:Love is Progressive Part 3: Happy Anniversary
Three days ago was the twelth anniversary of my wedding with Zunliang. However, she was not here; due to the death of her former husband she was in Taiwan, and I was home alone grieving over the deaths of my mother and father, having just had my mother's funeral a few days earlier. I felt unusually down -- not depressed, but discouraged and mortal. I felt vaguely fatigued and unable to accomplish much.
That evening, I called Zunliang at her home in Kaohsiung City, and immediately started to feel better. I asked her what day it was, and she said "Happy Anniversary," so we laughed. We spoke for a while about typical things. Zunliang also mentioned how she "misses me," and is "waiting for me," which is coded sex talk as we both knew, and I reciprocated as I also "miss her" and am "waiting for her." Before we parted -- for we were together in our love-bubble even though we were thousands of miles apart -- she kissed me "goodnight" and I kissed her "good morning," one of the oddities of communicating with somebody in Asia due to the huge time difference. I felt better after that.
I am sure I had an oxytocin burst -- a hormone which promotes bonding -- and also as researchers are now saying happens in males, a vasopressin burst, which also promotes bonding.
I believe that the bonds of love in couples, are a major factor in human evolution, and furthermore, in human progress, including the progressive change we need to make in the future. I have written about this several yearsago, but now I wish to write about it again in a different way.
Even in my own relationship with Zunliang, we have grown together in ways which promote progressivism to a degree, even if she isn't the committed progressive partner I would have hoped for, and we don't share the same spiritual beliefs. We have moved toward a more environmentally friendly, self-sufficient lifestyle together, with mutual satisfaction and consent; we have supported compassionate and loving causes together, although there are still religious causes she supports that I do not; and we have voted for more progressive political candidates together. Certainly, she has done more of this than she would have without my influence, and she in turn has helped enable me to do these things, such as buying a hybrid car, making a fruit and veggie growing yard, living inexpensively and thus giving large corporations relatively little support, etc.
Loving couples exude love and help create a more lovng, compassionate, empathetic society, and this in turn, leads to progress.
At the core of most couples' bonds, is the sexual bond. Monogamy creates an atmosphere in which loving, emotionally stable social relations can prevail, in contrast to non-monogamous relations. The exclusive sexual bond between Zunliang and myself is a very strong, and very important nurturing bond. In fact, I believe it is instrumental in smoothing over any emotional or other difficulties which may occur in our relationship. Without going into intimate details, we always focus on expressing our love for each other and our mutual happiness during sexual relations, which is very self-evident in our actions and emotional communication. It's clear that our "love making" promotes communication intimacy between us as well.
In short, it's all about love -- something that a great many people apparently still need to learn when it comes to sex.
Statistics about sexual activity are notoriously unreliable; however, most statistics I have seen indicate that sexual promiscuity has actually decreased in recent years, despite popular memes to the contrary. (The public tends to think the worst about a lot of things, including such things as crime rates or divorce rates, which people also tend to think are increasing when in fact, they are gradually decreasing.) However, it is clear that there are far too many casual sexual encounters happening, far too much sexual abuse and coercion, and far too much sexually disordered behavior which creates sexual activities which are not based upon love. It is also clear that cavalier and promiscuous sexual behaviors such as casual sex, and probably abusive and coercive sexual behaviors during "dating" relationships such as "date rape" -- although they may have reduced somewhat in recent years -- are much more common now than they were in past eras. This is a disturbing development to me, because it promotes the kinds of harmful attitudes and behaviors which are antithetical to the loved-based society that humanity needs to develop in order to progress. Perhaps we need a slogan such as "Sex Without Love Sucks." But instead, we hear of "Hookup Cultures," "Getting Busy" used to refer to sexual encounters, and rampant casual sexual activities in young teens, often involving oral sex as a "safe way" to have sex.
Of course, we all know of the frequent, negative consequences of ill-considered sexual activity -- consequences such as sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, and the emotional damage of broken hearts and callous attitudes caused by such casual sexual relationships. However, these reasons for monogamy all pale in comparison to the importance of being in love in the context of sexual relations. Being in love with one's mate, in a mutually exclusive relationship, creates a safe, happy bubble in which love florishes, and the couple exudes love from their little love bubble, which others appreciate and respect, and can feel and benefit from their love.
