Category Archives: Personal Life

Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood–Chapter 3

A ha. This is the chapter that I knew would piss me off. The title of this chapter is The Happy Call to Holistic Provision.

First of all, I am the primary “breadwinner” in our family. I have a full time job at a print shop and am now in school to become an elementary teacher. My husband is on disability and works part time as a tow truck driver. He would love to work more, but is physically unable to return to his preferred profession (OTR truck driving; he cannot pass the DOT physical with a defibrillator in his chest) and is physically unable to drive a tow truck full time (he gets easily overheated especially in summer months and between the vertigo and nerve damage on his left side, standing upright for long periods of time is nearly impossible). When we crunch the numbers for him pushing himself beyond his limits in order to work more, he’d have the choice between paying bills or paying for his health insurance. At least with disability, the health insurance is paid for, even if the bills are usually more than he can afford.

He fully supports me working because it is something that I enjoy. He fully supports me being considered the breadwinner because I am the one with the 8-5 job even though between the disability check and his part time work, we make about the same amount. Being the one with the regular work hours means that he has to take my schedule into consideration and he understands that he needs to pick up more of the slack around the house just because he’s home and I’m not.

We have an egalitarian marriage. He is not the head of me and I’m not the head of him. We make decisions together. Why these Christian men (and unfortunately women) cannot seem to understand that partners can work together without someone having to be in charge is beyond me, especially when I’ve read numerous blog posts by Christian women who seem perfectly willing to explain that their husbands are more or less clueless about the duties that are in the wife’s domain!

I guess that’s what gets to me. In our egalitarian marriage, we do have different roles and duties. I work all day and am in charge of most meals. He works when he gets called and is in charge of dishes, trash disposal, lawn mowing, and he’s supposed to wash clothes. I fold clothes, put dishes away, and run the weed wacker, because of the nerve damage in his left hand that makes these tasks uncomfortable. He’s also in charge of most of the major house cleaning because a) he’s great at it when he gets the ambition and b) because it’s mostly his mess.

All egalitarian marriages have some version of this compromise. But it depends on what the individuals in the couple enjoy doing chores-wise and what they’re good at.

In a Christian complementary marriage, it’s not so about what an individual is good at, but what they were born with between their legs that determines what their chores are. I’ve read at least one woman’s blog posts about how amazed she is by her husbands ability and willingness to cook! Like, it took a few years of marriage for her to feel comfortable with him doing such “women’s work” especially after he’s been at work all day. I can only assume that she had kept her boy children out of the kitchen because it’s pointless for them to be there since boys aren’t capable of cooking or would even enjoy cooking, but once her husband finally got into the kitchen, maybe she’ll realize that boys can be interested in cooking without damaging their masculinity.

What truly baffles me is how willingly these complementary wives are to give their husbands all the credit for the work that they are obviously expert at. I mean, since he’s the head of the household, obviously he must have been the ringleader that got all the kid’s schoolwork done (because more often than not the kids are homeschooled), got the housework done, and all the errands completed. While I realize that this “headship” isn’t supposed to take credit and is supposed to graciously praise his wife for all the work that she does, in a “marriage” where the head is an asshole, he can all to easily come home and disrupt every aspect of the wife’s hard work (send the kids outside when they’re supposed to be doing their school work; decide to go out for dinner even as supper is on the table; tell her that he’s spent the grocery money on a new boat) and she’s supposed to smile and say “Thank You, Dear”.

If my husband did any of these things, I’d be a single woman so fast he’d get whiplash. Especially the last one since I take our finances very seriously.

The United States was founded on the principles of “checks and balances”; that’s why we have 3 branches of government. This complementary marriage has no checks or balances. A wife is supposed to just accept whatever her husband does as law and can’t voice any opinions which question his authority.

This chapter talks a big game about how a husband is supposed to “serve and give his life for another” (i.e. his wife), but with a wife who isn’t supposed to question his judgement, how can he know that he’s really serving her when she feels like he’s undermining everything that she’s trying to do. To go back to those three examples from earlier:

  • He comes home and sends the kids outside and feels so proud of himself for giving her some free time with her husband. She’s upset because she had finally gotten them all to work after fighting all day.
  • He decides to take everyone out for dinner so she doesn’t have to cook. Except, she’s already cooked the meal and suddenly has 4 kids who are begging for pizza instead of being happy to eat the rice and beans she made. To keep the peace, she consents to save the meal she cooked for the next night. She can’t lecture him on the importance of calling when there’s a change of plans.
  • He thinks he’s buying a memory creating object when he buys a boat. Depending on the family’s finances and who controls the checkbook (I think these women are more often than not in charge of paying bills to save their husband’s the headache), that money might have been earmarked for any number of things. Because he made a unilateral decision without consulting her, there’s no telling what sacrifices she may have to make in order to make up the difference. She’s forbidden from questioning his judgment and lecturing him on frivolous spending.

Having a well functioning marriage depends on both partners being free to not only express opinions, but to put their foot down when someone wants to do something that is not in the best interest of the family unit. For the most part, I let my husband do what he wants with his money, but he’s not good at keeping money in his savings account and as it dwindles, I get more and more say about what he buys, since he’ll become more and more dependent on money that is in my account.

What is troubling about the section of “Taking Cues from Christ’s Self-Sacrifice”, is this emphasis on how a husband must sacrifice his life for that of his wife and children. Looking back at our three examples from earlier, it is way too easy for a husband to believe that he’s making personal sacrifices when he decides to send out the children (he could have gone into his mancave and ignored everyone instead of saving his wife from their constant presence), it’s his money that’s going towards paying for dinner (he could have used that to buy a new…book? probably not a video game), he feels like it’s his personal finances that is taking a hit when he buys a boat (since he’s the one slaving away for “the man” to make the money that pays for it).

Making the male headship’s life all about personal sacrifice gives him the perfect way to guilt trip his wife about anything and everything. He’s the one sacrificing his life in order to give her everything that she wants. He doesn’t want to work at his lame, boring, dead end, whatever job, but he can’t quit and pursue his dreams because he’s supposed to sacrifice his life’s ambitions to taking care of his wife and children. If he’s not sacrificing something, he’s not a very Christlike husband.

This chapter breaks a mans different types of “providing” into 4 types: physical (food, shelter, clothing, etc), emotional (….?), intellectual (education…), and spiritual (church).

Mmm kay….wow. So, apparently husbands and wives are similar in that they both want to ensure that all 4 of these types of provision happen. BUT, it’s specifically a husband who worries more about these things, especially for providing those physical aspects.

Yeah, I know that my husband is depressed because he feels like he can’t provide the physical things that I may want that he once was able to do (with his first wife, she stayed home while he made all the money that she did a great job spending (sarcasm)). However, as a working woman, I am more than capable of paying the bills that we have. In fact, because of our age and health difference, it is imperative that I be capable of keeping a roof over my head and food on the table in the event of his suddenly passing away. Knock on wood! The reason I worry less than he does about our finances is because I have the savings that I need in case of an emergency (he’s really bad at saving money). If I didn’t have these savings, I would be as worried and depressed as he is. The idea that a husband is supposed to worry more about finances that “the little woman” puts undue stress on men while disenfranchising women. Men don’t have more stress because they are born with a penis. They have more stress because society tells us that men are supposed to provide financially for their families.

