Part Three: Dickens’ David Copperfield on the Family: Birth Children Feeling Lost in Stepfamilies

Part Three: Dickens’ David Copperfield on the Family: Birth Children Feeling Lost in Stepfamilies

They paint this rosy picture of finding the man or wife of their dreams, someone THIS TIME who will actually love them.  I deserve to be happy.  I’m not going to settle.  I don’t want to send a message to my children that it’s Okay to live like this.

Then, when I challenge this fantasy, these clients get mad at me.  “It won’t happen to me,” they say.

There’s a reason almost everyone in jail is from a stepfamily.  There’s a reason almost every child who drops out of school or joins a gang or gets pregnant in high school or gets addicted to drugs and alcohol or sexually abused is from a stepfamily or child of divorce.

And you say, my kids are good kids.  They will be fine.

That’s easy for you to say.  You are the one WANTING the divorce.

And then they tell me they would only pick someone who loved their children just as much as they do!

Right.  Tell me how you are going to do that, you who are smarting from your last marriage and more than likely more broke than you’ve ever been and desperate for some help with these kids and feeling like a failure from your first marriage and struggling with NOT hating your Ex and nursing your wounds and trying to make sense of your world torn asunder and your kids are freaking out because they don’t have a home any more (back and forth between mom and dad means you don’t have a home and after awhile it drives you crazy) and your bed, your bed, is soooo empty.  The loneliness:  Night after night.

And you’re going to make a wise choice THIS time.  THIS time it’s going to work?  When you are reeling from all this despair?  You’ll know this time what you want?  You are wiser now?  Wiser?  Really?  Or just hurting?  Hurting people usually don’t make wise choices.

This is why second marriages breakup quicker and more often than first marriages and third marriages even quicker and more often than second marriages and on and on it goes.

Maybe, before you divorce and remarry, you should look at this whole mess from the eyes of a child.  How does it look through a child’s eyes to see some other man or woman touch mommy or daddy?  How does it feel to have a total stranger come into OUR home and take over?  If you are a stepparent now it would also be good for you to look at these issues through the eyes of your stepson or stepdaughter.  It might give you some compassion for him or her.

Before you lie to yourself and tell yourself the kids will be fine, take a look at how insightful Charles Dickens is looking at a stepfamily through the eyes of a little grade school boy.  In David Copperfield, Dickens tells the story of a stepson, Copperfield, who is sent away to boarding school by his stepfather (We are convinced as readers his loving mother would have never sent him away to school if she hadn’t remarried.  Sending Copperfield away was the evil stepfather’s doing.) and what it feels like to Copperfield coming “home” for the first time after being away at school several months.

Dickens captures the insight that Copperfield’s home is NO LONGER HIS HOME!  Yes, the comforting things are there, his mother, his mother’s maid, Peggoty, all the knickknacks that hold fond memories, but it is as if it all reminds him of a dream world that can never come back.  He is LOST in his own home.  It’s so painful he wants to leave again, to just be gone and to sit with his school buddy, Steerforth:

“Ah, what a strange feeling it was to be going home when it was not home, and to find that every object I looked at, reminded me of the happy old home, which was like a dream I could never dream again!  The days when my mother and I and Peggotty were all in all to one another, and there was no one to come between us, rose up before me so sorrowfully on the road, that I am sure I was glad to be there – not sure but that I would rather have remained away and forgotten it in Steerforth’s company.”*

Do you see the inner conflict he’s having?  He hasn’t seen his mother or his dear Peggotty in months and he misses them so much, but because his new stepfather has absolutely changed his old home forever he DOESN’T EVEN WANT TO GO HOME!

And why would he?  His stepfather is mean and has changed the demeanor of his home from one of tenderness and love and endearment to one of judgment, terror, fear and coldness.

Now look:  There are literally millions of stepfamilies, stepfathers and stepmothers that have figured out how to be loving to each other and the new stepparent fits right in and the child is thrilled to have a new “father” or “mother” figure.   But this is NO GUARANTEE.  Just because you love somebody doesn’t mean your new lover will love your child or that your child will love your new lover.  If you have more than one child you are assuming an awful lot that ALL of your children will love the new person you bring home and vice versa.

