While marriage is not something that is on the mind of many Radford University students, it nonetheless hangs over us like a specter. Many people around college age, particularly women, are expected to get married sooner rather than later. It often seems like one is expected to get married as soon as they turn 18 or 21. For that matter, if someone has any sort of long-term romantic relationship with another person, they will often get asked, “Do you plan on getting married?” But the thing no one even wants to mention is the prospect of divorce.
There is a lot of societal pressure to stay married once you are, regardless of how bad the situation gets. If a couple does get a divorce, then everyone silently judges them. People think one or both of them must have done something horribly wrong, that they just did not know how to handle marriage and that it is their own fault for getting married in the first place. But why is that? Why can a married couple not just come to the conclusion that they are not happy together anymore and amicably split apart?
Divorce has long been seen as this terrible thing that only happens in dire circumstances, (as if marriage is the best thing that can happen to you and divorce is the worst thing that can happen), but that simply is not the case. The stigma surrounding divorce needs to be removed; people need to understand that getting a divorce does not make you a bad person and that you can get one simply because you’re not happy in your marriage. People are not required to be miserable because they married the wrong person. Life is a lot of trial and error and given the massive amount human beings that exist, there is a good chance that the first person you marry will not be the person to make you happy for the rest of your life. Which is not to say you cannot marry that person on the first try. Just know that you are allowed to be happy, and if that means getting a divorce then that does not make you a bad person.
What does equality mean? Is it merely everyone having the same things, or is it everyone getting what they need? What about when the needs are so far out there that the government cannot legislate them into people’s possession? In an article published last year , there appears to be a certain measure of equality; men and women are stepping out of their marriages at roughly equal rates. Maybe it’s time we reevaluate the role marriage ought to play in our lives.
Perhaps it’s merely a timing concern . The median age for the first marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men. It is interesting to note the article had to specify “first marriage.” In a sort of Hobbit-esque twist where the Tolkien characters have a meal more or less every hour they are awake, people seem to cycle through marriages not quite as quickly, but just about. 40% of people getting married today are not doing so for the first time , and 20% of marriages are both partners’ second (or more) marriage.
What does that tell us? Are people even meant to be bound together? Do we only need to get together to have sex and occasionally crank out another red-blooded tax-paying American, but for all intents and purposes live separate lives? White America, Black America, Male America, Female America, till death do we part, as long as we both shall live, so help us generic Deity/random quantum fluctuations? Much like an afterlife, it’d be real nice to think there’s something more to marriage than just a business arrangement and contractual obligations. Making a plan that does not account for reality has been, historically, a piss-poor recipe for success.
Is everyone getting what they want here?  Millennial women, as voiced by the author Jessica Jacobs, would seem to say they are not. Millennial men, as voiced by statistics  and anecdotal accounts  would also suggest a growing dissatisfaction with the way things are. All of us here in academia are free to debate the causes, but it’s clear that the vast majority are going to move on and find their own solutions whether we agree about why it’s happening or not. We’ll be unable to instill vital information in the latest crop of college entrants about the world the education system is self-tasked with preparing them for.
I grew up attending church on a semi-regular basis. Although my mom wanted us all to believe in Jesus and be active members in the church, there was never a whole lot of pressure on us to live a “Godly” life. My parents were, and are, a pretty progressive couple when you look at the households they grew up in: both my parents had stay-at-home mothers who adored their husbands and took a traditional motherly role.
Although for a large part of my childhood my mom was a stay-at-home mom, she had several jobs that I can recall. My parents were never the same as their parents were. Although my dad was in the Air Force and my mom spent her time with me and my two siblings, my parents were always a team. When one of us kids got in trouble while my dad was at work, my mom would of course fill my dad in when he arrived home, but they always made decisions on how to punish us together.
Even in 2016, however, there are families who choose to raise their kids in traditional, Christian households. Recently, I saw a diagram showing three umbrellas over top of one another, each one getting progressively smaller than the one above it. The first and biggest umbrella said, “Jesus” on it. The middle umbrella says, “husband” and the things he covers include “spiritually leading the household,” “provide for the family,” and “love wife like Christ loves the church.”
Meanwhile, under the smallest umbrella entitled, “wife” her duties are listed as being “a helper to her husband,” “raise Godly children,” and “submit to husband’s authority.” The bottom of the photo entitles the entire diagram as, “natural order of the family.”
To begin with what I find so troubling with this diagram, I’ll start with the title of the diagram, “natural order of the family.” For one, I view religion in itself as unnatural. Sure, we as humans may have had a natural need to explain things around us with stories of a supernatural being, but that was before science.
