Wednesday, March 6, 2013

how marriage and food bloggers are alike

(I'm sort of forcing myself to post this because apparently I'm existing in a brain fog. Doctor said it should clear up in another month though. In the mean time I do sort of really hate that this fatigue set in right after I decided to make a public commitment to blogging more. Way to save face there, Natalie.)

Ok, so why are marriage blogger and food bloggers alike? Because a lot of them post based not on what is normal but on what is abnormal. And even if they're supposedly writing about what is "normal" (marriage bloggers) they often come out of abnormal contexts. Let me give you an analogy. What does a healthy person eat? A healthy person eats ice cream and carrot sticks and pizza and salad and bagels with jam and grilled salmon and occasionally washes everything down with an ice cold root beer. If you're absolutely aghast at what I'm writing then I invite you think hard about your own life. Why do you eat healthy? Because at some point you felt really lousy and decided to change your diet. You were unhealthy. If you're still not getting it, let me further point out that, based on what I see around the internet, most people who are switching over to a "healthy" diet aren't doing it because they were eating a steady diet of cheetos and twinkies. They ate a perfectly normal diet that sustains hundreds and thousands of perfectly normal people. Who is the healthier person? A person who can eat a hamburger and fries without feeling like they're about to die or the person who ends up curled up in a bed a week later?

Now, because this is the internet and people assume things, let me hasten to add that not all hamburgers are made alike and not all diets are made alike. On the other hand, a Five Guys burger shouldn't actually make you wish you were dead. Go ahead make your own burgers from grass fed beef and freshly milled flour - sure it's going to be healthier and quite possibly tastier. Go ahead and eat plenty of veggies because they're so good for you. I'm totally in favor of that. Just understand that when your body really is strong and healthy and whole it doesn't require a whole lot of catering to in terms of allergies and sensitives and things like that. It can handle it.

So on to marriage bloggers. I'm thinking about a few blogs I know of either through reading them regularly or the contributions of their authors in other contexts. Most of them are written by people from rather dysfunctional backgrounds. These are people who experienced, either first or second hand, (ie through their spouses) promiscuity, infidelity, addiction, etc. The Driscolls would be another fairly high profile case (of Mars Hill Seattle fame). I don't have any particular insight here, but it does make me curious about the prevalence of dysfunctional people turning around and teaching others about marriage. Perhaps since so much marriage is dysfunctional now that's exactly what we need? Perhaps people who have seen abnormal can teach us more about normal? Is it possible that a couple who married young and made it work with minimal fuss for fifty years really can't articulate what made their marriage so strong?

Ok, that last thing sounds suspect to me. Like I said, I don't really have anything insightful to say here. It just struck me as odd that we take health advice from a blogger with a list of allergies longer than my grocery list for the week and we take marriage advice from men/women who were promiscuous growing up or who slept around for the first ten years of their marriage and yet now consider themselves very, very capable of pointing out just how wrong other people are. And sometimes they really do have valuable insights. I get this. On the other hand, there are some wounds you really only grow around and not over. Like a tree shaped by a boulder or the wind, the impress is still there, and I occasionally wonder if a person from a normal background and a normal marriage would see the same issues and if not does that tell us more about marriage in general or about the people critiquing it?

If I can try to bring this home - God uses wounded people. This is one of my chief comforts in life. Sometimes though, I wonder if maybe we're ignoring the ordinary stories. Why aren't we learning more from the altogether functional family of six that honestly does get along pretty well? Why not take a little health advice from the 75 year old cake lady at church?

I don't know. You tell me.

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