Both my husband and the rest of the world need to lighten up and relax. We’ve got this!

As for the emotional provision…ummm…wow. This guy admits that his wife is much better at judging the emotions of the household. That she “better monitors and cultivates the emotional wellbeing” of the household. Apparently, he’s supposed to make himself pay more attention to what’s going on in the household, being more “emotionally present” after being “drained from a long day of breadwinning”, and that he’s supposed to resist the urge to come home to a house full of screaming children and a crying wife and want to tell everyone to sit down, shut up, and solve the problem (or as he words it: “resist the urge to manage behavior”).

Well, first of all, if a man needs to pray in order to realize that he shouldn’t give his wife and children the cold shoulder just because his job is “intellectually and emotionally draining”, he’s an asshole with very little (no) empathy.  I usually want to talk about my day at work, whereas my husband usually wants to brood about whatever is bothering him. There are plenty of women who prefer to brood and men who like to talk through their issues. My husband doesn’t have to pray in order to listen to me talk: he just knows what kind of person I am and listens with earnest when he can. And when the vertigo is kicking his ass and his left side is driving him insane and he’s feeling drained and all around miserable, he simply says “Cathy, I don’t feel like talking right now.” And do you know what happens then? I say “okay,” and I do my own thing. I wait for him to be in a chatty mood and talk then. That’s called respecting others. When he’s extra broody, I let it go as long as is normal, and then I try to get him to talk about what’s bothering him because he always feels better once it’s out on the table. He realizes that he’s being unfair when he doesn’t communicate with me and has been working on it.

Intellectual provision. Ooh. I love all the digs about people putting too much (or too little) faith in intelligence. Sarcasm.

Personally, I don’t think anyone can be too intelligent. Of course, people can be condescending when they think they know everything and hurtful when people admit ignorance, but I’ve found that most people who think that their intelligence makes them better than someone else are usually not very intelligent at all. They’re faking it to make themselves seem smarter than they really are (Trump). Intelligent people don’t have to brag about how intelligent they are; intelligent people usually just want to share their knowledge so that everyone else can benefit.

Wow: way to make husband’s seem extremely self-sacrificing dude! “Outside the home, for the wife (my emphasis), there is continuing education and community education and book clubs and friendships with thoughtful individuals–none of which will happen without the provision of the husband to have the kids and cover the home while mom is out engaging and sharpening her mind (again my emphasis). See, ladies! Your husband is completely incapable of pursuing his own intellectual ambitions because he’s too busy taking care of the children and the home so that you can pursue your interests. Sarcasm.

Believe it or not, husbands and wives can pursue whatever interests they want so long as they work together to plan a schedule. Only a husband would make himself seem like such a huge sacrifice to take command of the kids one evening a week so that mom can see her friends or join a book club.

Mmm… also love the dig about field trips for the kids and how “a curious dad with energy enough to ask and engage [the content of the trip]–or better, lead or join the trip himself.” Why oh why is it way too easy for me to picture the dad who comes on the public school field trip (with a female teacher) and spends most of the trip trying to lead it. How comes there’s no encouragement for mom to join field trips and maybe even try to butt in and lead them.

Oh wait. Most of these kids are homeschooled, so most field trips are mom-led, with a half-dozen kids in tow. This writer is mostly saying that dad’s should take the day off work to join the kids’ field trip and show mom how she could do it better his way!

Oh yay! There’s going to be a chapter on discipline in this book. I’m not sure how that relates to manhood and womanhood, but I guess we’ll see.

As for spiritual provision…make sure the kids and wife go to church, learn the bible, and don’t be too pushy because only God can change people. Mmkay. Well, at least it says that men shouldn’t try to push their wives into a certain belief system, but without knowing how a woman is supposed to react to this kind of disagreement, who knows what actually happens.

Oh shit.

“Though holistic provision for women and children is a greater burden than a man can fully bear, he is not alone. Precisely in the most desperate moments, when having the masculine role feels most unfair, when we’re our most tired, running on fumes, and need to keep providing in all these aspects, this is when the provision of God (my emphasis) tastes the sweetest.”

As a wife, I feel like chopped liver! Apparently, women are such a huge part of the burden of men that they cannot help alleviate that burden. Only God can give that kind of comfort.

Well, I’ll be honest with you folks. If my husband told me that the stress of providing for our household was so much that he had to ask God for help, I’d tell him that then God can be the one who sucks his dick. I am a woman, but that does not make me an incapable mooch. If I’m taking up too much of my husband’s ability to provide financially, emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually to our relationship, and he’s not asking for MY help, he can leave.

The first thing a woman can do when her husband is feeling too much pressure to provide is get a job. This will bring in some income so that he doesn’t have to work so much. This will give him more time to pursue his personal interests, which will in turn relieve the stress that is keeping him from connecting emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually with the rest of the household. If money or the job isn’t the cause of his stress, then he’s an asshole who doesn’t have any ambition to connect emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually. In other words, him working less and playing more wouldn’t change his stress levels.

Now, I realize that my husband seems to be the poster-child for the case of when a working wife doesn’t solve a man’s stresses. This is both true and false. It’s true because there’s nothing I can do as a wife that will make him feel like he’s providing as much as he once did. I can only reassure him that we’re fine financially. He knows this and is fine with this but it doesn’t ease his own feelings on inadequacy. Except, that in some small way it does ease them.

We’ve come a long way from when we first started getting to know each other (as partners during a summer league) when we used to fight over who was going to pay for our bowling. I didn’t even know he liked me at the time, but I didn’t (and still don’t) like the idea of anyone paying my way. At that time, I’d just started working part time after 2 years of unemployment where I’d run through all my savings, so I was extremely emphatic that I was going to pay my way and the fact that I had enough left over that I could pay for him made me feel even better. It got to be a fierce competition between us over who would get there first to pay for bowling and I think by the end of it, I had been one week up. Sigh. I miss those days when he made a real effort to get to the bowling alley before me, haha.

When we first started dating, our argument over who would pay continued. To keep things simple for our waitresses, we’d go “double dutch” (a term I’m inventing here and now). We all know that “going dutch” is when the two parties pay for themselves; well, with us and “double dutch”, we would alternate who paid. If I paid last time, he could pay this time and vice versa. I highly recommend this system if you’re dating exclusively. If it’s a one-off date, go ahead and just pay for yourself.

As we continued dating, I realized just how tight his money was and started insisting on paying more often. He was slow to accept this, but eventually he didn’t see it as a weakness. Since then, he’s actually started asking me to pay for stuff. He just gave me the water bill to pay on a permanent basis! I’m trying to get him to split the bills evenly so that he can rely less on me for bailing him out at the end of the month.