It is clear from Dickens’ story that David Copperfield’s mother loved him very much.  Nevertheless, she didn’t choose her next husband wisely and it was the undoing of her family and ultimately herself (it’s a sad story!).  Choosing her next spouse led to the biggest tragedy of her life.  David Copperfield’s life was dramatically changed as well and it takes him years to get his bearings.  Dickens is correct to show the down side of stepfamilies.  Love does not conquer all.

When Copperfield arrives home from his boarding school for the first time he’s fortunate that his stepfather and his stepfather’s sister (She came to live with them also and had a profound and sinister hatred of Copperfield.) are gone when he arrives home and he meets his mother and Peggoty along with his new half-brother who was born in his absence.  They spend the day together in bliss, reconnecting.  It was more than Copperfield could have hoped.  It ends way too shortly.

And then his stepfather and his step aunt arrive home and everything changes.  As they come home his mother tells him to go to bed so as not to upset his new family members for being up too late.  As he climbs the stairs to his old bedroom he thinks:

“It appeared to my childish fancy, as I ascended to the bedroom where I had been imprisoned, that they brought a cold blast of air into the house which blew away the old familiar feeling like a feather.”*

With all of them together he no longer feels like this is his home.  He feels distant from his mother, his maid (who remained one of his fondest friends throughout the book) and, even, himself.  He feels nothing but disdain from these new, uninvited (in his view) intruders (NOTE: His stepfather’s name was Murdstone, Dickens’ play on the words murder and heart of stone.  Murstone’s coldness eventually kills Copperfield’s mother.):

“In short, I was not a favorite with Miss Murdstone (his stepfather’s sister).  In short, I was not a favorite there with anybody, not even with myself; for those who did like me could not show it, and those who did not, showed it so plainly that I had a sensitive consciousness of always appearing constrained, boorish, and dull.

I felt that I made them as uncomfortable as they made me.  If I came into the room where they were, and there were talking together and my mother seemed cheerful, an anxious cloud would steal over her face from the moment of my entrance.  If Mr. Murdstone were in his best humor, I checked him.  If Miss Murdstone were in her worst, I intensified it.  I had perception enough to know that my mother was the victim always; that she was afraid to speak to me or be kind to me, lest she should give them some offence by her manner of doing so, and receive a lecture afterwards; that she was not only ceaselessly afraid of her own offending, but of my offending, and uneasily watched their looks if I only moved.  Therefore I resolved to keep myself as much out of their way as I could; and many a wintry hour did I hear the church clock strike, when I was sitting in my cheerless bedroom, wrapped in my little great-coat, poring over a book.*

Copperfield’s attempt to deal with his despair by holing up in his room so as not to have to deal with the constant discomfort is actually a healthy thing.  Reading would be a good pastime and because of his love for books he eventually becomes a famous writer (Copperfield’s life broadly follows Dickens’ own life, although Dickens did NOT grow up in a stepfamily, which makes his insight into the negative side of stepfamily dynamics all the more amazing.).  His stepfather, as is often the case, views Copperfield’s tendency to spend his time alone in his room as an insult and sees it as selfish behavior that must be disciplined.  He accuses Copperfield of being surly which is interpreted as being disrespectful and he will NOT be disrespected!

If you knew how often I have heard stepparents tell me they will NOT be disrespected by their evil stepchildren, you would be shocked.  Stepparents often feel as if their spouses’ birth children run wild without any discipline and they are quite often right about that.  Birth parents, especially after a divorce, have a difficult time disciplining their children because their children are hurting so badly already from the effects of the divorce.  Birth parents bear some guilt about this.  They also want their children to like them more than the other birth parent!  They worry if their children don’t like them they won’t want to stay and would rather be with the other birthparent.  New stepparents can see this pattern and confront it immediately.  Unfortunately, though the stepparent is correct the children need discipline, they are too often harsh and unloving in their approach.

The harshness of stepparents is the most common complaint of stepchildren that I hear in my office.  It would not be uncommon for a stepchild to escape all this judgment and condemnation in his or her bedroom.  Copperfield’s stepfather interprets Copperfield’s escaping to his bedroom as rebellion and being intentionally in a bad mood to negatively change the demeanor of the home.  The stepfather believes his stepson is the causing the contrary tone!  Dickens makes it very clear, that at least from the eyes of a child, he and mom and the maid were fine for years before this evil stepfather came on the scene.  No doubt the stepfather thought things were fine at home until Copperfield came home for the holidays.

