Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

Is Marriage PURPLE?

Just got back from the marriage of my friend and occasional business partner, David Burnby, and Jean MacEwan, manager of Hull’s Centre 88 (where I have staged a number of  ISP courses,) It was truly heart-warming to see two such dear friends ‘tying the knot’; while the dance/party in the evening was certainly something! David, ever the showman, danced vigorously in a Bogart-style white tux and black bow tie almost continuously. And he got up on stage at one point in the band’s set to replace the drummer for their version of The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’. Jean positively glowed as she circulated enthusiastically – the near-perfect hostess! A spendid night!

Peter Fryer of trojan mice is a mutual friend of David and I and someone I very much respect. (Peter wrote the Thriving Organisation Article for this site.) Just before the ceremony he asked me (as the Gravesian ‘expert’ there): “Is marriage PURPLE?” Considering Peter is fairly knowledgeable about the work of Clare W Graves and Spiral Dynamics himself, I was slightly taken aback by the question.

Of course, the binding together of 2 people in a bonding arrangement should aim to fulfill PURPLE’s need for attachment. And since I have a degree of attachment to David and Jean – they are both my friends – and I am also very attached to my wife, Caroline, my PURPLE echoed with their enhanced commitment. (They had lived together for years so their attachment to each other was hardly new in itself.) Small wonder then that I found David & Jean getting married “heart-warming”.

But Peter’s RED makes him something of a games player. So I hesitated to answer, wondering if it was a trick question. Before I could decide, Caroline interjected that a marriage was also BLUE since it formalised an arrangement with legal status. Very true!

In fact, we saw just about every vMEME on show at that wedding. BEIGE was certainly making itself felt when people tucked into the wedding breakfast after the long wait. Obviously RED was having a good time in the drinking, chatting and dancing (and no doubt working with a BEIGE harmonic behind some closed doors – the bride and groom did ‘retire’ for a couple of hours after the speeches!). ORANGE and BLUE will have worked together to plan such a sumptuous occasion. And GREEN put out a feminist meme when Jean let it be known that, for career purposes, she would go by her name of ‘MacEwan’ rather than ‘Burnby’.

And maybe – just maybe! – there was some 2nd Tier thinking in the abstracted and philosophical conversations Peter and I found ourselves drifting into several times during the day…?

PURPLE certainly got to work for Caroline and I, enjoying some relaxing time away from the various pressures of work and just being with each other. Thank you, David and Jean! Long may you and your partnership prosper! 😉



Verification Captcha (human, not robot!) * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

One Response

  1. David Burnby says

    Read the blog – thank you for your generous comments and the thoughtful dialogue.

    We have to confess to being a little mischievous in putting you and Peter on the same table – I thought it might liven up the quieter moments. (Jean’s just interjected and said it was HER who put you together “because you knew each other”. (So BLUE you see.) Well, that was her agenda! A second interjection from over the shoulder – it should be SHE not HER apparently. Jean goes back to work tomorrow and then, maybe I’ll finish this e-mail…)

    Some interesting thoughts I’ll have to ponder on.

    For me, the formalisation of our marriage was rooted very deeply in PURPLE. There was perhaps a touch of BLUE in the tying up the lose ends sort of way – it’s much easier to tick the ‘married’ box than wondering if you’re divorced or single. I always think of PURPLE being irrational, but very necessary. When people asked me “why bother”, my answer is always “because it feels like the right thing to do” – so much of a contrast to my first marriage when I woke up thinking “I don’t want to do this” but was by then committed to a roller coaster ride. (Getting off a moving roller coaster is not recommended and they don’t have brakes!)

    Maybe there’s a seminar there on PURPLE – is it wholly irrational? Is it subconscious? Why can’t some people do it?”