Science, as a natural law, tells us that the earth wasn’t molded from clay by an all-powerful being. We weren’t put on this earth 6,000 years ago as many evangelicals like to think. It’s also not natural to view one being as more or less than another simple because of sex and societal expectations of what a woman and a man’s roles are.
The next and probably most personally troubling issue I find with this diagram is the fact the woman is to be “submissive” to her husband. This may have made sense in biblical times, but in 2016 there is no reason to adhere to this traditional societal expectation. Women are now taking on the role of being the head of the household and being the breadwinners, while more husbands are taking on the role of stay-at-home dads. The wife, according to this diagram, is supposed to “raise godly children.” This is putting pressure on the wife to bear her husband’s children, which therefore puts pressure on the husband to create little god-soldiers.
Again, in 2016 there is no need to reproduce. Expectations and pressures towards couples to have children are unnecessary and the idea of not having children is becoming less taboo. As a matter of fact, in my experiences, pressuring one to have children is more taboo than not having children at all.
The expectation of the father to be a provider and leader of the family is simply primitive. As I said before, women are taking on the role of the “head of the household” more often than ever. To expect the husband to take on the role of leader of the household is just as anti-feminist as telling the wife she must be submissive.
What if all a man ever wanted to do was be a stay-at-home dad? According to this diagram, he would be considered a failure if he wasn’t the main “breadwinner.”
Overall, as someone who identifies as agnostic, I feel that running a household based on scripture can be a very toxic thing. While some may find comfort in it and feel that they’re doing the right thing, I believe that the idea that one person in the marriage holds more power than the other can attribute to domestic violence and emotional abuse.
The bible pushes this family structure because overall, women aren’t very valued in Christianity. One can trace back to Genesis where it’s believed that man was made by God, and women were simply made of mans rib. In other areas of the bible, women are often outcast and disrespected to the point of violence.
Deuteronomy 22:28 states that if an unmarried virgin woman is raped and the rapist is caught, it’s not the rape victim’s loss, it’s the father’s. The bible, specifically the Old Testament, view women as property: before the woman is married, she’s the property of her father. Once she’s married, she becomes the property of her husband. In the case of rape, the rapist is, in a sense, defiling the property of another man and therefore “pays” by remaining married to the woman, giving her a “purpose.”
This information from the bible is the basic roots for the toxic ideology that a woman is somehow beneath her husband, and that by being “above him” it would be the same as the man being “owned” by his own property.
Being a Christian is by no means “wrong,” however, I believe it’s important we look at the consequences, side-effects, and root causes of the basic beliefs of Christianity in regards to the “order” of marriage. Many times what seems to be an innocent practice of belief has a sinister heritage when examined closely and from a progressive standpoint.
It’s no secret that Hollywood seems to be the spot where on screen romances are born and real-life love stories go to die. From Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston to Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds, seemingly perfect relationships are crashing and burning all the time.
A few days ago, “The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco and her tennis star husband, Ryan Sweeting added their names to the ever growing list of failed celebrity marriages. While sources have claimed that the couple had been unhappy for a while, most information regarding the divorce is being kept under wraps with both Cuoco and Sweeting asking for privacy.
This news has left one burning question on many people’s minds: what goes so horribly wrong in celebrity marriages?
While examining her failed marriage with fellow actor, Ryan Reynolds, Scarlett Johansson explained to Parade magazine, “Acting is a very strange world to be co-existing in. It’s very volatile. There’s always going to be the more successful person. It’s related to rejection. Because actors, if they’re not having success, connect it directly to unpopularity — to the fact that nobody wants them. It’s not necessarily true. I’m constantly rejected.” Johansson when on to say that she found true happiness with her new husband, a journalist, because they are both in very different fields which takes away the competition and by extension the resentment and jealousy.
Psychotherapist M. Gary Newman has another perspective. In his article, “Why Do Celeb Marriages fail?” Newman referred to some research he had conducted earlier on women’s happiness in their marriages. He explained that he had discovered that “Women who were happily married reported spending a daily average of over 30 minutes of uninterrupted time talking to their husbands. Unhappy women reported a daily average of less than 30 minutes, and 24 percent of those unhappy reported that they spent less than five minutes a day talking to their spouses.”
Of course, being married to celebrity practically guarantees that little time will be shared solely among spouses. Newman also suggests that the personal fulfillment that fame brings alleviates the need for couples to care for each other because they can create their own happiness by themselves:
“The individuals no longer truly need the other to live happily. Instead, they just like being together. Yet a couple needs to feel that life without the other is quite impossible. If a spouse does not feel a need to have the other in his or her life on a daily basis, that is a short step away from separation.”
