I Do | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

I Do

A friend of mine sent me this little picture and I giggled uncontrollably for about half an hour. I wanted to post it so that others may enjoy its snarkiness, but I really didn't know the text that should be included. I mean, I have my own notions about the "Loveliness of Marriage" that has absolutely nothing to do with society's.

So, into the infinite wisdom that is Google, I sent the phrase "Why Women Should Marry" and found an interesting group of articles that made me go "hmmmmm". So, just consider this a very scientific Google experiment about the so-called sanctity of marriage.

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One was a piece in the Gadflyer about marriage and government. They site some "studies" that really don't have a source, so I'm leery of their numbers. But, I work with underpriviledged populations and won't disagree with them. This is mainly because I have found them to be true in my experiences. I'll also give the author the benefit of the doubt considering she is an advovate of battered women.

But, listen to this...(for those of you that don't know, TANF is "welfare".)

As most people know, women on TANF face a daunting complex of problems hindering their rise out of poverty, from weak education and job skills to insufficient child care to inadequate transportation. But less attention has been given to just how many TANF recipients have been victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. In fact, studies consistently show that about 60 percent of women on TANF are victims of domestic violence and abuse and several studies show rates above 80 percent. In Oklahoma, a state at the forefront of marriage promotion programs, 47 percent of divorced women who had received government assistance cited domestic violence as a reason for their divorce, as compared to only 17 percent of those who had never received government assistance. And 70 percent of those who had received assistance cited "too much conflict," often another way to describe violence and abuse, as the reason for their divorce.

Battered women are not simply some small subset of the population who can be dealt with separately; they are the core of TANF recipients.

Marriage promotion programs, therefore, must be viewed in the context of battered women's lives and how poverty and children affect their decision-making. Most moms I know will do anything for their children and this often includes putting up with years of violence and abuse. When you tell a woman who is desperately trying to keep a roof over her head, put food on her table, and buy a birthday gift or two for her child that if you get married or stay married you will get an extra $100 a month, or a $2,000 one-time bonus, or be helping your children (and conversely hurting them if you get divorced), or will be fulfilling your biblical role – all strategies tried by states or promoted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – you are encouraging battered women to stay in abusive relationships.

Young mothers, one of the key targets of the Administration's efforts, are particularly vulnerable. Young women report the highest rates of domestic violence and 26 percent of very young mothers, girls 13-17, report such violence in the first three months after the child is born. Homicide, usually at the hand of an intimate partner, is in fact the leading cause of death for pregnant and recently pregnant women.

Wow. Sixty percent of women on welfare are victim's of domestic abuse. I just like that statement because it blows the whole "welfare queen" thing out of the water. That myth really chaps my ass because it does nothing to explain most of the families I have met who receive government assistance who are merely doing the best they can. There is a huge stereotype concerning women who 'work the system' or try to get the most benefits for their family.

What I want to know is how much money do you think these women are getting? Because if you can live on around $550 a month with two kids...you tell me and I'll come over and help you write a book on financial acumen. Because, you rock.

The fact that these programs then also encourage women to stay in marriages that are abusive is just another way they undermine a woman's ability to keep herself and her children safe.

So, what I need to know, is how the government can really put forth a platform on which marriage is sacred and then promote an atmosphere that also promotes abusive marriages?

But, beyond that, another article I found also absolutely blows my mind in relation to how "wonderful" marriage can be....how about marriage between a "recovered homosexual" and a woman as part of a Christian from "Gay to God" class? Because, I'm thinking that really honors the institution as well. They aren't allowed to get married and be happy with a spouse of their choosing that is the same sex. But, we sure will bless them and let them go on their way once they take a wife and have a child. Two people that are then standing in the middle of a minefield of this man's personal struggles thru no fault of their own.

That really honors women as well, don't you think?

On a purely statistical basis this should not be so. The majority of people to whom we minister are single. What does this mean? An obvious answer would be that most men, after their healing had progressed to a certain point, do get married. This is probably true, but I want to suggest a correlation between healing and marriage that could be a good bit more significant for our ministries. These men are not married because they are more healed, but that they are more healed because they got married. In other words, marriage is a part of the healing process.

I see the red flags going up. You mean that you cannot be healed if you don't get married? Are you saying that marriage proves that you are healed? Is this the old statement that marriage will take care of your homosexuality? No, no, no; none of the above. I certainly know from personal experience that marriage does not heal homosexuality. I was secretly homosexual when I married, and I was homosexually active for ten years in the marriage and almost destroyed several lives in the process. The married men who come to our ministry for help -- probably about one-third of our clients -- are proof that marriage does not equal healthy heterosexuality.

Now, the one sentence that I really like is that last one. The one that says "marriage does not equal healthy heterosexuality". No, it doesn't. I would have thought that was fairly apparent. But, that's just me.

This article makes me angry... well, just because. Its an excerpt from the book Why Men Marry Some Women And Not Others. It makes me angry because it doesn't even begin to wonder why some women marry some men and not others. It perpetuates the myth that men hold all the control in relationships, which does all women a disservice. I mean, WHAT?

The articles just seem to get worse as I go along.

Dear Sweet Lord In Heaven, read this one. This woman literally says that all the reasons young women have been using to put off marriage, like "finding themselves" or "finding self-supporting careers", are bogus. (I have yet to check if that is a Mormon website). What upsets me more than anything is that this type of reasoning is still out there...and it is being perpetuated BY a woman.

