The RITUALS OF the LOVING FAMILYWho said the opposite of love wasn't hate, it was indifference? Somebody did and I agree. BY that way of measuring and thinking, most married folks are walking around in a state that is the opposite of love.ALIENATION is the most common malady of the post-industrial epoch, striking every family. But like chronic fatigue syndrome, it's easy to banish.. First, understand how it fell on us.When the historic male quit tilling the primordial field with their wife and children playing beside him in the shade, and he started going off to the factory, the first infection of alienation began. The factory worker tired as woman was not there to admire and refresh him, to talk to him, to laugh at him or with him. She stayed home with the babies all day, inanimate as a pound animal, caged alone. He sweated alone and it was empty indeed.For both of them.
Then, when women also went off to work, the family needing two incomes to survive the inflation, leaving babies in daycare, another equally severe degree of alienation occurred.The man came home exhausted and the wife was also tired and cocky. And the children were nervous and troublesome.
Healthy families used to have simple ecstasies and they had them together. These were gamboling by the field where Dad plowed or cooking over a fire, meals shared in special circumstances, picnics in the park, or sitting together in the garden watching the dog or cat play while eating a picnic lunch. It can be dining with friends and family all together in the lanai with Christmas tree lights strung around the eaves, hawaiian music playing.Humans can be lured by clever, aesthetic stage managing into being excited, warm, happy. THey can be enthralled by laughing together watching movies or television. And get them lit, they're capable of producing their own sunlight, little sparks that radiate off hearts as friends dine or play together, Children playing in front of the parents on the grass, or everyone watching a good film, engrossed, holding hands, sharing impressions.Unhealthy people do not do any of that. They stay up in their own head, busy with obsessive trivia. They watch a lot of television and maybe family members are around but they're not interacting. They are off on their own. They do not share banquets with friends on holidays. They have perfunctory Meals, nobody says 'very tasty', they just finish, wipe their mouths, stand and leave.On weekends, the alienated husband goes off to do his thing, visit the gym or go fishing or he hides in the garage under a car with a wrench in hand and the radio on. He continues 'his solitary busyness.' If he is prodded to do so, he will participate in recreation, holidays, parties but doesn't come up with these ideas himself.TOGETHERNESS, EXPERIENCING the lively, glowing unique NOW --under even routine circumstances works. It's routine to sit in the garden every Saturday and go out to dinner every Sunday but that's better than nothing!Smart couples create changing circumstances, often combining new places often in nature, with food, picnic, recreation, games, barbecues, children.Movies, t.v, favorite shows. Zest, enthusiasm. Laughs. Comedy. I'm sure the people at ARBITRON and NIELSEN ratings have a superb grasp on what makes a show highly rated so that the whole family assembles to watch it.If these simple activities are not worked into the 7 days of the week, and as habits are not started by someone who is aware that they are starting the magic rituals, they may not come into existence. If a wife doesn't determine which are the magic rituals, find or start such lively events, she will have a drab marriage and drab kids. We wonder why she would go down that lane.She may be damaged from an alienated childhood where every day was like the other. Where Dad sat down at dinner, got up wiped his mouth and wasn't heard from again for 24 hours.A woman who was damaged this way can't be expected to come up with the joyful activities of family life. It would be like expecting a blind person to enjoy assembling puzzles.The blind bride may welcome the fact hubby only comes home after work and is tiresome just for the space of dinner. She may welcome being left alone on Saturdays and Sunday while he pursues his gym workouts or hunting, fishing or football games.If a wife starts fun life habits, and the husband/father doesn't go along with them, and if he doesn't show up and come up with this type of activity or plan, himself, then he may be similarly alienated.IF the wife forgets to start such recreational habits and he doesn't think of any of it, on his own, he may prefer it this way. Or he may be a bozo without imagination.PARTIES, barbecues, HOLIDAYS celebrated with our social set on a regular basis is emotionally fulfilling to children. Do we have a social set?Church or temple often fills this need. The rituals of the church dinner or bingo game, the church picnic...are useful. But parties are better. Host and hostess hold hands while the party circulates around them. It has an amazing effect of making the man and woman feel what being a couple really is about. Or if it's just a party with the kids, some special feature, like sitting on a tablecloth on a lawn, like eating in the garden, makes it memorable, unlike all the other meals. Of course special foods, feast foods, also do the job.THE POINT is, heart in ecstasy, togetherness, DRAB versus GORGEOUS and SUMPTUOUS. It doesn't take money, it takes a will to enhance life. To be like a set decorator who creates a stage setting where magical things seem about to happen. To be like a nutritionist banishing stupor with spinach salad. A painter creating table landscapes of food and fruit bowls and flowers. Rooms with bouquets of country leaves and branches. We eat with our eyes, too.
HOW TO GET THE AMBIANCE OF FULLNESS:
1). Get a boom box that plays a stack of CD's so you can leave the thing alone all night long playing soft, great music, classical or jazz, Hank Mancini, movie theme music. Kitsch not rock. and late at night,Miles Davis. Nat King Cole.
2.) Get several fabric 'throws' and throw a square yard of orange, fire colored scarf over every lampshade, so that the golden light pours thru this gorgeous silk, evocative of flame, or chimney light. (If you have a chimney, light it up).
3.) Plates of fruit in all the home's public rooms, living room, kitchen, dining room. Bouquets of fragrant flowers and fresh green leaves in the rooms, also.
4.) Light the outdoors with garden lighting, those green low voltage lights, set among the plants and trees and then, leave the curtains open so nature is present inspiring those within the house with her presence. Light the lanai outside living room with small Christmas lights year round. 99.c everywhere now. Switch is in the house, so it's an easy switch to turn-on during dinner.
5.) At night, when guests come, a wine bottle already opened. I can keep an opened bottle around for a month or two without it changing into vinegar. I've timed it. RED WINE needs an hour to 'breathe' which gets the flavor to double. Also, if it's just a glass each cork it, you don't have to drink the whole thing immediately.
6.) Fake fur rugs on top of a few couches and chairs.
7.) the hostess wears a floor length casual dress, not called 'hostess' garb for nothing.
8). Babies and parents dine together. If a child asks for wine, pour a tsp. into their red juice. Weak sangria so they don't feel deprived or left out.
9). Big heaping serving plates of food placed on the table for the eye to feast on create appetite & suggest bounty. Serving every plate at the table is thrilling, evocative. Bringing plates of food from the kitchen doesn't cut it and it's really more work. A four course meal entails four big serving plates brought to the table. Serving spoons and forks are required.
10) No-iron cloth napkins not paper. Garage sales provide endless napkins. Soak in pail after meal, with some detergent to loosen oils; next wash, throw them in. Real silver service not req'd as silver gets dinged by too regular use and after care is tedious. Stainless is fine.
All of these things ensure the evening meal is a UFO trip to magic land. The eternal moment. Now is forever. That is real magic and few people know how much and value it properly. Laying the track for mealtime sharing, conversation, amusing each other and feeling mutual affection will prove efficacious at keeping the young child's heart alive and the family's communal heart vibrant and united. That father will never not appreciate his wife and children; he will never wander off with some babe. That wife will not shop til she drops in a perpetual fit of covert aggression against her hubby and demand restaurant food every night.
A husband watches his wife pull all this magic out of a hat 7 days a week, he's going to be proud of her, devoted to her. Love is what makes sexual desire and fidelity. It is not the other way around.