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Arranged Marriage

Let’s talk marriage!

If you don’t marry your best friend, can she/he become your best friend?
If you marry your best friend, will he/she become less than that?

If I take the question of best friend out of the question, have I become an American? Is there no hope for me?


When I adopted Dakota, he came with a chubby brother. The cutest, chubbiest, most docile, sweetest, slow moving rabbit you’ve ever seen.
One day I came home from work to find chubby nearly dead. Dakota, apparently, to show who would be alpha, tried to castrate his brother. Oh, the religious possibilities here! As it turns out Burns Feed store forgot to tell me that unaltered males do this at around four months old.

After chubby recovered, I sadly gave him up to a sweet little Japanese girl and her family. I was now in charge of taming ABEL, who, once he won my heart became Dakota (in Lakota Sioux, this means friend’).
I decided Dakota and I were stuck with each other for at least a year until I taught him some manners. He was a bossy little shit! He called me out regularly to fight. I have the scars to prove it.


We went out every weekend and literally interviewed girl rabbits to be his mate.
It didn’t matter if she was ten pounds to his measly four pounds. If they didn’t take to him right away he tried to kick their ass!


We went to a breeder of Sable Tipped Lops. Little Caila came bounding out. All feet and curiosity. She was eight weeks old. Her feet were longer than her body. He came at her. He lunged. He tried to bully. She hopped sideways over his body and looked at him like, “what the heck do you think you’re doing?” This confused Dakota quite a bit.

The next thing that happened was a sort of miracle. He put his head under her stomach. Why? Did he think she would protect him from himself?

HE WAS SMITTEN. That was it.

Now he follows her around like she’s his security blanket. He gives her hours of grooming. He sits up next to her while she sleeps to keep guard and protect her. And, yep he lunges at her when I walk into the room, because, well, as far he’s concerned this is Utah or India and he has a couple of wives who adore him. But she and I know who’s really boss. And IT AIN’T HIM.

So this is an arranged marriage that worked amazingly well. He pulls his crap and she doesn’t move. She still holds that look in her eye “What are you doing? Is this necessary? And he gets embarrassed and immediately gets busy cleaning his feet to look busy.


So back to the question about marrying your best friend. Well, all the magazines say this is unrealistic. You marry a partner; you do the things you do. You plant peas; you make pasta and drink red wine together. You fight over the thread count of the sheets or parenting philosophies. But according to the current party line on marriage, the expectation of friendship is, well, passé, silly, old fashion.

On the other hand, if he’s my best friend there’s a less likely chance of my trying castrate him. And, if he adapts creatively to my strength of character, why wouldn’t I give this marriage all the affection and devotion I would give a best friend? 🙂

• • •
Dakota also agrees that marriage and strong friendship go together. He says respect has a lot to do with it. He also hates talking in these mushy ways. So I’ll give it a break now.


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  • David B. Leikam on Sep 06, 2007 Reply

    I peeped, literally with delight (HaHa!) when I saw your notice of your latest wordsmithing wonder of insights came into my e-mail inbox. “Yippy … !” 🙂
    Well, this edition is no different. I love your thoughtful insight and choices of themes … I also do agree that friendship and marriage is an indepth spectrum of intertwined respect and learning topped with sharing of the self. I also have several quality friendships with women and I’m certain that I am not a gay man, just a respectful gentleman.
    Your artistry amazes me always Niya! Stay true and enjoy the company of Dakota and Calia, learning. Cheers!

  • Kathy Leftwich on Sep 05, 2007 Reply

    Very interesting. My experience has been that men have a hard time being friends with women. Instead they try their own version of Dakota’s bullying/ courting. It must be a primal instinct of some kind. The exception is gay men, who presumably do not have the primal instinct to mate with any and all members of the opposite sex.

  • Rosemary Carstens on Sep 05, 2007 Reply

    This is a fun post–and very wise. How much we can learn from animals. How can anyone say they don’t have “feelings”? Anyone who does has obviously not spent any time around them, watching, waiting, and being thoroughly entertained! Rosemary

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