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Mom of five lovely daughters, wife of one dashing man. Born in Utah, grew up in Oregon, live in Georgia.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Marriage: dependance & independance

A couple weeks ago I saw a show on Oprah that really got me thinking. The show was about how the institution of marriage is changing around the world. Oprah said that there has been a trend towards "wifeless marriage"--meaning a marriage where no one wants to take care of the responsibilities traditionally assumed by the wife. Because both the man and the woman work outside the home they fill the same role and no one is there to be the "wife." Oprah also said that because women make their own money they are sometimes less inclined to marry because they don't need a husband to take care of them, and that marriage and being a "wife" lessen a woman's independence. I found that idea baffling.

First, I didn't marry David because I wanted someone to take care of me. I married him because I loved him and wanted to be with him for ever and ever. I wanted him to be my family, and I wanted to start a family with him.

Second, I do not feel in any way less independent or less important because I am a "wife." I don't make any money. I am completely dependant on my husband's income. But that does not diminish my contribution to our family. Yes, I am dependant on David. But he is equally dependant on me. He makes the money and I take care of everything else so he can make the money. It's pretty equal. I'd be in trouble without him; and he'd be in trouble without me. We work together and rely on each other. Isn't that what a marriage partnership is about? I'm totally confused by the idea that women have to make money of their own in order to maintain their independence. It's ridiculous.

Third: My job as a wife and homemaker is just as important, and just as fulfilling, as David's job as a general contractor, even though I don't make any money. I work hard at my job. I work long hours. I do a variety of tasks. I try to excel. And my family benefits just as much from my work as David's clients benefit from his work. My contribution is just as important as his paycheck.

Fourth: I did not sacrifice any more becoming David's wife than he sacrificed becoming my husband. We both gave up some of our "freedom" when we got married. Neither operates completely independent from the other-- but instead of being confining, our dependence is uplifting and supportive. We are a partnership where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

I am definitely not Destiny's Child's version of an "Independent Woman." I have an old-fashioned view of marriage and family roles. I love being a wife, mother, and homemaker. No other job could ever be as satisfying. And even though I am "dependent," I am ultimately able to be even more independent because of my marriage to David. His love, support, and partnership make me even more than who I could be on my own.


The Smith Family said...

Amen Sister! You said it all. :o)
Love Arica

Jen said...

This post makes my heart say a big fat YES! I love being a stay at home mom. I feel so lucky that I get to quilt, and to cook interesting things I read about on the internet, and to tickle my children whenever I want.

I read a stat somewhere recently that women have generally decreased in "happiness" levels while men have increased in recent years, if that can be measured. I think it is because we don't embrace roles that we can find satisfying. Not that endless laundry and cleaning are my favorite, but women are often good at making houses homes and nurturing, and I think doing that makes us happy.

Dani said...

Well said, sista!! I totally agree with you. I wish more people could see it that way. Oprah needs to have you on her show!

Sweetest Of All said...

Nicely put.

My interest in Oprah died many years ago. I haven't missed her one bit in my life, nor her opinions.

Anonymous said...

I apopreciate the term "equal partners", but the truth is: the functions you perform every day, however mundane they may appear to you at times, are far more important than any I could do because you directly impact the spiritual development of our children and you create for them and environment of learning and love. What could possibly be more inportant that that?


Thora said...

Jen linked to your blog in a post she just wrote, and the whole time I was reading this, I kept exclaiming in agreement at every sentence (except the one where Oprah says that being a wife lessens a woman's independence.) I too am like you, a homemaker, and feel that I contribute as much to the family as my husband does. Thanks for this post!

Chris said...

I think women going back to work after having children has been one thing that has help draw this country down in my personal opinion. And I'm even employed full time. I hate it and wish we could get back to the way things were many years ago. I think we'd have a lot less problems in the world. I'm so thankful my daughter and daughtersinlaw can be home with their children to teach them and be there when they get home from school etc.

Abbi said...

I liked this post! I've been thinking about what you said, that you didn't marry David because you wanted someone to take care of you. And I think we get married so we can be taken care of AND have someone to take care of. It's a mutual thing. We get married so we can have someone to go through life with--to have someone give you love and care when you're down, and to be there for him when he's down. That reciprocity is a beautiful thing, and if we shy away from it because we're afraid of being dependent, we are missing one of the most beautiful parts of life.