This article appeared as a blog post on AVFM forums by Deidre. It is edited and republished here with her permission. Deidre shares her perspective from a Christian point of view, but the principles and challenges are universal. EDs
A recent Washington Post article, “Women are more likely to initiate divorce,” discusses the problem of modern day marriage, and how women initiate divorce 70% of the time. That is an alarming stat, and contrary to what many people may think when it comes to divorce these days. Nearly 55% of all marriages end in divorce, and if you do the math, it would seem that any way we slice it, women are the leading causes of why marriages are on the decline, and why divorce has become such a popular past time.
But, why are women initiating divorce 70% of the time? The article paints a very grim picture of what marriage is supposed to ‘look like’ for the average American couple. Look at the first sentence, it basically sets the stage for how women have such high expectations, and that we deserve to have everything we want in a mate – from a best friend to a sensational lover, to a guy that has an awesome job, to someone who will be sensitive and listen to us when we’re blue. Of course, this isn’t entirely unreasonable, I’m engaged, and I’d like to think that I’ve found quite a catch. But, my fiancé is not the sum total of biceps and a bank account, in fact, those things are not what I’ve fallen in love with, at all. He is a true leader and isn’t afraid to lead me. Because we are both Christians, we embrace ‘servant leadership,’ which is somewhat along the lines of how Jesus led His followers – by serving them, first.
In my humble opinion, THAT is why women are initiating divorce…they simply don’t respect their men for who they are as men, anymore – and they have allowed themselves to listen to the ever-changing voices of a feminist narrative, that drones on and on about ‘how happiness has nothing to do with men.’ The voices that a woman hears on a daily basis, come from the news, family, social media, her social circle, and her work or college campus environment. Many feminists of today are lost and confused, but they find themselves hanging onto their feminist ideals, hoping that it will all pay off in the end. They have decided to view marriage as a way to control men and their money, and sadly, this is empowering to them. So, some of them marry, and as they call the shots in their relationships, the man’s role dwindles into a sort of puppet, the wife being the pseudo-puppeteer.
A friend of mine is going through a divorce right now; she is in her late 20’s, and she can’t put her finger on what it is that has made her so ‘’unhappy.’’ I’ve asked her to reconsider her decision many times, but she is determined to forge ahead, convinced that she picked the wrong man, that he doesn’t listen enough, doesn’t desire her enough, doesn’t find her interesting enough, etc. There are days it’s painful to listen to, because her husband is a pretty awesome guy, and he is devastated over his wife’s decision to leave him. A few things come to mind with my friend, and why she is losing her marriage. First, she has some serious ‘daddy issues,’ and I can relate. If a woman has issues from her childhood due to a possibly overbearing or potentially abusive type of father, she will carry those problems in an invisible suitcase, to every relationship she has, after that. When I came back to faith last year, the desire to get right with my father was of paramount importance to me. But, even if one is an atheist, you have to dig deep into yourself and figure out why you are unhappy and admit that your unhappiness is negatively affecting your ability to trust, and love others, namely your partner. Your unhappiness isn’t your partner’s job to ‘fix.’
So, there’s that aspect of things with my friend. But, apart from her unwillingness to reconcile with her father, is her desire to emasculate her husband. Perhaps, she doesn’t even realize she is doing it on a conscious level, but she is doing it. I’ve been around them both at times, and her scolding sounds like a mother reprimanding her young son for stealing a cookie from the jar before dinner. It’s embarrassing for her, and marriage, in general. Now, everyone has a bad day, we all are perfectly imperfect… but, her henpecking is consistent, and it eroded her husband’s masculinity, over time. They’ve only been married a few years, but he has grown complacent, silent, and afraid to upset the apple cart. The more he tries to ‘please her,’ by letting her have her way all the time, the less she respects him. The more pampering he does for her, the less she respects him. The more giving her ‘’time out with her friends’’ while he sits home alone, the less she respects him. The more she ignores his sexual advances, the less he initiates…and, the less, she respects him, the more she expects him to do the very things she won’t do in return, and he obliges…the less she respects him. What a tragedy when she realizes that she was the catalyst as to why she lost respect for her own husband.
Men desire respect. They also desire love, of course…but respect is something that when a man knows his partner isn’t offering to him, he will lose interest in her. This is my hypothesis as to what has transpired in their marriage. She lost respect because she wants to lead her man, and is failing at it…and he lost that loving feeling, because he wants to lead her, and she won’t permit it. He is devastated just the same, but in the long run, he will be better off without such a toxic marriage. I love my friend, but she is a lost soul, and just another causality caught up in the feminist system, that tells women they can do as they wish, married or not, and to hell with anyone who tells them otherwise.
In Christianity, the idea of submission in marriage is discussed in the New Testament.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Part of the reason marriages are failing these days, is that men are being stripped of their authentic masculinity by the feminist movement. Many men marry feminists, thinking everything will be fine, but if you are a traditionalist man, your marriage will be a hotbed of a constant struggle if you marry a feminist. The main reason for that is that feminists don’t respect men. That message is loud and clear in mainstream media, social media, and in film and television programming. They claim that they are for equality of both genders, but they’re not. Women are often shown in commercials these days with no man present, children in the background, and she is managing to cook dinner, talk to a client on her cell phone, and help with her kids’ homework, creating this idea that men are not needed, and women can ‘do it all.’ She is her own hero, booyah! Meanwhile, I can’t help but think the woman in the advertisement must be extraordinarily exhausted.
So, you have this power struggle in relationships, women wanting to lead men because feminism tells them that they can, and men acquiescing to their wives because the thought of losing their bank accounts and children in a divorce, sounds worse than the hell they’re presently in.
And what do women want, exactly? On a very primal level, women need to be loved, and men need to be respected. The two go hand in hand, and when one lacks, the other follows.
There needs to be a gradual getting back to traditional lifestyles, but this doesn’t mean that either side becomes something that they’re not. Many feminists think that if they submit to their husband’s leadership, they will somehow be viewed as weaklings, unable to think for themselves. Sigh, that is such a distorted view of that Biblical concept. Rather, submission to men in marriage means trusting them enough to do the right thing. Respecting them enough, to make awesome decisions. And men not abusing their authority in the household, as they lead.
It would stand to reason, that if you love someone, you want to be their greatest supporter. But, many women compete for the leadership role in their relationships, and many men are permitting themselves to be led by their wives. It’s proving disastrous for all parties involved, including children who are lost in the labyrinth of it all.
So, down the road, I can’t help but wonder, what will come of my friend, long after she is divorced? Will she still be unhappy? Will she still be a staunch feminist? Or will she have come to the realization, that her emptiness comes from a place that had nothing to do with her husband, and everything to do with her indoctrination into feminism, and how badly it has led her astray?
Pain is a very good teacher, and in some ways, I hope she feels a tremendous sting from her divorce because that pain will propel her to change. Hopefully, it will enable her to see the value of men, and how honest; good men are hard to find.
And how we as women, need to respect them.