% behind you regardless of who the someone is.

Naturally I think committed couples of all types should raise children if they wish. I don't think it makes a damned bit of difference whether you have two mommies or two daddies or one of each: the important things are love and consistency. I do think that having (at least) two adults per child-rearing unit is a good idea because parenting is HARD and having to do it without backup is harder still, but plenty of single parents and their kids do just fine too.

That said, when couples with children break up the problems are always the same: who gets the kid(s) and who pays support and how do all the involved lives change? It doesn't matter if you're a two-mommy family or a two-daddy family or a "traditional" one of each; breaking up is almost never good for the kids.

Which is why I think committed couples who have chosen to raise families together should fucking get some conflict resolution going and STAY together. (Before you go flaming me in the comments, I'm not talking about units where bigtime emotional, physical or substance abuse is involved; I'm talking about couples like my parents who decided "this just isn't working any more" or the ever-popular "no-fault" divorce. ) Sure marriage is hard and raising a family is even harder, but once you make a lifetime commitment not just to your partner but also by definition to the family you've both established you should keep that commitment. Otherwise it sends a very wrong message to the kids, namely "it's okay to break even BIG promises sometimes."

No, it isn't.

A much better message to send to the kids is "Sure, we get angry at each other...sometimes very angry at each other over big issues that aren't easily fixed. Sometimes we get sad and very unhappy too...but we always eventually work it out one way or another."

That's what conflict resolution is for. Don't break up; learn to fight fairly! It really is an obtainable skill just like any other.

Occasionally HBF will jokingly say "so...gonna pack your bags and leave?" and I always snap back "that would be pretty damned selfish, wouldn't it?"

Yes, it would.


Blogger JoVE said...

you make some great points. I wanted to correct the impression you give of "no fault" divorce. This is a legal term. It came in partly because the question of who should get the kids and who should get the house and all of that stuff should not be based on whose "fault" it was that the marriage broke down but on things like the fairness and what is best for the children. Even in cases where (legal) "fault" can be proven (like adultery, for example), marriages rarely end because one person did something wrong. Marriage is a relationship and when it ends it is usually for complicated reasons. I don't think "fault" should be governing the difficult decisions that come afterwards.

That said, I think you are right that some people are going into this thing not really having any idea of what kind of commitment they are making and what it means to keep it. Married or not, when you decide to build a family with someone that means a long term commitment. And having social support for your family is VERY important in being able to keep that going.

January 18, 2007 1:30 PM  
Blogger SamD said...

I KNEW I should've left the more elaborate "irreconcilable differences" in those quotation marks instead of chopping out eight syllables with the "no fault" replacement, just knew it!

January 19, 2007 11:44 AM  

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