09 Apr Marriage, the Kitchen, and the Bedroom
Laura Bunker’s recent UFI alert struck a cord with me, and I haven’t been able to get her message out of my mind. Not only did it bring up this year’s trip to the UN, which brought up wonderful memories for me, she quoted Kate Gilmore’s shocking comment at the CSW side event.
“We discovered that for millions and millions of women that marriage is not much better than an arbitrary detention cell; that the kitchen is a torture chamber; that the bedroom is a site for the gravest of human rights violations.”
While it would be false to say that every marriage and family situation is good, taking the other route and advocating against the marriage institution is even more destructive. I bring up the following points in defense of the institution that can and will bring about the most good for society, if we promote strong marriages and families.
Marriage is more than a piece of paper and it’s more than a private relationship, it is a public commitment and responsibility for one another. And it should always be viewed as more than just one individual’s happiness, even though that is part of it.
Marriage promotes many benefits to many different people. It benefits the couple and their children, and it also benefits society. And when marriage is entered into in a responsible way these benefits are even more pronounced.
Married couples are typically better off financially, physically and mentally. And they are able to fully invest in a relationship that is protected by the promise of permanence. Another benefit is pooling: couples bring their abilities, income, and skills together. And then these tools benefit both parties rather than just one individual. Overall happiness is increased by marriage, which in itself promotes positive change in lives.
Children do better when raised by their biological married parents. They do better in school and have better relationships with their parents, while the likelihood of drug use and delinquent behavior decrease.
These benefits then transfer over to society, because when the individual people benefit, the society also improves, and people have more time and resources to devote to bettering the community.
The kitchen is actually my favorite room in the whole house. Do I cook? NO, but it’s so much more than cooking. Growing up, the kitchen was the center of my home. It was where we gathered together at the start of our day and where we finished our day. It was where we greeted each other through the comings and goings. It is one of the things that brought us together as a family.
Research has shown the benefits of the family meals together. These benefits range from better academic performance to lower risk of delinquency and depression. Kathleen Ferrigno, the director of marketing for CASA said, “The magic that happens over family dinners isn’t the food on the table, but the communication and conversations around it.” And the same could be said for the kitchen as a whole. It allows ample opportunity for family members to connect with one another.
Time in the kitchen also allows time for all members to contribute and work together. Family work has changed over time and what used to be time together, is now typically isolation. That is what needs to be avoided when doing kitchen chores. It should be a time to remember your family and the service that you are doing for them and a time to work together. Kitchen chores are one way children can feel like they are part of the family, even if they don’t enjoy completing them.
The bedroom and intimacy shared between husband and wife can be a source of conflict in marriage but we also need to keep in mind that it is also a way to bring a couple together and unite them in a way like no other.
When intimacy is shared within a marriage, with care and concern for the other, it enhances a marriage. And because the couple has already made the ultimate commitment to one anther it provides a safe environment to be vulnerable.
In his book How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk, Dr Van Epp describes the relational aspects of sex. “The primary reason why sex is always relational is because you cannot separate your body from the rest of who you are.”(p.289) meaning that casual sex is not beneficial. Sex needs to be allowed in the context of a relationship with the maximum commitment, which is the marriage relationship.
Marriage actually improves ones sex life and studies have shown married couples are actually more satisfied with their sex life. Access to partner, commitment, exclusivity, all contribute to the increased satisfaction. Care and concern for each other throughout all parts of married life contribute to care and concern in the bedroom.
All parts of family life play an important role in strengthening the family and society, but they also add to individual safety, security, and happiness. This is why we need to continue to promote healthy families. Despite the opposition married intact families do continue to achieve the best outcomes for individuals.