Work In Process

This probably doesn’t make sense…

July 8, 2010

I’m just thinking out loud here…

After the lengthy discussion I had yesterday with some gracious gentlemen who frequent here I was trying to wrap my brain around the thoughts they introduced…  I’m not sure I’ve succeeded.  Pardon the rambling here.  It’s late. I’m tired.   But my brain will NOT shut off!

Where did women get so off track?   Erik at DoubleMindedMan had an interesting article and some commentary that helped clarify some of my thought process.   Not that I am doing a good job of clearly stating it.

In a quote from an article by George Will:

Women campaigning for sobriety did not intend to give rise to the income tax, plea bargaining, a nationwide crime syndicate, Las Vegas, NASCAR (country boys outrunning government agents), a redefined role for the federal government and a privacy right — the “right to be let alone” — that eventually was extended to abortion rights. But they did.

To me, it is obvious that when you start thinking about the fundamentals of the modern woman, you must consider suffrage as the beginning of this movement.

But what changed, in society, to encourage this type of activist mentality among women?  What spurred them from the kitchen to the streets “demanding” this vague and distorted version of “equality”?

Now, feel free to laugh at me…

But I think it’s the Industrial Age and all of it’s conveniences.   With convenience, gadgetry and machinists the Industrial Age boomed into our girlish mind with ferocity.  Women were no longer tied to a washboard or a daily grocers run.   They had Free Time. This became a force to be reckoned with as it was combined with a more “modern” approach to family dynamics and coupled with the division of the family as the beginning of the great exodus from the farm to the city brought a legion of wide-eyed engenue to the cosmopolitan scene.    When families began to find it more fiscally beneficial to have the “job” and the “paycheck” for both parties, suddenly the women were free.   Free to waste time,  free to jabber endlessly and mindlessly.  Free to develop a “life” outside of the home, the marriage and the family.

Lots of zeal + no wisdom = colossal failure.   Every time.

Let me try to explain where I’m coming from.

My husband and I have a fairly unconventional household.  For 2010.   Notsomuch for 1910.    My husband and I have been self-employed, working side by side 24/7/365 for almost 14 years.   We raise the kids together, school together, run the business together…  You get the picture.  Yet, we still have very clearly delineated roles within the household.   We are fairly sexist, I guess.   I do the food.  He takes care of the cars.   I bandage boo-boos,  he teaches them how to blow things up and the miracle of the magnifying glass/sunlight fire starter thingamabob.

In many ways we would appear to be “partners” in the modern sense.   However, the reality is a lot more simple.  And complicated.

How’s that for girlspeak…. Sorry guys.  I’m tryin’ here!

As a result of our constant interaction, two things have very naturally happened.

One,  my typical female responses to almost everything have always had a strong, male sounding board.  This has tempered my reactions and refined my responses to the point that we can now engage in difficult discussions without resorting to name calling and slamming doors.  I have gained tools and learned methods of assessment that do not come naturally.  Secondly, his hard-core male logic has been softened a bit as he has had the time and the opportunity to understand my perspective and things which are not natural to him, like grace and compassion, are now more readily available.

I have clearly stated, understood and enforced parameters for my behavior.  Not just because my husband demands it but because we have taken the time to study the Word and define it together.  I am not driven solely by emotionalism, as many women are.  Well, and these pansy men who make me gag.   He, in turn, has the benefit of a more “intuitive” perspective.  A softer approach.  Which he can choose to use or disregard.

Whatever…

I’m pretty busy at home.   I don’t have time to just drop by for a lengthy chat with a friend, spend hours on the phone, make playdates, etc.   I just don’t have time.  I have to carefully schedule my interaction with anyone outside my home.  While this has caused me to not be able to maintain or even create some relationships with women, it has also saved me countless hours of the emotional drama women are prone to engage in.   In my world, I have daily responsibilities that must be accomplished.  Everyone does, but my “boss” is right next to me. 🙂

School, business, relationship maintenance with my husband takes time.  And since we are in each others face constantly?   It happens every day.

We don’t get a pass.   I can’t call a friend and complain about the man who is working directly across the office from me… I have to deal with the situation, resolve the issue and rectify it in order to keep the day moving forward.  We have to keep growing as a couple or we a) lose money b) lose momentum c) lose focus.

See what I mean?

After all these years I’ve become able to see that this”busy-ness” has become a safeguard.   A hedge.   I have “quotas” to reach,  goals to achieve, behavior to answer for.   Every day.

After 14 years?  Things run themselves fairly smoothly.   The boys growing up create the biggest struggles.  Parenting a boy who thinks he is a “teen” at 12… And he’s bigger than me.   *rolls eyes*

Sometimes, it feels as though we’ve been married far longer than 16 years.  I think that is largely due to the fact that, on average, we’ve spent a LOT more time together than most couples married the same length of time.

