May 5, 2023Liked by Michael David Cobb Bowen

Thank you for another thought-provoking post. There are many nuggets in here. At some point, I may share with my high school son.

Loneliness mitigation was an underlying theme to the piece. If someone does not feel lonely and they are single, do they need a relationship?

I think your insight about the power in a relationship is critical. Can power be shared?

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I kinda think no. But that is because until I got married, I was never in a relationship that lasted 2 years. After I got married, I had plenty of time to work it out, but as I said we both agreed to give the power to the marriage itself. We worked out who is good at what and what our lazy selves did when we didn't feel like doing anything. And ultimately that drained the power out of the question.

By the time we had three kids, the power equation was established with finality. We were outnumbered. The kids were high maintenance and our lives were all about taking care of their lives. That didn't change for 20 years. Then it became about how much money we were going to spend on their education. Fortunately none of them became a problem all the way through high school.

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Good post, Sir. Very fortunate nephew! Yes, loneliness, perhaps the biggest problem on the planet, is the driving factor. (I have rarely heard the word *heuristics* — translation: trial and error, discovery, a finding — since divinity school.) So, regarding the power question, let’s travel back to the Garden of Eden for a brief observation: “man dominates — woman manipulates”. Yet they can become “one flesh” in a power-sharing arrangement, if we are interested in pleasing and enjoying each other; and sharing space, beyond mere sensations. (Wife and I, no kids, are still married and living together as best of friends, after 45 years.)

I’m presently reading David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of John Adams, who more than anybody else (including Jefferson and Washington, and countless fallen warriors, seems to me to have given us this republic). He and his wife were best of friends during years of separation due to Independence, Revolution, and Diplomacy-with-France. Yet their marriage survived due to *friendship*. (My wife, our entertainment director, tells me that Paul Giamatti plays Adams in a PBS series which we will now begin watching.).

Perhaps this above-mentioned word is a secret floor on your metaphorical elevator? Getting off at this floor, after the manner of Socrates, rhetorically, I might ask: “What is friendship?” (Ref: John 15:12-15) Note for nephew: Friendship is not transactional in a marketplace: “What can I get for what I’ve got”?! Better question: “What am I bringing to the party?” OR, “What is love?"


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