Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 19 of 56 
Next page End Contents 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24  

748
the company. Only women are supposed to be homemakers and full-
time caretakers of the children (this is really slow to change). 
Indeed, tradition in America (until the Women's Movement) had a
notion of the ideal or "perfect" marital relationship. For traditional
women, it is being loved and taken care of by a successful, good man
(Dowling, 1982; Willis, 1981). He goes to work and makes good
money to provide for the family. He knows about finances, cars,
repairing the house, and makes the major decisions. She doesn't just
feel dependent on him, she is truly dependent on him. For example, if
she, like a good wife, puts him through medical or business school by
working as a secretary and he later leaves her because she no longer
shares his interests and intellect, she can't financially take care of
herself and the children. She is not self-sufficient. However, he can
perhaps earn well over $200,000 a year. That's not equality. 
What does the traditional husband need? He wants to be
successful, to beat out his competitors for money and advancement.
It's stressful and he wants a haven from the "rat race." His haven
includes a loving, devoted, admiring wife who cares for his basic
needs--food, clean and pressed clothes, good sex, a comfortable social
life, a neat, clean home, etc. She takes care of the kids and their
problems; she is in awe of his achievements and nurtures his ego
when he's down; she keeps their love relationship going smoothly. She
is indispensable too. If she finds the homemaker life frustrating and
seeks an exciting career--and in the process finds a better, more
egalitarian relationship--he is crushed. He loses a home, a cook and
maid, a wife, and the children. Although he felt superior to "the little
wife," he isn't totally self-sufficient either; he feels lost inside the
empty house alone. 
Dependency in marriage
We are all dependent (interdependency is discussed above). There
is nothing wrong with that as long as it doesn't place us in a position of
feeling inferior or of being unable to cope if we are left alone, as in the
marriage situation described above. Overly-dependent people put
themselves, often unconsciously, in situations where they are helpless
or feel helpless in order to get others to take care of them, like
children. Often dependent people will refuse to take responsibility for
managing their own lives, as long as someone else will. If you feel you
can't survive on your own, you are dependent in the worst sense of
being incompetent or helpless. Such a situation is scary, if and when
you permit yourself to think about it. Even if you are a liberated
woman and not helplessly dependent on a male, it may be difficult or
impossible to find an exciting career, so you are dependent on the
business world for employment. The unemployed can tell you how
scary that dependency is. Furthermore, the employed woman often
has to care for the children and manage the household because her
husband is hung up on the old ideas of what is woman's work (and/or
because it's easier to watch TV than to bathe the kids). Indeed, one
survey of 50 two-career couples with children found that the wives
Previous page Top Next page

advertisement


« Back


advertisement