Greg did have a complicated relationship with women, but not in ways most people think.

He never had a problem with women in general, working with women or treating them properly, at work or otherwise.

In fact, when in law enforcement, he felt that a female sheriff or female police chief was more apt to be progressive in their practices and views. He thought it was an indicator of a positive situation under which to work.

There was only one category of relationships he struggled with: close, personal emotional relationships with women.

This was a very small group that encompassed a few female friends and family members. I belong to this group.

It took me a long time to identify and explain this problem. He agreed with my assessment and gave me a few reasons as to why.

Greg and Women While Young

Greg, his mother Jean and his sister.

Greg really loved his mother. Losing her at age 9 was extremely hard on him. She was a loving, kind and tender parent. He missed her dreadfully, even at the end of his life.

In her stead, he got, "the stepmother from Hell." She was the opposite of his mother.

Losing their mother was hard on his sister too, Greg's only sibling. Unfortunately, she and he went in different directions. Greg became more studious and conscientious about things. His sister didn't.

His sister lied about him, especially to their father, and stole his stuff. Greg was powerless to do anything about it because his sister was his Dad's little darling and Dad thought she could do no wrong.

Greg with his sister at Lake Michigan.
Greg had the luxury of multiple conversations with his father as his father lay dying of melanoma. He realized his mistakes regarding Greg's sister and could finally see the truth. He admitted as much to Greg.

This helped a bit, but the damage was done. Greg and his sister were never close after childhood. Greg felt obligated to keep in contact with her throughout her life but it was always problematic. She was a very difficult person.

Greg and his sister. He is holding his beloved dog, Cookie.

In the end, he was about the only family member, relative or friend, that would consent to have contact with her. Her messages to others generally got relayed through him.

Thankfully, they were speaking at the time she died. If they hadn't agreed to have a conversation on a particular day, it may have taken weeks or months for authorities to find her dead body.

Greg knew something was very wrong. He had to persuade the police to force entry to her home and that's when she was found.

Dating at 16

Greg liked smart women even when he was young. I've always felt this showed his good sense. Thankfully, I didn't scare him with my intelligence and formal schooling. He seemed energized by it.

One of my favorite stories is how he got started dating. His father and stepmother were concerned that he had no interest in dating even though he was 16.

His father confronted him about it. Greg explained that he didn't have much money for dates because he only had a part-time job. He had no vehicle and buying gas would be difficult for him as well.

Intending to remove these barriers, his father and stepmother told him that he could have the car any day of the week and that they would pay for the gasoline as well as the date.

With all barriers removed and faced with almost too good to be true conditions, Greg made the most of them.

This system lasted exactly one week. After seven dates on seven consecutive nights with seven different girls, Greg's father confronted him again.

He told him, "There's nothing wrong with you! From now on, you can have the car one night a week and you can pay for your own dates and gasoline."

Having the rug pulled out from under him so fast still bothered Greg all these years later. He thought his Dad had been very unfair in setting up a system he then dismantled almost overnight.

Amused, I asked Greg, "And you don't think your actions were ... exploitation?" "No," he said defiantly, but rather unconvincingly.

Greg and Dating

Reflecting on this experience Greg remarked, "I didn't have any trouble getting dates." Although once he had to pay for his own, he got a bit more selective about who he asked out.

And he didn't have any trouble getting dates, in college or in his maturity.

While going through his yearbook, he pointed out some senior girls, smart and accomplished ones, who were interested in him when he was only a junior. Given the barriers to this sort of fraternization then and now, this amazed me.

His parents figured into one more dating fiasco that Greg handled remarkably well. He dated his chemistry lab partner, I think it was.

His parents flipped out and forbid him to ever do this again. Deeply embarrassed, Greg told her, "My parents won't let me date you because you're Jewish. They are prejudiced. I'm embarrassed about this but there is nothing I can do about it."

The girl just shrugged, obviously used to the situation. She and Greg continued being lab partners, and friends, for the rest of the school year.

Listening to Greg talk about college and what he did during that time it was obvious to me that he dated a lot.

He was even engaged to a young woman for a time. I mentioned her father earlier in this tribute.

How Women Treated Greg
Greg in 1983.

I believe Greg always treated women well. However, that didn't mean they always treated him well.

His stepmother was abusive towards him. I witnessed this myself numerous times. Greg told me that she treated his Dad pretty much the same way, with one notable exception.

Greg endured it. He said he was trained to endure it by his father. That didn't mean I had to endure it. Sometimes I didn't.

On one occasion, we were driving around Mishawaka with his stepmother. She was giving us a "tour" and telling us about all the new things that were going up in the area.

She was pointing out all the franchise restaurants and so forth, obviously proud. She said, "We have everything!"

It was so ridiculous I could hardly keep from laughing. The presence of franchise anything is proof of a lack of culture, not the presence of it. People don't go to Paris to visit McDonalds, after all. Uniqueness is the hallmark of culture.

I was sitting in the backseat getting more and more annoyed with her silliness and her condescending, derogatory behavior toward Greg. So, I said something intentionally annoying. I think I asked if there was any Equity theater in town. She thought I meant some movie theater franchise.

I corrected this by explaining I meant professional stage theater. She was clueless. Feeling a bit ashamed, I finally said something nice and she calmed down.

However, she kept up her diatribe and her maddeningly superior attitude toward Greg. So, I intentionally said something annoying to her and she got agitated again.

I quickly clued into the fact that she was easily manipulated. I said something to calm her down and she did. I thought to myself, "This is too easy!"

After the third round of annoying versus calming comments I made to the same effect I thought to myself, "It is unprincipled and unethical to jerk someone around who is this weak." However, I did it a fourth time, still enjoying the effect.

After that, I did stop.

Greg said nothing until we were alone together. He knew exactly what I was doing. He was amused, but he told me NOT to do it again.

He was a dutiful stepson and he never returned her shabby behavior in kind. He was honorable to the end.

I honestly made an attempt to find some common ground on which to converse with this woman. I finally concluded it was pointless. She watched sports, put together puzzles and read trashy supermarket fiction. I could check the weather myself and didn't particularly care who she was having lunch with. 

She obviously couldn't understand much of anything Greg or I said or did.

Former Marriage

Greg actually didn't want me to get chummy with his stepmother. He thought her influence helped poison his ex-wife. He certainly didn't want that happening to me. I told him he had nothing to worry about.

The women who were abusive to Greg were low-functioning women who couldn’t grasp much themselves. It is to his credit that he was able to put up with them as long as he did.

Before, after and between marriages, he attracted strong, intelligent competent women and plenty of them. The women who treated him so badly have never been able to attract this equivalent of men.

The Perils of Being Unequally Yoked

In 2 Corinthians 6:14 it says:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Given our beliefs, marriage to Latter-day Saints is important. In fact, there isn't anything more important. Although we believe eternal life to be a gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our eternal abode will have something to do with our behavior in this life, although we are all saved by grace, as the Bible makes clear.

Making and keeping covenants is supernal to us. In order to qualify for the highest echelon in Heaven (the Celestial Kingdom), we MUST be sealed in a temple for eternity. We MUST make this covenant and keep the conditions of this covenant.

Greg knew this was impossible for him unless he found a spouse willing and devoted to making and keeping this covenant with him. Here are two excerpts from his journal:

The first word is "Hopefully," then the journal picks up on the next page:

Am I flattered he picked me? Yes, I am! I'm also profoundly grateful.

He is in Heaven right now. I intend to do everything in my power to join him there and be with him for eternity.

That is MY definition of heaven!

Next: Part 10: Tribute to My Husband Greg Cook - Marriage to This Marvelous Man!

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