Remember Boy George’s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” song? I’ve had it in my head all day as I was musing about things we say that we would be better of not saying.
The line: “If I really wanted to hurt you, _____.” This could end a number of ways: “I’d do such-and-such,” or “you’d know it!” or “such-and-such would happen.” Let’s face it: there’s no good way for this kind of line to end. It’s not going to help the situation. We probably mean, “Hey, I’m so sorry: I didn’t mean to hurt you at all.” However, that’s not exactly how it comes across. Continue reading “What Not to Say When You’re Sorry”
Marriage is not the stuff of romance. I told this to one of my classes last week. One student supposed that by saying that I meant to imply that he would always be wanting other women, never fulfilled, so to speak. So I told him what G.K. Chesterton might reply to that anxiety. Here’s what Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy:
I could never mix in the common murmur of that rising generation against monogamy, because no restriction on sex seemed so odd and unexpected as sex itself…. Keeping to one woman is a small price for so much as seeing one woman. To complain that I could only be married once was like complaining that I had only been born once. It was incommensurate with the terrible excitement of which one was talking. It showed, not an exaggerated sensibility to sex, but a curious insensibility to it. A man is a fool who complains that he cannot enter Eden by five gates at once. Polygamy is a lack of the realization of sex; it is like a man plucking five pears in mere absence of mind…. Surely one might pay for extraordinary joy in ordinary morals.
My interpretation: a man should be so lost in the ecstasy of discovering all the pleasures of his own wife that he doesn’t have time to think of other women. If he can’t find a lifetime of pleasure in one woman, he will never be satisfied with any number of women: he simply doesn’t know what he’s doing.
He that findeth a wife findeth a good thing.