Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Doctor Is In

My parents must have thought that with three grown children they'd surely would have at least one grandchild by now. Or so they tell us every family get together. But whether it's a sign of the changing times, or that gypsy my dad hit with his car, continuance of the family lineage has been in a holding pattern.

But for once, my family finds itself on the normal side of a social trend. As the status quo shows, humankind is responsible for both a steadily climbing average age of marriage as well as sky-high national divorce rate. Considering there are at least eleven other species who mate for life, one can't help but wonder, if swans are able to establish and maintain lifelong committed relationships, what makes it so difficult for people to determine how to successfully pair off?

According to its website,
eHarmony founder Dr. Neil Clark Warren has the answer to this very question. He spent three years developing his hypothesis on the key concepts to a successful relationship. What is this groundbreaking theory? That, for relationship purposes, it's better to match up people who are more alike than it is to match up people who are less alike. Now personally, I'm inclined to believe a clinical psychologist could have put a quarter decade's worth of his time to better use. Has our ability to find and facilitate successful relationships deteriorated to the point that we need doctors, clinical studies, and website memberships to point us towards people who share our values and away from ones who don't?

And while my initial reaction is that it's likely Dr. Warren has contributed to long-term relationship success about as much as Dr. Pepper has contributed to long-term relationship success, I must admit that relationship dynamics are a complex tapestry and analysis of such is probably best left to the experts.

Buuuuut, for the sake of argument, I'll try my hand at resolving the below couple's quarrel to see if intuition, reason, and basic logic can reconcile a routine relationship issue:

"DEAR ABBY: My husband has ice water with every meal. During breakfast and dinner he loudly crunches all of the ice in his glass throughout the meal. I have asked him not to do it at the dinner table, but he thinks I'm being unreasonable. At breakfast, I usually eat in another room and wear noise reduction headphones. I'm deaf in one ear and have only about 60 percent hearing in the other. We have been married for more than 30 years and he claims he has "always" done it and it's part of his enjoying his meal. Am I selfish to ask that he not crunch while I'm sitting next to him?

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