Marriage A Bad Deal For Women
I fundamentally believe marriage is a bad deal for women.
Ultimately when it comes to Holy Matrimony women get the short end of the stick and if the divorce rates are any indication (75% of divorces are initiated by women) then I’m not alone in thinking this. The main reason why divorce is horrible for women is that the institution hasn’t changed much from the times when women were viewed as property of first their fathers and then their husbands.
Nowadays (many) men still have the expectation that their wives will still be June Cleaver (Homemakers for those who don’t get the Leave It to Beaver reference) and they will be providers and protectors. However, women are also taking on those roles as well, but still expected to do their “wifely” duties. Basically with the aid of the Women’s Movement, women took on more responsibility and didn’t get much in return.
At least under the old system it was understood that women took care of home and men made the money to care for the family. Not always the ideal situation for women, but at least a more equitable distribution of labor and responsibility. Now many men balk at the idea of a stay at home wife and have every expectation that their wives contribute to the bills and still manage to throw down in the kitchen, take care of the kids (and him) and still do gymnastics in the bedroom.
Too many men I meet expect their women to be like their over worked mommas and grandmamas who’s only thought was taking care of home and her dependents (including her husband). Well, I’m sorry to disappoint, but I’m no mule. If a man wants a maid (or his momma) then he needs to hire won or better yet, marry her. I refuse to be run ragged made to beleive that a real woman can juggle home, marriage, career and kids and do it all with a smile and in three inch heels. That’s a fantasy, a bill of goods, a lie that “modern” women have been fed over the years and somehow have swallowed as truth. And if more women were honest with themselves they’d know it was a lie too.
The other deal with me and marriage is that too many women I know seem to lose their identity once they say “I do.” They become wives and mothers but self seems to get lost along the way. Also many women become shells of their former vibrant, intelligent selves. Not always, but often. I know several happy marriages and those couples tend to fall into one of two categories, which also happens to be the only times I believe marriage is worthwhile for a woman:
1. The man makes enough money to care for the family only on his income. Whether the wife is working or not she knows that she and the kids will be well taken care of. If she is working then her income goes to savings, help pay down debt, vacations, etc. The point is it won’t take two incomes to live comfortably and their will be sufficient funds to outsource housework (i.e. get a maid) if need be, freeing up time to be with each other and the kids.
2. A true egalitarian relationship. I know some marriages that are true partnerships. They are equally involved in making their lives together work. There is no “His” and “Her” work, the husbands do as much housework and child rearing as their wives. They work out the bills in a way that works well for them and because no one spouse is being overworked they still have plenty of time for each other.
I know many folk who balk at one and while many people hope for two that is rarely how it works out. I’ve seen enough marriages through friends and family across socio-economic lines to know that many “typical’ marriages mean a lot of work for women with too few benefits. And please don’t talk to me about love and companionship because those can happen without a ring and too often seem to last longer when you don’t say “I do.”
I think too often, we as women idealize marriage and make it about what we hope it to be instead of what it really is. I think many women should probably take a hard look at the institution before they dive in and make sure that what they want and are expecting to get out of marriage is really what they are going to get. Like I said, 75% of divorces are initiated by women, so there is something about marriage that’s not working for the fairer sex, a fact no one really talks about when we focus so much on getting that ring.