Marriage Essay, Research Paper
The way we view marriage today differs greatly from the past. Our views and opinions on marriage and its meaning have changed considerably. Marriage is not necessarily less valued, but just viewed differently.
Traditionally, marriage has been looked upon as a primary purpose of founding and maintaining a home and family. Fifty years ago, the majority of women were dependent on their husbands to work and support them. Their role in life was to take care of the children, their husbands and maintain the home. Procreation was part of the traditional marriage. This is quite evident in Be Fruitful and Multiply . The wife was fully aware that when she got married, her role in life was to bear children, take care of her house and please her husband. Her life was based on procreation and there was a purpose to her marriage.
The modern marriage is based on sexual compatibility, love and romance. If the sex goes bad or the romance dies, than the couple can walk away from that marriage. How do you work out whether you are sexually compatible? Well, of course, you try before you buy! You make sure that you have a sufficient number of sexual partners to work out what you like and what you don t like, so that when Mr. or Ms. Right comes along, you will know he or she is the one for you as soon as you sleep with him or her. Gone are the days when a woman s virginity was saved until the wedding night and sex was something that happened only after marriage.
In The Moslem Wife , sex played a major role in Jack and Netta s marriage. Because they did not have any children, sex was like recreation. Their marriage was based on love and companionship. Netta was the breadwinner while Jack spent his time winning other women. Even though this is considered a modern marriage , there was still some tradition to it on the part of Netta. She was the dutiful and obedient wife, cleaning up after her husband, looking the other way when he strayed this is where the tradition came in. Netta stood by her husband even when he left her.
Sex was also an integral part of the marriage in Unbearable Lightness of Being . This was definitely a modern marriage. He liked to have sex, sex and more sex and not necessarily with only his wife. He was always seeking pleasure and could be quite detached from his role as the loyal husband. There are similarities in Unbearable Lightness of Being and The Moslem Wife in that both husbands sought sexual pleasure outside their marriages.
In today s society, there are a lot of outside pressures that contribute to a lot of marriages breaking down. It is now an economic necessity for both spouses to work and as women are moving into the paid labour force, they continue to work longer hours than their husbands on household tasks and rearing children leading to a lot of pressure on the marriage.
Women are also placing a strong emphasis on their education and vocational achievements and are putting less emphasis on the traditional roles, which were mainly organized around marriage and children. They are struggling to rise above the housewife role and are working very hard to be recognized and valued for some of the same qualities as men are valued for: ambition, intelligence and independence. Unfortunately, this is putting a great strain on the marital relationship. Men are having a lot of trouble accepting the new roles that women are trying to create for themselves. The old status order that granted men a privileged position in the family is crumbling because of the increase in the women s decision-making authority within the household due to her education and income.
People today are expecting too much out of marriage. They are putting a lot of emphasis on the levels of intimacy, emotional support, companionship and sexual satisfaction. Age plays a role too. Younger women expect greater communication, companionship and compatibility with their spouses than older women. The younger women tend to fall in love too easily and fall in love with the idea of love because they place too much importance on romance by idealizing and romanticizing what they believe marriage to be. Younger women have not yet developed their own sense of self worth and therefore, depend on their spouses to fulfill their needs of worthiness as opposed to older women who, in most cases, have a stronger sense of self worth.
There is less value put on marriage because attitudes have also changed. It is quite acceptable to have a sexual relationship and children outside of wedlock. Living with a partner can be as strong and binding as a marriage. Many people choose to cohabit and have a family. They are married in every sense of the word, only without the certificate.
Marriage is a bond that should be taken seriously. People are entering into marriage too lightly without fully preparing themselves for the realities of what marriage entails. High incidences of divorce in our society may suggest that people are either not mature enough to marry or have wrong expectations of marriage. The men and women today experiencing multiple marriages are undeniable proof that the institution of marriage is flawed. If marriage must endure, then society must change its parameters under which marriage takes place and put more emphasis on reality instead of fantasy.