Relationship advice on a political blog? Yeah, we can do that. In an effort to make this your one stop full service blog ( my eggplant parmigiana  recipe to follow) I’ll put this question out for dissemination; what is an absolute deal breaker for furthering a relationship?

Over the past few weeks I’ve had some interesting talks with my kid. A short bio; he is 22, fresh out of college and is going to grad school in the fall. Both his mother and I want him to pick a school outside his comfort zone, preferably out of the state. He has been accepted to 4 different schools, some with scholarships provided. Why, you ask, would we want him a bit of distance away? Because his sophomore year he met a girl and has dated her exclusively ever since. Translation, he has not broadened his sampling of dating to the degree we find necessary for a well-informed decision on his future. Our talks have covered the basics; values, kids, religion, geography and careers.

The other day I found a great Ben Shapiro video, which I shared with him, that is worthy of discussion here;

We like the girl. Smart, pretty, driven in her career, he could do worse. She is catholic, we aren’t, that is not a big deal. But both his mother and I come from a place of unity in that the purpose of dating is to give the greatest sampling of possibilities. You experiment, you try everything, this is the only way to see what type of mate you could hang with for the long-term.

I think Ben is right here in that values are paramount. One of the running jokes we have together (I think it’s funny, she, not so much) is that we dated for almost 8 years, during that time seeing other people, life threw us a few curve balls. But we always ended up back together as our common values kept revealing themselves.

So, some general questions;

How important is socio-economic backgrounds?

How about political ideology, to the point at which it is established in your life? Can a rightie truly be happy with a leftie,  have an appreciation for the 1st Amendment and an understanding of gun rights?

Do you have to be on the same page re: child rearing?

Is their religious (or lack of) upbringing something that needs to be determined?

How about money (the number one issue of conflict in marriages)? Can a saver live with a spender or an instant gratifier live with a rain day-er?

For a young couple talking about marriage (they aren’t, thank God) what would be your number one bit of sage advice?

TBH, it is such a relief to be on the downside of my life, not having to worry about dating or working. And I hope to avoid the conversation of ,”Boy, you guys sure did screw things up for the new generation taking over”. I kept telling them deficits were bad, honestly.

8 comments

  1. First off, I love this post. Things like this are at the heart of RVS. We can spend all day talking about the big issues of the day, but what’s really important is how the various difference in society affect us personally. This is great.

    All of my answers are based on my own experience, YMMV.

    How important is socio-economic backgrounds?

    Extremely important. A partner from a similar background will have the same attitudes on spending and saving. I’m too lazy to look it up, but I’d bet most marriages dissolve over money problems. Having someone who doesn’t live beyond his or her means as a matter of upbringing goes a long way.

    How about political ideology, to the point at which it is established in your life?

    This is probably the least important. My wife and I don’t agree on politics, though we do agree on culture. Mrs Thrill is somewhere between Bono and Gandhi on the Left-Right scale. I’m more “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”. Neither of us could stand Hillary, but my wife voted for Jill Stein. I voted for Trump. We didn’t fight over it or debate it. We just kind of accept that’s how it goes.

    On the 2nd Amendment issue, Mrs Thrill doesn’t like guns. I am decidedly firearms proficient. She demands that I keep firearms locked away and hidden, which I do. She accepts their presence in the house for defense, but (accurately) believes that they’re a greater danger than help if proper safety measures aren’t followed.

    Mrs Thrill and I have some deep discussions about issues of the day, almost every day, but we don’t agree on everything by a long shot. If you’ve ever wondered why I’m able to discuss issues civilly here, it’s pretty much how it is for me at home.

    Do you have to be on the same page re: child rearing?

    Yes, you do, but here’s the rub: you have to build a consensus once you already have kids. Different approaches are needed for different kids. I can tell you that what works for Thrilla doesn’t work for Thrill Jr.

    Mrs Thrill (yes, I’m still calling her that) and I work things out on a case-by-case basis, but we always back each other up. THAT is essential.

    Is their religious (or lack of) upbringing something that needs to be determined?

    I generally recommend you marry someone who is culturally similar to you, but yes, it does need to be determined.

    I grew up in a sort of New Agey household. Rarely went to church and on the rare occasions we did, it was just to placate my stepfather. I’ve flirted with a number of different philosophies and faiths, but ultimately committed to the Episcopal Church in 2004. Long story, I’m not going into now but if you ever meet me IRL and buy me a drink, I’ll discuss it.

    My wife is of another Protestant faith. She did have theological issues with the Episcopalians, but also thinks her own faith has gone off the rails in recent years. Plus, she went to church with me before we married and really liked my church and the people she met there. We were ultimately married by an Episcopal minister and our kids were baptized in that denomination. There was never any hesitation about it. Mrs Thrill felt it was good enough. Had she made an issue of it, we would have worked it out, but having fairly common values helped tremendously.

    How about money (the number one issue of conflict in marriages)? Can a saver live with a spender or an instant gratifier live with a rain day-er?

