In my English class, my students are starting a new unit. I use it to expose students to various nonfiction texts as well as the research process. The unit is called, "What makes a good relationship?" None of us have the answer to this question completely, so it is interesting to hear what everyone thinks. I start the unit with a ranking sheet. I give them four examples of relationships and they tell me which is the best and worst and why. I'm giving you the same assignment. You'll notice in the top left corner of my blog is a poll. Please read the vignettes below and vote on who you think has the best relationship. If you'd like, you may also post a comment stating why you feel the way you do. I'm interested to see the results. Happy voting!
Relationship Ranking Sheet
A. Ross is so in love that he wasn't eaten, slept, or worked in days, and he couldn't be happier. And it is all because of Judy. Ross met Judy at a party two nights ago. Ross almost didn't go; he only went after his best friend dragged him there, saying that it was time for Ross to get over his last girlfriend, Rina. Boy, did he ever! Rina was only a dim memory once Ross saw Judy. She was standing quietly across the room, the lamplight caressing her face, making her look angelic, etheral. Nearly in a trance, Ross worked his way across the room to her. The two started talking, and very rapidly the two developed strong feelings for each other. They have to keep their relationship a secret for now, because Judy's family would object to her dating a kid from "the wrong side of the tracks." Ross spends his days thinking about her, dreaming of her beauty, and devising ways for them to be together. If he thought they couldn't be together, it would kill him. He needs to have her, to hold her, forever.
B. Samantha is in love. So what if Mike isn't the man her parents would have picked for her, if they were still alive? So he doesn't come from old money, have fancy cars and fot yahting every summer. He is a good man who treats her like a woman. He doesn't mince words; he tells her just what he likes (and what he doesn't) and tells her often how lucky she is to have a man who has a steady job and his own place. She didn't tell him that her family was once wealthy. After all, what good would it have done? The money is all gone, and they do alright on their own. However, occasionally Samantha does remember her childhood, and wistfully recalls the freedom that money can bring. If they had more money, maybe Mike would spend less time out bowling and playing poker with his friends and more time home with her. Maybe then he would rediscover the things that made him fall in love with her in the first place - her laughter, how hard she has tried to become an efficient housewife, and the grace and beauty in her character.
C. Alex is a self-labeled genius. After months of research and experiement, he has discovered a chemical that enhances the emotion centers of a woman's brain. Specifically, the emotions of romance, longing, and love are affected. Alex has done what no man has done before - he has developed a way to make women fall in love with him. He knows just who to use it on, too. Alex has been in love with Heidi since the third grade. He knows what she does for fun, what she wants to do with her life, even what her favorite desserts are. Once Heidi loves him as much as he loves her, he knows that they will have the perfect relarionship. Each of them will be madly in love with the other, and they will live hapily ever after. There will be no messy break-ups, no drawn- out arguments, just love and caring for the rest of their lives. As he puts on his coat to go meet her, he can hardly contain his excitement.
D. Doris and Boris are very much in love. They have been together since middle school, and both are in their thirties now. They have many of the same interests; books, theater and art. They know each other so well they can finish each others' sentences. Their relationship even survived a terrible accident Boris had that left him a paraplegic two years ago. He is bound to his wheelchair now and can feel nothing from his waist down. Boris tried to get Doris to leave him after that, saying he didn't want to tie her down. After all, they could never have children now, which was something Doris really wanted. However Doris stayed with him, insisting that as long as she had him she was the luckiest woman alive and she believed it (and still does). Boris was relieved and thankful that he had such a wonderful wife. He has noticed, though, that every once in a while, Doris will come home late from work, often distracted and quiet. at first Boris though tshe was coming down with something, but she appears to be healthy. On these infrequent days (it happens every other month or so), Doris comes home and showers, then spends the rest of the evening spending quality time with her husband. These evenings are some of the best the two have shared. Boris has nagging suspicions about Doris' activities, but he has decided not to say anything. He knows he is lucky to have her, and it is obvious to him that she loves him. He tells himself that is enough.
There you have it. Which relationship is the best? Which is the worst? Why?