His stress level has definitely decreased with every bill he gives to me to pay. Even as he feels bad about needing to rely on me, at least he doesn’t have to worry about how he’s going to pay back money he has borrowed. They are two different kinds of stress. And no, God isn’t going to miraculously put money into his bank account, but I, as his wife, can.

I can also support him emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually (which doesn’t really apply to us) in a way that God (which is to say, himself) cannot. God rarely (ever?) offers up new ideas to an individual. I’ve often heard men and women say how God works through people. Like, if one person can’t figure something out, they ask God, who apparently in turn, has someone come up and volunteer the answer that the first person needs. As a wife with a husband, I’d much rather cut out the middle man and have my husband directly ask me for help, a shoulder to cry on, an opinion, or for advice instead of him talking to God and hoping that I’m paying enough attention to give him what he needs (in secular circles, we call this kind of behavior passive aggressiveness; where one person has to infer what the other person wants based on the other person’s actions because the person doesn’t want to admit that there’s a problem).

 

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Friday the 13th

I’m not (very) superstitious, so I’m not one to be afraid of a 13th that happens to fall of a Friday.

But, sheesh! I don’t know if it’s because this one fell in October or because it’s been raining here for a week (is it a full moon? No, thank goodness!), but yesterday’s afternoon traffic was ridiculous!

Actually, for my poor hubby who drives a tow truck and the rest of the towing community here, all day yesterday was crazy.

My husband has been nocturnal for the past few months for various reasons. He’s been going to bed when I’ve been leaving for work and sometimes been waking up after I’ve gone to bed (depending on what happened that day). He’s had way too many days where he’s awake for more than 24 hours. Poor baby.

Anyway, yesterday morning, 5am, my bladder woke me up and since he had said he planned on coming to bed after he ran out for sodas for the morning (yes, he does that), I checked on him in the living room, where he was watching a movie.

It turned out that his plan to come to bed was stymied when he saw a car slowly drive into a ditch and he checked on the potentially drunk driver and passenger, offering to pull them out of the ditch with his Explorer IF the deputies he’d called out said that the driver was okay to drive. The driver was not cleared to drive and had to go to the sheriff’s office, another tow truck was called out for the vehicle, and my hubby offered to drive the passenger home. This was at midnight, the morning of the 13th.

So, at 5am, I chatted with him about the call and he told me about spending an hour or so chatting with a different deputy on duty (probably at one of the convienience stores my hubby can usually be found in at 3am 3 or 4 days a week (because he does that ☺)). He asked me if I’d like a painting done by the deputy for my birthday, which, duh, of course I would ☺.

Anyway, as we were talking, the phone rang from either the county sheriff or state police asking if he could do a tow. In talking with dispatch, he determined that the tow trucks he has available were probably too small for the work vehicle needing to be towed, so he recommended the other companies on their list with bigger tow trucks.

[Later, he was talking with the guy who did get this one, who bragged that the front wheels of his tow truck were 2 feet off the ground when he decided to use his other wenchline and an oak tree to keep the front of the tow truck on the ground. Tow truck drivers are a weird bunch, haha.]

So, at 6:30, I went back to bed for another hour before work.

I actually had an easy ride to work. No problems whatsoever. We’d all chipped in for doughnuts,too!

Meanwhile, shortly after I’d crossed into Suffolk on my way eastbound on highway 17, there was an accident on the westbound side, in part caused by a school bus stopping to pick up kids. The guy who hit the car had apparently switched lanes and didn’t see the car already stopped for the bus. The bus and children on it weren’t harmed in any way. One of the mechanics at the shop Hubby tows for was surprised to see him so early and was even more surprised to hear about an accident happening right after he’d gone through the same stretch of road.

While I was having an easy day at work and enjoying doughnuts, there was another accident Hubby was called for probably around 2:30, involving a horse trailer and the vehicle pulling it. But, he got there with the tow truck after the driver arrived with a spare tire, so he got himself put back on top of the rotation list. No horses or people were injured.

At 4:30, he called me to say he probably wouldn’t be home when I got there because he had yet another call for an accident.

Well, at 4:30, I had already decided to take highway 58 to 10 to get home because the traffic reporter on the radio had hinted at how bad traffic was on my usual, interstate, route. But, I figured there’d be no harm in using the interstate to get to 58 since it’s a shorter distance with a higher speed limit that way.

WELL! I got to the interchange where 58 and 664 “dance”, and everyone from 664 (the left two lanes, henceforth christened lanes 1&2) were merging over to the left lane of 58 (which gets the right two lanes, i.e. 3&4) to get around something.

So, from left to right there are lanes 1,2,3,4.

 The something was a VA state police car half in lane 2, and half in lane 1 (diagonal), blocking a car in lane 1. It was not creating a safety zone like for an accident or traffic stop, but as though the cop had cut the car off from running away. The pulled over car had all kinds of chalk paint on the back window like a kid had graduated high school or something. It was weird

But, anyway, once everyone on 664 got around that one, and the people in lanes 3&4 merged into 1 or 2 as their travelling needs were, I saw that there was a real fender bender in lane 1, but at least it was far enough up that there is a shoulder to pull over into, unlike where Mr. State Police was parked. However, the gap between Mr. State Police and the real accident was enough that some people had jumped back into lane 1, only to realize that their lane was blocked again. At least there was a safety truck with arrow board arriving at that scene, though he appeared confused (the arrow board was actually flipping to the closed position as he drove up, like he’d put it down for Mr. S.P. only to be told he was at the wrong scene, so he thought he had to go a lot further to find his accident). Mr. S.P. was too far away to create a safety zone, so it was two separate incidents.

Any who, since I’d already decided on 58, I had stayed in lane 3 the whole time, leaving room for mergers on both sides. Slow going, but no real problems.

About halfway between where I got on 58 and the exit for 10, a cop with his blue lights flashing (probably state police) came through one of the crossovers from eastbound to westbound (I was heading westbound) and I cringed at the potentials for where he was going. We started slowing down shortly thereafter.

Well, shortly before the exit for Wilroy Rd, there was an accident. A tractor trailer was sitting in the center median’s grass, more on the westbound side than the eastbound, though he was facing eastbound and you could see all the branches and shrubbery on the ground and in his grill. There isn’t a lot of shrubbery in that median, it’s mostly just grass, but he sure went through that one. One poor bush/tree was reduced to being a lonely 4ft high stem. I could not see any other damaged vehicles, though there was at least one fire truck and other emergency vehicles completely blocking traffic on the eastbound side and there was another fire truck facing the wrong direction on our westbound inner shoulder. I’m hoping that this was all precautionary. I can’t find any news reports about this accident, which makes me think there were no serious injuries or fatalities.

Anyway, I finally got home, Hubby was still out and told me he was more interested in bed than dinner, so I had thought about going for Pad Thai. Except, given what I so far knew about the day, I decided it was safer to eat frozen pizza, haha.