    As I said, money problems are the marriage killer. However, an agreement about finances is necessary. Mrs Thrill is better at balancing a checkbook than I am but I’m better at budgeting (planning). She pays the bills and manages most of the household finances because I’m overall bad at it, but I’m usually the one who has to set goals and force her to stick with them (we are going to save $500 over the next three months. Make it happen, woman.)

    For a young couple talking about marriage (they aren’t, thank God) what would be your number one bit of sage advice?

    You put the best interests of your family first, foremost, and always. Make your partner happy, and your partner will make you happy back if you married well. Very hard concept to grasp in our MEEEEEE culture, but if you don’t devote your existence to your spouse and children, you will fail. Refer to Chuck Norris’s Code of Ethics, number four.

  2. How important is socio-economic backgrounds?

    as Will,says important, I grew up fairly poor, not terrible mind ya but i was defiantly on the lower end of that middle class scale, my wife, was on this side of dirt floor poor for a long time. She is the more practical one,thankfully. iI tend to spend a bit more than i should at time, then other times i could make Scrooge squeek. Such background has helped us a lot, we managed to save 30,000 for our new house and yeah we went abit over board, spent the entirety of our loan amount had to borrow more, and blew the house savings….but we made it., I put a lot of that down to my wife, being tight fisted over money, which untill the last few years was a issue, a lot of the time. But her practical ways and my bouts of self control have worked for us.

    How about political ideology, to the point at which it is established in your life?

    Wife is pretty well established on the right side, i was too, it was funny when trump anounced , my wife went off,” i dotn want a fucking cheetoo as president.” she grungly accepted Trump, given that she thought Hill, was something short of a monster. Me however in the 20 some odd years i have made a shift to the more libertarian side of things. overall its not much of a issue, until i go on a bender. So politics is really not much of a issue for us. I did date a very liberal gal once, great ass, but we avoided politics as much as possible…we get into it and jsut could not see eye to eye on that.

    Do you have to be on the same page re: child rearing?

    Meh well, i really tend to the hard ass aisle of things, my wife, given how hard she was raised is a lot softer touch,That has caused issues with us. She grew up bustuing her ass day in day out and her dad was a lot harder than my old man was, and my old man was no softie at all. in fact her dad and my dad could have easly been mistaken for brothers…and were at times, they worked in the same department of the same Foundry. lol i know.. well. we somehow manage it, sorta bad cop good cop type thing, and i dotn go to hard on them,, but when i go for the good time dad, i go all out., I know she gets fustrated with me, when she thinks im being to hard on them, but i dotn want them growing up without knowing what hard work , sweat blood and tears is all about, so they get a taste of how disappointing, and unforgiving the real world outside of home is.

    Is their religious (or lack of) upbringing something that needs to be determined?

    oh god….
    This,,,
    Wife is from a mixed family of Roman Catholics and Baptists , yeah Wife wasnt overly religious when we meet, but however when our relationship got serious she took a religious turn, especially after the kids were born. she even got me to go to her grandmothers Baptists church, wich wasnt so bad, given the preacher was a Afg war vet my age, pretty cool guy who’s sermons was more about history of the bible , moral obligations and more practical approach to faith. I did my best not to fall asleep, i grew up going to The Church of christ, was all in to it till i hit 15, and got more practical. basically a agnostic, now. the wife has simmered down and given her issues with her Grandmother and family and church politics after the preacher left, so less of that nowadays, thankfully.

    For a young couple talking about marriage (they aren’t, thank God) what would be your number one bit of sage advice?

    Love each other, talk to one another. trust one another. Save money when you can. spend less now, so you can afford the dreams later. Work hard, keep Family close. Support each other in improving their skills, live and dreams. .

  3. I know she gets fustrated with me, when she thinks im being to hard on them, but i dotn want them growing up without knowing what hard work , sweat blood and tears is all about, so they get a taste of how disappointing, and unforgiving the real world outside of home is.

    This is a dynamic that works, and mirrors ours very closely. Moms will always be the nurturer, dads need to be the pragmatist. Where she thinks a hug is appropriate for everything, I prefer praise when he does good and a kick in the butt when he does bad. This also speaks to the need for both a mom and a dad, each brings something a bit different to the table.

    In my post I mentioned the need for shared values but did not articulate them very well. Here was just a few of ours;
    A well grounded work ethic. When we met we were both just starting our careers and 60 hour work weeks were standard for both of us.
    We both were raised protestant and shared the standard judeo-christian values.
    We both leaned right although she was less political than I was, I changed that.
    We both abhorred smokers, drank in moderation and eat pretty well.
    We were both active and valued fun/down time as a counter weight to the grind of working long hours.
    We both had a similar sense of the value of family.
    And it helped that she was the smartest person I knew, still is. Her advice and judgement in times of stress and grief has proved invaluable.

