Patty and I just watched one of our VHS movies, “How to Make an American Quilt.” The setting was in California in the 1990’s and was an examination of generational cultural attitudes about relationships. Patty and I agreed some of the characters acted really stupidly, and some of the exageatged personalities seemed very foreign to us. Our parents were of the mind of the 40’s-50’s generation where marriage and children was the mainstream normality.
I don’t know how to treat this subject thoroughly but concisely, honestly yet sensitively, with directness but without being offensive. Maybe the whole concept of the movie was born in the 60’s counterculture revolution through to today’s porridge and conglomeration of philosophical mishmash of experimental experience. It is neither new nor philosophical , neither productive nor harmless.
Rejecting traditional ways of driving a car or scuba diving or sailing the oceans can only result in accidents and running out of air and sinking before reaching your port of call.
The women in the movie made decisions leading to various calamities. The men were either oversexed and underloved or one that was sexually obsessive and womanizer or distracted by their careers. Young love turned into heartache. Harmful ways lead to long-lived and unhealthful consequences, impossible to untangle — except for one solution.
Why? I would say very few of the characters had the slightest clue what they were doing, what life was about, or who they were.
Please pardon my absolutism, but life is not about overburdened sexuality to the exclusion of all the other aspects of human existence. Marriage is still the only natural workable process for the survival of our species. The loving home — with or without children — is still the only environment of preserving civilization. And therein lies the rub. This love is not merely conjugal sexuallity (eros). It is a partnership (phileos). And it is not survivable if the glue holding it together is mere erotic expression. The core reason for marriage, I believe, is rather a twofold dynamic of both friendship (storge) and partnership (synetairismós).
Arranged marriages worked because the two would become friends. (And that debatable cultural topic is a whole nother discussion.)
Yet, it remains, whether or not children enter the picture, people cannot maintain a long term relationship in anything they choose to do without essentials that are far more worthy and worthwhile than physical dynamics. (Don’t get me wrong. Physical attraction is a start to relationships no matter how superficial, and it is when a boy and a girl start gazing into each other’s eyes — the windows of the soul — that something larger begins to unfold — like the story of “How to Make an American Quilt.”
(See also, Genesis chapter Two.)