Hubby got home and we chatted a bit until dispatch called again. For one of the cars he’d towed, the driver was released from custody quickly and the deputy was giving the driver a lift to the shop so he could pick up his car. This is not normal, but given what the circumstances were, I’m glad the deputy was nice this way. The guys driver’s license had hit for a warrant that should have been removed, because the issue had been properly dealt with, but hadn’t. It sucks that he still had to pay for the tow and after hours gate fee and I wish/hope that there is someway for him to get reembursed by the people who didn’t do their job.

Anyway, at 9pm, Hubby finally got to bed. I went to bed shortly before 10.

At 10:45 pm, the phone rang again. I believe Hubby said it was a DUI as he got dressed, but I don’t know. I was only partially awake when he was on the phone with dispatch. Sigh. What a crazy Friday the 13th!

4 Tips for an Egalitarian Marriage

My pinterest homepage is full of the usual mix of crafts (especially note cards), gardening, recipes, funny animals, and “helpful” blog posts about making your marriage stronger.

I’m a curious soul, so I generally read these latter posts, figuring that somewhere in them there must be something helpful.

Yeah…not really. All of the ones that propagate my pinterest are those that at face value seem great, but when you really start thinking about them, they’re really sexist and misogynistic, even though they’re all written by loving wives.

Here’s the problem: they all are written with women in mind and generally that woman is actually seeking help for a problem in her marriage. Most of the “solutions” offered are ones that the wife can implement without her husband even really understanding that there is a problem. When I picture my own marriage trying to do some of these tips (“Have a weekly husband/wife meeting” for example), I can only snicker. I mean, the idea is that you pencil each other into your busy schedules so that you can discuss the upcoming week, which is pretty ridiculous when this is your spouse we’re talking about. “Honey, I want to schedule a meeting with you so that we can discuss scheduling future meetings…”

This is as bad as scheduling sex! Or really scheduling anything in your marriage!

I guess life is different when you have kids, but honestly, if your husband in involved with the kids (like he should be!), he doesn’t need to have a weekly meeting for you to tell him that Timmy has baseball practice on Thursday and it’d be nice for him to be there. Because, you know, he should already be planning to attend like he does every week.

If Suzie has a tonsillectomy scheduled for next Monday, Dad shouldn’t need a meeting to tell him that Suzie will need him to help hold her hand.

The tips that piss me off the most are those which tell women that they should “love their spouse more”. You have to remember the type of women these posts are going to affect most–those who feel like their marriage is on the rocks. Most of these bloggers are very anti-divorce. For them, it is a woman’s responsibility to keep the household together, regardless of her personal feelings.

It’s really easy for a desperate woman to forgive her husband for everything, but it’s not emotionally healthy. She can decide to be submissive to his will and smile to the world while inside she’s dying. This is abuse. And telling a woman that if she just loves her husband more he’ll change is flat wrong.

Yes, it is imperative that you love your husband! BUT, loving him should not mean sacrificing any aspect of your own well being! If you find yourself wondering why you married him, you need to identify the actual problems with your marriage (are you working too hard so that he can play?) and address them. Trying to remember the good times of your relationship won’t help if your husband is no longer the man you married. People do change and that’s both a good and a bad thing in a marriage (depending on if you are growing and changing together).

Anyway, enough of my rant. Here’s my 4 tips for a happy and healthy egalitarian marriage (because you two are partners in life).

  1. SPEAK. AND LISTEN. Seriously, your husband should be your best friend. Treat him as such. Talk to him about what’s going on in your life. Your likes, your dislikes. Vent to him. Listen to him when he needs to vent. If you ever feel like you can’t say something, anything, to your husband for whatever reason, run, don’t walk away from this relationship. That isn’t what a marriage should be!
  2. SPLIT THE CHORES. You both live in the house, you both have equal responsibility to keep it clean. Of course, your family situation is probably different than mine and that’s cool! Dividing the chores equally doesn’t really mean that the chores are divided perfectly in half. A lot of tasks make up all that goes into running a household and you should split them up in such a way that makes the most sense to you and your family (children should also be put to work maintaining the household).

    When splitting chores, be mindful of the time you and/or your spouse spend working and commuting (seriously, give each other extra credit for that commute!). Since I work full time and my husband works part time, it is more fair for him to do more of the housework. Plus, he’s the real mess maker of the two of us.

  3. SPLIT THE BILLS. I realize that this is difficult in families with only one income earner…

    Actually, I’m scared to picture my life if I were dependent on other people for money. I’m one of the odd people who in high school was loaning my parent’s money. Even though I wasn’t earning all that much to start with (just mowing/raking my grandma’s yard), but I didn’t spend it, either.

    But, if you’re cool about getting an allowance from your spouse, that’s fine. That’s your life. I wouldn’t want it, but that’s me.

  4. HAVE TIME FOR YOURSELF.  You and your husband are two individual people. You are not joined at the hip. You have separate interests. So, enjoy them! Apart! Do not be afraid of your independence.

    You and your husband should spend lots of time together. I recommend eating together 99% of the time, but you know what, sometimes your husband is going to get a police call in the middle of you cooking dinner and if you don’t eat you will literally tear him a new asshole because low blood sugar affects you that way (true story).

    But, if your husband enjoys working on cars, you don’t have to be involved with this. I quite enjoy shooing him out the door to play with his friends so that I can watch what I want on TV instead of having to share with him. This actually makes the time we do spend together that much sweeter!

 

I imagine that the author’s of those blogs I mentioned earlier would have a conniption if they read that last bit of advice (about spending time apart). I guess they feel like a marriage on the rocks is one in which the individuals of the couple are “growing apart” and the only way to combat this is to spend more time together.

I think it’s important to identify why your relationship is “growing apart”, because honestly, you can spend every waking moment physically together, but not be connecting emotionally. It’s funny that they’ll recommend remembering the “good old days”, but would be afraid for people to reconnect with being independent.

I just finished a book where the main character thought that she wasn’t ready for marriage because she didn’t want to give up her independence. What had instigated this thought was her sister’s husband clarifying with the sister her plans to going to the main character’s house for a late evening. It is not losing independence to tell your husband that you are going out. But, you have lost your independence if your husband tells you that you aren’t allowed to go out (this is an abusive relationship: RUN!).

marriage-2
A cute couple, but I don’t think couples can be defined by gender. You love who you love! 🙂

Why I don’t overreact when my husband falls over.

My husband is 19 years older than me and he has a heart condition that causes him to overheat (he had the “widow maker” heart attack when he was 39, before we met). He had a stroke a year after the heart attack (still before we met) which has left his left side alternatively ultra sensitive and completely numb. To top it all off, shortly after we started dating the pickup truck he was driving while towing a boat  was rear-ended by a tractor trailer and he got chronic vertigo from the accident.

In other words, he’s normally only about a half step away from hitting the ground.

Tonight we had our bowling league and it was very warm in the building even before we started. He was sweating profusely and with about 3 frames left in the 2nd game, he was looking so bad I told him I’d hogtie him if he even joked about bowling the 3rd game. He tends to push himself too hard. Luckily we were already on the same page.

