The Unity Model Marriage and its Deterioration in the 21st Century
by Liya Smolina
The instructions to this report can be found at
Table of Contents
2. Part A: The media and marriage
a. “Learn the ‘Secrets of a Successful Marriage’”
b. “The Pursuit of Happiness”
c. “Computer Widows Bring Their Marriages Back to Life with input from Counselor Jean Hollands”
d. “True Life: I have digital drama”
e. Marriage Doesn’t Matter Anymore Says New Survey
f. The Key to Good Marriage: Good Communication, and Viagra
3. Part B: Perspectives on marriage
a. Mental Anatomy of Men and Women
b. Masculine Resistance to Femininity
c. Equity Marriage
d. Spiritual Marriage
4. Part C: Managing Anti-Unity Values (AUV) in My Mental Environment
c. Celebrities and Other Figures in the Media
d. My Mental Environment
This report is for Dr. James’s Psychology 409B: Best Friends in Love: Natural and Spiritual Dimensions of Marriage and Couplehood. This report will examine several aspects of marriage beginning with the media opinions on marriage. I will examine news articles, report their key points, and relate them to the Unity Model of Marriage. The second part of the report will explain the perspectives discussed in Dr. James’s class as well as the Swedenborg Reports. Closing the report, I will study the Anti-Unity Values in my mental environment and how my friends and I related to them. There will be a detailed analysis of today’s media influences on relationships and how the public perceives women, men, relationships, and marriage. My personal opinions will be expressed throughout the report and they will reflect my strong belief in Unity Model of Marriage as well as Swedenborg’s concept of theism (discussed in Part B). Although this report supports the Unity Model of Marriage, the news and media examples and results I will share will strongly contrast this model and prove that healthy unity model marriages are on a steady decline in today’s society.
If you happen to take a look through news articles, especially the more current ones from the 21st century, you’ll be thoroughly disappointed with your findings. It’s not that there is a lack of news, because there are plenty of news articles updating us on the development of gay marriage laws, celebrity divorces, spousal abuse, and of course Tiger Woods’s cheating scandal. Your disappointment will stem from the LACK of positive news. There’s the occasional marriage announcement of some media personality, but how often do we read about successful marriages or the unity model of marriage making marriages work in the news? Chances are not often. The following articles were found on Google news and express various views on marriage.
This article informing a community about an upcoming seminar led by a marital and sex therapist Kathleen Logan-Prince and a marriage expert John Gottman, is quite pessimistic about marriage and it seems as if the seminar will either lead couples towards divorce or just a temporary solution for their marriage issues. Firstly, Logan-Prince mentions that 69% of marital problems cannot be solved due to the innate personality of each spouse which cannot be changed. In addition to that, she states that 50% of couples will experience sexual dysfunction at one point in their life, which eventually leads to a sex starved marriage that will fail. In the end Logan-Prince mentions the differences between men and women’s sexual desires and how they lead to difficulties in a relationship.
“Men are hard-wired to the visual. ‘I see, I want. Pornography is largely designed for men, and it appeals to their biological desire for fast impersonal orgasms. Most women don’t like it,’ Logan-Prince said. ‘On the other hand, research has shown that women don’t generally experience sexual desire until they are in the relationship. These differences obviously can lead to sexual difficulties in a relationship.’”
While I agree with Logan-Prince that a sex starved marriage will lead to marital difficulties, I disagree with her attitude towards sex. She says that women don’t have sexual desires until they are in a relationship, which is not technically correct nor should this be seen as a negative trait of women. Women have a stronger sexual desire when they experience a connection with their spouse. When there is trust, communication, and they feel that they are in safe and connected with their man. A woman can be in a relationship and not have sexual desire because her boyfriend, husband, or partner does not connect with her and does not make her feel safe. And why would a woman wanting all these things and a relationship before having sex be a problem? This should not lead to difficulties in a relationship, especially if it is accepted for a man to just want a “fast impersonal orgasm.” The woman should not be the only blame for sexual difficulties in a relationship, because a spouse in a woman centered relationship will establish a connection, build trust, make the woman feel safe and wanted before expecting intimacy.
Overall Logan-Prince is too quick to jump to the idea of such a large percentage of relationships not working out and being completely unsolvable. Her bright light at the end of the tunnel is that if couple learn to deal with problems, rather than solving them, the relationship will work out. This point of view is bizarre considering she is advising couples to just deal with problems. Most relationship problems can be solved through communication and working together to have the unity model relationship.
“Marital happiness is far more important than anything else in determining personal well-being. If you have a successful marriage, it doesn’t matter how many professional setbacks you endure, you will be reasonably happy. If you have an unsuccessful marriage, it doesn’t matter how many career triumphs you record, you will remain significantly unfulfilled.”
