Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Need for Relationships and the Expression of Gratitude in Our Lives

When Dan Rather mentioned in his speech that he has been married to his wife for almost fifty-four years, I have to admit I was surprised. That is a long time. Especially when compared to today’s statistic that almost fifty percent of marriages will end in divorce. Clearly Rather and his wife must be doing something right. A key thing to relationships is helping one another grow. In Prager's book Happiness is a Serious Problem: A Human Repair Manual the author talked about the need for relationships in order to be happy. Looking specifically at romantic relationships he said that we seek them out because we find meaning in fulfilling others’ needs. The bond found in intimate relationships is like no other.

In Rather’s case his relationship with his wife has clearly played a key role in his life. For example even look at the story he told at the beginning of his speech about the trip his wife decided they needed to make to her hometown. She felt Rather’s accomplishments were going to his head and efforts needed to be made to make him more humble. When Rather commented that if she had married her high school sweetheart she could have ended up helping to manage his convenience station she had a great response. She said something to the effect of “no, if I had ended up marrying him he would have ended up as the talk host for Good Morning America”. Dan Rather and his wife reminded me of how relationships are there to provide us with support and to give us the feeling that we are needed by somebody else. For Rather they help to keep him humble and for all of us can serve as means of growth and maturity.

Also, we must remember to appreciate what we have. The fact we live in America, something that we so often take for granted, is something to be thankful for. We live in a democracy where our voice can be heard and every citizen granted a right to vote. Rather told us that we should also express thanks for the incredible opportunity to go to St. Olaf. Sure things are not perfect at our school or in our country but they could be so much worse. For that we must always be fortunate.

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