In the 10th frame of the second game he threw a spare, which definitely looked like he’d done everything in his power to stay straight. As he walked back to push the button to reset the pins, I was pretty sure that he was either going to fill it with a 1 or he was going to hit the floor.

Now, he doesn’t actually fall very often! In fact, I think I’ve only seen him fall maybe once, though he’s told me about numerous occasions when he has fallen and I haven’t been around, but most of these have been in ditches while retrieving a car as a tow truck driver or not being able to get out of bed properly. On flat ground, he’s usually more or less stable, though he’s often catching himself on tables, or at the bowling alley, the ball return and wall (he likes lane 16 because of the wall!).

Anyway. When he let go of the ball for his fill, it looked straight for the pocket and I was bracing myself for him to hit the ground. He nearly caught himself, but then, down he went.

I stayed in my chair. I did not jump up and rush towards him. I guess to an outsider I appeared like I didn’t care that my husband had just hit the ground.

But really, I’d never taken my eyes off of him. Since I knew he was going to fall, I was watching to make sure he landed properly. He’s twice my weight, so there’s no way I could have caught him without him crushing me, so the only thing I could do was watch and see whether he’d land properly or whether he’d seriously hurt himself.

As he started to go towards the floor, I’d seen that he’d gone into his stumble backwards, meaning that he was falling butt first. This is good! He’d twisted his body somewhat, so I thought he’d landed more on one butt cheek than the other, but it turns out that he’d bumped his knee when he’d landed. However, from watching the way he fell, I knew he hadn’t actually twisted anything, which he confirmed after the fact.

Once he was on the ground, I still didn’t get up. I was still watching him. Two guys who were up to bowl after he’d finished (one off either lane next to him) came over to help him up. He refused the hands as I knew he would and levered himself back to his feet.

First, I know from personal experience as a klutz who trips a lot, a person who has just wiped out needs a minute or two to put their senses back together, so running over to drag them to their feet isn’t very helpful. Second, I know that most people who have just fallen down are embarrassed about looking stupid in front of a crowd and would love it if everyone just ignored what just happened.

He was able to get up on his own terms and without pain, or rather, without any worrisome pain that would come from a serious injury. In other words, he was fine from the fall.

I was concerned about the overheating, though. He definitely looked done in, BUT, I have seen him look worse. He has nitroglycerin pills for emergencies and I have seen him look terrible right before taking one of them. Tonight, he didn’t look like he needed one and I don’t believe he took one. He really just needed to get out to his car where he could blast the AC and get his body temperature back where it needed to be and I was torn between making him actually sit a moment and getting his shoes changed so he could run outside.

By the way, though he has taken the nitro roughly once every few months, there has never been anything on his heart monitor report that has ever indicated that he really needed it.

I gave him about 10 minutes outside before I went to check on him. One of the bowling alley employees had given him a rag full of ice to put on his neck, which was kind of her. He’d put it on even though he really hates the feeling of dampness on his neck (I think he was just being polite; he told me that he started feeling better as soon as he got outside where it was at least 10 degrees cooler). He really did look a lot better while sitting in his car and he was on the phone with his son, so I felt fine leaving him out there while I went back to bowl the 3rd game.

20 or so minutes later I started worrying about him a little because usually when he overheats enough to skip the 3rd game, he comes back inside within a couple frames, but this game was half over. So I went back outside and he was simply still on the phone with his son. He came back inside a short while later and while not looking 100% (for him), he looked a heck of a lot better than he had!

I know that I was probably the least worried person who’d seen him fall, but then, I’m not someone who gets frazzled during an emergency. Generally I fall apart after the emergency is over, but since I never felt that he was in any real danger, there was no reason for me to fall apart at all.

It’s not like when my dad dehydrated himself a few years ago and fell twice at home.

When my mom found him on the floor, she started screaming hysterics. My brother was baffled. And I took charge. I got him up and conscious and was able to walk him outside to await the paramedics my mom had managed to call (911 sent out fire and police as well because she’s was in a panic and not good at explaining the emergency). The paramedics actually walked right past my dad, who was looking fine-ish on the porch, until we told them that the fallen person was right there. They looked him over, took his blood pressure, and said that they couldn’t find anything wrong with him. He declined any medical attention and since everything seemed okay, we told them that they could leave and my dad got up to go back inside.

I was following close behind him and right inside the front door, he went down again. Luckily this time I was able to get my arms under his armpits and more or less lowered him to the ground. Okay, really it was a controlled fall because I’m 4’10.5″, 120 lbs and my dad is 5’10”, 160 lbs and I couldn’t actually keep him upright. When I caught my dad, I knew that we were both hitting the floor, so I just tucked my leg under me and sat down hard.

Hence why I wasn’t too concerned about my husband’s fall: he’d essentially done the same thing tonight.

I told my brother to run out and get the paramedics again; they were still parked in the driveway doing paperwork. They helped get my dad into his bed (where he wanted to be) and then helped him get into the car when I told him that he was going to the hospital and he could either ride in the car or the ambulance.

I calmly drove my dad to the hospital in his car. My brother drove my mom in his truck–they rode separately because my mom needed to grab some stuff from the house for my dad and it was easier for them to just come behind me. I hadn’t been able to find my phone during the 5 minutes it took for the paramedics to get him into the car, so I’d just grabbed my dad’s.

At the hospital, I parked the car next to the emergency entrance and went inside to get an orderly to help me get my dad inside. Once he was in a wheelchair and in the hands of a nice nurse, I had to move the car into a parking spot.

At this point, I pretty much lost my shit. The emergency was out of my hands and I was no longer able to keep it together. I had no idea why my dad had suddenly fainted twice.  I was in tears, trying to see well enough to get into a proper parking spot. I’m surprised that the only thing I hit was the curb at the emergency entrance which was curved and I couldn’t see where it ended and the road towards parking spaces started.

When I got the car into a parking spot, I called my husband (he was my boyfriend of less than a year at the time). Well, I was using my dad’s phone, which is connected via Bluetooth to the car. I hate Bluetooth! I had dialed the phone normally, but it decided to connect to the car’s radio, so I had the phone up to my ear, but my husband’s voice was coming out of the speakers. I was speaking into the mouthpiece, but the microphone is actually in the roof above the driver’s seat. In other words, I’m sitting there blubbering like an idiot, trying to explain to him what had happened and where we were and that I wanted him there NOW, all while getting incredibly pissed that I couldn’t understand him and he was having trouble understanding me!

Luckily he did get the message and arrived in I think record time. He was very good at calming me down and getting my mind off of every worst case scenario; his son too, who he’d brought since he wasn’t sure what the situation required.

It took about 24 hours for the doctors to determine that my dad had just severely dehydrated himself (though he perked up within an hour of them giving him his first bag of fluids as soon as he’d been properly admitted). He spent an additional two days in the hospital as they tried to figure out how he’d dehydrated himself and debated whether to continue the “battle prep” for the colonoscopy.

You see, that’s what he’d been doing when he’d dehydrated himself. He’d spend all day drinking Gatorade and laxatives for the colonoscopy he was supposed to get. His doctors were baffled that the battle prep was the cause of the dehydration because the Gatorade was supposed to keep him hydrated.

