Venn I Look at You… Steve Speaks

Every so often fiancé Steve offers his take on mid-life marriage.  Here, his thoughts on why it’s good to have some differences.

In a previous post Sandee joked that for nerds like us, drawing a Venn diagram on a whiteboard at the wedding might make a better unity ceremony than mixing sand or lighting candles. The overlapping circles motif shows up on a number of patterns for wedding invitations or save-the-date cards, where I’m sure it’s intended to portray wedding bands overlapping.

wedding ringsBut a Venn diagram is not a bad way to look at what happens when “two become one.” A “Venn Diagram” shows the relationship between two sets, A and B. The area of overlap represents the things that A and B have in common, or the intersection of A and B. The total colored area is the union of A and B, or all things encompassed by either A or B.

Venn diagramI imagine most couples spend some time pondering the things they have in common and the things that make them different. I’m curious about how much overlap works the best. If your circle barely touches your partner’s circle, you have almost nothing in common. That has to make communication difficult and suggests there are not many things you would enjoy doing together. Why be a couple, then? On the other hand, if you overlap too much, it means your partner is only slightly different from you, and perhaps doesn’t bring much to your life that wasn’t already there. I think most healthy couples’ relationships fall somewhere in between. Continue reading

Elves on Shelves and Other “Traditions”–or, Why I Can’t Stand Unity Sand

It’s that time of year again: Christmas carols ring through every shop, holiday cards outnumber the bills in my mailbox, and the Hershey’s kisses “handbells” make me giggle every time the last little bell says “Shwew.” A seasonal shift is evident on social media, too, as friends share recipes for crazy-good sounding cookies and post pictures of children sitting on Santa’s lap and little elves sitting on the toilet pooping peppermint candies.

Ah, the “Elf on the Shelf,” icon of the 21st century Christmas. According to Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell’s 2005 children’s book, the diminutive Elf is a scout for St. Nick who hides in various places around the house to watch and report on who’s naughty or nice. The toy, understandably I think, garners equal amounts devotion and derision. For those who have children and can share in their daily delight at discovering what that crazy Elf is up to now, it’s a funny and charming pastime. As a long-time single woman whose home was once broken into by the neighborhood voyeur, I find the idea of an odd little man popping in and out of my house and spying on me…icky. Sinister, even. Besides, don’t we have the NSA for that?

Still, just because their cute is my creepy, I don’t begrudge my friends their joy in elfin antics. And I hope none will begrudge me my confession that the same celebratory ritual that brings others great happiness makes me shiver in revulsion.

I can’t stand unity sand. Continue reading