However, Copperfield is genuinely depressed and he’s trying to make the best of a bad situation so he goes to his bedroom and read.   His stepfather interprets Copperfield’s mood as rebellion instead and he’s disciplined accordingly.  His mother does nothing to intervene.  She doesn’t dare.

Mr. Murstone tells David he can no longer hide himself in his bedroom and he has to sit with all of them in the main room.  And he is NOT to look “sullen.”

“’I will have a respectful, prompt, and ready bearing towards myself,’ he continued, ‘and towards Jane Murdstone, and towards your mother.  I will not have this room shunned as if it were infected, at the pleasure of a child.  Sit down.’

He ordered me like a dog, and I obeyed like a dog.*

If you are a stepparent, you have a big job ahead of you.  Your hardest job will be to give your stepchildren some slack.  The temptation will be to write them off and to complain to your wife or husband how terrible your wife or husband’s children are.  A good rule of thumb is not to come between blood.  To the extent you criticize your spouse’s blood children is the extent that you push your spouse away.

Usually the solution to this problem is to encourage the birthparent to be the one who is firm with the birth child and encourage the stepparent to concentrate on befriending the birth child.  There are also jealousies going on here that will need to be continually worked on, namely, that the relationship of the birth child to the birth parent precedes the relationship of the stepparent to the birth parent.  This is ultimately what is behind most animosity of stepparents for birth children.

The animosity of birth children to their stepparents is usually because after the arrival of the stepparent, the birthparent no longer has as much time and energy for the birth children and a birth child can sense immediately the withdrawal of the attention from the birth parent.  The birth parent is largely unaware of this because the birth parent loves the birth child the same.  Nevertheless, a birth child is totally aware that he or she was just demoted by the new stepparent because the stepparent has literally taken time away of the birthparent with the birth child.

These natural jealousies of both the birth child and the stepparent for the birth mother and spouse are often not handled wisely and create many of the problems common in stepfamilies.  Knowing and understanding them is critical in helping to ease animosities and is one of the tasks in therapy around stepfamily issues.

I’m guessing most second marriages that break up (when children are involved) do so because the birth parent feels the stepparent does NOT love the birthparent’s children.  The birthparent thinks: if you don’t love my children, you must not love me.  That’s a common feeling and, sadly for many, this particular feeling is not far from the truth.

The other reason second marriages with children break up is just the opposite feeling on the part of the stepparent.  The  stepparent complains the birth parent lets the birth child get away with murder and the stepparent says he or she will not participate in that any longer.  Inaction on the part of the birthparent, in this case, could drive the stepparent away.

Stepfamilies are dicey!  We work through all these crazy dynamics in therapy, seeking to take the hurt feelings out of it so people can make better choices instead of letting jealousies rule the day.  It’s possible to work out, but a little wisdom along the way sure helps!


*quotes from Chapter 8 of David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens, written 1849-1850.  Kindle edition.

Part Three: Dickens’ David Copperfield on the Family: Birth Children Feeling Lost in Stepfamilies

Part Two: Dickens’ David Copperfield on the Family: Jealousy in Stepfamilies

I see now that if I go through that door, I open a door to hurt and agony and darkness and a world of unintended, but inevitable consequences. Whew! That was close!”

Unlike the postmodernist, I really believe that evil exists. A lot of people I’ve met don’t, however, and foolishly think they can do things that seem pretty on the outside, but inside are full of worms and maggots and darkness and death, and somehow escape the hurt themselves. “It won’t hurt me,” they say. The greener grass on the other side of the fence beckons them and they yearn for pleasures they should not have and, too often, they plunge into darkness and then wonder why there’s no light.

So I paint on this canvas what happens when people chose pornography or affairs instead of faithfulness and integrity and truthfulness of character. I expose the hurt of anger over-expressed or stuffed in hopes of steering people way from a life of impatience and selfishness and discontent (is there any crueler task master than discontent?). I lay out the folly of divorce and write over and over, no, the kids will NOT be Okay and neither will you, and preach time and time again that love is NOT a feeling and the goal of marriage is NOT for you to be happy and that the person who seeks happiness shall lose it. You can’t find happiness if you seek it any more than you can drink the sand of a mirage in the desert to satisfy your unquenchable thirst.

And then I read Charles Dickens’ description of a little boy’s first feeling of what it’s like to have a stepfather and I’m thoroughly chastened. Dickens gets to the heart of the matter in a couple of sentences.

