« Still more on t-shirts, professional responsibility, and ways of seeing | Main | More soon... »

November 07, 2005

Comments

Hugo

One of the great virtues of our modern world, Amba, is that we've managed to make marriage less and less about economic necessity and more and more about personal happiness and personal growth. Sure, a marriage based on one person "parenting" the other can work -- but is it the best recipe for real joy and transformation? I don't think so.

Focusing on joy and transformation are luxuries, in a sense. In an affluent world where both men and women can support themselves, marriage can finally be about the choice to be together and grow together. That's a great gift, but also a considerable responsibility.

Oriscus

Great post, Hugo. I recognized myself in your experiences. I so hated feeling like a child in my marriage, and it's taken twelve years of mostly purely solitary life to get to a point now where I think I may, just possibly, have a chance to try being an equal, if I can stand surrendering the autonomy!

Swan

Amba,
What do you imagine "the marital roles that evangelical Christians prescribe for men and women" to be?

Amba

Swan, many evangelical Christians state that the practical application of Paul's injunctions to husbands and wives entails the man having the final say when the couple can't come to a mutual decision. As a non-Christian, this isn't something I can wrap my head around. If Jane Smith defers to John Smith when it comes to financial matters because he's a CPA and she didn't get past high school algebra, that strikes me as reasonable. Jane deferring to John because he represents Christ and she represents the Church, even if she happens to be the CPA in the family, strikes me as absurd.

The Countess

Hugo, I know you're changing your habits. I'd like you know, if you don't mind my asking, how you've changed in relation to your latest marriage compared to your past marriages. Lots of people, both male and female, can understand what you mean by doing things around the house you should be doing anyway as "chores". How did you change your point of view on that? For instance, I understand your view of chores. I used to hate food shopping because I saw it as a chore. That has changed since I've learned that I like to cook. Rather than seeing food shopping as a chore now, I see it as preparation for what I know will be a great meal on my part. I see the end product. Hence, my view of shopping as a "chore" has changed. I'd like to hear how you've changed your point of view. You seemed to have changed quite a bit over the years, and I'm sure that will enhance your marriage. I hope I'm not being too forward or personal. If I am, I apologize. I really am curious to see how you've changed now as opposed to the way you used to be. I'm sure a lot of people can learn from that.

Hugo

Countess, it's a great question -- and I look forward to answering it once I get through the election post-mortems.

Uzzah

Swan, many evangelical Christians state that the practical application of Paul's injunctions to husbands and wives entails the man having the final say when the couple can't come to a mutual decision. As a non-Christian, this isn't something I can wrap my head around.

A difficult issue no doubt. The problem is, in life, certain life decisions must be made. When a difficult problem concerning a family pops up, a decision has to be made. There is no choice. If a husband and wife both disagree strongly, then how is that decision determined? It's easy to say that each has an equal share in the decision making process, but if both disagree with the solution strongly, how is that decision reached.

The old saying, lead, follow, or get out of the way has a legitimate source. We can't just lock up and reach no decision because it might be seen as a weakness in the other partner. A decision, no matter how difficult must many times be reached. So who makes it?

Amba

As I intimated in my previous post, Uzzah, I think the person who has the greater knowledge and expertise in any given situation should have the final say: that's how things work in my marriage, anyway. My husband and I have never reached a serious impasse in our relationship, but if/when we do, I'd far rather we try our best to come up with an alternative plan of action, than have unilaterally impose a course of action on the other.

Uzzah

As I intimated in my previous post, Uzzah, I think the person who has the greater knowledge and expertise in any given situation should have the final say: that's how things work in my marriage, anyway. My husband and I have never reached a serious impasse in our relationship, but if/when we do, I'd far rather we try our best to come up with an alternative plan of action, than have unilaterally impose a course of action on the other.


Well, yes. Those are the easy decisions. That is the way my wife and I generally do it too. I figure it doubles my chance of making a smart decision. But sometimes both of us feel we have "greater knowledge and expertise" and both of us are pretty hard headed (probably why we have been together so long and still love each other). While I certainly don't subscribe to the notion that "I'm da man" and I make all the decisions, at times there has to be a "tiebreaker" to reach beyond an impasse. It's either A or B. There is no C and making no decision is not an option. A decision has to be reached and implemented. Who makes that decision? Who makes it in your family and why?

Caitriona

Uzzah, from what you've written, I'd guess that you and your wife probably deal with issues like that in a manner not too far removed from how we deal with them. The more difficult the decision, the more we discuss how we each see things. If decision A is made, what are the pros and cons we each see? If decision B is made, what are the pros and cons?

In the final analysis, if we can't come to a concensus, my husband either makes the decision or asks me to make the decision, depending upon the issue. Farm issues are his, budgeting issues are mine. Family goals are usually his, implementation is usually mine.

Lynn Gazis-Sax

I've found that having the one with the greater expertise make the decision has worked for nearly everything, with Joel and me. And all the remaining decisions either could be worked out readily enough by talking, or were ones where the obvious tiebreaker was "status quo until we both agree." So, we've never actually needed one person to be the tiebreaker (though Joel always tells people that I'm the boss).