While this brief article is a reference to the current issue of allowing gay marriage, it is 100% relatable to heterosexual relationships. This article is trying to emphasize the point that gay couples should have the same right to marriage as heterosexual couples, because the Declaration of Independence states that we have the right to live in the pursuit of happiness, and they make an excellent point. Marital happiness with a spouse who is in a physical and spiritual relationship with you is the most fulfilling part of life. No matter what careers you go through, however many children you have, the natural disasters that occur in life, through wealth and poverty your spouse will always be by your side and your unity will fulfill you physically and emotionally. While times will change and material things will pass and go, a spouse will be with you through everything and the spiritual relationship will continue on past death into your eternal life together.
From People magazine news archives, this article is a bit outdated but the issues is still very prevalent today. The introduction of technology has created issues in relationships because computers, cell phones, internet, and all other new forms of electronic communication that pop inhibit communication and interaction between spouses. This article specifically discussed a relationship between a wife and her husband, who worked as an engineer in Silicon Valley. The issue was that once the husband came home from work, he would not disconnect from the computer to connect with his wife. His way of thinking was also inhibited because he tended to solve problems systematically.
"Engineer-scientists like Don need to run up into a mental tree-house and look down on a problem," she says. "I, on the other hand, need immediate contact and involvement. But he is hiding up there assessing things and I'd be calling 'Talk to me' and crying. I'd bombard him with emotions, and he was in over his head."
Obviously treating any issues with a spouse as if they are a computer will fail immediately. A wife, especially needs to connect and express her feelings and for the husband to listen and interact. She needs to know that he cares and understands. The counselor’s response to this problem, initially called the “Silicon Syndrome” was for the husband to disconnect for an hour every night to spend time with the wife or take a weekend getaway without his computer. An “hour a night”??? Perhaps this counselor is considering a male dominant relationship where the man is supposed to come home, do as he likes, and expect the wife to just wait for him to give her the attention she wants. In the male dominant model, the man would be right in this situation because his spouse’s job is to take care of the home, provide sex, and make sure the husband has a desire to come home at the end of the day. In that relationship, that one hour of attention for the wife would be a joyous occasion since the husband is taking time away from something he likes doing (computers) and directing it towards his wife.
In a unity model relationship, this one hour block for the wife every night is unimaginable because it is not nearly enough time, and the one hour would feel like an obligation for the husband. The husband should not have to have a set time set aside for the wife every night to connect. Instead, he should want to spend his free time with her, sans the interruption of his electronics. The unity model promotes intimacy and bonding in order to have a healthy relationship. Technology often comes in between spouses and creates a distraction, makes the wife feel unwanted, distant, unsafe, and uncared for.
This next example of the distraction technology brings comes from a popular MTV reality show, “True Life.” In this episode several couples have relationship difficulties because either one or both of the spouses have difficulties disconnecting from the digital world and connecting with each other. This brings up the issue of cheating as well as not connecting with one another. Today’s technological developments such as text messaging, multimedia messaging, social networking websites such as Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, and many others allow instant communication between millions of people and often times it allows for that communication to be completely private and discrete. This privacy can lead to infidelity or what some men consider “harmless” communication.
In this episode of True Life the couple often spends countless hours on their cell phones, which have access to the internet and social networking sites, even in the presence of their spouse. Constant technological connection brings the spouses to accuse each other of cheating, lying, and being disconnected from them emotionally. Some of the accusations don’t have any truth to them, but many of them do because men often ended up talking to other females and connecting with them via texts messages or online chats without the spouse knowing. The issue here was that the men didn’t find that they were doing anything wrong. The ones that were communicating with other females did not even think they were committing an act of infidelity because there was no physical relationship. What they didn’t understand was an emotional relationship is just as bad as a physical relationship with another female.
Dr. DeAngelis emphasized the point of emotional cheating in her book “What Women Want Men to Know.” Shutting out your wife from your life and not wanting to share details of your life with her, but choosing to do so with a strange female is cheating. Why would a man connect with a stranger and not his wife? Sounds like the man is choosing a stranger over his wife, without understanding the mistake he has made.
Connecting emotionally with another female takes away from the relationship a man has with his woman. In a unity model relationship, a man needs to connect with his woman on a physical and emotional level. He must share intimate details with her and spend time communicating with her, because otherwise she will feel distant from him and she won’t feel intimate with him. A man connecting emotionally to another woman, takes away from his connection with his spouse leading an insecure relationship. There is no reason for a man to connect emotionally with another woman and not his spouse. In a healthy relationship he must want to share every detail of his life with his woman and the woman is always there to listen and connect with him. This brings them closer together. Intimate connections with other women counts as cheating because a man should connect with his spouse only.
