RAMON PRESSON: A parable for our times

RAMON PRESSON: A parable for our times

Once upon a time a man proposed to his girlfriend and said, “If you marry me and let me move into your house, I’ll build a big beautiful addition onto your home and I’ll make the neighbor behind you in the next subdivision pay for it.

“How will you make the neighbor pay for the addition to my house?”

“Don’t worry about it. I’m really good at making deals. Your neighbor will pay for the addition to the house. The materials, the labor, everything. I promise.”

The girl pondered his wedding proposal and his promise to build a big beautiful addition to her home. One day she mentioned the proposal and promise to her

“What??!!” her neighbor exclaimed. “Is this a joke?” he said, starting to laugh. “I’m not paying to build an addition to your home.”

“But my fiancé said that you would. He said that you would pay for the big beautiful addition to my house that would be built once we were married.”

“And you believed him?” the neighbor said, his eyes wide while suppressing more laughter.

“Yes, he said it more than once. And he promised.”

“I see,” said the neighbor. “And you’re really going to marry this guy?”

“Oh yes,” she said. He has many plans to make our neighborhood great again. And building this addition to my home is just the beginning.”

“This is going to be an interesting marriage,” said the neighbor. “Good luck.”
Two years went by and the big beautiful addition to their house had yet to be built. The newlyweds’ neighbor continued to refuse to pay for the addition. When the lady brought up the subject her husband remained very adamant about building the big beautiful addition to the house but did not seem to recall his boast that he would get their neighbor to foot the bill for the entire project.

One day the man told his wife that the homeowners association would pay for the big beautiful addition to their house.

“How will the homeowners association pay for the addition?” the wife asked.

“Through the annual association dues that each homeowner pays,” he replied. “And they’ll have to increase everyone’s association dues to cover the cost.”

“I don’t think the association’s board is going to go along with that,” the wife said, pursing her lips. “Why would they?”

“You forget that I got myself elected president of the homeowners association. I’m the head of the board. They’ll do what I say. They elected me because I told them I’d make the neighborhood great again.”

“And what if they refuse to cooperate with your plan?”

“Then I’ll shut down the neighborhood.”

“Shut down the neighborhood? How will shutting down the neighborhood make the neighborhood great again? That makes no sense.”

The woman was not only agitated but a little frightened because her husband twitched when he was really angry. And he was twitching now. “And what exactly do you mean when you say you’ll shut down the neighborhood?”

“I’ll shut off the electricity,” the man said, with a facial expression that reminded her of the Grinch when the Grinch first thought of how he would stop Christmas. “Nothing in their houses will work,” he continued. “There will be no heat, no TV, no Internet, and no way to charge their precious laptops and cell phones. Their
refrigerators, stoves, and ovens won’t work. They’ll have no lights. And I’ll shut their water off. They won’t be able to bathe or wash their clothes. And that’ll be just the beginning of the shutdown.”

“Wow, that’s really extreme. So, if you don’t get your way on this addition to our house you’re going to shut down the entire neighborhood?”

The woman was beginning to recall the reservations that many of her friends and family members had about her boyfriend and the warnings they had expressed about marrying him. There had been many odd behaviors and alarming statements in their brief marriage, and so constant that the dysfunction and chaos of the days all seemed
to run together. And in lucid moments it shook the woman that she’d come to accept the relationship as normal and acceptable. But what shook her the most was the feeling that there was no end in sight.

Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at
ramonpresson@gmail.com. To read Presson’s previous columns go to www.franklinhomepage.com/?s=ramon+presson

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