Friday, August 04, 2006

breaking the family tradition

Last year after my first and only bad break-up, I decided it was positively unhealthy the way my family has approached the topic of love, romance and getting married. We NEVER talk about it EVER. My parents NEVER encouraged or discouraged possible partners by name, reputation or even character. If the topic should come up, however, it was vehemently shut down by usually more than one person in no more than 30 seconds.

One scenario went something like this:

Mom, sister4, sister5, and sister6 are in the kitchen. For some unknown reason, the forbidden topic comes up. Talking about sister3, who has a kind and caring demeanor to everyone, including the most unlovely folks. Someone asks in a bit of a worried tone, “What if somebody who was kind-of an ichy guy started pursuing sister3 and asked her to marry him? Do you think she would just say ‘yes’ because she felt sorry for him?” Thoughtfully, sister4 responds, “You know sister3 is sort of a softy but I think when it comes down to it, I think she would say, “no.” Sister5 chimes in, “But you know, sister6 here, would marry the ichy guy.” Sister6 turns around swiftly and purposefully toward sister5, winds up, giving her a solid, meaningful kick to the buttocks, exclaiming vehemently, “I am NOT getting married.” The conversation is over as sister5 nurses her wounds.

Mostly though, the forbidden topic only got to its 3rd sentence before there were loud protests from several siblings, “Enough, already.” “We are not getting married.” As one of the eldest, I am largely responsible for the beginning of this, “I am not getting married” trend. I now see the error of my ways in that it has created in my own life and in the lives of my siblings: (1) a lack of reflectiveness on the topic of future mate (possibly making us more susceptible to responding positively to the sharks that are out there), (2) cutting ourselves off from possibly helpful sibling insight, and shared knowledge, (3) a not-on-the-radar attitude about getting married.

But slowly, some of us have been secretly deviating from this family tradition. *shock* *horror* This weekend brother3 is getting married. Last year my oldest brother got married. I have declared a stop to the gag order on this topic with my sisters. I will declare a stop to the gag order on this topic on my blog too. (I’m sure you are all waiting with baited breath, now.) Actually, I don’t have a specific adgenda with respect to love, romance and getting married. I suppose, I am using this as a demonstration of how to change habits that catch us in a rut and eventually harm us.


Blorge said...

So you have at least 2 married brothers now? Any more married sibs?

Is it just a coincidence that the two married ones are boys, or is there something else going on?

espíritu paz said...

…severe female pathology just as you suspected! 3 brothers are married—they, along with Joanna and I are the oldest 5. Besides, my brothers are quite a catch—I’d marry them too, in a heartbeat, if I could find a duplicate.

Joanna was the one who would have gotten married, had she lived. I was focusing on education and trying to figure out this headship thing, before welding myself to it—from whence came the “I will not marry” declarations. Also, my strong personality doesn’t lend itself well to getting married to a Mennonite—I’ve got command and confidence near the top. And Joanna likely did too. To most, somehow that translates directly into rebellion against male headship. I don’t agree. There was a phrase they used for us—they sort of shook their heads wearing a little smirky smile on their face, saying “those Miller girls—sie brachen som mann fu sie nuna heva.” They need quite a man to hold them down. My suggestion is—if one does not want a woman to strengthen her “command” trait—one should not put them in charge of large groups of children.