This issue has come up with several of my girlfriends that complain that their boyfriend or husband often conceal their cell phones and often spend time text messaging without revealing details about their conversations. This causes conflict because my female friends think their man is withholding important information and might be cheating. They have the right to question why their man doesn’t share information with them if it’s harmless and doesn’t involve infidelity. Their men say that the women are clingy and nosy for wanting to know all details about their digital communication. In a male dominant relationship, the man really doesn’t have to share all details and the equity relationship would allow the females to establish equality and demand for the man to share information. But, in the unity model relationship, the man wouldn’t even hide any kind of digital relationship he might have. He is open with his woman and he is open to sharing everything and having a free flow of communication to help the woman feel secure and safe.
In this article, the British couple are expressing their opinions about cohabitation and marriage. The popular opinion in Great Britain is that spouses living together is just as good as being married and from a poll, less than 20% of people thought there was a big difference between cohabitation and marriage. Another statistic in the article said more than 50% of people saw weddings as a celebration instead of a ceremony to profess eternal commitment to one another. In the same poll, ⅔ of people accepted divorce as a regular part of life and didn’t think it had a negative connotation at all. Overall, the article presented very few of the author’s opinions, but there were plenty of statistics from a poll conducted in Britain that illustrated the popular opinions of 21st century Brits.
Beneath this article is a section for the public to leave their comments and opinions on this marriage issue. There was a mix of responses and no concurring opinions about marriage. One female wrote about a “happiness study” she knew about that claimed that men were the happiest people and women were generally unhappy (no evidence if this study was only on married individuals) and 60% of the surveyed married women would leave their husband if they could keep their lifestyle. This woman obviously deducted from the study that marriage makes women unhappy and men happy, therefore women shouldn’t get married.
Another commentator on the article blamed the removal of the married persons tax allowance for increased cohabitation. So with no financial advantage to being married, there is no difference between living together or being married. Obviously this person only saw marriage as a financial partnership, that with the extra finances taken away might end up in divorce. Marriage is not about finances and the benefits you will receive from having a marriage certificate. Marriage is about being in a committed physical and spiritual relationship with your spouse for eternity.
Cohabitation, which I will discuss later on in this report, does not signify any kind of commitment, and although couples can have good relationships while cohabitating, they are not united completely. They may be at the equity stage of the relationship where they treat each other with equality, but there is no deep, spiritual connection there, because if there was they would not hesitate to make the commitment and get married.
There is a bright end of the tunnel with one of the commentators making a great argument for marriage. He or she says that divorce has undermined marriage and for those that think that marriage is nothing more than a paper certificate, might as well throw away their weddings vows because they are just as meaningless.
From the title of this article, you would think the author knows what they’re talking about, right? Not so much. Besides promoting Viagra and an active sex life, this article sounded like it could have been written by Dr. Laura. The author of this piece writes about a waning sex life being one of the leading causes of marital problems. Even with young couples, intimacy often decreases and the relationship feels dull without the flames being ignited with an active sex life. Often times the wife feels neglected and unwanted and the husband may spend more time away from home at work, or just not paying as much attention to the wife so the solution for the marriage counselor is to dig deep for the problem.
“The marriage counselor addresses this scenario by uncovering any underlying issues that may be present other than a difficult work schedule. The counselor will usually attempt to discern whether the husband finds his wife unattractive, irritable, or dull.”
Reading this article, I couldn’t understand why couples would even need to go to a counselor for such an obvious problem with even more obvious solutions. Obviously this counselor is seeing things from a male dominant marriage model because the woman is the one to blame in all of this. He/she sounds like Dr. Laura when they try and dig deep for the root of the intimacy problem and end up with the conclusion that the man doesn’t spend time at home because he doesn’t get sex and finds his wife irritating, dull, unattractive, etc. Hmmm, this is like the chicken and the egg debate, what comes first? Does the wife not give her husband sex when the husband makes his woman feel loved, wanted, safe, secure, and connected which results in him wanting to spend time at home? Or is the husband neglecting his wife, being absent from home, projecting his attitude of seeing his wife as unattractive and dull, and still expecting sex after all that? It’s not the woman’s job to provide sex to her husband on a daily basis when he doesn’t act like a loving, caring, attentive husband that appreciates every quality of his wife.
When a man thinks his wife is unattractive is dull, maybe he should think about the way he treats her and then he’ll see why the woman isn’t excited about their sex life or their relationship in general. A man that can’t wait to leave work to come home and spend time with his wife, bond with her, and be intimate is the type of man that is in a unity model marriage. His positive attitude towards his wife builds a strong connection which leads to a fabulous sex life. If he comes home, neglects the wife, doesn’t participate in a sexy conversation style by showering her with compliments and make her feel good about herself, he is not going to have a healthy relationship and his wife should not be the guilty spouse that doesn’t want to have sex with her husband. Sex is intimate and intimacy is required from the husband, this doesn’t mean the literal act of foreplay, but small different acts that let your wife know you care.
