Monday, May 17, 2010

Thoughts on Marriage - The Screwtape Letters: XVIII

In The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, specifically in letter XVIII, Screwtape describes how they have undermined the institution of marriage:
We have done this through the poets and novelists by persuading the humans that a curious, and usually short-lived, experience which they call "being in love" is the only respectable ground for marriage; that marriage can, and ought to, render this excitement permanent; and that a marriage which does not do so is no longer binding.
And later:
... thanks to us, the idea of marrying with any other motive [than being in love] seems to them low and cynical. Yes, they think that. They regard the intention of loyalty to a partnership for mutual help, for the preservation of chastity, and for the transmission of life, as something lower than a storm of emotion.

I have rejected many (many being highly relative) people that are good matches on paper simply because I didn't feel that spark. Having felt that spark - sometimes incredibly intensely, I really do feel that is the way it should be. I want to marry someone whose presence is all I desire. I want my first thought upon seeing her to be "I want to hold her hand." I think the key is the second half of the first quote: "...marriage can, and ought to, render this excitement permanent; and that a marriage which does not do so is no longer binding." That attitude is a major problem for the institution of marriage. It's not reasonable to expect a feeling to last, unchanged, forever. Still, I think marriage should definitely start with that excitement.

On the other hand, I understand the pressure to find someone so as to not be alone, or because your biological clock is ticking, or both, or other. There are also plenty of stories of arranged marriages resulting in two people loving each other very much. In short, it does not appear that that excitement is necessary for a successful, happy marriage. "[T]he intention of loyalty to a partnership for mutual help, for the preservation of chastity, and for the transmission of life" might really be a sound basis for marriage. I think that feeling of being completely in love might be necessary for me, though.

It really boils down to whether or not I feel like I'm settling, I think. Having felt that intense love, would it ever be OK for me to marry someone I simply love? Having dated someone, would it be fair to either me or another person if I married someone I didn't think was quite as spectacular? Having merely known someone I can find no fault in, have I limited myself to the 0.00001% of the population I find absolutely perfect? Or do I just find these people perfect because I'm already in love?

I think I only have more questions left, so I will open this up for discussion. Do you think love is necessary before marriage, or do you trust that it will develop? How intensely should love be felt at various stages in the relationship? When do you move your standards up or down when single? I've been assuming so far that monogamous marriage is the goal because it's my goal, but feel free to discuss alternatives to traditional marriage, too.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Get 10% off at Home Depot: Part II

I don't think I need to feel bad about gaming the system, or anything like that, when I bought a gift card for bonus rewards. So far, I've used my gift card twice and still have $30.64 left. I'm assuming that gift cards are accounted for in-house, so my small purchases with the gift card will save Home Depot a bit of money on the credit card transaction fees. There was the initial transaction fee when I bought the card, but after that each purchase should save them $0.25 or so.

More than that, having the gift card in my wallet encourages me to shop at Home Depot for things I might not normally go there for. The more you bring someone in, the more likely they are to buy something they didn't really want.... Even more important, this has gotten me to write two whole posts on this now, so I've advertised for them to... what, two or three people? ;)

Also, in addition to Chase's Rewards Plus program, Bank of America has their Add It Up program. It seems to offer similar deals on the big stores, but has its own collection of smaller merchants. One that was heavily featured when I just now looked at it was 50% off I'm sure the fine print makes it hard to use, but that's definitely not available through Chase. Check your banking institution or credit card supplier, and let me know if you find any good deals!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Get 10% off at Home Depot!

Thanks to an email from Chase advertising their Rewards Plus program, coupled with several recent trips to Home Depot making their logo catch my eye, I clicked through and looked at the extra rewards for At the time, they were offering 10% bonus rewards! It has since dropped to 5%, but that's still better than nothing, for sure. What makes this special is that their offer includes the following: "Eligible on the purchase of gift cards." Most merchants include the word "Not" at the beginning, and so I was fearing it was a typo.

Honestly, I don't think that I'd ever shop at I think I'll always want to see the hardware-type products first. However, I'm happy to buy gift cards online - especially the kind you can print off yourself! So, I went ahead and bought a $50 gift card to see if it actually worked. Today, I got the notification that I earned $5 in bonus rewards! Gift cards work just like cash, so this is in addition to any other sales or coupons you take advantage of. Not too shabby.

I'll be keeping my eye out for other merchants that offer bonus rewards on gift cards. In fact, the Chase Rewards Plus site has a link at the top called "Gift Cards." It's not clear if this list is 100% accurate or exhaustive. Nothing else really stood out to me, either. Ah well!