No one, I don’t think, would accuse Bettina Arndt of being a woman-hater. The nationally known sex therapist has longed championed women’s issues and women’s rights in public forums, books and magazines, etc. So it was interesting to read her article in last weekend’s Weekend Australian. She says, “It seems marriages last longer if the husband is the one who is miserable.” Her conclusion:
What we see in HILDA’s latest glimpse at the evolving pattern of family relationships is men and women making different decisions, all hoping to do well in the great lottery of life. But the corrosive effect of an unhappy wife is a powerful underlying story and one that’s just not going to go away.
She wrote a similar article in 2012. In both she is notes that marriage for women prior to the fifties could be and was in many cases, detrimental to women’s well-being. She contends that the situation is now reversed.
But these murmurs of discontent are largely hidden from public view, as was the case back in the 1960s when Betty Friedan wrote in The Feminine Mystique about “the problem which has no name.” Friedan gave voice to women’s frustrations about the limitations imposed on them by the wifely role and decades of consciousness-raising followed. Now women grasp every opportunity to state their case, loud and clear.
Yet most men still lead unexamined lives. Their “problem which has no name” – marital discontent – remains unexplored. But one day that too will change.
I am fairly sure that not many would consider Arndt’s counsel as anything approaching “biblical,” yet last week’s essay will, in fact, help Christians think about and articulate approaches to relationships, marriage and parenting that are in accord with a Christian vision of healthy marriage and family.
Nor is this in any way an appeal for marital complementarianism – either by Arndt or by me. Rather, it is a recognition that equal regard and mutual care are difficult to achieve, and just as inequality is unfair in one direction, so it is in another. It seems that men and women still have a long way to go to in learning to love and care for one another as equals.
You can read the article here: Arndt, Men’s Sacrifice on Altar of Matrimony.