Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rambling Thoughts About Marriage

The other day I had the bright idea that Brady and I should work on the ol' marriage before the baby comes. You know, if you are going to take a long drive, you take your car to the shop just to get it checked out. Nothing is wrong with our marriage but I thought we could use a little "tune up" before our lives get flipped upside down.

I thought about one of those marriage encounter weekends but we don't really have time for one. I know, sad that we can't devote a weekend to our marriage but we really have a lot going on in the next few months and I don't think bulldogs are welcome at those things.

So I thought I would buy a marriage counseling book and we could peruse it together. Then I remembered that someone had given me Dr. Laura Schlessinger's "The Proper Care & Feed of Marriage" as an engagement gift. I thought that was a little bit of an odd gift, we weren't even married and we already needed advice? I also had to ignore the fact that the couple who gave us the book is currently going through a hideous, contentious divorce.

I knew Dr. Laura was conservative but really did not know much about her or her philosopy. It took me about three pages into the book before I was flaming mad and ready to throw the book through my window and hunt down Dr. Laura to punch her in the face.

Basically the gist of her book is that women need to be feminine and men need to be masculine and occupy typical gender roles. Women should take care of the home, the children, not focus on careers, feminism is evil, and do everything in their power to make their husbands happy.

It is kind of funny that all this angered me so much because I am actually pretty conservative in my role as Brady's wife. I believe that a woman can be career oriented and a wife. I just hated the idea that a woman could only be a wife and not have a career as well. I also hated the idea that a man needs to be coddled all the time. I don't think a wife should solely exist to make her husband happy. A person needs to be happy on their own before they can function in a relationship. Don't get me wrong, people in relationships should make each other happy, or else maybe you shouldn't be in that relationship, but I don't think people should solely exist to make their partner happy.

As a so-called "career woman" I just get so offended when people suggest that women cannot have careers, or couldn't possibly care for their home and have a career at the same time. I can't even believe that in 2010 this attitude still exists. I pride myself on being both a housewife and a lawyer (being proud of this is what keeps me from going insane when it all gets to be a bit much...and it does at times). By profession, I am an attorney but I easily could answer the question "what do you do?" with "I'm a houswife." I think it is possible to do both, in fact I know it is because I do it. I do all the things a typical housewife does, I cook, I clean, I grocery shop, I do the laundry, I decorated the house, I manage our social calendar, I buy the gifts when the occasion arises, I pay half the bills (Brady gets the other half), and I run the errands (Target, dry cleaning, the usual stuff).

It is a lot of work managing the house and working full-time, Brady helps out here and there, but mainly I do it all. (Brady also works longer hours than I do so I have more time to take care of the house.) And I do it all because I want to do it. My goal isn't to make Brady's life easier or happier as Dr. Laura suggests it should be. Brady would be just as happy with hamburger helper, a light film of dust on the furniture, and papers strewn about. But that would drive me crazy. So I take the time to make homemade lasagna, keep the house as clean as possible with two dogs, and pick up when things get cluttered.

I think that as I prepare to become a working mother, I am very sensitive to those who criticize women with careers. But to those shallow-minded people I will just say, I'm a great lawyer, excellent cook, I have a clean house (most of the time), and my husband is happy at home. So you can kiss my career-oriented ass!


  1. I am SO not career-minded, but I totally agree with you about that book. I started reading it, and was just irritated the whole time. I don't think that my sole role in life is to take care of my husband! Sure, I do take care of him, but he takes care of me too. We are a team! I'm his wife, not his mother. And while I may not be career-minded, I do want to do something fulfilling, and work from home. I like to have some sense of accomplishment in my life!

    I'm rambling...but I just wanted to say I totally agree with you!

  2. Dr. Laura is a joke. I once heard a recent MBA grad call into her radio show, and by the end of the call Dr. Laura had convinced the woman to quit her brand new job and give up her entire career so she could stay home with her kids.

    Obviously this woman had no spine to begin with, but Dr. Laura made her feel like a disgrace to humanity, and a horrible person. It was disgusting and borderline abusive!