Certainly there are some healthy stepfamilies. Indeed, the whole Christian faith is built upon a stepfamily metaphor: The believer was separated from God before he was a believer and is now adopted into God’s family through what Christ did on the cross. The tone of that stepfamily, like all stepfamilies, is set by the (step)Father: God accepts us into the family even though we don’t deserve it. We forgive as our Father in Heaven has forgiven us. He sets the example. We follow. Forgiveness in the family would be good.

But, more often than not, stepfamilies are fraught with tension and jealousies, some, of which, never go away. I write this today as a warning to those of you who are tempted to divorce, because, you think, you can always remarry and your new husband or wife will just be as enamored with your children as you are. NOT! MORE THAN LIKELY NOT! I also write this so those of you who are in stepfamilies NOW can find a way to infuse your family with grace and forgiveness, instead of animosity and scorn and, in some cases, even hatred.

Hatred? Cinderella may be a fair tale, but the mood of Cinderella is, sadly, the tone of many stepfamilies.

Why is that? In a word: jealousy.

Stepfamilies are born out of inequities and loss: divorce, death, failure, shortcomings. Stepfamilies, by definition, are trying to take something, that can never be fixed, and try to make it a little bit better. Sometimes they succeed. More often, the attempt ends once again in failure. The realities are stronger than the wish.

Check out this hint from Dickens’ David Copperfield. He’s a young boy at this time with Dickens’ writing in the first person. He’s so believable when he writes, that children who read David Copperfield oftentimes actually believe a child wrote it! Dickens gets into the heart of child, and sees the world through a child’s eyes, an amazing feat in itself. In the story, Copperfield is born to a young, pretty widow, who is left with a modest estate by her former husband, modest enough for her to afford a housemaid. The three of them are very happy together and the world the child Copperfield describes is almost Edenic.

But then the evil, potential stepfather happens on the scene: A man starts courting his mother. Read Dickens description upon Copperfield’s first meeting this fellow (called “Murdstone” by Dickens, his play on words: a murderer with a heart of stone):

“He patted me on the head; but somehow I didn’t like him or his deep voice, and I was jealous that his hand should touch my mother’s in touching me – which it did. I put it away, as well as I could.”*

In this one scene, Copperfield’s life is changed forever. What amazes me as a counselor guy is Dickens caught the feeling of a child of a stepparent and the feeling of a stepparent for a stepchild in two sentences. How could do that? I’ve literally talked to hundreds (thousands?) of people who grew up in stepfamily situations. Certainly there are some who loved and admired their stepparents. More often the stories of these people are full of sadness and rare do I hear stories of respect and admiration.

The reason is because there are jealousies on both sides with the birthparent caught in the middle. The birth child and the new stepparent are BOTH vying for the mother/wife’s attention. (Stepmothers have the same temptation). She’s torn between two people she loves. She can’t make both happy. She tries. She fails both. The child is jealous of this foreigner, this intruder, this interloper who is changing his life. The stepfather knows instinctively he can never be closer to his wife than Copperfield is to his mother. In Dickens’ story this tension kills his mother. In other families the tension kills the marriage or the child rebels or both. In any case, it is rare where the birth child feels close to the stepparent and vice versa.

Nevertheless, it happens sometimes. It’s easier for younger children to accept the new stepparent. Most of those seem to go pretty well…for a while. However, it is common for those relationships to get pretty difficult when the child reaches the teen years. It’s not just the child that has difficulty. The birth child predates the new stepparent and jealousies of stepparents are often off the charts. This occurred in David Copperfield and we’ll explore that common tendency in our next blog.

Part Three: Dickens’ David Copperfield on the Family: Birth Children Feeling Lost in Stepfamilies

Part Five On Cohabitation: Absent Fathers and the Cohabiting Craze

He suggests that young men, without everyday intact fathers, struggle with immaturity and young women, without everyday intact fathers, struggle with being loved by a male. Both seek to meet these needs by cohabiting without marriage.  For the entire series on Cohabitation click here.  For the first in the series click here.

Grandchildren are the crown of old men,

And the glory of sons is their fathers.