I have endeavored to look up some research on the benefits of monogamy, marriage and happy marriages, so that I would not just be talking about my sexual relationship notions without evidence. There was a recent study comparing monogamous societies with polygamous ones -- the only study of its kind. In summarizing this article, Maruli Marulaki writes: "But on a more subtle level, the promicuous jerks, who ruthlessly manipulate as many women as they can by hook or crook into being their prey, also cause not only pain to the used women, but also social ruptures similar to what has been described in the article" (http://www.atheistnexus.org/group/atheistsingles/forum/topics/research-the-benefits-of-monogamy).
The social ruptures in polygamous (and thus likely more sexually promsicuous) societies which the research found are summarized in the following quotes:
"In cultures that permit men to take multiple wives, the intra-sexual competition that occurs causes greater levels of crime, violence, poverty and gender inequality than in societies that institutionalize and practice monogamous marriage."
"Considered the most comprehensive study of polygamy and the institution of marriage, the study finds significantly higher levels rape, kidnapping, murder, assault, robbery and fraud in polygynous cultures. ...., these crimes are caused primarily by pools of unmarried men, which result when other men take multiple wives."
"The greater competition increases the likelihood men in polygamous communities will resort to criminal behavior to gain resources and women, he says."
"According to Henrich, monogamy's main cultural evolutionary advantage over polygyny is the more egalitarian distribution of women, which reduces male competition and social problems. By shifting male efforts from seeking wives to paternal investment, institutionalized monogamy increases long-term planning, economic productivity, savings and child investment, the study finds."
"Monogamous marriage also results in significant improvements in child welfare, including lower rates of child neglect, abuse, accidental death, homicide and intra-household conflict, the study finds."
Benefits of marriage and especially, happy marriage as opposed to unhappy marriage, are also well-documented. For example, an article in the New York Times discusses how marriage in general (not even factoring out the unhappy marriages), is associated with better health and longevity, better finances, and better sex life for both men and women (http://www.nytimes.com/1995/04/10/us/studies-find-big-benefits-in-marriage.html). All of these effects are apparently interrelated. The positive social support of a spouse reduces stress and helps result in better financial decisions and pooling of resources. A stable and loving sexual relationship also enhances health and happiness, and reduces stress.
In regards to specifically happy marriages, the benefits are even greater. The following website lists research-confirmed benefits of a happy marriage, 10 of them for women, 12 for men, and a whopping 15 for children. The lists are too long to reproduce here, but they include everything one might expect to be there, and perhaps more. Here is the link: http://mfgmarriage.com/benefits-happy-healthy-marriage/. The article concludes with the following which relates to our Love is Progressive theme: "You see, the effort you put into your marriage really does have farther implications than just you and your husband getting along. Your marriage impacts every area of your life, your spouse’s life and your children’s life. We believe happy and healthy marriage can even impact our communities and society as a whole. It really is worth the effort."
There are many types of love, but the love between a couple represents the deepest potential for personal intimacy and bonding possble between two people -- the blending of two souls, as it were, as well as perhaps the blending of two persons' DNA. The highest form of personal love is known as consummate love, which includes intimacy, commitment and passion. I thank my beautiful wife Zunliang for opening herself to me and giving of herself to me in such a way that we have achieved such consummate love. No relationship is perfect, and sometimes our disagreements or disappointments hinder our intimacy temporarily, but our passion for and commitment to each other are ever-present, and our bonds bring us very quickly back -- almost immediately in fact -- to our sense of deep and consummate love. Thank you my love!
All types of love ranging from the deepest, most specific, personal love to the broadest Universal love -- and everything in-between such as love of nature, love of children or one's own children, brotherly or sisterly love, and love between friends -- are good, and play an important role in humanity's progress. But I suspect that nurturing, loving bonds between a couple has the greatest impact in creating a loving social environment whose effects reach all of society in promoting love's progress.