  4. How about political ideology, to the point at which it is established in your life? Can a rightie truly be happy with a leftie, have an appreciation for the 1st Amendment and an understanding of gun rights?

    I would put myself in the right vs. left relationship. There have been our share of knock ‘em down arguments, but I’ve consciously made the decision to lay off (at least when I’m sober) when I see things going off the rails. There are some areas where I won’t back down. I’m don’t accept that I’m the root of all evil because I’m a white male. And I will always present the opposite side of an argument to my children if my wife has presented a point that is not in line with my beliefs. At the end of the day no one’s ended up on the couch no matter our disagreements, and we still love each other.

    Do you have to be on the same page re: child rearing?

    In general we are aligned, but above all else we don’t sell each other out. If there are any times where we’ve had disagreements, those conversations happen behind closed doors. We do have some good cop / bad cop moments. In those situations, the good cop ushers the kids away from the bad cop. Luckily we haven’t run into any bad cop / bad cop situations.

    Is their religious (or lack of) upbringing something that needs to be determined?

    Neither of us have been exceptionally religious people. I was raised Catholic, if only by way of schooling. We barely made it to church for Christmas or Easter. My wife was raised in a Protestant family. We were married in her Methodist church, and our children go to Catholic school. Despite the fact that my wife despises the Catholic church, it’s actually worked out okay with schooling. My wife has taken an atheist turn since we’ve been married, and as I’ve gotten older I put myself in the agnostic column. This has certainly rubbed off on our children, especially our older child, but as I noted above, I do present and defend the religious side when my wife rolls her eyes at some of the school curriculum. If anything I make sure they respect religion.

    How about money (the number one issue of conflict in marriages)? Can a saver live with a spender or an instant gratifier live with a rain day-er?

    Neither of us are perfect, and have different utilities on where we like to spend money. There is some give and take. I can go on my boys weekends and spend hundreds of dollars on booze and game tickets, and she can sate her clothing and online shopping cravings. However, we do always check with each other to make sure the other is okay before we commit to spending large amounts of money. I’d say ultimately we’re both savers, we are disciplined enough to stash away our bonus money, any inheritance, and make monthly deposits to our financial advisor.

    For a young couple talking about marriage (they aren’t, thank God) what would be your number one bit of sage advice?

    Don’t think you can change someone after marriage. Be sure that you can accept your significant other, warts and all.

  5. If there are any times where we’ve had disagreements, those conversations happen behind closed doors.

    That is something I’d like to add a +1000 to. Nothing stressed me out more as a kid than hearing my parents fight.

  6. For a young couple talking about marriage (they aren’t, thank God) what would be your number one bit of sage advice?

    Make sure you are friends first before you ever think about getting married. If you aren’t friends now, marriage will only make it worse.

    Care about his/her happiness more than you do your own, and make sure he/she feels the same in reverse. Then you’ll be just fine.

  7. So many great posts, so little time to comment! So while I’m a day or two late on this post, I wanted to chime in too:

    First, it has to be said that in all these aspects of compatibility, there is no right or wrong answer for a given couple. Sometimes these aspects can be widely divergent and the couple is still great, while in other cases there can be a high degree of compatibility but it still doesn’t work. I would say it all fundamentally boils down to each member’s attitude the priority they place on a healthy relationship. A healthy relationship can cover a multitude of differences, and even seemingly-insurmountable differences can indeed be overcome.

    However, some of these areas are fraught with peril even for those most committed to sustaining a healthy relationship. For instance, if views on raising children diverge wildly, it will be a very serious challenge to overcome. Money problems are also a key driver of marital strife, of course, and if a couple comes from widely divergent socio-economic backgrounds, there can be bad habits or divergent expectations that will be challenging to work through. Religion is also a big one, but as others have pointed out, doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker.

    I am fortunate to have a partner that is highly compatible with me (thank you eHarmony algorithms!), so our differences in each of these categories are more subtle than striking. Our healthy attitudes about our marriage and our 100% commitment to the happiness of the other makes sure these small fissures never threaten structural damage.

    For a young couple talking about marriage (they aren’t, thank God) what would be your number one bit of sage advice?

    A healthy marriage depends on 100% commitment to the happiness of the other, no matter what. The rewards of marriage are worth the total sacrifice of yourself to the other. There may be times when you have to “pull more weight” but really you should just shut out of your mind any notions of accounting for relationship contribution–life is much happier that way. What is the old saying? “Love keeps no accounting of wrong” or something like that?

    Also, I would say that, though it may be unfashionable, save yourselves for marriage. It really, truly, no joke, is worth the wait. And once married, accept that your body and sexuality are wholly and completely for the other person and nobody or nothing else. Pornography and self-love are nearly as destructive as active cheating, so just don’t do it. Save your sexuality for your partner and him/her alone and it will stay exciting, interesting, and intimate for a very long time. And for times you are away from each other, the fasting from sexual activity in all forms only makes the reunion that much more sweet.

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