Bottom line...a man can pop all the Viagra pills he wants, but it takes more than a little blue pill to have intimacy in a relationship. Intimacy in a marriage involves sexy conversation styles, foreplay, communication, connectedness, and making your woman feel safe and wanted.
Detailed notes of the perspectives on marriage can be found on the G28 Notes
The following points I will be presenting are key to understanding the Unity Model of Marriage as discussed in Dr. James’s class. They are a part of the G28 Lecture Notes and include concepts that are strongly influenced by the Swedenborg Report, written by Emanuel Swedenborg. The Swedenborg reports are still not as widely accepted in the field of psychology due to their view of God and related concepts. Regular science refuses to believe the existence of God and God’s influences over people, yet this cannot be a denial by science because the existence of God has not been invalidated scientifically, so we can only view it as a bias. Therefore we can take on two different views of God being the causal factor for events and people:
1. Negative bias in psychology
a. This viewpoint is another way of phrasing “science”. In this case we are saying that we don’t believe that God is the causation factor for people and events. We believe that evaluating the Unity Model of Marriage may not be done objectively if you have the negative bias because you won’t approach the Swedenborg Reports with an open attitude, willing to consider them as logical.
2. Positive bias in psychology or theism
a. This does not necessarily mean that you consider the Swedenborg Reports as true, but that you are not willing to disclaim it immediately. Theism means that you possibly consider the Swedenborg Reports to be scientific, therefore you can view the Unity Model of Marriage objectively.
Now that you have an understanding of the mindset you need to have (positive bias in psychology or theism) to approach the Swedenborg Reports and all of the related ideas concerning the Unity Model of Marriage, I will discuss some of the important topics presented in Dr. James’s Notes from Generation 28, in the Fall 2008 semester. These topics will include the mental anatomy of men and women, masculine resistance to femininity, equity marriages, and spiritual marriages.
Mental anatomy of women and men is important to comprehend in order to comprehend the different marriage models. While you may have studied the brain anatomy of men and women in a science class, the mental anatomy is something different. To study mental anatomy, you must have the positive bias in psychology and have an objective view towards the brain and the mental mind being separate entities, with the mental mind being eternal.
Swedenborg proposes that there are 12 layers of the male mental anatomy. These layers are also split up into subgroups in which layers 7, 8, and 9 happen to compose the natural mind (as opposed to the spiritual mind). Men that are in layer 9 have the male dominance model in marriage mentality, while men in layer 8 have the mentality of the equity model in marriage, and men in layer 7 have the mentality of the unity model in marriage. The men’s mentality does not necessarily stay in each of the levels equally but it does change over time. Once a relationship starts, the man may be in layer 9 with the male dominant mentality. As the relationship grows and progresses, the man interacts more with the woman and moves on to layer 8. Eventually, the men learn and move to layer 7 where they are in the unity model marriage.
This diagram is an explanation of the differences of the mental anatomies of men and women. As you can see inner circle of a woman’s mentality is the cognitive organ, which for the man is in his outer circle. This means that men first instincts are thinking, reasoning, and remembering while women’s first instincts are her loves. This means that saying something like “I love you” to one another means different things to men and women because their outer layers aren’t the same. Once the man stops approaching the world with his cognitive organ and starts using the affective organ, then he is more likely to be synchronized with his woman and achieve unity.
Going back to the different layers of the male mental anatomy, layers 7, 8, and 9 also represent how men perceive femininity. For example if a man comes home after a day at work and sees his stay at home wife doing the laundry after having set up the dinner table, there are several things he can do according to the different layers of his mentality.
* Layer 9: Relax on the couch and let his wife finish the laundry by herself. His mentality is that the woman should be responsible for household chores.
* Layer 8: Maybe relax on the couch while his wife loads the washing machine and then take over folding the laundry when it’s out of the dryer. He believes in equality and shares the work with the woman.
* Layer 7: Takes over doing the rest of the chores and allows the woman to rest while he finishes everything. The woman shouldn’t feel guilty about not doing the work and the man’s actions should not be anything extraordinary.
So, these layers clearly illustrate the different ways men regard their spouses in the relationship. Layer 9 is the old fashioned way of thinking where the man goes to work while the wife takes care of the house. In this mentality the man doesn’t begin to think that maybe he should take over some household chores because he believes it is the wife’s duty no matter what, since he is the one working and bringing home the money.
If the man has a higher regard for women and wants to further develop his relationship, he will progress to layer 8 where he believes his woman should have more of an equality and not be used as a housewife. With this mentality he may begin to share duties and help his spouse with household tasks. This does not mean volunteering to take over tasks to relieve the wife from any chores, instead it means helping out with a PART of the task and work somewhat equally to finish it.
