Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Who's the boss...For the children

Two concepts which drive me bonkers, and which so many people (especially men) unthinkingly support by repetitive use: one's wife is "the boss," and "we're doing it for the children." Analyze the use of these throw-off phrases, to see if they reflect an imbalance in relationships.

First off, even to some modern thinking that men and women are basically the same in addition to being equal, the concept of the wife being the boss is at times disingenuous, weak, or a backhanded compliment. If the husband should actually husband his family, this term is philosophically self-defeating as well. I understand it's a term of endearment, and "if Mom's not happy, the family's not happy," and so forth. However, to call one's wife "the boss" is unhealthy and may even, in some circumstances, cover up her actual disempowerment.

Whether married or not, a woman wishes her man is prepared with great ideas and things to do, even if that occassion is "her choice," in addition to him being a chivalrous gentleman and her defender. For now, we won't go into other ramifications of being a husband, but let's suffice to say that we should ceast and desist this practice of calling the female spouse "the boss." Reasonable alternatives may include "cruise director," CFO, and so on.

Second, our generation seems overly preoccupied with the concept (or excuse) that life is "for the children." Now I'll grant that so much of what we do has eternal consequence and, for many if not most, the greatest inheritors (for better and worse) of our earthly example are our children. However, it's crucial not to equate our children with that eternal consequence.

Again, I understand we often laugh while we say this, while appreciating an elementary school band for instance, yet if we spend the overwhelming majority of our extracurricular hours being occupied with or for our children, our relationships with God and spouse will suffer for it. It's a slippery slope to provide more and more opportunities for the children while denying them for ourselves. Life apart from our children has eternal consequence as well, and we must not allow parenthood to become idolatrous.

Edit, 9/19/09:
Lat night my wife and I discussed another reason why men do wrong in saying, "My wife wouldn't let me do such and such." This allows men to suggest they are not responsible to make decisions. It also demeans their marital relationship. By "not allowing" a spouse to do something, this put them into more of a parent-child relationship. So, whether or not you really mean it, please refrain from these trite sayings.

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