However, my dad has some weird (UNDIAGNOSED) form of diabetes and he hadn’t even thought about the sugar content of Gatorade when he planned his battle prep. A few weeks later he experimented and drank a bottle of Gatorade and paid attention as he peed out more than he had drank. This is what had happened to cause the severe dehydration, though after 3 nights in the hospital, the doctors still couldn’t figure out the cause. Had my dad been thinking about sugar, he would have chosen a diabetic friendly battle prep and would have been fine. But, because his A1C is practically perfect, his doctors are convinced that he is not diabetic. Dur–he’s able to control his sugars with diet and exercise and has been treating the diabetes for over a decade–before it could start to negatively affect his body!

My dad did enjoy his mini-vacation in the hospital where he was doing as much walking around as he could get away with despite being labeled a fall risk. They even gave him the nifty compression cuffs for his legs!

A Routine Traffic Stop

I have never been pulled over by the police, except for that one time when they were having a DUI checkpoint when I was driving home from the bowling alley. But, this doesn’t stop me from feeling like I have to have a plan should that ever happen to me.

This morning as I drove to work I evaluated the situation in case a cop decided to pull me for whatever reason. I have a slight lead foot (I end up going 5-7 mph over the speed limit usually) and drive a 20 year old SUV. I don’t pay attention to my taillights and could have one out without knowing it (I nearly always turn my lights on, even in broad daylight).

Anyway.

This morning, I realized that if I got pulled over, I would find myself in a bit of a pickle. My wallet, with my driver’s license in it, was in my backpack, which was on the floor of the front passenger seat (this is true about half the time, with the other half being my backpack is in the actual passenger seat). Now, the last time I reached over to the passenger floor while wearing my seat belt, I pulled a muscle in my back/neck and thought I was going to die because it hurt so bad. Virginia has a seat belt law, so taking my seat belt off before the cop sees me wearing it seems like a very bad idea.

Plus, there’s the whole issue of the cop seeing me reach around into my floorboard before he gets the chance to walk up to my car window–what’s he going to think I’ve grabbed?!?!

Did I mention that there’s a whole host of random crap in my backpack and my wallet is usually somewhere at the bottom?

And my registration is in my glovebox, I think (it may be in the center console). One of the two. So again…do I break my neck or risk a lack of seat belt ticket?

So. I guess I should leave my important stuff in their places until the cop gets to the window so he can see my seat belt is on. But then…what’s he gonna think when I ask to start rummaging (seriously, there would be some rummaging going on) in my backpack and my glovebox?

I guess it’s a good thing that I’m a tiny white girl and not a black guy of indeterminate size. Cop is totally going to assume I’m harmless.

Which got me thinking–what would I do if I actually was a black guy of indeterminate size?

Ya know what? I think that if I get pulled over, I’m just going to do what everyone recommends black guys of indeterminate size do: I’m going to leave my seat belt on and I’m going to keep both my hands on the steering wheel (I may even turn my car off so that the cop doesn’t think I’m a flight risk). I will already have the window rolled down. When the cop comes to the window, I’ll be polite and tell the cop that my license is in my wallet in my backpack and that my registration and insurance are in the glove box (you know what? I think I’ll make sure these items are  in my glovebox in a clearly marked envelope). When the cop tells me that I can reach over and pull them out (because that’s how tiny white girls are treated), I will calmly tell him that I’m more comfortable staying as I am and give him (or her) permission to retrieve the relevant items. When the cop looks/acts uncomfortable doing this because I’m a white girl…well, that’s not my problem.

Hmm…thinking about moving my period supplies from their private pocket in my backpack to the main compartment with the rest of my crap, just to add to the awkwardness of the situation, in case the cop is a squeamish guy.

Anyway, what do y’all think? Good plan?

 

3.5 days!!

At the bowling alley tonight I was able to ask him how long he’d gone without a cigarette so far and he admitted to 3.5 days! I’m not sure when he’s counting from and I really couldn’t care less because he survived being outside with some of the smokers, getting a “contact high” without actually smoking himself. While I don’t like the second hand smoke going into his lungs, progress is progress as we work our way to my 3 week goal.

By the way, I have no idea if 3 weeks is actually a magical deadline, but to me it seems like a great place to start.

Oh dear…I literally just realized that he’ll be facing his biggest test later this evening if he goes over to his best friend’s house (yes, they’re both night owls). I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed one of these visits where my husband didn’t smoke at least a few puffs. Good luck, honey! I love you and know you can persevere! Not that he reads this blog or even knows that it exists, haha.

Oh! And last night I was able to ask him if he has a pack somewhere. He answered with a “I really don’t want to talk about this!”, which for some reason I’m taking as a “no”, even though this kind of redirection is typical for him when he’s trying to hide something. It just doesn’t feel like he’s got a pack…yet. But just because he doesn’t have a pack doesn’t mean he won’t beg a cigarette off of someone. It amazed me how easily he was able to get cigarettes off of people when we went through that attempt to quit!

Made me cry

My husband is 19 years older than me (the same age difference as Akinli and Kahlen when she will be released from service). He and I often joke and wish about time travel or magic so we could have more time together.

I like imagining such a world where I travelled his timeline, being a point of happiness even as I couldn’t stick around for obvious reasons. Even though it makes me cry.

“The Siren” by Kiera Cass –

“It was enough to show he thought of me from time to time. Maybe he’d remember me down the road, whatever life he lived, as that girl he’d met one time who he baked a cake with and who knew how to jitterbug.”

Start reading this book for free: http://amzn.to/2aI7bsF

Made me cry

My husband is 19 years older than me (the same age difference as Akinli and Kahlen when she will be released from service). Dennis and I often joke and wish about time travel or magic so we could have more time together.

I like imagining such a world where I travelled his timeline, being a point of happiness even as I couldn’t stick around for obvious reasons. Even though it makes me cry.

“The Siren” by Kiera Cass –

“It was enough to show he thought of me from time to time. Maybe he’d remember me down the road, whatever life he lived, as that girl he’d met one time who he baked a cake with and who knew how to jitterbug.”

Start reading this book for free: http://amzn.to/2aI7bsF

The destructive effects of birth control on marriage…part deux

You know it sucks trying to be a well-rounded, well-researched pain in the ass when you have to write a part two of a post that was never intended because you forgot what your initial complaint was…

So…that sentence above got a little lost. What had happened is that when I first saw Mrs. Anderson’s blog post I got so pissed about her graph and how incomplete it was, I quit reading it and started thinking about everything it implies, but is so wrong about. It took me a few days to actually have time to right my response (because I don’t usually do much of anything after work except veg on the couch with the hubby). When I did finally take some time to write my response Friday night (as we vegged on the couch) because I knew I could stay up as long as needed, of course the historian part of me said that I couldn’t respond to something I wasn’t entirely sure of the context of, which meant I had to go back and read her post and you can see the rant that was the result of that. I’d gotten so caught up in the sexism of her post that I’d completely forgotten about the scientific and historical arguments I’d thought up at work. It wasn’t until this morning when my husband added another theoretical point on my “he only comes to bed in the morning when I use the bathroom” chart that I laughed about “correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation” and had a literal “oh shit” moment.

