Father’s belief in his happy marriage in fact made it so

In every conflict and argument in which my mother found herself embroiled, my dad was on her side. This wasn’t a strategic decision he made to purchase domestic harmony. He genuinely thought of her as the Delphic Oracle. He was all in.

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Opinion

February 22, 2021 - 8:27 AM

My parents were married for 46 years. Right up until my dad died 10 years ago, he lived by a simple maxim: On all matters, big and small, my mother was right.

When she embarked on difficult personal journeys, it was because they were necessary. When she took daring professional leaps and suffered great setbacks, they were only temporary. In every conflict and argument in which my mother found herself embroiled, my dad was on her side. This wasn’t a strategic decision he made to purchase domestic harmony. He genuinely thought of her as the Delphic Oracle. He was all in.

Regardless of whether such unswerving faith was good for my mother, I have come to realize it was very good for my father. His delusional belief in her allowed him to lead a very happy married life. If my mother were a psychopath, having such a loyal conspirator could have led to disaster. But in the ordinary choices that families make — where to live, how to raise children, what to eat for dinner — my father’s simple faith in my mother’s infallibility meant many important decisions got made quickly, easily and without recrimination.

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