Friday, March 23, 2012

Romance Vs. Purpose

It seems that everyone lives in one of several extremes, when it comes to romance and relationships.  I call this the "How I Met Your Mother Condition," or HIMYOMO Pbenomenon, named after the man who first discovered and documented it, Professor Johann Himyomo, Cambridge, 1967.  Go ahead.  Google it.  I'll wait.

Dude, I totally just made it up, and himyomo is an acronym.  If you Googled it, you are either very gullible, or have attention deficit issues, and should seek proffessional help.
Anyways, anyone who has seen the hit Tv show "How I Met Your Mother" knows what I'm talking about.  Ted Mosby is the hero.  He is a hopeless romantic, who is utterly obsessed with the idea of falling in love and marrying a girl and having a family and living happily ever after.  If you watch enough of these attempts at dating the perfect woman, you will start to feel like he would make a great wife for some lucky girl.  He does things like fall in love on his first date, or totally loose his identity to fit into a woman's life.  He is a great guy, of course, and does alot of dating.  But because of his high standards and expectations, he would often get in over his head, and be let down.  This just comes with the territory.  As soon as he went steady with a female, he would be already talking about marriage and love.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is Barney Stinson, an energetic, suit-wearing, pickup-artist, ladies-man daredevil.  Barney is a functioning sexaholic, who's idea of a long relationship is waking up next to the girl he picked up the night before.  Singleness is his lifeblood.  But he prides himself on being "awesome."  Any challenge (especially if it involves picking up women with "daddy issues") he accepts with vigor.  His apartment is scientifically designed to discourage women from sticking around.  For example, no food in the fridge, and an entire wall of categorized pornography films.  Barney loved strip clubs and "legendary" adventures.  The mere thought of a relationship is like prison bars to him, and he has no hope of being happy settling down with a woman in any sense of the term.

Of course There's the third extreme.  Lilly and Marshall are a couple that dated since college, they were each others' "first," and they ended up getting married.  It is a great relationship they have.  They have pet names, and love calling each other by them.  They are all over each other, and they support each other unconditionally.  However, there is a problem.  Marshall has dreams of becoming a great activist, working as a lawyer for an environmental company.  He wants to help save the world.  It's his dream.  When he married Lilly, a preschool teacher, he inherits her terrible credit.  She doesn't tell him that she is in debt up to her eyeballs because she has a shopping addiction, and uses credit.  Well, due to her terrible money habits, Marshall finds himself pushed into a higher paying job with a huge firm that is responsible for the things that Marshall himself dreams of ending.  So, because of his commitment to the love of his life, he has to give up his dreams, at least for a while.  And working for those big corporations doesn't look good on him when he wants to work for the other guys, either.

So what am I getting at?  It seems that commitment to romance, while being a steady source of sex, affection, acceptance, and companionship (in a rare good relationship which one in maybe 200,000 people experience), it is often called "settling down" because "settling" is what you end up doing.  One has to accept less than their dreams because of their attachment to another person and the other person's dreams.  The relationship is the star their life seems to orbit.  It is both their identity.  It is their lifeblood.  If it fails or goes away, they are left with an empty life, and nothing to show for it (other than possibly kids, the only good reason to be married).  More importantly they compromise their dreams.

In the HIMYOMO complex, the fourth option is Robin.  She is like Ted, in that she has a romantic side, and is open to having a relationship, and one day being married.  She is like Barney because she does not like commitment, especially not early on in a relationship.  She likes to take her time, and remain free.  Her career is her primary goal.  She pursues it in spite of all else.  Oh, she will date men, and try to see where it goes.  She dated Ted, and they had something special.  But he wanted to settle down, have a family, and move in behind a white picket fence... tomorrow.  She dated Barney, and the two of them was working out well at first, they avoided fights, and didn't overwhelm each other with the thought of committment.  But soon, they lulled into a rut, and stopped caring for themselves.  They would fight ALL the time, Barney got fat, Robin looked horrible, and they were miserable together, because the relationship required no challenge, it had no future.  So they broke up and went back to being awesome.

Let me put this in another context, one that is more ultimately crucial.  I often ponder the life of Jesus Christ.  It has come to my attention that Jesus' closest disciple was a woman named Mary.  Who she was exactly, is not clear.  Some say she was the former prostitute Mary of Magdala, or Magdalene.  One passage says that he cast like seven demons out of her.  I don't know exactly, but I do know from various sources, that she listened closely to his words, and understood them.  Also, she was the first one, in ALL the gospels of the New Testament (which each tell a different version of the story, and contradict each other on most points), to see Jesus after his resurrection, or at least learn that he was alive.  Because she was the only one with the courage to return to his tomb.  So of course she was "the disciple that Jesus loved."  Who wouldn't love the only one that really understands you and truly believes you?  In some texts, she was blessed with revelations and dreams herself, that she would ask him to help her understand.  Some of these texts say that he kissed her.  The Da Vinci Code says they were married and had kids.  I won't spend much time on this, because it is a work of fiction, and though it is a good one, and definitely raises questions and requires consideration, the fact remains that I don't personally feel a resonant sense of truth in it.  It's true that there are some obscured issues in the Bible, and that there is more than meets the eye to these relationships between Jesus and his followers.  But I feel that Jesus lived in a constant state of deja vu, and knew that his path led to a hard, painful end, but had such a greater purpose, that nothing must stand in his way.  Also, I think that conventional relationships didn't exist in his lifestyle.  I also think that he fell in love with Mary, and her with him.  Do I think they had sex or were married?  Quite possibly, but because of the nature of Jesus, and his culture, I will not venture a guess about that.  I don't see that it matters.  It was brought up to me by a friend, that if the Bible says that Jesus experienced all the feelings that is in the scope of a human to feel, who is to say he did not experience what it felt like to be a father, or to be married, or at least to be in love.. and even to give it up or loose it?  Maybe this would explain more about the blood he sweated in that vineyard before his arrest?  Well, either way, it appears he chose his purpose, his dream of fulfilling it... over his passion for a woman.

We see similar behavior with many sages, I think.  Did Buddha take a wife?  I don't think so, since he dedicated his life to a "higher" purpose.  His desire was to be free from desire.  It seems he accomplished it well, and lived a life of service and teaching.  Here is a great link to a site that speaks about the Buddhist view of marriage and other related topics.  The thing I would like my readers to take away from this is very serious.  Do not be drawn in to unions that are beneath you, and do not let lower, temporary desires pull you away from your higher calling.  I cannot tell you if it is right for you to be married, or when it is, nor can I tell you it is wrong to be married or have sex.  I have made it clear that I feel it is in the best interests of fathers, mothers, and children for the two parents to be married, since this is a socially binding and protected union.  It gives a structure and good foundation to raise a child.  Remember the things you are passionate about and want to do in life, and don't let go of your dreams.

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