Ah, I think that the idea of being happy and emotionally close to another person through marriage is indeed a relatively recent idea. A century ago, for instance, women were thought to be too unintelligent to share meaningful conversations with their husbands, and even sex was seem as primarily for reproduction and not as an emotional bonding experience. The notion that marriage is a partnership of equals is a fairly new idea. And, it probably does have a lot to do with women’s lib, which advocated the rather novel idea that women were as intelligent and competent as men.
Of course, the desire for satisfaction in all areas of our lives is far more prominent than it used to be. We aren’t content with having jobs to support ourselves; we must have meaningful jobs that pay well and don’t demand too much of us. We aren’t content to attend church; we must be entertained and impressed by the service and by the pastor(s). We aren’t content to have vacation time; we must go to more exotic locations and do more daring feats. Once we have met our basic physical needs, we start going after psychological needs (wants??).
Women’s lib has changed over the past couple of decades, or so it seems to me. In the 1960s and 1970s, women’s lib was concerned with having women receive equal pay for equal work and with securing reasonably equal opportunities for women in employment, education, etc. Having largely achieved those goals, the women’s movement looked around for other dragons to slay and then started tilting into a bit of insanity (claiming that it was sexist to have mother/daughter banquets instead of parent/child banquets, arguing that all sex is actually rape because of patriarchy, etc.).
Mary Ruthi, Ph.D.
Gosh, we’re so extreme.
See, I can see myself getting being the original notions of women’s lib. Though if someone let me stay home all day and bake and cook I’d be thrilled. I don’t know where this lust for more than we need comes from. Granted, I’m more than guilty of it myself. I have to wonder if the momentum behind it builds as things around us quicken. With the ever increasing immediacy of technology do we find that we should also be obtaining other things more quickly and more extravagantly? And is this “need” for better and better things a first world problem? I don’t really see how it could be anything, but a first world problem. It still begged to be asked.
There’s definitely a bleakness to this conversation, but when have we ever shied away from the truth at the risk of a lack of sunshine and rainbows? It’s raised a question with L though, which is, “Is it possible to find a godly man anymore? One that hasn’t had sex?” I happen to know the answer to be yes, but to find one that isn’t an asshat too, now that’s the real trick.
She finds herself daunted by the idea that such a man doesn’t exist. But I think that’s a fallacy of our generation. That 1) we think it’s something we deserve and 2) if we look hard enough we’ll find exactly what we’re looking for. Which I don’t think is ever the case. I feel like we’re all too broken to ever be exactly anything to anyone. But I feel like the women, or in some cases, girls of my generation are searching for this “ideal man.” Like life is a scavenger hunt and the perfect husband or even a husband is the prize. But there’s also this wait for him mentality. That if I sit on my couch long enough he’ll just show up at my door. Which, for me, and I think everyone, but for me especially, that’d be a dumb way to look at things. I live in a gated community! It’s dangerous. And it’s I think very telling of us as women, now. That we believe that what we want will just come to us if we wait around long enough. Not that it won’t, but I’m a pretty big proponent of living life and letting things happen.
Meanwhile, it poses another interesting question. How did you and the farmer come to meet?
To me, the heart of feminism is about freedom of choice. If a woman (or a man) wants to be a full-time homemaker/child care provider, I think that’s fine. But, if a woman (or a man) wants to work outside of the home (full time or part time), I think that’s fine also. I don’t like to see people constrained by gender roles. Fortunately, there are far fewer constraints than there used to be when I was your age. Actually, in some ways, I believe that women have more freedom than men do in this area. A married woman with small children can stay home full time, work full time, or work part time. There’s a lot of pressure on married men to work full time, regardless of what they want to do. And, the cost of child care (and other expenses associated with having both parents employed) is greater than the additional income produced by the spouse with the lowest salary (usually the woman, but not always).
Certainly there are men who haven’t indulged in premarital sex, but, as you suggested, some of those men may not be particularly attractive and charming. And, again, the double standard rears its ugly head. Men tend to want to marry women who are virgins, but many of those men have conducted a number of improper liaisons themselves. Grrrr!
Sitting around waiting for the knight to come riding up to your castle on a white horse probably isn’t going to work for most women. I think you are right that you have to live life and enjoy it as it happens. If you meet a great guy and end up married to him, that’s wonderful. But, if you don’t ever get married, that doesn’t mean that your life will be miserable and devoid of meaning. Marrying a jerk is far worse than being single. However, the more you are involved in your community, church, volunteer organizations, etc., the more likely you are to meet potential husband candidates. Most of them will end up being jerks, but it only takes one good guy to fill the husband role!
I picked up the farmer in the Chicago airport. He had been in California visiting his sister, and I had been in Kansas visiting my family there. The flight from Chicago to Fort Wayne was cancelled because of fog, so the airline chartered a bus (something that would never happen today!) and hauled us to Fort Wayne. The farmer was in the line ahead of me as we waited for the bus to arrive, and we just started talking. He seemed nice, so when we got back to Fort Wayne, I agreed to his offer to come to Huntington to visit me the next weekend. And, the rest is history (although it did take him a decade to get around to deciding that getting married might be an okay idea). He doesn’t like to rush into things! Eeeek!
Mary Ruthi, Ph.D.