Marriage in Modern Times

September 27, 2008

Culture

I have learned a lot as a member of Entrecards, visiting all sorts of blogs. I’ve learned that there are some incredibly talented and witty people who run great blogs, and I’m a lot smarter and blessed by them. I’ve also learned that there are a lot of really lousy, crappy blogs that are basically springboards for all sorts of perverse behavior. I try to stay focused on the really good blogs and not let the bad behavior of other sites bother me. But I admit, sometimes I get in a sour mood after seeing the nasty ones.

I’ve also noticed that a lot of blogs are devoted to relationships, especially marital (or marital-type) relationships. One blog I came across today caught me by surprise with its candor and insight. It’s called the Marriage Puzzle blog. The post is titled, “A Woman and Her Existence” and it is a very poignant and perceptive post, despite its brevity. It got me thinking, especially this part:

A woman’s capacity to love can draw the very best from a man… it can make him feel wanted, needed, important, and great. The way she patiently wait for him to arrive from a whole day work symbolizes her love. When his nerves and spirit are shattered and exhausted, her loves can comfort him. When discouragement crushes his will and his hopes and dreams have crumbled, she can help him build new ones.

Many men are nearly totally unaware of a woman’s need for romantic love. For men, romance might be an added benefit, but certainly not a requirement. But not with a woman! A relationship without romance would drive her wild with frustration. She needs to be cherished, loved, respected, appreciated and be treated special. It is unjustifiable for a man to ignore his wife’s need for romantic love as it is for her to deny him his sexual urges.

It made me think about marriage today, how it is depicted in Western culture. Marriage gets a really, really bad rap, you know that? I don’t know why. I think marriage is one of the greatest institutions known to man. I’ve been unmarried and I’m married, so I’ve been on both sides; I think I have some insight about this.

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Think about how marriage (that lifetime commitment of body and mind between man and woman) is treated today. You who drop Entrecards, you see what I see– ads everywhere showing slinky women vying for the momentary attentions and lusts of men; and men blogging about (and showing photos of) the women that entice them. It’s very obvious that the man’s desire for physical satisfaction is what comes FIRST in our culture. It’s like I say to my husband, “Western culture is a teenage boy’s dream come true.”

But where are the woman’s needs emphasized? “Romantic love” is what we call it today, but when I think of that term, Harlequin novels come to mind. I don’t think “romance” is accurate. Women need to be loved- to be wooed, to be reassured, to be special and to be that “only woman” to a man. Men complain that women complain about their man’s wandering eyes. “It’s only natural” to lust after other women, men complain. Yet they completely ignore that the woman’s desire to be the only woman is “only natural” too. Why do men want to be “natural” when it comes to them, but dismiss the woman’s “natural” desires?

What I’m saying is that responsibility and committment are missing in our relationships in this culture. In our culture the message is this: the physical relationship is premier, and if women won’t fall in line with that, then they are cast off as undesirable. Even among marriages, this attitude persists. In our culture, the woman has to bend over backwards to please her man sexually; but for some inexplicable reason, the man is completely excused from giving his wife that “agape” love (agape is a Greek word for unconditional affection and self-sacrificing commitment) that is essential to her existence as a woman.

People are not animals who copulate at will. People have thoughts, reasonings, feelings, and are accountable to God for their actions. Marriage is holy, God said. Degrading the man/woman relationship to a level with beavers and dogs is disgusting. Why do we women tolerate it and even encourage such behavior in our culture? Why is there such an inequality, even though modern woman touts her “liberation” and “independence” in our culture today?

I’d like to hear your thoughts about this. Do you see this discrepancy, this inequality? Why do you think this is so, and why do women (and good men) tolerate it?

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4 Responses to “Marriage in Modern Times”

  1. Tessa Says:

    I guess communication is one of the best factor to make a relationship stronger and lasting… if both parties will be able to communicate their needs/wants, they will be able to work out things to gain a satisfying and loving relationship. But if one of them will not listen carefully and do something, the action wouldn’t be successful.

    Inequality has long founded its roots long before… and I guess women and men are limited to what is already labeled… that both sexes has its natural personalities… People tend to tolerate it since yes it is already “natural”.

    If people are more open-minded to what are the issues of inequality, then I guess there will be change.

  2. Kat Says:

    I think it’s sad that anyone would tolerate bad behavior. Sad to say but there are many people who are primitive and feel a woman’s place is best in the kitchen and seen but not heard.

    I think in today’s world some people tolerate it because they know there is a lot of crappy people in this world AND some have children and don’t want to put their children through the battles of divorce. I also feel people put each other’s needs first rather than putting God first so they don’t see the whole picture of God’s plan for them.

    Marriage is work, but it can be a wonderful union if you learn to accept each other’s differences and respect one another. Kind of like you did when you met. My husband and I complain and play around. We disagree, but I know we both feel safe with each at the end of the day and are glad not to be part of this single world. It’s a scary place!

    Looking forward to reading your other blogs. See you around hopefully.

  3. Jenera Says:

    I have noticed this myself and I think it stems from this view from society that men and women can do what they want, when they want, with who they want, and there are no consequences. As a result the ‘traditional’ marriage falls to the wayside. Each spouse/partner can treat the other like crap because it’s acceptable in society today.

    I think there should always be a feeling of courtship in marriages. My husband ‘courted’ me in the beginning and it was almost old fashioned but it was good for us. People need to look at marriage as more than a sexual relationship as well. It’s about heart and soul as well.

  4. Rebecca Says:

    Thanks for your comments, ladies. Great input!

    I don’t think I made this very clear in the post, but what really strikes me is what the blogger said, “Many men are nearly totally unaware of a woman’s need for romantic love. For men, romance might be an added benefit, but certainly not a requirement. ”

    This just blows my mind. I mean, what woman doesn’t know that the “conjugal right” is a requirement of marriage? Yet, most men (it seems) are totally unaware of the woman’s most basic needs, and even seem to prefer it this way. This is just stunning to me.