The biggest difference between level 8 and level 7 is that the man volunteers to complete tasks, thus relieving his wife of any duties so she can relax. The man with this mentality wants to have a fulfilling, unity model of marriage therefore he will do anything for his spouse to make her life easier and happier. Her happiness brings him joy and any tasks that he can do for her does not seem like a chore, instead it is another gift that he can give for his spouse to make her happy without expecting for her to give anything in return.
The male resistance comes into play when the man loves his masculine intelligence above feminine intelligence which means he is not supporting the feminine intelligence ideas. Now only when he puts his own intelligence aside and puts the woman’s first, then he can have a unity marriage and will stop resisting mental intimacy with the woman.
The equity model marriage as written about in Dr. Tannen’s “You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation” is a step above the male dominance marriage, yet it is not that far ahead of it. In an equality marriage a man might be on a more equal level with a woman and they might split up household tasks. Like “ honey, you do the dishes and I will dry them” but never will the man take over the entire task and accomplish it himself. At times when a woman asks the man to do something and he forgets to do it, her reminders will become “nags” to him.
So while a man might break his promises on sharing work or helping out, the only way for the woman to defend herself and prove her point is to withhold sex or use some other way to enforce not having broken promises. The woman may feel like she is an equity relationship at first, but over time if it doesn’t move into the unity model it will begin to feel like a male dominant relationship.
Dr.Tannen’s view of this equity model is plain and simple. She writes about the differences between men and women and the differences in their conversation. This isn’t really meaning to help couples achieve unity or have stronger relationships, it’s more of a knowledge database of the different conversation between men and women. Women just have to accept certain things about men and their speech and the way things are done and men just have to do the same for women.
As stated in Dr. James’s lecture notes the woman has no guarantee about anything in the equity phase. There are no guarantees of having stronger relationships with your husband or having more help from him. An equity marriage is just a short step up from the male dominance model.
Emanuel Swedenborg made the distinction between spiritual marriages and natural marriages which is practically the same as differentiating between conjugial and conjugal love. Natural marriages (conjugal love) go along with the statement “till death do us part” while spiritual marriages (conjugial love) believe in “till endless eternity.”
The spiritual marriage indicates that spouses are also soul-mates and the marriage does not end when one dies. Instead the spiritual marriage continues on to the afterlife. A natural marriage implies that spouses are just partners in the physical life until death. This is not necessarily relating to religion, but to the idea that there is an after life as presented in the Swedenborg Reports.
The following points are presented by Dr. James in the G28 Lecture Notes as proof of the existence of marriage in the spiritual world:
(i) A person lives on as a person after death.
(ii) A male is then male and a female is female.
(iii) Each person retains his own love after death.
(iv) The chief love is sexual love; and in the case of those who reach heaven, that is, those who become spiritual on earth, it is conjugial love.
(v) These facts have been fully confirmed by eye-witness.
(vi) Consequently there are marriages in the heavens.
(vii) The Lord's statement that after the resurrection people are not given in marriage refers to spiritual weddings.
According to Dr. James in the Unity Model of Marriage a couple has a healthy relationship and are happy because of many reasons including:
(1) They are lovers and best friends at the same time.
(2) They are strongly motivated not to hurt each other out of neglect, impatience, anger, disagreement, or resentment.
(3) They are committed to never contradict each other.
(4) They remain loyal to each other before anybody else, including children, family, friends, career, hobby.
(5) They are happy, fulfilled, and constantly passionately in love with each other.
The overall point is that true love never dies and it will forever be eternal. It means strong commitment and being happy forever with the person you are united with. A Unity Model Marriage stresses the importance of a spiritual marriage and spending eternity with your husband.
Media has been responsible for strongly influencing today’s society, especially when it comes to people’s view of women, men, relationships, and marriage. From the time TVs were created we’ve been seeing fictional families on the screen and learning from them. Today with reality television becoming a leading TV show genre, we are introduced to real life couples and self help guru’s. Their purpose is to entertain the viewers, but is this just purely for our entertainment or does it rub off on us and affect our attitudes? I will be answering this with my analysis of the media as well as personal discussions with my family and friends.
In this last section I will be discussing how the media portrays marriage through television, music, and popular celebrities. Following the analysis of the 3 different types of media I will cover discuss how my mental environment is affected by the AUVs.
Television has become a major part of people’s lives. Most Americans will have the TV on for about 5 hours per day, sometimes spending all of their free time in front of the screen taking in what they see and subconsciously learning. With reality TV shows like “The Millionaire Matchmaker,” “Tool Academy,” “The Hills,” “Tough Love,” and fictional shows like “Sex and the City,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and “Tool House” we see dating tips, relationship advice, and fictional couples that are there to entertain and inform.
