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Women [in westernized societies] are becoming more educated than men. How is that going to impact the future of marriages?
I think I answered pretty clearly in 15 seconds on instagram this week, but if you didn’t catch that, check out the video response I made for you.
Short answer? Marriages are doomed.
Except for the fact that they aren’t, and I think this is an awesome opportunity to start thoughtful discussions about the real reasons this can be the catalyst to something great.
From my Blimpie lovin’ heart,
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Love and Respect (Now) is a division of Love and Respect. Please be considerate.
A wife and mother once shared with me that she thought the root of the problems in marriages today was that women are too independent with their own jobs (mainly due to their great education) and don’t rely on the husband in that area. Basically, they can just say, “I can do without you anyway” and walk out. I think she felt like there was less respect for the man and his position as provider for his family when the wife was out working.
From my years of observation, I tend to think she’s right, but find your perspective on education interesting. I’m looking forward to part 2 on this!
Thanks Sarah for joining the conversation! Before the industrial revolution most husbands and wives were both equally involved in labor and rearing. I think no matter what generation or culture we grow up in, we all thrive when we help each other thrive and neither party seeing themselves as superior. I think with women fighting to have equal access to jobs and education is good, but when it creates an attitude or air of superiority, then oops, we fall off the horse on the other side.
Oh and check this out on a related topic: https://loveandrespectnow.com/2012/02/ask-joy-hoping-for-holly-homemaker/
I think one of the bigger dynamics that has changed is that people are waiting longer to get married, and more couples are choosing careers over children. There is, in my opinion, something lost because of this dynamic. When a couple marries at a younger age, their brains are still in the final stages of development. They complete that development and mature together, drawing them closer and teaching them how to communicate with each other better (or completely fall apart due to their immaturity). They struggle financially together. They are more apt to complete their arguments instead of avoiding them, and as the Love and Respect book says, some conflict is good. The sparks of conflict “can cause a controllable fire that heats the house and makes things warm and comfortable. Or sparks can set a wildfire that burns the house down” (p 156). In my observation, when older couples get married, there tends to be more baggage coming in. They may not have those small conflicts but will instead keep it to themselves, sparking an internal fire that eventually comes out and burns the house down.
However, today’s educated women are wonderful! If I were to get married, I would prefer an intellectual lady. I want to be able to have good conversations about books, philosophy, and life. The difficulty is that some men, including me on occasion, are insecure with who they are. As you mentioned, we identify ourselves by our work and intelligence. Today’s educated women have to be careful not to project disrespect by constantly correcting her man or putting him down with her intelligence. That is not to say she should act like a simpleton; she just has to be aware of how she approaches certain subjects, especially in his field of expertise.
Quite honestly, this question sort of offended me. Not because of anything other than maybe my lack of academia education, I think. I tell people went to a “fake” college. It was a technical school for me to become a court reporter, which I did. I completed the course, got a certificate and worked for 7 years typing really fast, editing and proofreading. For the last six years I’ve been a real estate agent. Another certificate and license and no, what the world considers “real” schooling. I never feel uneducated until I fill out a resume, though. I don’t have a bachelors or associates, but am educated in different ways, if that makes sense. I got street smarts, yo.
But what I am finding when it comes to relationships at my age, that education isn’t really the big issue, at least here in the southern Midwest. I’ve lived on my own for a little over 10 years, fully supporting myself and having a fairly successful career. Education or no, I think confidence and independence are going to be and have been the biggest things that have come up for me. But I think that comes with academia education, as well. I don’t know. Men around here seem to be looking for someone to take care of. I’m looking for someone to work with and grow together. Just a difference of perspective here, I guess. And honestly, I don’t think either are wrong.
Sorry. No direct question, so I’m rambling. Ha! 😉
This topic has been a daily struggle for me in my life over the past several years. I’m a woman working in a highly male dominated field, and am an Architect. I have a 5 year bachelor degree and will definitely be going back to get my master’s. I live in Portland, Or where I feel, after having spent a year on the East Coast and in the South that Portland has very liberal views and try’s to be open and welcoming to women working it’s still got some work to do.
All that being said, finding a man has been a very difficult task for me. I’m a strong motivated, intelligent woman and most men are scared off by that. But what I have learned is that those men aren’t the men for me. Granted that makes the men who are right for me few and far between. I’ve been single for years now and it’s not exactly fun but I have worked on myself and becoming who I want to be and I’m not going to change who I am so that someone will like me. Although I do understand and know from reading MafMWafV that men genuinely want to help women and I need to be sensitive to that and let them help me, ie. taking my huge suitcase up and down the stairs : ) even though I could do it.
I recently started dating a man, and he has told me that he appreciates my drive and motivation. Music to my ears! So while women may have a harder time finding that man, they are out there. I can’t wait for the day when men realize that there aren’t anymore stupid girls out there and they all start wanting smart girls, maybe that will make them step up their game a little bit too hehehe.
Lindsey – great hearing your story. Yes as men and women I think we can continue to figure out ways to serve each other in ways that build each other up so we can be the best versions of ourselves – NOT in competition or intimidated by each other. It’s tough, but I think when we stop competing or being fearful, we are freed up to live into our full potential and cheer on other people as they live into theirs. To me, that reflects God’s heart and desire for the flourishing of humanity.
I really appreciate this post and am looking forward to Part Deux!
In particular, the idea of a more authentic respect dynamic, was something I hadn’t thought about before. I am pursuing my MD, and have always struggled with seeing this pursuit as conflicting with my hope for a Christian-values-based marriage and family. Practically it has stunted my dating life – and I’m currently working hard to remedy that – but it also brings the reality that I won’t have a traditional stay-at-home wife and mother role. What I really appreciate about this post is that it reminded me that the Love & Respect paradigm can still fit even when there are differences in education and vocation, such that, my respect doesn’t have to be attached to his degrees or salary, but rather his genuine intelligence and inquisitiveness for life. Hopefully this will also help me be open-minded about my prospective dates too.
