The deepest wounds that I have experienced and perpetuated in this life have been because of the propensity to reduce people and places into things with a function. Whether it has been done intentionally or it has become a systemic norm, we have been conditioned in some way to name and label plants and animals, styles and personalities, ourselves and others into categories that are designed to make things more manageable. It is wonderful at first to have all these things coming our way, without having to bother with relationships or meaning.
In a lot of ways, this makes sense. Someone is a parent, because they have children. Someone is married because they have a wife or a husband. Someone is an employee because they have a job. Labels such as this are an entry point into knowledge and understanding of the culture and the world around us. If efficiency were the end all be all to navigating through this life, then the better we are at categorizing the world around us, the more freedom we will have to do as we choose without having to deal with the messiness that is below the surface of the person sitting in front of us.
As a man, it is easy for me to accept the label of ‘husband’, and thus define that role in a functional way, that then allows me to view the ‘wife’ in the relationship in a way that can efficiently sustain a ‘household’. I will take out the trash. She will do the laundry. We will eat at six o’clock. To bed at nine thirty. Before long, the convenience of this existence will lend itself to be rather efficient as we master the functions of our roles. And the days will roll on.
Somewhere down the path, however, boredom will set in. The inner longing of our nature will begin to desire a purpose that is greater than merely being a thing with a function, and we will be at a decision point. So often, we do not pause long enough to clearly see the choice that is before us, and simply respond to the longing by finding a way to become more efficient. After all, something is wrong in the functionality of our relationship, then obviously, there has been an unraveling of control somewhere, and we need to gain it back. Functionality is the key.
How can I be a more functional husband?
How can I be a more functional wife?
What more can we do to get control?
So, we strive to gain more of what got us in this mess in the first place. Acquire more things. Generate more activity. Get more. Do more. Is it any wonder that after a number of years of this, we are genuinely puzzled that we as human beings are not any better?