This post has the following content warnings:
Nov 28, 2020 6:35 AM
I predict this will be a self-indulgent shippy meditation on power and responsibility but it's honestly hard to predict these threads
« Previous Post
+ Show First Post
Total: 3895
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

"I'm mostly doing pretty good! But I was thinking about how a bunch of people - a bunch of me's, specifically - keep ending up thinking about marrying people who're from wildly different cultural contexts than themselves, and I thought maybe if they weren't careful there would be a bunch of things that would end up surprising them about how other people thought marriages were supposed to work, and some of those things might cause problems, and I thought that to prevent this, I should maybe write up a list of questions that people from really different cultures should ask each other before getting married, and then when I'd gone through them I thought that maybe other people would benefit from them, and so I wrote them up for you in case you would find them useful at all."

She offers her a stack of papers.

Permalink

...she takes the stack of papers.

"I assume you think this's going to be very entertaining."

Permalink

"I'm not gonna mindread you while you do it, or anything. I actually genuinely want people to, like, not end up in a situation where someone from a society with the concept of marital rape marries someone without it and then both of them end up confused and horrified."

Permalink

"...I suppose this makes sense.

"I'll look at your papers and see if they look at all useful. Now go away."

Permalink

"Yes ma'am." And she's gone.

Permalink

She shuts the door, sighs heavily, sets the baby down, and looks over the papers for a while.

Permalink

" - everything okay?"

Permalink

" - yeah. Uh. Her majesty has embarked on a new attempt to be helpful for people's relationships. I am kind of questioning her priorities but I suppose I won't complain about it on the grounds that it's at least less bad than whisking people away to worlds unknown without any warning."

Permalink

"That's a low bar. What is it?"

Permalink

"Wrote a list of questions that she thinks people from radically different cultural backgrounds should ask each other before getting married. I must reluctantly admit that some of them are kind of important things that I had not specifically independently thought of."

Permalink

"Huh. Okay, I'm game."

Permalink

"You wanna go in order, or just the things that struck me as particularly important things we hadn't explicitly talked about yet? There's kind of a lot, I think she got excited."

Permalink

"I guess probably the important ones? We can do silly ones later, maybe. Unless they're required. Are they required? Do we submit answers in writing, because I can't write."

Permalink

"She has marked some questions as mandatory and some as optional, but we are accountable only to ourselves. I'm just gonna put checks next to the ones we've covered so we can go back to the others later if we feel like it.

"...'Do women have a responsibility to obey their husbands. If yes, how often is this responsibility called on in a healthy marriage, and are there circumstances under which a woman should disobey her husband. Are there any circumstances where husbands have a responsibility to defer to their wives. If yes, how often is this responsibility called on in a healthy marriage, and are there circumstances under which he should not.'"

Permalink

" - huh. 

 

Uh, in an adventuring party someone's making the calls during combat. And some people are better candidates for this than others but anyone's better than confusion about who is doing it or whether you really actually need to listen to them. And in most Osirian marriages everyone has agreed that the husband is the person doing that, so his wife has an obligation to obey him, but I don't think in principle that's the only way to do it. - I guess I would feel weird about agreeing that I had to obey you because, uh, it doesn't match my picture of what it is to be a husband to someone. I don't even think I'd hate it but I wouldn't feel like it was a marriage exactly. 

I think this comes up when - uh, in some ways maybe all the time? But usually not in a sense where it's something one person doesn't want to do and the other does, usually when someone's calling shots you didn't actually have any opinion about what you should be doing or you had a weak one and now you have more information. Obeying an order you don't trust should almost never happen.

Uh, you should ignore the person making calls if you have information they don't and their instructions obviously won't work and aren't the ones they'd have given if they knew what you do. And if they turn out to be evil and betray the party, I guess."

Permalink

"Hmm. That analogy makes sense, but I think that actually almost no situations that people face are as much like that as combat is? Like - in a combat situation you all have to be immediately coordinated without extensively discussing your decisions beforehand. And I feel like this is not really true for most other things, especially personal household or parenting or relationship decisions. Almost every decision should be arrived at via consensus in a healthy set of relationships, and if consensus can't be achieved then that is itself a sign that a household is an unhealthy one. So the entire concept of - defaulting to a model where a single person makes the final decision about most household decisions is weird, right, because for most things it should be possible to achieve consensus.

"...also I kind of suspect that I currently know somewhat more about independently running households with children than you do, and I feel like this would make it kind of weird to automatically defer to your judgement about certain categories of thing. I could be wrong about this but it's... a thought that I have."

Permalink

"I mean, no one should tell me how far to draw my bow, just what to hit. I don't think you have to be better at something than someone for it to be useful to give direction on it. And - it'd be really neat if it works out so you always have a consensus? I'm worried that if it doesn't work out like that then marriages that have an understanding of what to do then work and marriages that don't have problems."

Permalink

"I guess if I were coming at things from your perspective and not from - mine - I would have some of the same concerns. I would argue that a marriage in which you reliably cannot achieve consensus on things is not actually a marriage that's working very well? But it makes sense to want to have a failure mode that's better than constant unresolvable arguments, if you have to fail.

"I'm - honestly mostly okay deferring to you in practice because I expect that you will almost always be able to listen to what I have to say and take it into consideration, but - all of the healthy marriages I've ever seen were pretty consistently able to compromise on things without having a formal hierarchy. And - I think I'm worried that having a formal hierarchy might make it less likely that you'll prioritize less unilateral ways of finding solutions? And - also as far as I know the things that are hardest to come to a consensus on tend to be things about how to spend money and how to parent children, and - the first is probably a non-issue for us and the second is something that I think I just unquestionably have more experience with, which makes me less comfortable saying that you definitely get final say? And I'm maybe not following the analogy about how far to draw your bow versus what to hit when it comes to, like, parenting.

"- and I think if I'm being completely honest it's possible the word 'obey' leaves an infernal taste in my mouth. I, like, promise I will listen to you if our home gets invaded by bandits unless I have, like, a really really good reason not to."

Permalink

Snort. 

"That all makes sense. I guess I still have this sense that, like, if you have just decided to hope you can always work things out then you're - not being totally responsible? I know that you'll be making most of the decisions for the children -

- I mostly am fine with that but I don't want to teach them Chelish things about sex and marriage. We don't have to teach them Osirian things are the only things you can do but - I think they'll hurt themselves, if they go around just thinking none of it matters as long as it's fun -"

Permalink

"I don't wanna teach them Chelish stuff about sex and marriage. I wanna... talk about stuff a lot with you and have a coherent model of sexual ethics we can both present in good conscience when they're ready for it. I think."

This Thread Is On Hiatus
Total: 3895
Posts Per Page: