The monthly Understanding Marriage! class of Saturday, December 13, will discuss this crucial question: “What, Really, Is Good Will in Marriage?” Taught with depth and refreshing humor by consultants Barbara Allen, Anne Fielding, and myself, Pauline Meglino, this class is open to all women. It will take place from 11 AM to 12:30 PM.
Most women would likely say “Of course!” if asked, do you hope to have good will for your husband, or for the man you want to marry? But what good will is, is unclear to people and usually not thought about. What does it mean? Does the real thing have to include criticism that is kind and exact? And is there anything in a woman that’s against having to think about a man at all?
The Understanding Marriage! class will discuss these powerful, needed sentences by Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism:
Good will itself is an aesthetic thing: the ability to be just to oneself, and to all—near and far—that is not oneself….Aesthetic Realism sees all the pain of love as having arisen from the absence or deficiency of good will….
We want to care for people; we want to encourage them. But we also, if we are really friendly, hope to see their weakness less and their faults decreasingly powerful. This means that both love and criticism are aspects of good will, and we have to find a way of relating them so that we are pleased with ourselves.
Each woman will be learning that to have real good will is the same as taking care of herself. She’ll be seeing how, for her own self-respect and the success of her marriage, she needs to do all she can to understand and be fair to the depths of the man she cares for. She’ll be learning the necessity of encouraging a man’s deepest desire, which is also her own: to know and like the world. And she’ll be seeing how real good will includes criticism of whatever is against that deepest desire. That is the beautiful and honest basis for a kind, thriving marriage.
The Aesthetic Realism Foundation, 141 Greene St., off W. Houston St., in SoHo, is a not-for-profit educational foundation. The fee for the class is $10. For more information, call 212.777.4490.