eHarmony is looking for me. They sent me an e-mail last weekend offering a free forty eight house to peruse their site. Eharmony is a dating website dedicating to hooking up couples into marriages that last. At this time they advertise that they are responsible for one out of fifty marriages in the United States. I would love to know how many of those marriages are still intact 15 years after the couples say, "I do." I met a couple last Friday who had been married five years after meeting on eHarmony. They seemed well suited to each other and happy. Each partner had been divorced once. They shared a love of gourmet cooking, quiet county life, and parenting. They were settled mature adults. The algorithm works best for people with stable personalities, because eHarmony seeks to match like minded people. If you are dysfunctional and dramatic it will match you with another dysfunctional partner, and you'll be in couples counseling in no time.

Intimate relationship look like fun on the outside. I would like someone nice to come home to. I like the idea of someone getting my jokes, of someone sharing my sorrows and my joys. I liked cooking for more than one. Then the whole idea becomes muddled as it exits fantasy and become reality. Everybody has an agenda. My first husband used to talk a lot about "unconditional love." That was what he demanded after every narcissistic action. Of course, if I am naturally mean spirited and selfish, of course I want "unconditional love." Someone putting conditions on me is the same thing as calling me on my stuff. Someone wanted to divorce me because I'm a crappy spouse just doesn't suit my plans. . .

One wonders about the personal boundaries involved in intimate relationships. Yes, you let this person into your life and your bed, but do you let them "see" you in all your vulnerability? What if they have no compassion? You end up in therapy, where few things get fixed. I have noticed the longer therapy lasts the less effective it is. I have a friend who's been depressed for years. I think he is getting addicted to telling his "story" to his therapist. It puts him center stage, it explains his inertia. He's comfortable there. Too many Americans seem to accept the reality that intimate relationships get "worse" as time goes by instead of better. Too many Americans accept that passion wears off.

This is not the norm for most of the world. India has the lowest divorce rate of the industrialized countries. In India most people love their spouse more after five years of marriage than the day they said "I do." It's a better paradigm. I think as people get to know each other better the love ought to deepen. As more experiences are shared the bonds should thicken creating ties that bind. I think it's something more Americans could aspire to.