I was in 7-Eleven today waiting in line while the man behind the counter was speaking with another man about his thoughts on woman. I don’t know if it is more ironic that I would be there when he happened to be speaking about a subject I am so immensely interested in, or that I actually was not in a hurry, a condition I rarely find myself in. But today, I stopped long enough to not only listen for a minute but actually entered into the conversation.
The man was basically saying that woman are the reason that so many marriages fail. His main point was that woman don’t cook at home anymore and this has led to men getting fat and more importantly feeling unimportant to their wives, becoming uninterested in their marriages and thus they fail. While this is a major paraphrase, this was the crux of his argument for the demise of the family.
I have to say that I was mildly amused by the over simplification of such a complicated issue as is the deterioration of the traditional family. The humor in it aside, I was struck by how easily this man, and I fear, so many men are able to dodge all culpability for what I believe to be largely our fault. You see, I am really old fashioned I guess. I believe it is the man’s responsibility to lead the family. It is my responsibility to provide a safe, healthy, structured positive environment in our home where my wife and children can feel empowered to attain the highest level of success. Whatever that might be. And if they fail in part due to my inability to do so than it is my responsibility for that failure. Now I am not so ridiculous as to believe that any failures of my wife or kids are all my fault nor should any of you. But it is healthy and indeed required that as a man we take full responsibility for what is appropriately ours. Furthermore, I am quite certain in homes where you find a husband and father who is an adequate provider, a considerate lover, a clearly defined moral compass, a demonstrator of strength and hope, you will also find a strong and thriving wife and family.
I have often heard that this argument is somewhat sexist and that by speaking of men in terms such as these devalues the role of the woman. Or even that this clear delineation of roles is in itself sexist. Not true. Ask any real man what he finds most attractive in a woman and even most sexy in a woman, and you will find that it is a strong woman. A confident woman. A directed woman. A smart woman. These are the qualities we need to seek in a woman. If these are not what you look for in a woman, or try to encourage in the woman you love, check yourself. You are the problem. Your being strong is not dependent on weakness in your spouse or any woman you love. To the contrary, a strong woman will help you to do better. She will in turn encourage you. She will give you a safe place to come home to. Isn’t that what we really want.
What I am saying to all of you men is that very few of us can lay the blame for our failed relationships at anyone’s feet but our own. If you find yourself in this trap, stop it. Look at what you are doing, or are not doing, that is detrimental to your relationship, detrimental to the woman you love and fix it. Take responsibility for the success of your relationship and pat yourself on the back for your part in moving it there.