Skip to comments.Why Women Must Change Too if we are to Rescue Marriage
Posted on 07/05/2005 5:31:57 AM PDT by Bon mots
Is marriage, as a social institution, doomed? As recently as 50 years ago, it was the norm for people to get married and have children. But now, at least in the west, we are seeing record numbers of people divorcing, leaving marriage until later in life or not getting married at all. In Britain, I was amazed to learn the other day, the proportion of children born outside marriage has shot up from 9 per cent to 42 per cent since 1976. In France, the proportion is 44 per cent, in Sweden, it is 56 per cent and even in the US, with its religious emphasis on family values, it is 35 per cent.
I suppose we must blame the rise of selfish individualism. People are a lot less willing to sacrifice their independent lifestyle and become part of a couple or family unit than they once were. And if they do marry, the importance they place on their right to a happy life leaves them disinclined to stick around for long once the initial euphoria has worn off.
I wonder, though, if there is another possible explanation: that, frankly, a lot of women do not like men very much, and vice versa? And that, given the choice, a lot of women and men would prefer an adequate supply of casual nookie to a lifelong relationship with a member of the opposite sex?
Choice, after all, is a very recent phenomenon. For most of human history, men and women married not because they particularly liked one another but out of practical necessity: men needed women to cook and clean for them while women needed men to bring home the bacon. It is only in very recent times that women have won legal independence and access to economic self-sufficiency - and only recently, too, that men have been liberated from dependency on women by ready meals and take-away food, automatic washing machines and domestic cleaning services.
During the times of mutual dependency, women were economically, legally and politically subservient to men. This had a number of repercussions. One was that, lacking control over their own lives, women could justifiably hold their husbands responsible for everything, resulting in what men around the world will recognise as the first law of matrimony: "It's all your fault." Second, while men ruled the world, women ruled within the home - often firmly, resulting in the age-old image of the nagging wife and hen-pecked husband. And third, understandably resenting their subjugation outside the home, women took pleasure in characterising their oppressors as selfish, insensitive, lazy, lying, feckless, incompetent scumbags.
Fair enough. But in the last 30 years, relations between men and women have undergone a greater change than at any time in human history. Women have not reached full equality yet, but they are getting close. And now the economic necessity for getting hitched has died out, marriage is on the rocks.
What can be done to save it? My interest in this was provoked by an article I read online last week by Stephanie Coontz, an author of books on American family life. In The Chronicle of Higher Education, she said an important principle was that "husbands have to respond positively to their wives' request for change" - for example, addressing the anomaly that women tend to do the larger share of the housework.
So, husbands have to change. Does this sound familiar? Of course it does, because it is another repetition of the first law of matrimony: "It's all your fault."
I could quibble with Ms Coontz's worries about the uneven split in the male/female workload. In the US, according to the latest time-use survey from the bureau of labour statistics, employed women spend on average an hour a day more than employed men on housework and childcare; but employed men spend an hour a day longer doing paid work. While this may be an imperfect arrangement, it hardly seems a glaring injustice.
But my point is this. Yes, men must change; indeed, they are changing, which is why we hear so much about new men and metrosexuals and divorced fathers fighting for custody of their children. But are women so perfect, or so sanctified by thousands of years of oppression, that they cannot be asked to change even the tiniest bit, too?
If economic necessity is not going to bring and keep men and women together in marriage, then we are going to have to rely on mutual affection and respect. And there is not going to be much of that about as long as women - assisted by television sitcoms and media portrayals in general - carry on stereotyping men as selfish, insensitive, lazy, lying, feckless, incompetent scumbags, even if some of them are.
So, my timorous suggestion is that it is time for women to shrug off the legacy of oppression and consider changing their approach to men and marriage. First, with power comes responsibility, which means it is now all women's fault as much as men's and, hence, the end of the blame and complain game. Second, if women are to share power in the world, men must share power in the home, which means that they get an equal say in important decisions about soft furnishings.
Most of all, it is time for the negative stereotyping to go. I know women will say: "But it's true!" If so, then marriage certainly is doomed.
But whose fault is that? If you treat all men as selfish, insensitive, lazy, lying, feckless, incompetent scumbags, you should not be surprised if that is what they turn out to be.
The author is whining.
The reason marriage is waning is the women's movement. The traditional family structure is just not compatible with a society in which every woman works in the market place.
I know. I described him as limp-wristed. But the theme is interesting. When liberal writers start to get the point, the message must be getting out there.
The basic, simple, biological reality is that women need to be having children when they're 18 - 25 and not when they're 30-45, and they need to be able to do that without having to marry men who are ten years older than they are. If our society is going to survive, that has to become possible again. What we're doing now clearly does not work.
Mulims had it figured out long ago. Marry, marry, marry, and have kids lots of them, have even four wives if you can, and this way they can over populate the world, and this is exactly what they are doing. Other countries have been told by their own governments that the world is getting over populated, and so what do we do? We have less children, while undesirables come into our county and try to destroy the American way of life.
We will be the losers if we do not honor marriage. Same sex marriage only insures our destruction, and our sure path to Sodom. We will deserve what ever comes to us, and it surely will.
Why not also blame the fact that a lot of things change with the passing of time?
At the same time, the same women who demands to be treated exactly like a man... will expect to get alimony, custody and most material possessions jointly owned with her husband in the event of a divorce.
Right now, women want it both ways.
When courts give custody to men in 50% of divorce cases, and alimony to men in 50% of divorce cases... then men and women are truly equal. Until then, forget about it.
Smart men will continue to accelerate the marriage strike.
These questions beg the central question, which is, Why should marriage be saved?
Marriage should be saved because it is the natural institution through which new members of society are born, raised and formed. It is in the best (and natural) interest of children to be raised by their natural parents, parents who have committed themselves to each other for life.
Natural marriage also serves an important secondary purpose, in channeling sexuality in a way most beneficial to individuals and society in general.
So marriage should be saved. And the greatest threat to marriage today is the widespread opinion that marriage should serve individual needs only. Marriage has become for many a means of self-actualization rather than self-sacrifice.
When the male female earning power drastically changes into being lopsided the other way, with women outearning men the way men used to outearn women in the 1950's, a basic flip flop of roles would be expected, and certainly after womens "time" becomes worth so much more than mens time, women will have to give up all the menial unpaid tasks that they used to do - esp around the house.
Higher educated/higher paid women of the future will need men to cook and clean for them.
As soon as feminists stop telling little suzy to put away that vile toy stove, and pick up a toy jack hammer, and the gays stop telling little bobby that it's just dandy to wear pink sweaters and frollic with the boys, marriage will enjoy the same natural pervasiveness it did before feminism and the gay & lesbian agenda.
The root of the problem is no-fault divorce, isn't it?
Marriage has become financial union based on the females emotions only because the man has no say in the program lest he sued for divorce and his life be ruined for ever.
Liza do you take this man for better are worse. I'll tell you what parson, If it's not better for me it will be worse for him.
>>>But whose fault is that? If you treat all men as selfish, insensitive, lazy, lying, feckless, incompetent scumbags, you should not be surprised if that is what they turn out to be.>>>
Whine: It's not my fault I'm a selfish, insensitive, lazy, lying, feckless, incompetent scumbag!! It's the woman's fault because she thinks I am!!
Maybe if men (not all mind you) stopped ACTING like that, women would stop treating them like that. How about that?
busterb and niceguy are hilarious, I highly recommend them. I also highly recommend not getting married
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