Friday, September 30th, 2016

Who is really hurting marriage?

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Who is really hurting marriage?

Taking marriage vows seriously

Waukesha Freeman August 8, 2013 Page A6 OpinionCapture

During the gay marriage debate in Wisconsin, there was one complaint by the prolegalized gay marriage side that I thought had some merit, and it’s worth revisiting in light of recent events. Homosexuals are not wrecking marriage, heterosexuals are.

We have all been following the case of (the unfortunately named) Anthony Weiner who introduced America to the aptly named “selfie.” Weiner’s claim to fame is sending pictures of his private parts to young women, including to (the also unfortunately named) Sydney Leathers.

It will be a documentary suitable only for Cinemax after 10 p.m., alongside the “women behind bars” series.

After the second public betrayal of their marriage, why would Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, stay? On the other hand, don’t we want couples to stay together, even after one member has strayed?

Then we learned Weiner and Abedin were married at a ceremony officiated by former President Bill Clinton. It’s like trusting my bookie to set up the Gamblers Anonymous Hotline. So much for the seriousness of that marriage ceremony.

But what’s the harm, right? So he’s a public figure, and he likes making his figure public. If the public of New York City wants him to be mayor, so much the better for political writers.

Perhaps. But every day we pick up the newspaper and there’s another scandal by a public figure, another marriage vow not being kept. There has to be a toll on the popular culture, and that toll is being reflected in the erosion of the belief, “until death do us part.”

My wife, the Lovely Doreen from Waukesha, and I are celebrating our fourteenth wedding anniversary this week. I just looked it up and the appropriate gift is ivory. I don’t think she’ll be happy with a bar of soap, but if that’s what’s required then I’m game.

My wife and I have a pretty good marriage. We have a good time wherever we go. She laughs at my jokes sometimes, and she usually reads my column first.

I’m not going to suggest that our marriage is perfect. We fight sometimes. We mis-communicate. We’re both guilty of not listening to the other person sometimes. And sometimes living with someone in close quarters for fourteen years is enough to drive each other crazy.

One thing we do right is that we don’t place ourselves in situations where the other person can ever have any questions about our intentions or behavior. It’s not that we don’t trust each other, or that we don’t trust ourselves. It’s a mutual respect for each other and for each other’s feelings.

So when I read about the complaint against Fire Department Chief Jesse Alba, I couldn’t help but notice the part where his disintegrating marriage caused him to seek out the counsel of women at his place of work. That relationship allegedly grew into something more, at least on his part.

Regardless of his alleged actions after that, didn’t it occur to him that he was putting himself in a bad situation? Then later, allegedly unable to control his feelings, he tried to blame the woman he confided in for his inability to concentrate at work? Where was his wife in his thoughts at that point?

We’re asked in today’s society not to judge. However, because of who Alba is and the involvement of the city in this matter, the public is going to judge him. They’re going to judge the facts largely through the prism of how they judge his character, and so far his character is not looking very good.

There may be an upside in the Alba and Weiner stories. If the incidents end up crushing their careers, maybe more people will take their marriage vows a little more seriously, if only because they’ll fear the consequences.

**** A quick reminder that the village of Wales blood drive is a week from today. Culvers in Wales is donating a pint for a pint, and there will be free Irish Fest tickets. I’ll be donating around dinner time. Call the village of Wales to let them know what time you can make it.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at http://www.wigderson.com and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

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