False Assumptions About The Nature of Marriage

Image result for husband wife housework painting

Just wanted to share a comment I made to a commenter on this article [How acting like a feminist can ruin your marriage] at The Federalist.

OLO101 says

“Few women want to waste their time and intelligence in being a glorified sex slave house cleaner”

I responded

“Of course they don’t. But who says this is what marriage is? A husband and wife have sex because they desire each other. One doesn’t force or make the other one have sex. Not if they love them. If a husband is treating his wife like a sex slave, then he’s not being a husband by definition. A husband is a partner for life who has vowed to love, honor and cherish. If he does other than this (or the wife, for that matter), then they are breaking their vows. The wife should call her husband out on this because she has the right, by virtue of the vows, to expect him to keep up his end of the bargain as does he. A wife doesn’t have to be a sex slave. That’s not what was promised her when he made the vows to her. She, likewise, made the same vows and has her own responsibility to keep them.

Sex is, however, a part of marriage so if a woman doesn’t desire it to be a part of her life, she is free not to marry.

About housekeeping. It’s a necessary part of life for everyone to have to clean their home unless you want to live in squalor. If you can afford to pay someone to do it, that’s great. If not, it must be done. It’s actually a mark of intelligence, IMO, when a person can see the good in it and creates that order in their environment for the purpose of sustaining hygiene, providing nourishment, and organizing space that makes room for creativity, study, intellectual pursuits and leisure. It’s actally the mentally ill or those with very low IQ who, oftentimes, fail to see the necessity of it or don’t have the capacity to create that order in a sustainable way. Are you saying that housework isn’t something worthy of an individual’s time or intelligence? Are you saying that’s it’s work that’s beneath anyone over a certain level of IQ and only the unintelligent should be relegated to it? I hope not.

Yes, it has always fallen to the woman to do the greater share but that was because she was there most of the time and had more time to devote to it. It was a division of labor. In a good marriage, each spouse should appreciate the contribution of the other and recognize it’s value. Was the huband’s contribution more valuable than the wife’s? If having a clean and orderly living environment is important and must be done, it has it’s own value and not a small one either. There are two questions here. Should it be ONLY the wife’s responsibility? and Should it be the wife’s ONLY contribution? No. Not if it’s looked at as a necessary and valuable labor that MUST be done.  It’s up to each individual couple to decide how to divide it. If they both work outside the home, then they divide up chores according to who is better at certain ones or has a stronger opinion on how certain ones must be done. If there are any left over after that, perhaps they rotate those. Or they can hire out for any neither wants or has the time to do if they can afford it. If someone works part-time outside the house, then they will do a larger share than the other because they have the time, not because they are a man or woman. If one works and one stays home, then obviously the stay-at-home, will do the most, while the one who works full-time, will pitch in a little in the evenings and weekends as needed.

If you don’t want to have sex or to clean your home, you are free to not do so. No one is compelled to marry but the local government might get involved if you don’t clean your home and it starts to affect your health and safety or that of your neighbors.

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2 thoughts on “False Assumptions About The Nature of Marriage

  1. I think what you said was one of the best layperson’s explanations on the nature of marriage. What I liked was your emphasis on the nature of marriage, rather than dissecting what a husband’s role or wife’s role ought to be. You’d think mentioning the division of labor would be common sense, but these days…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Maea. I’m not real big on rigid roles for the husband and wife to the point that they don’t make sense in the lived reality for that couple. I prefer to think in terms of gender and/or individual capacity rather than gender roles. For sure, each sex in general does have certain strengths and weaknesses to the point that their particular capacity in the division of labor does fall into more traditional lines. This should be deeply respected because each person is doing work for which they are best suited. However, when a person’s strengths are better suited for work outside those traditional lines OR even if the labor isn’t their strong suit but is needed in a certain area due to circumstances, that should be deeply respected as well.

      What got under my skin with the comment I responded to was a portrayal of traditional marriage as something that it is not nor ever was. It was the disrespect towards that common division of labor as something that was sinister and oppressive rather than just a natural outworking of each sexes particular capacity in the business of getting on with family life. No matter how the labor is divided between that which is more interactive with the outside world and that which is more domestic, it’s all very, very important in terms of sustaining the couple or a family.

      Like

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