Hypothesis: In every book, whether novel, non-fiction, or downright fluff, there is something to enrich the lives of the reader if they are willing to dig deep enough in their own minds and think about what they are reading.
Everybody Marries the Wrong Person by Christine Meinecke. ISBN: 9780882823195.
There are a lot of things I don't agree about in this book, including the idea that telling a partner what they can do to better suit us is a bad idea. Obviously there are things that should be off limits, and as long as it is not actively hurting anyone, it shouldn't be something to keep bringing up every chance you get, but addressing it once or twice seems like it could be helpful for all parties involved as a means of talking about the relationship.
But let's try to keep it positive here. I think the one piece of advice I can really get behind in this book is that the marriage and the relationship ought to be redefined as often as necessary. Some of you may be saying, "What the hell does that mean? Marriage is marriage right?" Well, yes, and no. There are many different kinds of marriage, and I'm not just talking about open marriage, although that's certainly part of it. People marry for different reasons, and those reasons are likely to change as they get older and no longer have the same needs or ideas. I think rather than ignoring this fact, it is a good idea to sit down with your spouse and really talk about what the marriage has done for you in the past, what you hope it will do for you in the future, and what it is doing for you now.
It could be that there isn't actually a problem between you and your spouse, so much as there is a difference of opinion about what the relationship currently is. Danny and I have already had a discussion or two about what our relationship is, was, and will be or might be in the future. In some ways it made things infinitely easier to talk about in terms of recognizing that our current situation is not ideal, and may not be for a while, but that both our needs are being met as much as possible given the situation. We don't have an open relationship per se, but I don't think either of us would begrudge going on a date with another person in the sense that we want to enjoy a special evening out with someone we may or may not end up having fun with.
I have taken advantage of this once in our relationship, and honestly it was too weird to really pursue any further. This may change in the future, and I have every intention of always asking permission - not because my husband has any right to control my actions, but because I respect his feelings and opinion on the matter. If he wasn't okay with it, I would at least think very carefully about continuing that action, or I might attempt to rephrase my argument about why he should be okay with it, etc. This doesn't just apply to extramarital relationships, it's just the easiest example.
Think of it more in these terms: Danny is a wonderful, kind, caring human being who makes me laugh my ass off more often than not. However, there are areas where he is lacking. He does not enjoy the same movies or books or activities that I do, and he is somewhat unskilled with the nuances of very in-depth conversation regarding literature and art and a few other areas. For this reason, I require relationships with other people to fulfill my more intellectual needs. I engage Danny in these conversations whenever possible, but I don't think he's as passionate about it and he's not as practiced at it as some of my other friends, so I enjoy it more with others.
This will obviously change as I'm able to talk more with Danny, as we read more literature together that we both like and want to discuss, etc. My relationship with him will also change as we rely more on each other financially, as our parents and other relatives pass on, as we get jobs and move in together, etc. So as we gain or lose roles, it only makes sense to redefine my relationship to my fiance as husband, friend, lover, court jester, editor, punching bag, what-have-you. To ignore those changes is to ignore new facets and points of interest, and more dangerously, to ignore potential potholes and problems. To overlook either would be devastating because I would miss out on the chance to know even more about the person I intend to be with for life, and to blindly neglect new needs or other adaptations that are essential to happen to adjust for life changes.