Read this....I've read it three times and it still makes my head spin around

Don't get me wrong — degrees and careers can be worthy goals. But neither are holy things, the way getting married and having children are. If the opportunity arises for a young woman to marry, she should stop and ponder what a gift God is offering her — even if it "interferes" with school or work.

Jesus Balls, is she seriously saying that the only "holy" things a woman can do is get married and have children? I'm sorry. I was under the impression that I had a little more to offer the world than my vagina.

Each article seems to get worse....

This one, in the last sentence, tells you that you should look to a man's CAR to see if he appreciates the woman in his life. It even gives an exercise for the woman to use in her relationship in order to 'get the man to marry her soon'.


Exercise for Week One:

Do something new and fun with your partner. Preferably, an outdoor activity. Make a pact with yourself that on this day, no matter how rotten he acts, you will avoid fighting. On this day, you will smile and laugh and truly enjoy life. You will be all pleasure, no pain.

If you are not in a relationship, make a list of what needs you could fill for a man. Categorize these needs into physical (beauty, sex, food, housekeeping, money), emotional (fun, support, comfort, joy, strength), mental (intellect, interesting conversation, ideas) spiritual (religious, faith).

To figure out his needs, ask yourself: What are the most important things in his life? For example, if he babies and loves his car, you can be sure your physical appearance is quite important to him.

Yes, let's all laugh and not be shrewish. Let's not state our needs or our goals because that would just turn him off. Let's make him happy, let's forget ourselves and become exactly what he wants. Let's stop having jobs, ideas, or agendas and turn ourselves into Stepford Wives who only wish to bear fruit and make after-work martinis.

Then, when he cheats on us, beats us, or thoroughly uses us as the empty shell we have become...and when we can't get a job to support our children because we "didn't let our schooling interfere with our marriage" we can get on welfare... and then we'll all be so happy.

Because that's all that we want, right? To Be Happy.

Previous Comments

ID
103656
Comment

YUCK. This is some painful stuff. Another statistic I haven't been able to locate yet, but it makes sense to me: About two-thirds of murders committed by boys/men aged 13-20 are cases where the suspect has murdered his mother's allegedly abusive husband/boyfriend. Here again, can't document it. You're out there in the world dealing with this stuff a lot more than I am, so maybe you can comment, but my instincts tell me that the statistic is accurate. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-11-14T14:42:18-06:00
ID
103657
Comment

Here's the problem with marriage as I see it: I'm 27 years old right now and working on a career. That's great. If I were a woman, this might pass through my head: If I want to have a kid, I've basically got eight years to have my first one without risking serious birth defects. That means that if I want at least five years with my hubby and no kids, I've got three years to find a man. ...because that's what society tells us. And it works out great for the neanderthals, because it means that a woman basically has 12 years to devote to her career before her official job title becomes Mom. Me? Oh, under the old system, I can get married when I'm 40 if I want to. There's not really a time limit. And with my wife taking care of the kids, I've got at least 43 years between median-age college graduation and retirement. Sick. What happens to the dreams of young women under this system? What, indeed. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-11-14T14:48:50-06:00
ID
103658
Comment

I don't have a problem with anyone's official job title being "mom". Even though I don't have kids, I believe that it is hard work. I DO, however, have a problem with women who don't appreciate being afforded the opportunity to get to stay home with the kids. For every woman that is dying for a career, there is another woman working her butt off just to make ends meet that would love to be able to stay home and raise her children as opposed to sending them daycare.

Author
Elizabeth
Date
2005-11-14T16:20:48-06:00
ID
103659
Comment

I realize my comment is not really related to what Ms. Greggs is writing about, but more about the idea of "mom" as a job.

Author
Elizabeth
Date
2005-11-14T16:27:39-06:00
ID
103660
Comment

Well, being a "Mom" is a full time job. I agree with you on that. I also agree there are women who would love to be afforded that opportunity and are not. What I will not stand for is the insinuation that "Wifedom" is the loftiest goal to which a woman may aspire. HOLY??? For Chrissakes....

Author
Lori G
Date
2005-11-14T17:01:39-06:00
ID
103661
Comment

I have no problem with an official job title of "Mom," or even "Dad," for that matter. What I have a problem with is the choice American culture (or maybe just Bible belt culture) gives women: Either you have a very short career and quickly become a professional "Mom," or you're a Bad Person and an Example of What's Wrong with Society. For my part, I've kind of got it made. If I keep writing, I can both pull in a full-time income and function as a stay-at-home Dad--and my hypothetical significant other would then be able to sue multinational corporations or assassinate foreign dignitaries or whatever it is she does without having to feel guilty about it. Course, if I end up with someone else with a work-from-home career who has the same idea, then the poor kids are going to go nuts. :D Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-11-14T17:55:19-06:00
ID
103662
Comment

Whoops--sorry for going WAY off in another direction, Ali. Yeah. To return to the actual article you were talking about, agreed 100%. The idea that "Wifedom" is something people achieve really freaks me out. Ditto "Husbanddom"; the pressure there is much lower, but it's still there and it's still ridiculous. If I end up with somebody who wants to scrap the whole husband/wife thing and use lesbigay-esque "life-partner" language (much as another long-term het couple reading this uses), I'm not sure I wouldn't be game for that. Marriage as an institution was created to facilitate the buying and selling of women, and it still shows. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-11-14T17:59:00-06:00

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