Because yeah–I think it’s important for women who are confused enough to seek out the marriage advice of folks like Mrs. Anderson have someone like me writing about everything she wouldn’t dare mention. Like the fact that her chart needs to be read with the understanding that “correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation”.

Here is the offending chart:

50eab-divorcepill

In my previous post I hinted at my offense at this chart because you’ll notice that the blue “Pill” line seems to be tapering off even which some may cheer for, but it doesn’t mean less people are using birth control, just that they’re switching to non-pill methods.

Now, I’m going to analyze this chart a hell of a lot better. The first thing to notice is that the divorce rate is staying relatively consistent now. It’s naive to think that it’s on another upward swing because anything can cause a divorce and in my opinion, divorce is highly preventable (don’t get your panties in a knot quite yet, I’ll get to that in a little while–if I forget, drop me a message and I’ll update this post).

Disclaimer: I have no talent or desire to to an actual statistical analysis of this data. I literally should have failed college statistics (thank you TA for not destroying my poor GPA, I wasn’t stupid enough to continue down that path, so you saved me and I learned my lesson!). The one thing I did eventually learn (via the Environmental Science department, where the statistics calculations we used, while I also failed at them, had more specific meaning to me, so therefore made slightly more sense) is that to be “statistically significant”, the alpha (result of statistical calculations) must be above 0.05. In other words, based on the calculations, it has at least a 95% chance of occurrence to get this FANCY TITLE. That is all that “statistical significance” is–a fancy title. So take it with a grain of salt because something may not be “statistically significant” because it has a 94.99% chance of occurrence. The same is true about a “100 year flood”. The media portrays this like it means “a flood like this only occurs every 100 years”, but in reality the way of calculating this is to take the top 100 floods, put them in order by size with the biggest as #1 and that flood is a “100 year flood” because it has a 1 in 100 probability of occurring IN ANY GIVEN YEAR. A “99 year flood” is the second worse flood and it could be a mere centimeter smaller than the one above it. So in a world with more bigger floods, a “50 year flood” could be less than a foot smaller than a “100 year flood”.

Anyway, so now you know why I’m just going to eyeball this graph to give my analysis. Besides, for what I care about, an eyeball is all I need.

So…what are some of the causes of divorce? This seems like a good place to start. There’s cheating; abuse (mental, physical, sexual, spiritual, etc); one spouse being gay, transgender, bisexual, etc; umm…”irreconcilable differences” (which covers a lot of things); this is depressing, so you get the picture. The point is that this graph is trying to narrow all these causes into one root cause: “The Pill”.

Which now begs the question: why did the divorce rate jump (it did) after The Pill became mainstream? I’m VERY glad you asked!!

WOMEN’S LIBERATION!

Cool. Thank you very much ladies of the past for making it almost socially acceptable for my husband and I to both hyphenate our names because we’re both important parts of this marriage! Considering where things once were, there was no sarcasm intended in that sentence above. I really am grateful for these ladies and it’s a condemnation for where we still need to go that I snark at.

Women’s history is a slow, but forward moving entity. I don’t really want to go all into it, but my studies generally started with what women did during the US Civil War (the abolitionists, the spys), though there is SO much that they did before that. I just haven’t studied it as in depth, so there’s only a few names that pop out at me–Anne Huchinson is one if you want to start a little bit further back, though PLEASE, don’t think it that ever really has a beginning! Women’s history is important, even as it’s usually ignored with the rest of minority history.

To simplify, let’s look at this list of “women’s issues” (issues that women were actively involved in) starting with the US Civil War: Abolition. Rights for freed slaves. Rights for immigrants. Rights for children. Rights for women. All through this there was Temperance, weaving in and out as social ills were blamed on alcohol. Then there was the Women’s Right to Vote, which there were probably as many women for this as there were against. Remember that also during all of the above, these women activists were attacked not only for what they were fighting for, but also because they were acting outside of the realm of women–women were supposed to be under the control of their husbands and fathers or other male relative. To speak out against anything not condoned by their protector made them that much less of a woman, though even when they did have the support of their husband, both sorts of husband was still often accused of being less than a man for not controlling his wife.

Imagine the situation a woman wanting to speak out would be in if she lived in a society where her husband is expected to control her. She’d be terrified to disagree with him because back then it was perfectly acceptable for a husband to hit his wife to keep her submissive. It was legally very difficult for a woman to go after a divorce while very easy for a man to ruin his wife with one–imagine the stigma of being a divorced woman–she can’t find work because she’s no longer “proper”. Gah–there are plenty of books written about this; if you need more information to be able to imagine this Hell, feel free to find one. Or there are lots of good documentaries. Let’s just leave it that there was this “Utopian Ideal” much like the one described by “modern” women who preach about a “Good Christian Wife who is Submissive to her Husband” and then there is REALITY when there are actual laws that prevent women from being independent AND a society that finds it morally acceptable to snub (meaning allow to suffer) women who are divorced, have a child out of wedlock, and, to some extent, who are beaten (there was a line, but it was still a grey area–“rule of thumb” and all that).

Anyway, This is pre-1920, a good place to pause and acknowledge the role of the rest of the world because at this point WWI has just ended, leaving many families without a male head of household. Wars had always left many women in such a state for thousands of years, but never on this kind of scale. This is because there’d been a change in how families earned their living. Before, the work of her husband may not have been socially acceptable for a woman, but she was probably lucky enough to live in a place where since she’d been honorably widowed (and enough of her neighbors were in a similar state) that it was okay for her to take over her husband’s shop or push his plow in the fields. She could game the system in whatever way was necessary and people would overlook it.

But, before the War, factories had been invented and while it may be okay for a woman to run her husband’s general goods store after his death, it was more questionable for her to work in a dim, dirty, factory. Factory girls weren’t proper girls. It might have been okay for a teenager to work in one before she got married, but after marriage she was expected to stay home and raise the children. Once she became a married woman, dirty work was just that: dirty. Scandalous. But, a family has to eat, so a woman did what she had to do and again, because she was probably lucky enough to live in a town where there were many women living a similar life, at least the scandal was minimized and ignored. Women would never brag about their day job in polite society.

Manufacturing during WWI wasn’t such a massive scale that women were expected to work in the factories while the men were away. This was merely women taking the jobs of their deceased husbands to be given up at the time that she found a new husband. REMEMBER THIS!

With WWII, we see those wonderful “Rosie the Riveters” and the “All American Girls Baseball League”. This was a time when factories actually were RECRUITING women to fill jobs vacated by men who’d been shipped overseas. Now, lets go back to what society had been. Before, most women only worked outside of the home because they needed the money to survive. Society encouraged this ideal. If a woman seemed to step outside of the idealized role of wife and mother, she was shunned or at least talked about behind her back. I believe even rambunctious and scandalous Anne of Green Gables quit her teaching job when she became pregnant (if not when she married), thus conforming to the ideal. Laura Ingalls also quit teaching upon pregnancy if not upon marriage.