First of all, what a sweet name Christabelle!
I am so glad that you enjoyed the video and perspective shift. Yes, being in med school is a HUGE commitment that will make dating delayed or difficult solely because of the time constraints, but if that’s an area that brings you alive, then I think sometimes we can idolize marriage and what it “should” look like that we become disobedient to the gifts God has given us or even bitter at God for not letting us “have it all.” I think many of us are free to choose to do what we want, and our choices do impact other areas of our life. If you saw part two, Curt made a really good comment about how we can make statements about why relationships aren’t working based on our our career or lackthereof to cover up for the fact that we have serious personality issues we need to deal with…haha.
Something really interesting to think about — hop you continue on in the discussion here and with your friends!
think it is a had place lately for both Men and Women; Men are more encouraged to play sports rather than learn to work or learn a trade, while Women are encouraged more to get a good education rather than prepare for marriage. Granted both genders need guidance, but in today’s ‘Public Education System’ both genders are taught ‘what to think’ and not enough ‘how to think.’ The youth (both genders) are taught to be independent and get an education while they are mostly taught nothing about relating to the other gender and what it is to be a family.
Part of this is from the breakdown of the family unit; part from the breakdown of the men who are easily distracted and encouraged to just ‘be on of the guys’ and not taught what it is to ‘be a Man,’ just like the feminist movement is encouraging women to be independent, educated and really have no use for a man. Ask a 30-40 year old single woman who is “successful” in her career and ask her if she wishes she would’ve been more ‘family focused’ in her 20’s and see how many are happier in their careers than having the gift of raising their children.
Unfortunately I know a lot of women who are in the position where they are dating the man of their dreams and ready to get married, but the ‘man’ wants to get his career going before committing to her in marriage. Last I checked ‘Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their Labor.’* There are currently three such couples in the singles ministry I serve in where the ‘Man’ of the relationship won’t get married “because he wants to provide more for her.” As an unemployed man I totally understand our way of thinking — and feeling of inadequacy — but that does not make it right. Get married and do something small, then down the road when you are more “Established” have a huge anniversary or re-commitment.
* ECC 4:9 (NIV)
Yes, about the financial thing – I think there is wisdom in trying to get out of debt or learn how to be better with your resources, but this need to have it all perfectly together first seems like a lie people are believing and causing unnecessary stress on a relationship or distraction from the deeper reason why people are avoiding commitment and partnership.
I was always told that intelligence and smarts are really different. Some highly intelligent people have zero smarts and some of the smartest people I know can tear down and rebuild an engine with not a bit of higher book learnin’ 😉 There are people of both types of both genders. Some people without a diploma have a better understanding of God’s calling on their life than some highly educated pastors.
Speaking from my personal experience as a single gal with a college education that I enjoyed getting and that includes a Bible cert, it is nice to be challenged to grow spiritually and intellectually. I know that I need it in a relationship and I need a man to lead me above and beyond my own leadership qualities. A man looking to me as the one who is more educated or the one who knows the Bible more makes coming under his leadership very tough for me. That’s just my feelings due to experience.
I do love that you are getting these questions and there is dialogue, minds are working and we are all becoming better educated due to it!
My experience has been pretty similar to yours, Sara, I think.
As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to do the stay-at-home mom/wife thing, but I just haven’t found someone that will partner with/lead me intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually with intentionality and depth. I never planned to have a long single phase after college in which I was working a career job, but really, what else am I supposed to do? Sit on my hands at home and wait for him to come along? Somehow I don’t think that would be giving God his due glory. He created my mind and heart and knows the capability and desire of both; to refuse to educate myself or use the gifts and talents he has given me would be robbing God of his glory, and that’s just not something I’m interested in doing.
But on the topic of education and whether or not it makes me feel superior to men–absolutely not! I’ve met people have just a high school degree whose brains I’ve picked for hours on topics that are really important–theology, life experience, ministry, etc. To me, it’s not a matter of a degree, nor a matter of being able to solve the most complicated math problem (which is saying a lot, because I work in a math learning center); the intelligence I look for in a man is willingness to learn, ability to apply knowledge to real life, and ability to have deep conversations. There is nothing more frustrating to me than trying to have a good conversation with a man and he won’t answer seriously or with any thought. Men with two degrees can be that way, and men with no degrees can be that way. It really seems to be a heart thing more than a head thing, when it comes to what I’m looking for in a man.
Sounds familiar, Lindsey! And I’m against hand-sitting too, that’s why they are connected to our arms and shoulders, not our backsides 😉 Never know when serving the Lord with the gifts He’s given us may lead us to someone with similar desires and interests and singleness!
The sad reality is that we may NOT meet anyone. God doesn’t promise us marriage, but he does want us to keep making our requests known. I don’t have this all figured out, and I don’t want to be a debbie downer, but I think there’s a balance to how we move forward with what we’ve been given, while finding time to pause and be available to what may be given as a gift.
This is so perfectly said and on a personal level I couldn’t agree more:
“the intelligence I look for in a man is willingness to learn, ability to apply knowledge to real life, and ability to have deep conversations. There is nothing more frustrating to me than trying to have a good conversation with a man and he won’t answer seriously or with any thought. Men with two degrees can be that way, and men with no degrees can be that way.”
Thank you for sharing that! I have been around very smart or successful men that don’t have this, and their accomplishments do nothing for me.