You might question exactly how much television informs you, but think about how much information is thrown out at you every time you sit down and watch a show. Think about the self help shows and all of the tips the counselors provide, whether it is on how to keep a man, lose weight, stop being a tool, etc. Even the fictional reality shows like “Desperate Housewives” and “Sex and the City” that promote the ideas of women being strong, independent, promiscuous, and more importantly happily unmarried. Women watching these shows start to believe all of the AUVs presented and change their mentality accordingly.
“Sex and the City” likes to promote a lot of ideas for women such as this...
Maybe some women aren't meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free til they find someone just as wild to run with them.
...while this may give the idea that women will eventually settle down with someone, it also gives the ideas that the spouse you settle with should be as wild as you are. In my opinion this would mean that he would engage in various activities and have AUVs that would never lead to a healthy marriage.
Just from watching television in the past week I have seen the following AUVs presented from different reality and fictional shows:
- Cohabitation. Living together without being married, or even having intentions of getting married
- Casual sex with many different partners
- Playing relationship games with your spouse
- Lying and infidelity
- Layer 7 male mentality of housework
- Using sex as manipulation
- Viewing women as pure sex objects
- Describing women as nagging and clingy
- Female exploitation
- Dumbing down women
- Having children out of wedlock
- Bad mouthing your spouses to your friends
- Keeping secrets from partners
- Dressing provocatively for men other than your spouse
I learned that there are very few couple in television that exemplify a Unity Model of Marriage. Even a couple as seen in Everybody Loves Raymond seems to stay in the male dominance model. Raymond is always grumbling about his wife Debra and her housework, yet he never helps her with anything because he doesn’t think it’s his job. Yes, they have been married for a long time and their problems always get resolved at the end of the episode, but they are always temporary solutions and their fights are irrational and would never occur in the unity marriage.
Television will never teach us how to have a healthy marriage. We will learn how to be independent women embracing our sexuality while single and we will learn how to conduct ourselves and dress ourselves to marry a millionaire, but there will never be a show that helps a man change his mentality to fit the unity model of marriage. It’s very frustrating to me as a female, that we are constantly told how to change ourselves in order to find a husband, yet television continues to do so with shows like “Tough Love” advising us how often we can text message or what information we can share with our significant other. These shows will only continue to promote the male dominance or the equity model, without ever touching on what makes the unity model of marriage.
Turn on your iTunes and look at the “Top Charts” section in the iTunes store. Notice any kind of pattern with titles or themes? You should. When we have Taio Cruz singing about “breaking your heart”, Ludacris rapping that “his chick is bad” (bad as in good), and LMFAO singing that ladies love them “when they pour shots” we start to see the common pattern that women are degraded, disrespected, and used as sex objects. Now, I’m not going to go on and on with feminist ideas because this report is on marriage, but I do think it is necessary to examine how the music industry portrays women because this is what we hear on the radio and on MTV. While people assume it’s just harmless, it really is degrading and it gives men the wrong idea about women, casual sex, relationships, and marriage.
Now narrow down your “Top Charts” search to just the Hip Hop and Rap section. Yes, I know not everyone listens to that, but it is one of the most popular genres so let’s examine what we find here (since we’ll be hearing it on the radio as well). Top songs include Ray J’s “Tie Me Down.” Ludacris’s “How Low (Can You Go),” and everyone’s favorite Akon hit “Sexy Bitch.” If someone wants to argue that these are just song titles and women shouldn’t feel offended or objectified then let’s just examine the song lyrics.
“Better than I ever seen it done before
A lot of women drop it to the ground
BUT, how low can you go
Lower than yo' mamas ever seen it in her lifetime”
The message that it sends to men is that women are just sex objects. We are judged purely by our talent of how sexually provocatively we dance and how much we can outdo other females. According to Ludacris, its as if we are supposed to compete with other women for who can be the most promiscuous female. A female should not have to be judged based on her promiscuity because that is not the female character trait that will be good in a healthy relationship. A relationship that begins with the man having a mindset that his woman will be promiscuous and low class will lead to many difficulties because the relationship will not even get to the equity model marriage. This type of male point of view would not even be supported by Dr. Laura because it degrades women to a high degree and committed relationships aren’t ever promised Ludacris’s songs.
In this report, I am not trying to put down the music industry and criticize every artists, but I do want to shed light on the fact that the popular music we hear on the radio today does not send positive images about women. When a young man hears the music lyrics of Jay Z and others he has a different way of looking at life. He sees the music videos and sings along with the lyrics and soon enough he thinks that he has to be the one with 5 different girlfriends, having promiscuous sex and lots of it, driving around in Range Rovers, and living the high life as a bachelor for life.
With these kind of men around, and there are more than there should be in this world, the concept of marriage becomes outdated and unimportant. Men with this male dominance perspective see women as only sex objects they use, leave, moving on to the next one. There is almost no room for relationships because men are trying to sleep with as many females as they can. Why? Because every rap star says its what’s good. Having “multiple bitches” is encouraged by rappers like Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy, who being so demeaning to women choose to call them “their bitches.”