Proverbs 17:6

You know, after you’ve talked with hundreds of cohabiting couples, you come up with a few observations. I’ve connected some dots here and there. I have some hunches about unmarried cohabiting couples (see my other thoughts about cohabiting couples in the four previous blogs on this subject: Cavalier About Marriage, The Downsides of Cohabiting Without Marriage, Cohabiting and Impatience, and Marriage, Money and Cohabiting). There are probably a hundred reasons why young people cohabit (the availability of birth control and abortion, the high cost of living, the emphasis in our society on career development before marriage and the late age of marriage, which is now around age 26, and the deterioration of the Judeo-Christian ethic, to name a few). For the purposes of this blog I’d just like to narrow it down to one.My hunch is this: Young men and women who cohabit with each other have a high incidence of growing up with an absent father, whether from divorce or their fathers living at home, but being distant.

It’s easy to take pot shots at dads in our society because they’ve been relegated to the role of being virtually worthless. Women are divorcing their husbands, thinking that their respective children will be fine if they only see their dads, oh, say 8 days a month.Yeah, that will do it.A woman, with this frame of mind, will be tempted to think that her sons and daughters don’t really need their birth fathers, just a man and any man she happens to fall in love with will do, so she marries some other dude with even less fortitude than the last one, but at least the last one actually LOVED her kids.This one, at best, thinks her kids are a nuisance and, at worst, thinks they are all psychos.

We used to tell mother-in-law jokes. Now, the dregs of society are the divorced father, who never sees his kids or never pays his child support, or the dad who’s never home and always working or always drinking. What a bum. Of course, if you are a divorced dad you know how difficult it is to fulfill the role of father when divorced because fatherhood is meant to be a full-time job and if you are divorced you can’t be a full-time dad. You’ve been fired. Most kids live with mom after divorce. Dads’ a sideshow, reduced to taking them to Chuck E. Cheese’s on weekends. Every other weekend at that. This is what dads do? For crying out loud. It’s just sad.

And don’t tell me divorce doesn’t affect the kids and your divorce decree is fair and the kids spend 50% of the time with mom and 50% of the time with dad. Kids need a mom and dad 100% of the time. What’s fair about living in two houses, never having roots and being a nomad? What’s fair about never being settled? What’s fair about two sets of rules? And if both mom and dad marry some other blankety-blank, now we’ve got 4 sets of rules and everyone’s tugging at my loyalties and I’d just like to forget the whole bunch. What’s fair about that? Divorce isn’t fair. And what’s normal about being a parent, a mom or dad and having every 3 or 4 days completely to yourself and then 3 days later there’s kids again? How long before you do that and you become completely undone? What’s so fair about that? Motherhood and fatherhood are supposed to be full-time jobs.

Kids need a mom and dad. No, not two dads or two moms. That’s just creepy (Please see my other articles on this subject: here, here and here). Kids need a mom who says, “You poor dear. Come here, let me take care of that.” Kids need a dad that chides. Goads. Spurs on. Challenges. How can you ever grow to be a man or a woman if you don’t have a dad standing there with his arms folded at the appropriate time with a scowl on his face and says to you that what you just did isn’t gonna cut it and you’re not gonna make it if you live like that? Come on, you know you can do better. Enough of that already. I expect more of you. Some kids rebel, perhaps, some not. But every kid wants to please his dad. Every kid wants the approval of his father. I didn’t just make this up. Three thousand years ago King Solomon wrote:

Listen to your father, who gave you life.

Proverbs 23:24

My son, keep you father’s commands.

Proverbs 6:20

But the verse that really is a kicker on this deal is the one at the beginning of this blog. Look at it again:

Grandchildren are the crown of old men,

And the glory of sons is their fathers.

Proverbs 17:6

The glory of sons is their fathers. Wow. Talk about responsibility. Talk about a sense of purpose and pride. We all WANT to respect our fathers. It’s a very comforting thing to have a father you can look up to. The verse above talks about sons and fathers, but you can bet, given the writer of Proverbs’ penchant for keeping things concise, (see my earlier blog on the use of “sons” in Proverbs), that daughters are included.

It’s difficult to respect a dad if he isn’t around, whether by choice (he’s a drunk, he plays pool or golfs all the time or is gone for work or church!) or circumstance (fired from fatherhood by a divorce decree).If he’s not around enough neither gender is going to understand his abruptness.He’s to the point.He takes the direct approach.He doesn’t hold your hand.He says go do it.Don’t let the world push you around.Make your mark.But this is all interpreted as intrusive, invasive, insensitive, sarcastic, mean, even abusive.Why?There’s not a daily relationship there.These kids don’t understand nor know their dads.So they write them off.Reject them. Scoff at them.It it any wonder these dads withdraw and rarely come around.I’ll just leave them to the wolves.I guess they’ll have to learn the hard way.So what happens to these girls and boys with no dads?

