My Philosophy of Life, Presented Through a Conversation with a Hypothetical Wife-to-be
One of the weirdest things I do is ponder really far into the hypothetical future. For example, I speak a lot to a hypothetical future wife. The following conversation with said wife happens to explain one of the highest of high-order algorithms running in my head.
But before I dive into it, I want to digress and address what I see as a perceived problem with the premise. What's wrong with having a conversation with a hypothetical future wife? I guess there's a disgruntled voice saying, "What right do you have to say that you deserve or want a wife? You shouldn't have a preconditioned desire for a wife, rather you should want a particular person, or rather she should want you equally as much as you do, and together, you two decide to become more committed later." Or maybe the objection is akin to the same objection to planning your retirement while still in your twenties. Anyway, call me old-fashioned, then, but I plan to be a family man when I grow up.
So here is the conversation I had with a future-wife-to-be:
Look [future-wife-to-be], different partners have different methods for making relationships work. Some focus on abstract values, like honesty, humility, or kindness. In moments of relationship stress, they mentally invoke one of these keywords as a guide for a way forward.
Other partners use plucky will, a desire to please, and a belief that a deep abiding sense of love will save the day.
I'm neither of these.
For me, my method is an abhorrence of negative patterns. If I find that we're arguing in the same manner week-after-week, with the same recovery-and-relapse, then that pattern will not last very long. I hate negative patterns. I hate setups. If I see that we have the preconditions akin to a lackadaisical yuppie couple that's just drifting further and further apart in intimacy until they become bored and cheat, and ruin their children's future, I will put the kibosh on that. I will break the cycle. I promise to break as many bad cycles as I can. There will be no "whee, life is a cycle, black and white, living together, and it's best to accept it, samsara and nirvana, as one."
This conversation was inspired by marathoning Californication. In the show, the main character, Hank Moody, and his wife, are caught in a negative cycle that's lasted for twelve years. Hank can't stop living the life of an unstable man-child and his wife can't quit being indecisive.
And unbeknownst to me, the whole time I was watching I had been screaming at my screen the whole time, "Change, you fool! Just, change!"
Chalk me up as an enemy of the, "Accept you for who you are" movement. If something about you is making the relationship break, you fix it! And if your repeated attempts to fix it keep failing, then fix that pattern. Break all negative patterns. Californication features frequent imagery about cigarettes and alcohol, which I believe is a great metaphor for what sinks relationships. It's an addiction to negative habits of communication, of socialization, of whatever.