So, the next time you are listening to the radio or find your significant other scrolling through his iPod think about the effects the lyrics have on you and your relationship. Determine if the songs you’re dancing to or humming makes your spouse feel degraded or if you’re the one that feels framed as merely a sex object. Lyrics aren’t just harmless lyrics, they lead to the bigger picture of anti-unity values so prevalent in today’s society.
Do you ever feel like you know someone so well when you haven’t even met them or haven’t even spoken to them? Well, that’s how a large part of our population feels about celebrities and other figures we see in the media. The truth is that we have our reasons for feeling like we know so much about movie stars, singers, models, politicians, etc. For one, there are multiple internet fan sites dedicated to these people, then there are the Twitter accounts, biographies, blogs, entertainment news on every news site, entertainment news shows, and the weekly gossip magazines satisfying our tabloid cravings. There is no avoiding keeping up with celebrities unless you live under a rock, otherwise you would see magazine covers at the grocery store, overhear gossip on the radio, see a talk show, and immediately be updated with the latest celebrity news. Once you find out one thing about a celebrity you become interested, you keep hearing more news, and eventually you end up following their life as told in the media.
With so much media coverage we already feel like we know everything about the Kardashians. We know constant updates about Kim’s relationship with Reggie Bush and how her sisters are doing with their significant others. We start watching Sandra Bullock’s movies and eventually find out about her dramatic life at home with a custody battle and now the many cases of infidelity her husband Jesse James committed. Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon living together for years without being married, Brad and Angelina’s tumultuous relationship, Jessica Simpson and the many men her life, and many other figures in the media give the public a bad image of marriage and relationships. Now this is where critics would step in and argue that what we see is just pure fictional stories made up by paparazzi. Ok, maybe or maybe not. Almost always reports about breakups, divorces, and cheating scandals ended up being publicly admitted, whether it was days, weeks, or years later.
If you disagree with this point, then think of a Hollywood couple that has stayed together and exemplified for all of us what marriage should be like. You probably can’t because the couple that seemed to last forever ended divorcing just a few short years after first saying their vows. Even couples that stay together for a long time have issues with their relationships. Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn are together yet they have not exchanged their vows for one another. They are cohabitating, but did not choose to get married for whatever reasons. This means that at any point they can break up and go their separate ways. Their relationship is not permanent, it will not last, it will not be eternal.
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were the perfect Hollywood couple and everyone idolized their relationship. Then we hear reports in the media about infidelity, disagreements about children, their careers being different priorities, and the perfect relationship begins to crumble apart until Brad Pitt is in an anti unity relationship with Angelina Jolie. The Brad and Angie relationship has more problems than his marriage with Jen because while he had a somewhat equity type marriage model with Jen, he has a male dominant relationship with Angelina. From what we get from the media reports, Angelina follows Brad around to where ever he is shooting movies and she is the one constantly handling the children and allowing him to frolic around with other sexy costars. Their relationship is an anti-unity relationship and they choose to cohabitate without committing to each other through marriage.
As much as we will try and not be aware of the celebrities in the media we just can’t disconnect that much. The important thing to learn from them is that they shouldn’t be our role models. From the young socialites jumping from one man to another to the rocky marriages that end in divorce, these are not the ideals we should be living by. Although these people are in the spotlight, they are still not good examples of what marriage should be like. They represent the AUVs studied in this course and what a unity marriage will not be.
My generation has been impacted too greatly with the current media and its promotion of AUVs. Perhaps this promotion isn’t done with a conscious effort, but it still occurs regardless. Watching various shows I feel like I have live with the happy, single female mindset when I don’t feel like that’s a good mentality to have. Many feminists would argue that a woman doesn’t need a man to complete her, and that may be true if the only relationship you have with a man is in the male dominant model. But it’s not just the man that completes a woman, it’s the spiritual relationship that she has with him when they are both in the unity model that makes both of them feel happy and satisfied. I’m sure there are plenty of females out there that still want to get married and have a healthy marriage, which is why we are so surprised by what is portrayed in the media. At times, I feel hopeless because everyone on TV is breaking up, cheating, lying, manipulating, and exemplifying all of the AUVs. This makes me think that this is what marriage is like in real life. If Jon and Kate Gosselin are breaking up their marriage and then publicly humiliating each other through a war of words, it makes me wonder what their marriage was like and what made it so bad that it led to such a nasty divorce.
