No Shades of Grey in Marriage?

In a recent conversation with my grandson, he said, “There are no shades of grey in marriage. That’s why the groom wears black and the bride wears white.” It took a few moments for the profoundness of that statement to sink in. There really are no shades of grey in marriage, or are there? Confusion on this point has been the source of much misery for generations.

In marriage there are roles. We have greyed those roles. It has led to confusion and disintegration of the marriage institution. For years, husbands tried to be wives and wives to be men. I’m really not a chauvinist. I am not fighting women in the workplace or equal pay for equal work. I am saying that God created them man and woman and not something in between. He made them different because different talents are required to raise healthy kids and to live healthy lives. He never intended that one sex raise kids and the other make a living. It was always supposed to be a team effort.

For centuries, families were teams. They made a living making a product or raising a crop along with the kids. The industrial revolution took men out of the house and left women to raise the kids. In America, World War II changed all that. The absence of men forced women into the workplace, and they liked it. When the war was over, women didn’t want to return to house sitting and families soon got used to two incomes. With both parents out of the house, and hired help raising the kids, the perceived need for marriage faded. At first divorce rose dramatically. Eventually fewer bothered to marry at all. 

in 1970, 70 percent of adults lived with a spouse. Today it is closer to half. Women have been most negatively impacted. Eighty-six percent of fathers still live with a marriage partner, but only 68% of mothers. Nearly one in four mothers live with no partner, married or otherwise. Viva the sexual revolution and women’s liberation. Freed to raise children alone while making a living. Ladies, how does freedom feel? 

It’s obvious that men and women are physically different, but they are also psychologically and even spiritually different. One is not better than the other, just different. God made them different because different talents, emotional makeups, and even spiritual attitudes are necessary to form well-rounded kids. 

Maybe the pendulum is swinging. Technology is now allowing more workers to work at home at least some of the time. It’s not as necessary to “go” to work. This is freeing many to have both a work and home life.

I see more younger people choosing marriage, waiting to have children until there is a two-person team available to meet the task.  It’s not, however, the pairings of the fifties and sixties. Mom isn’t alone with the kids all day and dad doesn’t come home to watch TV and ask “What’s for supper.” I admire young men taking active roles in the home, changing diapers and picking up around the house, but more importantly spending quality time with their kids, allowing their wives to have a life outside the home while still being a mom. Maybe Hollywood wasn’t totally nuts in the 50s and 60s.  They perhaps sensed a problem. Maybe it took a radical swing of feminism to let us move to a more rational center where men are men, women are women and both have a role in raising God’s little gifts. 

It’s just sad that a couple of generations of children had to grow up without two functional parents or that many parents, most of them women, had to make do on their own. I pray both for those damaged by the long failed experiment in single parenthood and those motivated to do it better as a team.  God bless you all.





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