Reasonable Expectations in Marriage, Revolutionary Thoughts

Those who read here (all 10 of you) and elsewhere already know the truth about this topic. But there is a distinction here. This is a feminist woman writing on a left leaning feminist friendly blog site about an issue that buttresses the views espoused in the manosphere. She is writing with the flare of one who has found a new dirty secret, like she is edgy in her willingness to go against PC as defined by her peers. If I saw this kind of ideological conflicted approach taken elsewhere I may take hope from it as one tiny hole popping in the dyke (I did NOT just write that!). Sadly I can already see how this is twisted into gynocentric friendly fare. can you?

In her article “Why Men Are Settling for Mrs Good Enough” Jessica Bennett inadvertently delves into why women file no fault divorces are two or three to one as compared to men filing. Though her article comes at this from the perspective of dating and possibly settling down, it speaks to willingness to suffer though low patches in relationships and to view the benefits of staying as greater than the ease, and even potential return to serial titillation afforded by leaving. Conventional wisdom says that it is men who are restless in marriage because of their hyper sexual nature and quest for multiple partner count. The conclusions from the study she refers to are the opposite, and for reasons not related to sexual proclivity.

Some observations and quotes from male respondents to the survey:

A new survey shows that men are surprisingly likely to say they’d commit to a person they’re not in love with. When did guys become so desperate to settle down?

Rather than living up to the stereotype of commitment-phobic bachelors, modern men reported that they fell in love just as often as women, were just as likely to believe that marriage is “forever,”

But most shocking was how many of the single men wanted to settle down—and how willing they were to lower their standards to make that happen.
As one married man in his 40s old her: “My wife isn’t perfect. She isn’t the best I’ve had in bed. But she’s a wonderful mother to our daughter, she’s very helpful in our business life, and we get along very well.’”

“At the end of the day, most of us just want someone who is supportive and sane enough to have a family with

“I don’t need the Victoria’s Secret model. I don’t need the infatuation that’s not going to last. I need a partner in life.”

Men not only settle for these things up front; they carry realistic expectations into the marriage. Fact is they dang well better. Then when their modest expectations are met they are content. Some believe that because women buy all the relational books and fixate on all things relational, that they are the ones who determine the temperature of the marriage. We are told to watch closely for clues to her discontentment, listen and discern her heart, and thus preempt her acting on her unhappiness by deciding its time to jettison the marriage. Irony unleashed is that she does all this by rationalizing that the unmet expectations she suffers are a sign that the man is not committed. What the heck does committed even mean if its not something that manifests as sticking to it?

Lori Gottlieb has written a bestseller, “Marry Him, the Case for Settling for Mr Good Enough”. In it she offers the following advice:

Gottlieb counseled gals to forget the search for a soul mate and nab the next nice nebbish they could find

Don’t worry about passion or intense connection

She definately comes at this from the gynocentric standpoint that women have to settle because of whats happened to men as men are stunted in adolescence for the most part and there are none worthy of expecting soul mate status from, but at least she is pragmatic on lowering expectations. In the vein of preserving a marriage this advice has utility, even if its motive is specious and female centric.

Bennett is joined by Jessee Ellison in the article “I Don’t, the Case Against Marriage”. These articles are written weeks apart, not part of a series, and seemingly unrelated. But we see the inter-agency of them perfectly. They do a nice job opening with a concise history lesson:

Once upon a time, marriage made sense. It was how women ensured their financial security, got the fathers of their children to stick around, and gained access to a host of legal rights. But 40 years after the feminist movement established our rights in the workplace, a generation after the divorce rate peaked, and a decade after Sex and the City made singledom chic, marriage is—from a legal and practical standpoint, anyway—no longer necessary.

Some formative facts and opinions:

Women now constitute a majority of the workforce; we’re more educated, less religious,

And a description of the feminist meme that defines them, from denial of gender differences, to perception of marriage as oppression, and finally the Bride magazine version of what it means to experience a life of marital bliss where it is “the harmony of mind body and spirit”.

