Outsiders Can Make a Marriage Stronger

Sandy (not her real name) was “moved to tears” after hearing me talk about the importance of connecting with consequential strangers in our everyday life.   She later explained in an email:

[My tears were] about my husband. I realized when you were talking about how these consequential strangers enrich our lives that my husband (a stay-at-home dad) hasn’t taken advantage of the consequential strangers he has access to, which has led to depression. I also realized that b/c my experiences are so rich and different from his (I get to meet people like you!) that he’s missing out and I just want him to be able to share experiences and “people” with me b/c it will enrich both of us, as a couple.

Sandy’s story brought to mind a point I often make about CS and marriage:  Outsiders can make a marriage stronger!  Continue Reading »

Mark Sanford: TMI (Too Much Information)

Once again we’re slowing down and craning our heads to stare at a roadside collision: Mark Sanford. We’re not riveted because we wonder whether Sanford should continue to serve as Governor. Face it, our most popular male leaders have been philanderers and not necessarily unseated as a result. (A woman would never get away with it, but that’s another story. Sara Palin’s behavior is blamed on postpartum depression, Nancy Pelosi is frequently referred to as “a grandmother.” If Hillary had a dalliance with one of her young staffers–”slut” would be the word of the day.)

What’s giving us pause about Sanford is the endless and intimate confession itself. Everyone’s asking, is he doing more harm to himself by continuing to apologize? It’s not the apology per se; it’s his delivery. He’s talking to us as if he were at his kitchen table not on national television. It’s too intimate, and it makes us uncomfortable–but we can’t turn away. Whether Sanford is just slick or truly remorseful, the point is, he’s not talking the way people–especially men–are supposed to talk in public. You could say he’s using his inside voice, pouring his heart out to a lover or close friend. If this saga was unfolding in France, he’d be using “tu”–the intimate pronoun–to address reporters. Even videos of him seem intimate. He leans in and huddles up to the microphone, bows his head, lowers his eye lids, and shrugs ever so slightly. His voice is low, hoarse, and–dare I say–sultry.

The private him makes us uncomfortable because we’re not imembers of his inner circle and we know we shouldn’t be listening.  We don’t talk that way to strangers (or consequential strangers, for that matter) and he shouldn’t either. TMI, even in the digital age.