Relationship Rants & Raves

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For someone in the relational health field, this has been a tough summer. I can’t attend any gathering without hearing comments about the state of marriage in this country, more specifically the state of marriage as it exists with our politicians and celebrities. Well, don’t get me started. There is a disconnect between the evidence I see during my work day (i.e, that Alabama citizens are successfully learning relationship skills) and what I read in the paper and see on television at home in the evenings: lots of “stupid” behavior going on by people who are smart enough to know better.

I am beginning to think that a requirement for getting elected to state or national political office should be participating in a relationship/marriage education program. Afterall, our elected officials attend conferences and trainings routinely as part of their jobs. It looks like they need to expand their learning horizons. As role models and leaders, their personal decisions are relevant and warrant our attention.

Many politicians insist on having balanced budgets. Stay with me, please, because there is a link to our topic. The personal is political and the political is personal, as was said in the 60’s. (Yes, I am old enough to remember the late 60’s.) Although infidelity is obviously a private decision, its consequences, if it leads to divorce, are not. According to the recent research, divorce costs the state and federal government an estimated 33.3 billion annually in direct and intervention costs. These estimates include divorce costs related to delinquency, poor academic performance, drug use, lost productivity, family support and mental health services.

There’s even an environmental cost! One household becomes two with twice the number of appliances and accompanying energy usages. The family’s green footprint doubles.

I wish this insanity would end. For those tempted to “take a hike along the Appalachian trail” or “take a trip to Argentina,” remember what Dorothy said, “There is no place like home.” So stay put.

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