Another related hunch I have, is that children get a larger share of their identity from their mothers in their early years, say before age ten, and during their teen years get the lion’s share of their identity from their fathers. Absent the father from a teenage boy and the boy will struggle with immaturity because he doesn’t have a dad to kick his butt once in awhile (Relax. I mean, you know, “challenge” him.). Boys need to be exhorted, urged. This God-given adoration of boys for their fathers is used by the wise father as a way to train up his son in the ways of life: To teach his son honor and honesty and hanging in there and not giving up, to “Man-up,” bear responsibility, do it with pride, develop your gifts, be a blessing to the world, sense God’s hand on you shoulder. Only a dad can do this. Did you hear me? ONLY a dad.

The daughters without dads will wonder if they are lovable to the opposite sex: You know, males.Mothers can’t teach that to their daughters.Only a dad, who is there, at home, every night, who goes up to his daughter and tells her he missed her and how is she doing and what’s new and he loves her and he hugs her and he says he’s proud of her and you go girl and you can do it and I know it sucks, but I know you can solve this deal. Only a dad can fulfill that role.If dad isn’t home, if dad doesn’t hug me, if dad doesn’t talk to me, if dad doesn’t believe in me, if dad doesn’t give me advice and actually SHOW me how to do stuff (Be sure and check the oil when you fill up with gas.Here’s how to do it.), then, ah, there must be a boy out there who will.

And we’ve created the perfect storm: Immature boys very willing and able to cohabit without marriage to unloved girls very willing to cohabit without commitment and needing to be loved. Neither of them had a dad who showed much commitment to them. Neither learned respect of men or what it means to be a respectable man (ah, you know, someone you can rely on…..always). Commitment is in short supply all the way around.

So then we get these two young people together without the commitment of marriage and what do we get?

Stay tuned. My next blog will explore this dynamic.

Part Three: Dickens’ David Copperfield on the Family: Birth Children Feeling Lost in Stepfamilies

Part Three On Cohabitation: Cohabiting and Impatience

You learn patience by waiting; you learn anger by doing what you want when you want it.  To see the other blogs in this series on Cohabitation click here.

Love is patient.

I Corinthians 13:4

This a series of several blog articles on cohabitation without marriage. The first one addressed some of the unintended legal nightmares created by cohabiting. In the second I discussed how cohabitation hurts sex and trust.Today I’m looking at how cohabitation encourages anger and fighting.

You’ll note the verse at the start of our blog today says that “Love is patient.” The whole idea of cohabiting is that “Love will conquer all.” Love will conquer all is a modern spin on love that says love is a feeling: As long as we have these loving feelings we’ll be fine. In contrast to a feeling, the two thousand year old quote above that love is patient is based upon an action: If we love each other we will wait until marriage. You are worth waiting for.

The subtle message of cohabitation is: Our loving feelings supercede old-fashioned values like marriage. We don’t need a piece of paper. We can do what we want. Morality does not mean anything. Sex is just an act. It does not need protecting. Marriage is just a legalistic social norm, and patriarchal at that. And the stupid weddings cost thousands of dollars and who can afford that? Besides we can save money NOW. We can live together NOW. We don’t need social support and legal encouragements and the blessing of God or the Church or our parents or anybody else. We have each other and love and feelings and that will be enough.

The catchword for cohabiters is NOW.

The catchphrase of cohabiters is NOW, NOW, NOW.

The catchword for people who wait to marry is: patience.

The catchphrase for people who wait to marry is: it’s worth the wait.

Love is patient.

But if you JUST move in with each other, love is not patient.That loving feeling is impatient.Our choices affect our behavior.If you want sex NOW, if you want to live together NOW, and our parents’ values be damned, and marriage is ol’ fashioned and boring and we don’t want a divorce after all (see my blog Cavalier About Marriage on destroying that myth) you will take this lifestyle of impatience into other areas of your life.You won’t have patience because you haven’t learned to have any.You learn patience by waiting!!! Practice, practice, practice.

Bake dough without letting it rise and you have a brick.

Paint a room without mixing the paint, taping the hardware, covering the floor and you have a mess.

Build a house without first planning what it will look like and you end of with a hodgepodge.

Drive a car without oil and see how far you get.


That’d be good.

