As I’ve been reading more and more marriage books I find myself becoming a bit bitter. Not at the prospect of marriage, but at the responsibilities of it. You see, Christian marriage books focus a great deal on how much responsibility women supposedly have in a relationship, which seems good and gives me an excellent guide as to what might be (and might not be) expected of me in a marriage relationship. What is lacking though, is the responsibilities men ought to take in the marriage relationship.
Yes, the books are very much focused on women, but to a degree that seems a bit damaging. If women read these and start feeling the pressure and anxiety of the responsibilities of marriage relationships like myself, I think they’ll end up going into relationships thinking that it’s all on them. The whole functionality of the marriage relationship is completely on them. That’s the impression I got from these books.
Granted, to a degree this is true. An individual’s attitude and actions greatly impact the marriage. Yet, I find that in these books they don’t do much to explain to women that the males are also required to invest in the relationship and are being told in other male specific books on this subject what is required of them to invest in their relationship and suggesting ways to showing love, taking responsibility, and investing time into their marriages. Or are they? It’s hard to tell since I’m not going out and reading books about men’s issues on the matter.
In my mind this must be happening, but the way some of these women’s books are written, you’d think you were required to be Wonder Woman and do all without regard to the actions of the male characters in the storyline. Surely it is not all the females responsibility to be the nurturer in the relationship? Surely your husband doesn’t or shouldn’t need so much nurturing if he’s an adult? What are you? His mother? That isn’t was I signed up for! I want a partner who is investing just as much into the relationship as I am! Someone who initiates sexual encounters too. Someone who helps pay bills! Someone who will see tasks and try to help the love of their life out. Someone who will listen in times of stress and frustration. Someone to be there. Be useful. And perhaps pick up where the other cannot. Equality. Partnership. True acts of love even when it’s hard.
So why does it seem these things are only asked of me?
It’s enough to make a woman want to read more “us” material. Why do people even write gender specific books like this? Isn’t a marriage about the two? So why speak to one? I felt so much more comfortable reading books that seemed to be targeted to both males and females. Mainly because I think I often relate to “male” issues more than “female” ones. For example one book talked about males being more work and task oriented while women are more relational oriented. I’m very task oriented. I’m an introvert. People exhaust me. I throw myself into work continually and it often makes me very emotionally distant. I find value in my ability to do things. I can’t stand to come across as useless. I can’t stand being unable to do tasks efficiently. To not reach goals. It upsets me. It makes me feel worthless. My work has often been my identity. Generally this issue is very generally said of men.
My fiancé on the other hand, is an extrovert. He not only conducts his life success by what he accomplishes, but also by how well and how often he’s investing in his social life. Not that I don’t invest in social life either, it’s just not my top priority as an introvert, but for him, he has a hard time when there are social faux pas being made, or if he’s missed an event that he has prioritized as if it’s the utmost importance. He also cares much more about the social lives of others, and can overly emotionally invest in people who do not share the same emotional investment. All traits usually attributed to females.
It’s like our stereotypes are switched or something.