Reader blasts marriage as symbiotic


December 06, 1992|By SUSAN DEITZ

Q: Your reader's question, "Why don't men respect and want a good woman enough to ask her to marry?" has really pushed one of my buttons!

For me, the answer is both simple and complicated (just like life). I am 30 and divorced and the single most important thing I have learned about myself is that I must be responsible for myself. I simply cannot base my well-being on anything but my own abilities.

One of the current friendships I have is the most wonderful relationship I have ever had. And I believe that any attempt to confine or even define its working parameters would only hinder and ultimately destroy it. Why would I want to do that?

And that is why I have a rather bleak view of marriage: symbiosis.

On an even more fundamental level, what I most often see in existing marriages is that the marriage is merely an expression of insecurity and jealousy. I could not even begin to build a viable relationship on that sort of foundation. I can respect a person without wanting to control them, just as I expect that people who respect me will not attempt to control me.

To me, the value people place on commitment is an illusion. I am always learning and therefore always changing. The things I value today may hold no value for me tomorrow. In my experience, and from real-world observation, commitment leads to obligation, obligation to resentment, resentment to destruction. For a relationship to be maintained by choice rather than be enforced by commitment makes it even more precious.

The most precious thing in the world, to me, is interaction with others. Human interaction is a never-ending fountain of uniqueness where one may always learn.

A: The state of marriage can be good for one's health, physical, emotional and spiritual. It need not be a mass of entangling neuroses and needs that entrap and eventually erode to the point of destruction. Two individuals can interrelate and interdepend in a healthy, wholesome mode that encourages individual growth and promotes self-respect.

Your view of marriage as symbiosis is a bitter one, probably gleaned from self-selecting experience and observation.

Believe me, nothing can come close to a mutually beneficial friendship based on genuine liking and esteem. And when it is wrapped into a mutual and entirely voluntary commitment, it is unbeatable. Or so it seems to me. And you, readers?

/ Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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