I feel for young women today. They get all kinds of messages about how they need to be tough. They need to be survivors. They need to make lots of money, but also be a perfect wife and mother. However, if the husband does abandon them, they need to be ready for that and continue on without a hitch. Above all, they should never be weak. They should tell their husbands all about their needs, because they shouldn’t expect their husbands to be mind-readers. If they still don’t get what they want, it is their fault because they did not communicate correctly, blah, blah, blah. Also, for some reason, everyone needs to get breast enhancement surgery nowadays, and look perfect in every other way. Oh, dear. No wonder so many women live with a high level of anxiety and confusion. I would like to offer one way out of this mess.
I can’t change society and its confusing and destructive messages, and neither can you. What you can do is make up your own mind, and I am going to encourage you to do so. For example, sometimes I hear women say that because they don’t make as much money as their husbands, they do not feel they can really ask for what they want, because they don’t have equal power in the relationship. They feel one down because of the difference in salaries. This is not a problem of power – it is a problem of value. You may feel that you are valued exclusively by how much money you make. Okay, that message is definitely out there, and your own husband may even believe that. We can’t change anyone else’s mind about anything. So let’s look at what you believe. That’s really the issue, anyway. Do you believe your only value is in how much money you bring home? If so, is a baby without value, because it doesn’t make any money? Would you look at a child and not assign it value because it doesn’t bring home any money? What if your child was a special needs child and would probably never make a large salary? Would you consider that child worthless? I know this is harsh, but this is exactly what you are telling yourself about your own value. STOP IT! It isn’t true. If you do not value people who cannot work, you will not be able to value yourself. And what would the solution be as far as having equal power in your marriage? Go down to the homeless shelter and pick out a man, so you can have power over him? Or only go out with people who make the same amount or less than you do? What if he gets a raise? You can see how ridiculous this becomes. So, now what? Understand that you do have equal power, but that power may be over a separate domain from your husband. There is more to life than bringing home the bacon, and I am not trying to diminish that contribution in any way. It is a valuable contribution. Understand that there must be a home for both of you and for your children if you have any. There is a lot of work that goes into creating and maintaining a home. Value yourself and your own contribution, even if society does not.