This I Believe

Sharon - Smithfield, Maine
Entered on January 10, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

A Permanent Trip Down the Aisle

A twenty-year-old man and an eighteen-year-old woman spark up a courtship; shortly thereafter is a proposal, and then a marriage. The two move in together, have children, and watch them grow. The woman is a “housewife,” and naturally, the man is the provider. They grow old together, never to be parted until the will of God calls one home. Such was ordinary not too long ago, and in this I believe.

When people think of the perfect marriage, many drift back to the marriages from 50s television shows–a June Cleaver-like wife who sets a delightful, warm supper on the beautiful dining room table and greets a Ward Cleaver-like husband at the kitchen door, when he comes home from performing his duties as bread-winner. When compared to the marriages of today, which typically have both partners working, 1950s marriages had a much lower divorce rate and a higher level of happiness. I believe the traditional homemaker wife and the bread-winner husband roles produce better marriages.

When I look at the older age group, those of my parent’s and grandparent’s generation, they tend to be more traditional. Many of their marriages have lasted until death bid them part, whereas my own age group’s unions aren’t nearly as successful. For example, my grandparents have been married 58 years; my sister divorced shortly after one. Again, what’s different? Traditional roles.

A recent study conducted by Times columnist John Tierney, found that “women want their husbands to be providers.” This study also cited research conducted by Charlotte Allen, that the more traditional a marriage, the happier it is– which in turn leads to a lasting marriage.

Perhaps there’s a reason why traditional roles were held for so long and in nearly every civilization. The set up worked. Divorce was unthinkable and, as a result, people tried harder to make the job of a relationship work rather than just giving up. It wasn’t a game, it was work, hard at times, but worth it. I believe that even in today’s America a lasting marriage is possible if we recapture the spirit of a 50s marriage.