I suppose, when it all boils down to it,  I have had the privilege of developing a strong relationship with my husband.  He has, repeatedly, proven himself stable, reliable, honest and trustworthy.   He makes the hard decisions and gives me opportunities to grow beyond “what’s for dinner.” in a way that most friendships with women will never allow.

One of my husband’s pet peeves, when we were first married, was the “How I feel” conversations, which I will humbly admit to having far to many of… Finally, he said, “Tell me what you BELIEVE! That matters so much more.”

That’s part of the difference.  I have never had a female friend challenge me at that level.   But the only way I could have had this kind of relationship that altered my status quo in an honorable way was to have this relationship with my husband.   Any other strong male relationship that could have sharpened and refined me would have been inappropriate.

One detriment to the closeness and refining of my world view has been that I find myself limited in my ability to relate to women and find myself more often with a group of male friends/acquaintances.   Which can lead to an awkward pseudo-intimacy.

But that’s a thought for another day…

  • What an interesting perspective! I have been divorced for 13 years and when I was married, my husband was gone from home a lot for work and church activities. It would’ve been nice, and possibly even saved our marriage had we been in each other’s faces like you and your hubby. But funny (and true) to say … no complaining about the guy in the next cube, because you hopefully will be spending a lot of tomorrow’s together!

  • Giraffe

    I think that is very insightful. I am reminded of when Vox posted something about how dangerous a woman was when she is idle.

    And men working outside the home in factories instead of at home on the farms made changes too. As you say, they aren’t forced to deal with it. That may be why farming and ranching areas are the last to be affected.

    One thing to add. from DMM’s post: Women’s Prohibition sentiments fueled the movement for women’s rights — rights to hold property independent of drunken husbands; to divorce those husbands

    Almost all the damage done to our liberty is due to someone giving lawmakers an excuse. Environmental laws are due to river(In many if not most cases, the cure is worse than the disease. Nowadays, the cure is the disease.) Drunken husbands lead and women with to much time on their hands lead to the idea that we need to legislate our problems away. It all went downhill from there.

  • Giraffe

    Environmentalism is due to rivers catching fire.

  • What you are describing is the way it is supposed to be.

    Your not perfect, hes not perfect, but you learn and grow from his perspective and he does the same. Women were made for men and men were made for women, its more than biological its spiritual. Its the way it was meant to be.

  • Spacebunny

    I think this is pretty right on (but I also have a work at home husband). I think that the industrial age did, if not spawn it, encourage it.

    It reminds me of a conversation Vox and I had once about teenage angst which I found, even as a teenager myself, self indulgent. I told him that having grown up in a small farming community where families were losing their lively hoods (farm fore closures in the ’80s were common) teenagers didn’t have time to be angsty, they were too busy working.

  • Doom

    I made my best attempt to read through, and think I sort of have what you are saying. And to be honest, even as a lone tomcat at the present, I think you two are right on track. I understand there may be some oddities, relating with other women (who either are not in a relationship or who have not partaken of it nearly as fully as you have most likely), being able to relate to men (and being welcomed to do so, it sounds like, even with some care being needed in how that is handled).

    When I hear that couples, long married and as they age together, begin to look like each other, I see there what I am hearing you say is happening. I honestly think, therein, is part of His plan. A big part of it. Becoming one flesh. In so doing, also becoming more truly His child… made after His image. Something odd like that, if not perfectly put or understood on my end.

    You just evince a deep and strong jealousy from me. Hopefully, that will motivate me in my new place. I sense a good thing when I see it, and this one is plain. If it is complicated, if you do not understand it, if it can seem overwhelming… I am sorry you need to feel that way, but that is indeed life. And you have a good one.

  • Hi Susi! 🙂 Welcome to my living room on teh interwebs. I’m sorry to hear that your marriage didn’t play out the way you had hoped. Like so many things in life there are always extenuating factors which led you both to where you ended. Anyhow… Welcome and glad to have you at the party.

    Everyone else… I am overwhelmed by how much I enjoy the discussions with ya’ll. Which could just be the end of a busy day talking. I’d have you all over for a BBQ tomorrow if that were possible. Except there would be talking points. I liek yer brains!

    Doom, complicated, overwhelming and confusing are not things to be feared. They are part of the reality of life. Simple, easy and basic would be hideously boring. And for the girl with ADD?

    That would be a fate worse than… Another college baseball game. 🙂

  • Here’s some chain mail for ya . . . .

    Beautiful Blogger Award!!!

    http://pebblekeeper.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/beautiful-blogger-award/

  • Heidi,

    I suspect another big factor in ‘where women went wrong’ was when people started making a push to marry ‘for love’ and basing their choice of spouse on romantic ideals instead of more practical concerns.

    When women start basing their choice of spouse on something as transient as feelings, you’re bound to end up with a bunch of disillusioned, disappointed women. Probably the same women that helped push for prohibition and women’s suffrage, etc. Not having shown much wisdom in choice for head of household, they further illustrated this lack of wisdom in trying to become the leader their mate was not.

    Admittedly, this is just a loose theory at this point, not yet verified through extensive research. 😉