Other reality shows like “The Hills” constantly show girls struggling with their boyfriends over communication and connecting. From what I’ve heard on self help shows, communication is a tricky part of a relationship. Text messaging several times a day is inappropriate because it will make the woman look clingy, calling first will make the woman seem desperate, and seeing the boyfriend too often during the week will put out the flame in the relationship quickly...these are all the messages I have gotten from watching reality shows. I feel like following these steps will worsen any kind of communication I have with a boyfriend because I will feel like I am being clingy by wanting to send a simple “I love you” text or phoning in to see how his day is. My boyfriend, also watching the same TV shows, would assume that a woman shouldn’t be calling everyday and text messaging otherwise she is clingy and trying to get him to marry her quickly.
The messages men are getting from these shows are just as bad as the ones women perceive. I asked some of my male friends what they thought of certain shows on TV that especially dealt with the topic of marriage, relationships, and self help. The very common response I received was that all of these shows are teaching women either how to “bag a husband” or “be strong, independent, feminists hating on guys.” Either way they saw women in a negative way. The attitude I felt was that men dislike single and content feminists, yet they don’t want clingy women, looking for marriage. Apparently bachelorhood has become too popular and too accepted in today’s society. So, my worry is how to change the male mentality from being so absorbed with the bachelor life and progress to the mentality of wanting a connection with someone and a unity model relationship that will be fulfilling.
Speaking with some of my girlfriends about the topics studied in class I have realized that none of them have relationships that fit the unity model. Most of them are of course not married because they have either chose to cohabitate with their boyfriend or they have been in a years long relationship not progressing towards marriage. After I described the unity model of marriage to my female friends, they said the idea was very foreign to them, because their boyfriends were stuck in the equity model or some just lagged in the male dominant model. They complained that they often had fights with their boyfriends over being called clingy and overbearing and that conversations about the future often brought up disagreements and conflict.
The issue of female “clinginess” has been a problem with my relationships as well and I always thought that maybe I was clingy until I took this course and realized that my clinginess is actually my desire to have communication and a connection with my significant other. Wanting to know my boyfriend’s plans, how he’s doing, or even just sending short texts eventually turned to fighting when I didn’t get replies back. I was made to feel like an overbearing and nosy girlfriend when I just wanted to connect. When my boy friend didn’t connect I felt insecure about myself and about the relationship. Many of my girlfriends agreed with my opinions on this and said they had similar issues in their relationship.
The bright light at the end of the tunnel was the conversation I had with my mom. Although she is on her third marriage, she feels as if she has finally fit the unity model of marriage with her third husband. She categorized her first and second marriages as being perfect examples of the male dominant model of marriage and she realized why they failed. She is proud that her third and “final” marriage fits the unity model because both her and her husband feel like they are in a fulfilling, healthy relationship. She often calls me and tells me about all of the kind things that he does for her without her asking. He cooks, he cleans, and he takes the kids to school and it makes her feel loved. He spends all of his free time with her and they do everything together, united, without ever feeling like one is overbearing on the other. Small arguments often end in my step-dad apologizing and taking my mom’s side as right which leads to them making up and having a stronger relationship. I’ve asked her a few times, after she told me about an argument they’ve had, if she would ever consider divorce again. Her response was that in this marriage divorce has never crossed her mind and never will because she is with her soul-mate and will spend the rest of her living and spiritual life with him.
I’ve learned many concepts from this course that will help me have a healthy, fulfilling, and successful marriage. I now know what makes a unity model of marriage and that perhaps the things that I want from my husband make me a normal feminine woman, instead of the clingy female that the media portrays. The Unity Model of Marriage is a sure way to have an eternal marriage and once the man changes his male mental anatomy to layer 7, he is sure to be united with the woman and have a healthy woman centered marriage.
DeAngellis, B. (2001). What Women Want Men to Know. New York: Hyperion
Dr. James’s lecture notes found at http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy28/409b-g28-lecture-notes-p1.htm
Faber, Nancy. 23 January 1984. Computer Widows Bring Their Marriages Back to Life with Input from Counselor Jean Hollands. People. Retrieved from http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20086921,00.html on 28 March 2010.
Goldemberg, Francis. 02 February 2010. The key to a good marriage: good communication, and Viagra. Earth Times. Retrieved from http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/the-key-to-a-good-marriage-good-communication-and-viagra,1146241.shtml on 30 March 2010.
Sullivan, Andrew. 30 March 2010. The Pursuit of Hapiness. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/03/the-pursuit-of-happiness.html on 3 April 2010.
“True Life: I have digital drama”. Retrieved fro http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFj-Dxn7OJw on 1 April 2010.
Wagner, Susan L. 10 March 2010. Learn the ‘Secrets of a Successful Marriage’. Weston. Retrieved from http://www.wickedlocal.com/weston/news/lifestyle/x1918410439/Learn-the-Secrets-of-a-Successful-Marriage on 30 March 2010.
Schlessinger, Laura.(2007). The Proper Care & Feeding of Marriage. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Tannen, D. (1990). You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation. NewYork: HarperCollins Publishers.
Pictures were taken from google.com