Daily Archives: September 29, 2011

Helpful Advice

I don’t give advice, but I’m frequently interested in the viewpoints of people who do consider themselves wise enough to give it.

Well, I say I don’t give advice and I sincerely try not to, try to catch myself at it and chide myself when I discover I’ve backslid in a way I can’t squirm out of.  Well, most of the time.  If you’ve read the Survival Book  [  https://sofarfromheaven.com/survival-book-2/ ]  you know I’m lying to myself and to you when I say it.

Some of you nitpickier readers might assert the ‘Ask Old Jules’  blurbs Jeanne posts on the Facebook page amounts to advice, but I can’t agree.  That’s just answers to questions with no attempt to be helpful, no wish to influence the choices other people make.

But I’ve digressed.

I read Ed Hurst’s blog, ‘The Oracles of Marriage’ http://my.opera.com/soulkiln/blog/, and while I find myself not in total agreement with him in a lot of ways, I suspect people involved in relationships with other people might profit from reading and carefully considering what he says.

There’s also the Dear Coke Talk http://www.dearcoketalk.com/ blog ruminating and giving advice I find amusing and might have found helpful when I indulged in relationships.

We’re living in a time of possibly the most profound social experiment in the history of mankind.  During the past century 10,000?  50,000? years of accumulated human wisdom and tradition has been discarded worldwide in favor of various packages groups believe they’ll like better.  I’m not, personally, certain anyone on the planet is qualified to give advice in times such as these.  The body of experience just isn’t sufficient to pull solutions out of a catch-as-catch-can gut feel cauldron of individual preferences and biases, and deliver them any meaningful where.

Seems to me it would be a good time for people involved in relationships to do a lot of pondering, reading, discussing with the party of the second part about boundaries, about ownership, about mutual dependencies, about verbalizing expectations, and about self-reliance.

But what the hell do I know?  I can show you how to start a fire with flint and steel.  I can elaborate at length on how you can make the best of almost any bad situation and come away from it a lot more confident and probably happier than you went into it.  But when things go into the arena of two people clinging to one another in a complex web of expectations neither has clearly defined, neither has ever agreed to, the only reasonable approach seems to me to be honest communications.

I was married 25 years and one of the conversational mantras during that time was, “What’s the matter?”


“Yes, something’s the matter.  What is it?”

“Nothing.  No, really.  Nothing.”

That interchange sums up what I’m talking about.  It’s a statement communicated by non-verbal methods that the party of the second part hasn’t satisfied the expectations of the party of the first part.

Why isn’t the answer a forthright statement?  Because the unsatisfied expectation isn’t one that has been brought out into the open, discussed, and agreed to.

“I’m angry and I want you to know I’m angry, but you’ll have to guess why, want me to not be angry.  I’ve chosen this method in hopes of getting you to modify your behavior to something more in tune with what I want from you, knowing you probably won’t agree to it unless I sulk it out of you.”

How the hell can anyone presume to give advice about how to do that better?  When the goal is ownership and control who’s better qualified than the party of the first part, whichever the gender?

Old Jules

Kenny Rogers & The 1st Edition – Something’s Burning