Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Washing Machines = Divorce

Study finds washing machines leading cause of divorce!!

That would make for an interesting article, wouldn't it. To my knowledge, there's never been a study like this. But, I absolutely believe it to be true.

Yeah... I know... you think I've lost my marbles...

Humor me for a moment.

One of the great things about BBC television is the series "Victorian House" and the many spin offs it created, "Frontier House", "Colonial House", and the others. One of the things that really stood out to me was absolutely how much work and time it took to maintain a household. From washing the clothes, to preparing the meals, to collecting the food, to keeping things clean, the fire going, clothes made and mended... THAT WAS WORK!!

It reminds me of the fairy tale of the farmer and his wife trading jobs for the day because neither of them thought the other had it very rough. Well, by the end of the day, the farmer didn't have the wash up on the line, the cow milked, the goats were on the roof... the moral of the story is that the farmer didn't know how good he had it going out into the fields every day. (not that that was an easy life!)

Less than one hundred years ago, a span of 3 generations, women played a vital role in every household. Men worked hard, women worked hard. Both had a role to play and both roles were very important. Men needed women, and women needed men.

But then came the industrial revolution...

With the industrial revolution came inexpensive, labor saving devices. Both for men and for women. By the 1950's, only a fraction of time and effort was needed to maintain a household. Washers, blenders, dryers, refridgerators, self cleaning ovens all promised to make life better, giving women more time for other things, children, etc.

The unspoken consequence is that all these things diminished the role women played in maintaining households. In a sense, they diminished the value women added to the relationship as an individual. Diminished how important they, themselves were to their husbands.

But, not at first...

Men, for the longest time, didn't know how to cook. But now? I know more men who can cook than women. The same is true for other household chores. Men don't need women anymore.

And what was the battle cry of the seventies? A woman doesn't need a man for success/fufillment/[insert appropriate adverb] anymore! As the cigarette maker said, "You've come a long way, baby." Women were told (and rightfully so) that they could make it on their own. No men need apply.

But this is where we get to the root of the problem. (yeah, I know, I took my sweet time getting here)

Men don't need women. Women don't need men. (and no... sex is not a need)

Think about it.

How deep can a relationship get when both parties don't need the other? How easy is it to walk away when you're not dependent on the other person? Mutual dependency is a key ingredient I observe in many healthy long term marriages. Not in the "I need him/her to be happy" kind of way. That's just obfuscating your responsibility for your own happiness. True mutual dependency creates a sense of appreciation for the other person. It confirms the importance of that individual in your life.

But that's scary as hell. Dependence = trust = vulnerability = huge potential for pain. Perhaps my greatest sin in my marriage was that I didn't need my wife enough. I'm extremely self sufficient as evidenced by being a single father for the last nine years.

Part of true satisfaction in life comes with the knowledge that you make a difference in someone else's life. That your existence means something to someone else. That their life is fuller/better because of you. And... I took that away from my wife. Because I could do it on my own. Because I didn't need her.

I did some laundry over lunch...

Self sufficiency ain't all it's cracked up to be.


At June 29, 2004 at 3:25 PM, Blogger Johnny said...

No, its the incessant babble. ARGH!

At June 30, 2004 at 4:50 AM, Blogger Esther said...

I agree with you that everyone "needs" to know that they are wanted/needed. Although, this isn't necessarily on a physicall level, in terms of sex, doing household chores or mowing the lawn. (You can pay someone to do that anyway). This is more on an emotional level, knowing that someone wants you to be there, to hold their hand, to offer a shoulder to cry on, to understand their jokes.

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