The feminist argument against marriage has long been that it forces women to conform—

We are also the so-called entitled generation, brought up with lofty expectations of an egalitarian adulthood; told by helicopter parents and the media, from the moment we exited the womb, that we could be “whatever we wanted”—with infinite opportunities to accomplish those dreams.

they want all-encompassing, head-over-heels fulfillment: a best friend, a business partner, somebody to share sex, love, and chores. In other words, a “soulmate”—which is what 94 percent of singles in their 20s describe what they look for in a partner. Yet the idea of a “soulmate” is still a pretty new concept in our romantic history—and one that’s hard to maintain. Measurements of brain activity have shown that 20 years into marriage, 90 percent of couples have lost the passion they originally felt. And while couples who marry for love are less “in love” with each passing year, one study found that those in arranged marriages grow steadily more in love as the years progress—because their expectations, say researchers, are a whole lot lower.

 

Notice the comment about arranged marriages. This one sends evangelical feminists into apoplectic fits, because there is a layer of support for arranged marriage in Christian context. It’s not direct, its not sort of biblically recommended, but it fits very well with the context of biblical times. Raise the idea that there is merit in arranged marriage and sit back and watch. Between porn, mail order brides, and the success rate of arranged marriages, the American tigress realizes that her value in the marketplace is diminished. So,  given that men have these choices, no sex with a real woman using porn as a substitute, acquisition of a bride that meets specs and usually exceeds expectations, and the rhetorical evidence provided by arranged marriages that all the Lisa Frank wrapped in ribbons expectations are vacuous day dreams, where can they satisfy their ever expanding lust for relational cinema?

 

They include the ubiquitous roar, as in “hear me”

Healthy partnerships are possible, for sure—but the permanence of marriage seems naive, almost arrogant

 

 

Finally they wrap up stating what they found later in the study mentioned above.

Viewing these two articles together and looking at the common thread, one idea popular in the Christian manosphere is that not only are women’s expectations too high, the church ratchets that up even further in its teachings about oneness and being equally yoked, the expected role of the man as the new task master spiritual leader. These are even more expectations and performance criteria to saddle men with, given authority by church teaching.

They conclude with a call to action…..sort of.

So while little girls may still dream of Prince Charming, they’ll be more likely to keep him if they don’t expect too much.

I cannot tell if this is meant to sound like a morose call to take what women can get because men just are not going to rise to the level of their preferences or an actual appeal to realism about human nature. I doubt the later.

There is raw material here for teaching. Some pastors take media and weave it into sermon. Would this not be a great way to introduce the idea that marriage isn’t supposed to make women feel happy, solve their poor self esteem issues, and address the ever present lack of feeling safe they seem to employ when a nebulous complaint is needed?

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5 thoughts on “Reasonable Expectations in Marriage, Revolutionary Thoughts

  1. “… those in arranged marriages grow steadily more in love as the years progress—because their expectations, say researchers, are a whole lot lower.”

    This is the key point that takes it in the wrong direction. Their expectations aren’t “lower,” they’re DIFFERENT, and in many ways, HIGHER. The childish presumption behind the word “lower” is that genuine love is not as good as fairy-tale infatuation. Women today don’t understand that true love, like everything else worthwhile, is built over time with work, cooperation, and dedication.

    An immature girl wants a unicorn, and she devotes her life to finding and catching one. She ends up “unfulfilled” because of her inevitable failure. A mature girl wants a pony, and if she’s lucky enough to get one, she loves it and cares for it. She lives happily ever after, even while she’s mucking out a stable. Whose expectation is “lower?” If “high” expectations involve something that doesn’t exist, they’re not really high expectations. They’re silly delusions.

    Yes, these writers definitely tripped over a couple of facts. Maybe some smart women will eventually take them to their logical conclusion. The potential is somewhat heartening, but my optimism is guarded.

  2. The reason why it will rarely be appreciated is because it requires of women that they appreciate what is good and accept that things won’t be perfect. And they have been told that things CAN be perfect. That perfect harmony of heart and mind thing. To these people it is almost presented as being like the Griffin family–the slob, lazy, irresponsible but good hearted husband married to the lovely woman who just wants a bit of extra love and romance. This is the picture that is painted if you don’t hold out for better.

  3. I basically agree but I’d say that what women today most misunderstand about love is that it doesn’t always FEEL good. One can do something to or say something to another person with love that at the time feels pretty dang lousy. But the expectation today about love is that it always feels good.

  4. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr…
    well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

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