Harl Delos, who's become a frequent commenter here, on his blog refers to my rant on the meaning of effete, but only in passing, which is probably the attention it deserves. It's in the middle of a nice, thoughtful essay about relationships and marriages:
When a guy marries, he promises to love, honor, and protect. My wife says that until the Monica thing came up, she didn't consider fellatio to be sex, so maybe Bill felt the same way. As Gore and Howard illustrate, love has many meanings, and it need not be carnal in nature. The honor is pretty self-explanatory, but protect is the big one for guys.
Bill's been doing a lot of "protect" on the campaign trail, and this week, Barack Obama has been doing some, too, with his assertion that the GOP should lay off his wife.
I made one of those vows, too. And when my first wife developed SLE, I tried. Oh, Lord, how I tried. And she died anyway, damn it. Protect?
'Til death do us part isn't talking about premature death from an incurable disease. It means sticking around for three-score-and-ten, or maybe even twenty years past that.
Committing suicide isn't fair play, nor is abandoning your husband by failing to draw a breath, lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by doctors working in a frenzy, either. If you leave him for another man, a guy can understand that. If you leave him for another woman, a guy can understand that, too. But dying is the ultimate rejection.
A few years after my father died, I asked my mother what she missed most about him, and she said, "Just having him to talk to." A few years into my divorce, I find that's what I miss most about my wife, too. Having someone who shares so much with you -- life journey, physical space, world view -- just hang out with you every day bouncing words back and forth defines how you see the world and helps validate your own sense of self. That may be the only thing I really know about relationships.
(I've added Harl to my blogroll. Give him a visit.)