Wednesday, 5 March 2008

So Much to Say, so Little Time

This caught my eye today while I was reading Feministing. The link was posted in response to an article at CNN about sexual incompatability.

It's about becoming a "Surrendered Wife". I shuddered and threw up a little bit when I read the title. Apparently this is a rather large movement encouraging women to resume traditional gender roles to foster a more loving and romantic marriage. The general idea is that a woman should completely relinquish control of household decisions amd finances as well as being a door mat and accepting her husband as the leader in the home. According to the author women who wish to follow this (shudder) "philosophy" (I'm not loving this wisdom, can you tell?) should stop criticising their husbands, accept gifts graciously and embrace their vulnerability.

Some of those points are valid. Criticising your husband for the way he leads his life is harmful, unless it has a negative impact on you and your children, such as with drug abuse or alcoholism. He deserves to be respected as an adult capable of making his own decisions. If you don't respect him chances are he won't respect you.

Accepting gifts graciously is just common courtesy. Embracing your vulnerability is not necessarily a bad thing, but taking things too personally is.

But there is a difference between sharing responsibility and allowing your husband to make all the decisions. I've only been married 6 1/2 months and we have no children so I haven't faced the 10+ years of a disfunctional marriage but after more than 5 years with my husband I know that he does not like to be in control of everything, so we share.

Women do need to be willing to share and compromise but we should not be willing to discount our opinions and feelings. Without a few disagreements, how can you have that oh-so-good make-up sex? I did not agree to give myself up when I married him. I am allowed to disagree with him respectfully. I am allowed to manage our house respectfully and I am allowed to expect that my husband will participate in our life while we maintain seperate identities. Every wife is allowed to do that, and should not have to become subserviant to her husband unless they both get off on that kind of thing. I will not "surrender" to his every whim, nor should any other woman.

I think my big problem with this is that I am so possessive of my self and my identity. Being an individual gives me more power than being someone's wife and as much as I love my husband and love being his wife I am my self first and foremost. I'm not "his wife, Mary" I am "Mary, his wife".

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