Of course, while Johansson and Newman’s theories hold a lot of weight, there are also more obvious reasons for divorce such as cheating. High profile cheating scandals such as Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt’s back in 2005 and more recently, golf legend, Tiger Woods’ are usually what the public jump straight to when word of a new celebrity divorce surfaces. For Aniston and Pitt, their relationship ended when Pitt cheated on Aniston with his “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” co-star, Angelina Jolie.
While rumors swirled about Aniston and Jolie’s rivalry due to Pitt’s infidelity back in the day, recently Aniston has spoken out saying, “Nobody did anything wrong. You know what I mean? It was just like, sometimes things [happen]. If the world only could just stop with the stupid, soap-opera bulls–t. There’s no story. I mean, at this point it’s starting to become—please, give more credit to these human beings.”
There are so many reasons why a marriage can fail- add adoring fans, crazy work schedules, and insane amounts of money and these reasons seem even more evident. Hopefully as Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting move forward with their divorce, they find the closure that so many of their fellow stars have found.
“All mankind, being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.”- John Locke
The man quoted above was an English philosopher, who believed that all humans were born with natural rights, and that those rights can never be taken away. Today, we live in a world where these rights are being taken away, or treated as if they were never here at all. A huge national argument going on is the human rights of those who are a part of the LGBT community. It does not matter if “you were raised to believe a certain way, or if that isn’t what God intended.” Those people have to have equal rights to any other human. When I say their rights, I do not just mean their right to be married.
Members of the LGBT community are being abused and violated of their constitutional rights. A few examples are the denial of employment, housing, or health care, loss of custody of children, execution by the state, and many more.
While some people may not morally agree with the lifestyle of the LGBT community, is it necessary to go to such extreme measures just to exclude them? People say they will go to hell, but is it our duty as human beings to dictate the lives of other people? What if gay men and women are in the military fighting for rights to live in this country? Would we still want them to be in hell? Would we still not respect them?
It wouldn’t matter because we probably wouldn’t know at all. In America, we are all about freedom, so when people finally get that freedom, we want it to be taken away? Is it about the freedom, or the moral views? Or is it more about what makes us feel comfortable? We don’t see people arguing about America being a free country as long as everyone is comfortable with the topic.
This is not because God wants it but because it will ease people back into that comfort. I am not saying that you must support this cause in any way, but I believe we need to be more educated of exactly all that is going on. Human rights should be everyone’s rights, no matter who we are.
Recently, there has been some immensely confusing rhetoric coming from the conservative right concerning LGBT rights. Over the past few weeks, perhaps the most high profile story to develop concerning the divisiveness concerning homosexual marriage rights comes out of Alabama. Amid the refusal of the Supreme Court to grant a temporary stay in the debate, the Chief Justice of Alabama, Roy Moore effectively instructed other judges in the state of Alabama to refuse to grant marriage licenses to LGBT couples. His recommendation/demand is in spite of the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States refuted previous Alabaman law concerning the definition of marriage as one man and one woman: “Moore’s actions come despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to stay the federal ruling, effectively allowing same-sex couples to marry in the state for the first time on Monday” (Diamond 5).
This is a particularly confusing argument for several reasons. The most obvious reason is because in this wonderful land called America, federal law trumps state law. Regardless of what Moore and his conservative compatriots may think, the law of the land is clear on this very issue. Put simply, as stated in the Supremacy Clause in Article 6, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution,
“[t]his Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding,”
As stated by the Constitution, which is the legal framework for the entire judicial, legal, and governmental system we all belong to, the federal government always takes precedence over the whims of the state. Hilariously enough, in American history, similar debates about strong state governments have been raised before. Before America has the strong federal government it now enjoys, the founders first tried the Articles of Confederation, which was a government with a weak federal presence but a strong state presence. Keep in mind, this policy had been tried when we had only 13 states, and it failed back in the late 1700’s. Now, with 50 states, the idea that a weak federal government could sustain such a global and economic powerhouse like the U.S. is utterly preposterous. The federal government needs to be large to support the commons, such as public schools and interstate highways. Much like desegregation, Moore wants to frame LGBT rights as a “federal intrusion into state sovereignty” when in reality, the Constitution gives the federal government that very power. If the state government is pushing an ideologically driven agenda of hate and discrimination, it is the job of the federal government to step in and assert its dominance.