But what do we get when we cohabit? What subtle messages are we sending?

You are not worth waiting for.

You aren’t valuable enough to wait for.

You can take me just on my word.My actions don’t meaning anything.

Sex is just sex.It doesn’t need protecting.

Do whatever you want whenever you want.

We can do this without consequences.Nothing bad will happen to us.

Hey, this is a bunch of crap. I’m not making this up. If you come to see me and you tell me you smoke marijuana everyday, I’m going to know that you are going to be lethargic and have the stictuativeness of a piece of used scotch tape. If you tell me you are masturbating to porn everyday I’m going to assume you are a selfish prick and I wont’ be far off. If you tell me you are cohabiting I will assume you will be:

  • self absorbed
  • self-serving
  • selfish
  • impatient
  • easily offended
  • easily angered
  • argumentative
  • everything’s-an-issue kind of person
  • insecure
  • suspicious
  • jealous
  • protective of yourself

Why? Because you don’t think waiting is worth anything and you want what you want when you want it and you want it NOW. IF THIS RELATIONSHIP ISN’T WORTH WAITING FOR IT ISN’T WORTH ANYTHING!!!

So…if two people both believe that their relationship is not worth waiting for, what kind of patience with each other are they going to have? NONE. Zip. Zero. If I can’t wait to marry you to live with you, be sexual with you, then you can bet I’m not going to wait for anything else either. I want everything NOW. Frickin’ this and frickin’ that.

You might be the most fun partner in the world.You might be the most beautiful and gorgeous or handsome.We might have a ball.We might just laugh and laugh and the sex, oh, man, the sex is out of this world.

For awhile.

Six months average.

Maybe less.

Maybe more.


And then the fighting starts. Why? Because you said you believed this and you are doing that. You never help. All you do is nag. We’re hardly sexual ever anymore. You ignore me. All you do is video games! All you do is on-line chatrooms. All you do is hunt, fish, work on your car, work, watch TV. You never do the laundry. I have to do everything. Quit complaining. You’re so impatient!! You want everything your way all the time!!

And you are surprised by this? Hey, we don’t have to wait remember? What’d you expect?

Here’s a sobering quote. I’m not making this stuff up. If you want the whole article click here.If you want a life of fighting and anger, I suggest you rush to live with your lover.It’s the fastest road I know (although smoking pot everyday or masturbating to porn everyday will get you there pretty quick, too):

One study in Great Britain did look at the relationship between child abuse and the family structure and marital background of parents, and the results are disturbing.  It was found that, compared to children living with married biological parents, children living with cohabiting but unmarried biological parents are 20 times more likely to be subject to child abuse, and those living with a mother and a cohabiting boyfriend who is not the father face an increased risk of 33 times. In contrast, the rate of abuse is 14 times higher if the child lives with a biological mother who lives alone. Indeed, the evidence suggests that the most unsafe of all family environments for children is that in which the mother is living with someone other than the child’s biological father.  This is the environment for the majority of children in cohabiting couple households.

You say you don’t have kids, it’s just the two of you? Well, ahhh, if you are living with somebody that way and, you know, you, ah (uncomfortable moment…), ah, after awhile you will more than likely end up with kids. If you both are biological parents abuse is lower, but if you live together and aren’t married, you are way, way, way more likely to break up than married folk and now, after you break up, you’ll be living on one salary and who can afford that, you know, and pretty soon mr right or miss right will show up and it’s amazing we get along so great and before you can pay 3 rental payments you are sharing your rent with him or her and wow, this is so cool, until he or she loses his or her patience over your stupid kid and can’t you control him and he’s a total brat and he gets away with murder and you never discipline him and I’m not gonna live like that and CRAP…

A little patience people. The Jewish nation was founded on a guy who worked and waited 7 years in order to marry the girl of his dreams. After he married her he was an indentured servant for another 7 years in order to pay off his obligation to her father. Fourteen years! Fourteen years he waited and worked and loved. And, no, Jacob and Rachel weren’t shacking up on the sly and her sleazebucket-of-a-father, Laban, just wasn’t aware of it.  No.  He waited.  Literally.  For the whole enchilata.  Really.  Look it up yourself.  Genesis 29. Is it any wonder the Jewish nation has made such an impact upon the world?A nation built on the love of one man for a woman he was willing to work for and wait for 14 years.

And you? You can’t wait 14 days till the end of the month because you have to sign a stupid new lease.