And now, during WWII, we have the US government (feel free to leave a comment if your country had a similar campaign) actively telling women that they’re needed outside of the home. That they’re actually important to the war effort. Imagine what must have gone through these women’s heads: “Wait, I’m worth more than just my ability to have a child? I’m actually smart enough that you want me to build and fly airplanes, bombs, tanks, etc? You aren’t telling me you want me to be just a placeholder, because I personally am needed?” Even if she wasn’t having these revelations, once she was actually put into these roles, she must have enjoyed the mental stimulation, especially if she was one of those amazingly brave women who were flying airplanes near enemy territory without ammunition (because we all know that a woman isn’t in combat if she isn’t properly armed)!

The same “UNCLE SAM NEEDS YOU!” mentality went into recruiting women into the factories as it did getting men into the trenches. Is it any wonder that women reacted so strongly when they were told that they weren’t needed anymore when the boys came back from war? Yes, many happily went back to being a housewife and mother. Few told their children what they’d done (it was only in 2002 that those WASPs (Women Air Force Service pilots) were allowed to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery and then someone had the nerve to revoke those rights in 2015, though it went back into law this past May). But some really liked the work. They liked being useful as something more than making and raising children. So, women started actively entering and staying in the workforce even after they married and had babies.

Let’s say we’re in the 1950s, now. Women have been expanding their role. They’re still talked about behind their backs and their jobs are considered unimportant (because anybody can be a teacher or a secretary). Depending on the demographics of her town, she’ll be more or less accepted. Think deep south vs. NYC. Also at this point we need to acknowledge that demographics have changed. Fewer people know their neighbors and this downward trend is reaching rock bottom today. When you don’t know your neighbors it’s both very easy to vilify them and also to ignore them, which is why there was (is?) a wide gulf between the homemakers and the working women–both assume that the other is someone she probably isn’t. Anyway, at some point, college is suddenly considered a proper place for a woman (because education is necessary for women to be able to teach their sons to be educated and because college educated men make for good husbands), though they weren’t expected to actually complete a degree other than an Mrs. At least if a woman had a husband, her parents couldn’t completely give up hope that she’d turn out “normal”.

Then came the 1960s. The era of the protest. And women whose mother had potentially worked in a factory during WWII (having been told that she was smart and special to get her there), is now in college and maybe she thinks she’s “smart and special”, too. Like, maybe she’s capable of more than just an Mrs. degree. And as other minorities start to fight to get the same basic rights as white folks, white women start to wonder why their choices are still stigmatized. They begin to protest, too.

Meanwhile, by now the Pill has been developed and is LEGALLY sanctioned for use only within marriage. Even before this condoms existed and were stigmatized even when used by married couples. So, it’s not like the US government has always been pro-free-sex, there were laws on the books that said that you had to prove marriage in order to get birth control. For a relatively long time.

Now, while I’m sure all of you are fascinated by women’s history, I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with the divorce rate. Well, I’ve shown you the progression of Women’s Liberation. From speaking out on husband-approved topics like slavery  all the way to women burning their bras. During that time, women were always faced with the tales of their mothers and grandmothers. Tales of women who, once married, were forced to stay in that marriage no matter how miserable they were. Tales from them about women who’d been shamed (as precautionary tales). But these women of the 1970s didn’t want to be forced into that life. Women-kind, as a sex, had lived through so many changes, why should they as individuals be forced into a life that wasn’t the one that they wanted. Yes, this kind of independence was still stigmatized, but if a man can run off to Paris to become a starving artist, why can’t a woman? During this time of upheaval, the simple truth that came out was “If a man can do this, why can’t I?” That is Feminism. The belief that I’m not less capable of anything simply because I was born with a vagina instead of a penis. And maybe there was/is a little chauvinism of “well, I can do everything a man can do WHILE bleeding for a few days every month AND I can grow a new person inside of me”.

So. The divorce rate. The first thing that had to change was that it became legally as easy for a woman to be granted a divorce as a man. In reality this was a slow process because there were still male judges who were less likely to grant said divorce. But, with time, this changed (that’d be that slow rise of the red divorce line way up above at the graph).

Because, let’s also head way up above to where I started my analysis: what are the causes of divorce? NONE of these are NEW. None of them. There has always been cheating. There has always been abuse. There have always been revelations that one spouse is not heterosexual or has any other sexual dimorphism (PLEASE do not yell at me for not knowing the correct terms to use here–when it comes to gender issues, I’m very sympathetic, but not a scholar. Feel free to correct me in the comments!). There have ALWAYS been irreconcilable differences.

People have always wanted to end their marriages: the problem was that it was socially and legally unacceptable. With Women’s Liberation, this changed. Yes, I’m blaming Women’s Liberation for the high divorce rate and I’m PROUD that it did! Because you know what? I think we’d live in a shitty society if people were forced to stay in relationships with people they don’t want to be with anymore! That situation cannot be healthy for anyone, but especially for any children that are involved!

Now, at this point I want to mollify those of you who got upset when I said that I believe that divorce is highly preventable. Here’s the thing: My husband was married twice before me to two women who sucked. Yes, he loved them at the time that they got married, but they turned out to be awful. Both cheated on him, though he said to at least one of them that he’d accept an open relationship so long as she was honest with him–she wasn’t honest. The rest of his girlfriends were, for the most part, not great (because, one of the things I love about my husband is that he’s always been honest, but gracious, towards his many exes, so I will not stoop to their level and call them trolls).

I think a lot of what eventually happened with them would have been solved by a few weeks of good PRE-marital counselling. I get the vibe that when he was 22 and married his first wife he was really just looking to be a husband and father and thought that what love they had was enough, though she ended up changing on him. In other words, he didn’t know her well enough before he married her. She’d been looking for a dad for her two girls and he probably liked the idea of an instant family. I think I can honestly say that whatever the cause of the divorce, it’s something that could have been spotted before the marriage occurred just by ensuring that both parties are honest with themselves about what they want and having a 3rd party ensure that both parties are being honest with each other by bringing up the hard questions. I doubt that there could ever be a time when the divorce rate hits zero, but if we begin to fashion a society where people are looking for marriages that are based on the right foundations for success, the divorce rate can get very low.

It seems like I haven’t had a post yet comparing a marriage to a wedding. I need to get on top of this.

 

Best Pun EVER!

Okay, so I’ve been having trouble with my milk tasting sour after only a few days of being open in the fridge.

My husband and I are watching Inlawfully Yours, a cute Rom Com. One of the characters is a pastor and as he poured some milk over cereal (out of a wide mouthed glass jar no less), I wondered aloud at how he keeps his milk fresh.

My husband replied that it is in a church (earlier the character said he lives in a room in the back) and that its protected.

So, of course I said, “Well I want some milk that’s been pastorized.”

😀