Do you enjoy going to the opera?

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DoubtingTom
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Do you enjoy going to the opera?

Post by DoubtingTom » 23 Mar 2017, 06:01

I don't go to the opera, but I'm going to use it to make an analogy here. Let's say, for analogy sake, that my wife loves going to the opera. She believes it is the best thing ever and will ultimately lead to her eternal happiness. She knows fully that I used to enjoy going, but that I don't enjoy it now, mostly because I have changed the way I see the opera. I still go the opera, partly out of duty to the other attendees, but mostly just because it makes my wife happy. She also wants our kids to grow to love the opera and I go for that reason too.

So last week, I'm sitting at the opera and wondering why I'm there. How much damage might it do to my wife to make her take the kids each by herself. I might not love the opera, but I love her. Can't I sit through a few hours every week just out of love for her, as long as I don't have to lie to my kids and tell them I actually do like it (she agrees I don't need to do that)? Is there any harm in going? And is there any harm to our relationship if I don't? At this point, the opera is tolerable and I enjoy some of the other attendees.

So do any of you attend the opera just for your spouse and is it worth it? Should I try to find some good in the opera, something to enjoy, even if I don't think it will ultimately be the only way to happiness? (Give me a good Dave Matthews concert anyday!)

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SamBee
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Re: Do you enjoy going to the opera?

Post by SamBee » 23 Mar 2017, 06:42

It depends which opera... I will happily sit through the Ring cycle (not on one day) or West Side Story but can't stand Gilbert & Sullivan or La Cerentola.
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Ann
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Re: Do you enjoy going to the opera?

Post by Ann » 23 Mar 2017, 10:27

I might not love the opera, but I love her.
All my decisions are made with this in mind. Sometimes spouses' communication skills aren't on a par with their mutual love. I just try to keep regular life going, talk about everything, and hope it rubs off on our ability to talk about church.

Kids complicate things. I don't love the opera, fine. How do I feel about my kids being handed a program and reading that they must attend the opera to be saved, to be happy and right with God. Can we talk about that as a family and shape the message?

Same problem with callings. How can I serve now?

And like you said, I have to remember that I used to love the opera and on certain levels accepted what the program told me. I'm the one who changed.
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LookingHard
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Re: Do you enjoy going to the opera?

Post by LookingHard » 23 Mar 2017, 10:31

Yes. I would very much like to try fully stepping away from activity, but I think abruptly doing so would risk my marriage. Instead I have moved to an "easy" calling and I skip a few meetings like when she is in RS.
It is going ok, but I am not sure how many years I can keep it up. I may move to just Sacrament meeting and even occasionally skipping that.

Roadrunner
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Re: Do you enjoy going to the opera?

Post by Roadrunner » 23 Mar 2017, 10:51

Not a bad comparison. My problem with the "opera" is that not only am I expected to attend the performance, but I'm expected to attend the practices and visit each singer. Occasionally I'm required to attend the ballet (e.g. stake stuff) that I really dislike... My kids have to attend early morning opera which makes me crazy.

But to your point, I attend the opera for two reasons 1) wife wants me to 2) to instill in my children some sense of service and that something is bigger than them. The hard part as has been mentioned by others, is coming to agreement about how much opera is needed for the kids.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Do you enjoy going to the opera?

Post by DarkJedi » 23 Mar 2017, 11:24

There certainly are people here to choose to go to the opera in an attempt to keep harmony in their homes. I chose not to for several years and my wife did go alone with the kids. We are now empty nesters.

I don't go because of my wife or anyone else. Truth is, there is much of the opera I don't like (say these are the arias). But there are also parts I love (say these are the overtures). I go for the overtures. Yes, that means I sometimes have try to ignore the arias or take a bathroom break at a time other than intermission - but I still get to hear the overtures.
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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Do you enjoy going to the opera?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 23 Mar 2017, 11:40

Good analogy! And to further it, I know from watching movies that loving the opera is a sure sign that the character is a good person with good taste and strong sensibilities or whatever. But to me, the opera's fine--I can take it or leave it. I don't normally think about it. I would probably not normally say "Hey, let's buy tickets and proactively go to the opera." And yet, I'm an avid theater-goer (Broadway, West End, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival). We love theater, even musicals! But opera's just ya know, meh. I enjoy it often when I go, but I could absolutely never go to another one my whole life and not bat an eye. I always enjoy it more when someone's reminding me why I'm supposed to enjoy it (e.g. watching Amadeus), and less when I have to infer why I'm supposed to like it (e.g. Pretty Woman - like glistening eyes and rapt attention are supposed to convey the whole thing to me?).

So--I think you can see pretty much what I'm saying here. I do sometimes find something moving at church, but I am just as often looking around thinking "Are these people getting something out of this?" And I'm often surprised by what others find emotionally moving, which I usually just find maudlin or too personal to appreciate.

I remember on my mission that we were visiting with a church member whose adult children weren't active. The adult daughter, Ana, was there, and I mentioned that we were having fast & testimony meeting that Sunday if she wanted to come. She cackled with laughter and said "Ugh, why would I want to go to that?? It's just people getting up and saying how grateful they are and crying about things, and they all say the same things!" I had to admit (not verbally, just to myself) that's pretty much how I feel about fast & testimony meeting too. You can't sell what you don't buy.

DoubtingTom
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Re: Do you enjoy going to the opera?

Post by DoubtingTom » 23 Mar 2017, 14:28

Ann wrote:
23 Mar 2017, 10:27

Kids complicate things. I don't love the opera, fine. How do I feel about my kids being handed a program and reading that they must attend the opera to be saved, to be happy and right with God. Can we talk about that as a family and shape the message?
Yes! This makes it so hard. I don't hate the opera (for the most part) and I'm certainly not anti-opera. In fact, if other people love the opera and it works for them, then that's fine. If my kids grow to love it too, I have no problem with that. But I also feel they should develop love with a full understanding of what the opera really is including it's history, and my wife doesn't want me to share the history of the opera with the kids. I'm also fine with others (including my children) loving the opera as long as that passion doesn't make them look down, think less of, or treat those who don't love it any less (including myself).
Ann wrote:
23 Mar 2017, 10:27
And like you said, I have to remember that I used to love the opera and on certain levels accepted what the program told me. I'm the one who changed.
I also try to remember that I am the one who is changing. When we married (in the temple), we made covenants and promises and I'm the one who is changing the deal. I recognize how hard it is on her.

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LookingHard
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Re: Do you enjoy going to the opera?

Post by LookingHard » 24 Mar 2017, 06:36

DoubtingTom wrote:
23 Mar 2017, 14:28
... I also try to remember that I am the one who is changing. When we married (in the temple), we made covenants and promises and I'm the one who is changing the deal. I recognize how hard it is on her.
I have tried hard with my wife to realize the same thing. It is hard for me, but I think she feels more turmoil about our differences than I do now - and I caused that.

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Do you enjoy going to the opera?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 24 Mar 2017, 10:37

LookingHard wrote:
24 Mar 2017, 06:36
DoubtingTom wrote:
23 Mar 2017, 14:28
... I also try to remember that I am the one who is changing. When we married (in the temple), we made covenants and promises and I'm the one who is changing the deal. I recognize how hard it is on her.
I have tried hard with my wife to realize the same thing. It is hard for me, but I think she feels more turmoil about our differences than I do now - and I caused that.
I can't tell whether I think that's a good attitude to have or not. Change is inevitable in marriages that last for decades. We didn't promise we would never change. Where fidelity exists, people need to be less brittle about change, even in belief.

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