Amba

Uzzah, as I've said before, my husband and I haven't yet reached an impasse where we simply couldn't find an option that was agreeable to both of us. Neither of us are particularly stubborn or contentious people, so I have a hard time imagining what such a situation would look like. It's a bridge that we'll cross when we get to it, but we're not going to appoint one person the tiebreaker beforehand; that would impact our day-to-day interaction in ways that we both would find unpleasant.

Caitriona

LOL... Chewy tells folks I'm the boss, too.

But it's kinda like in a business. (I know people hate that analogy, but it's just so difficult to find anything better.) The CEO's in charge, except that s/he has to verify with finance before making any big purchases. S/he has to check with other departments to see what the status is before making any decisions WRT those departments. Otherwise, the business folds.

midwestmind

Having the one with the most expertise make the decision is very rational. And ideal.

But it is perhaps *part* of the problem, when we raise men to believe they aren't required to cultivate certain types of expertise, such as any emotional intelligence of their own. If a man isn't an "expert" on emotions, then it is never incumbent on him to come to any conclusions about the emotional life of the relationship.

Or parental expertise -- surely all of us have watched marriages turn sour after the arrival of a baby, as a woman proclaims to the man he doesn't know how to hold the baby, feed the baby, talk to the baby, dress the baby (a cultural phenomenon that is endlessly enshrined in tv commercials structured around the narrative of Incompetent Dad rescued by Competent Mom). But even if she is right (certainly, there are men for whom the experience of handling small children is foreign and unnerving) incessant carping on a man's lack of expertise only alienates him further from cultivating any skill in that arena, or taking any responsibility for it.

stacer

I think there's also the sociological issue of women being gatekeepers as far as home-related things go, though. This is only a small subset of the issues being discussed here, but a few studies have shown that even though, like you talked about, men share the household responsibilities in many homes, in some of those homes, not only do the men see their responsibilities as "chores," but so do the women. Instead of being co-partners in running the house, with perhaps specializations where necessary, the man has to be directed by the woman because, like midwestmind talked about, the woman doesn't feel he can do it "right" without her there.

Often, though, there is no "right" way to do some things--like, is there a right order to wash the dishes in? (my stepmother thought so, and would yell at me if I washed the silverware before the glasses) Is there a specific way clothes should be folded? Unless there is some sort of extenuating circumstance, there really isn't, but it can be very hard for women to reliquish control over what is traditionally her domain, especially if she was raised traditionally and/or has family members who pressure her in that regard.

So we all have to work on how we work out such issues, I think. Like I've seen you post before, Hugo (I discovered you through FMH), good marriages and relationships are a constant push-pull at helping each other grow.

Hugo

"but it can be very hard for women to reliquish control over what is traditionally her domain, especially if she was raised traditionally and/or has family members who pressure her in that regard."

That's a great point, Stacer. Helping wives to relinquish that sort of control is a task that men, especially those who also come out of a conservative background, ought to consider embracing.

Caitriona

Often, though, there is no "right" way to do some things--like, is there a right order to wash the dishes in? (my stepmother thought so, and would yell at me if I washed the silverware before the glasses) Is there a specific way clothes should be folded?


The problem with your examples is that YES, there is a right way to wash the dishes (glasses first, before anything that may have grease and other things from food, then plates and silverware, then the dirtier pots and pans) and there IS a right way to fold laundry so that it comes out neat rather than wrinkled.

Helping wives to relinquish that sort of control is a task that men, especially those who also come out of a conservative background, ought to consider embracing.

Uhm, just how do you propose that men "help" their wives relinquish control in these areas?

Anna

I think it is important, however, that things be done in a way in which the end result is satisfactory. For example, dishes need to be clean and put away for the task of "washing dishes" to be considered finished. Same with clothes but add the qualification of put away in such a way that they are not crumpled up in a corner or hung askew so that they require excessive ironing. The bathroom should be clean in such a way as to be hygienic and presentable and floors should be vacuumed in such a way that all debris was removed. In our case, some simple instructions that came, not from me, but from the internet and a book on keeping a home we got when we got married, helped us have a neutral voice as the instructor for both of us, rather than one of us being the standard-bearer for household tasks.

Grace

Now tell me how you managed to build this cerebral AND very heartfelt bridge between child and adult?

i was disappointed to see that you're not available, but perhaps if ONE man can be so thoughtFUL and articulate, maybe there will be more.

May i please quote you and your quotes from this post?

Hugo

Grace, you may quote me at will -- thanks!

And as for "how" it happened, I will consider posting on that as well.

ipod

adult friend finder - adult friend finder
adult swingers - adult swingers
adult movie dvd - adult movie dvd
adult sex toys - adult sex toys
adult personals dating - adult personals dating
adult toys store - adult toys store
adult models directory - adult models directory

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Regular reads

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 01/2004