The other main problem with Moore’s argument is that he defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Frankly, the notion that marriage is legally defined as anything is facetious at best, and uninformed at worst. For all of their bluster, the Constitution of The United States of America makes no mention of marriage or the definition of it at all. Constitutionally speaking, marriage is left undefined. However, according to Amendment XIV, ratified in 1868, “[n]o State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any persons of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (Madison 26). Make no mistake, people like Judge Moore are “personally opposed to gay marriage and steadfastly against legalizing gay marriage, [Moore is] insisting that Alabama recognizes the ‘divine’ nature of the definition of marriage.” When the remaining 13 states choose to defer on this issue, and when states and figureheads for clandestine, discriminatory factions like Chief Justice Moore decide to litigate issues like these, they invite the Supreme Court to read the Constitution as it’s meant to be read, as a document written by people, not as a holy book written by a deity. The Constitution, the Bible, the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Qur’an, along with every other sacred text, are mutually exclusive. Effectively, they’re ensuring their own defeat.
According to most religions, Christianity included, marriage is an act between one woman and one man. Conversely, it’s just as simple to get legally married in a courthouse as it is a place of worship. Marriage is a legal covenant between two people as defined by our society. When two people get married, they may do it in a church, but when they get a divorce, they go to a judge. Marriage is a legal affair that started as religious ritual. As it has evolved along with our society, the constraints of it have changed. At one time, divorce was antithetical to Christian thought. Christians allowed (after much debate) an evolution on that thought of what defines marriage, much in the same way the (so called) definition of marriage will continue to evolve.
Only 13 states still ban gay marriage; 37 states in the Union have sided with rationality and the Constitution that no person (regardless of sexuality) should be discriminated against. There will come a point when those holdout states (it’s no surprise that 8 of those 13 states are in the South) realize that by fighting this battle, they have essentially lost. Much like the equal rights marches of the 1960’s, LBGT rights is the great civil right issue of our day; when historians write about the inevitable victories of LGBT activists, people like Chief Justice Roy Moore and his kind will realize that they were on the wrong side of this issue.
In the debate over whether or not gay marriage should be legal, I’ve often seen Christian right-wingers cry that marriage is a religious act. Although many marriage ceremonies involve religious text or traditions, marriage didn’t form from Christianity by any means.
There’s plenty of archaeological evidence of ancient marriages. Marriages were once considered a contract between two families. Fathers would often marry their daughters off to someone whose family was deemed valuable or powerful. The families would enter a sort of alliance, wherein the families would support each other. Women in the ancient world were often considered property and their importance was found in the title of being someone’s “wife.” Women were considered vessels in which men would grow their offspring and spread their genes, therefore spreading the family’s “empire.”
In ancient times, men would often have multiple wives to produce more children and make the family more powerful. Polygamy also served the purpose of fulfilling duties. For example, polygamous families who lived on farms never had a shortage of hands to get work done quickly and efficiently. In ancient Greece, wives were meant to be baby-making machines and housekeepers. Men in Greece were often expected to have sex with courtesans for pleasure; the wives were simply child-bearers and kept the house clean and safe.
Wives weren’t for emotional support. Ironically, in those times, the most ideal situation was for people to marry someone of the same sex. The most elite members of society who had no need to reproduce, or could afford servants to keep up with the housework, often married someone of the same sex. It was understood that people of the same sex could understand each other’s emotions and provide support.
Early Christians believed that celibacy was the most ideal thing for a person to commit to. Marriage only became acceptable because its purpose was procreation. Early Christians believed that sex was evil, but was tolerated for married couples who wished to spread their genes. Thus came the idea of abstinence before marriage.
Only in recent centuries did it become ideal for people to marry someone because they were in love. Marriage has become a symbol of great affection between two people. Married couples often support each other emotionally and financially. To think that marriage is only for procreating and that men and women have specific roles is sort of barbaric. Humans are much more advanced than that these days.
In Franklin County, Virginia, an atheist couple who wanted to get married in the courthouse were turned away by one judge-appointed officiant. The judge agreed with the officiant, and sent the couple to a different officiant. The new officiant agreed to marry the couple. Although the problem was easily solved, it just goes to show that religious discrimination of married couples still exists.
Marriage is a legal right of everyone, and the fact the officiant turned the couple away because of religious bigotry should have been enough to get him fired. He’s a public servant, which means he should serve every member of the public and leave his personal beliefs at home.
Christians who want to claim that marriage is specifically a religious act need to crawl out of the rock they’ve been living under. Many couples choose not to have children, or simply can’t have children. Many Christians may argue that marriage is for procreating, but with the world quickly running out of resources and facing overpopulation, it’s a good thing that marriage is evolving out of the old idea that it’s meant for making babies.
Couples in the United States are embracing the idea of religious-less marriage ceremonies– and instead focusing on the love they have for one another. If they choose to turn that love into a human being, that’s ultimately their choice.
It’s the first day of class in my Creative Non-Fiction Writing class. I’m sitting next to a girl with a wedding band and engagement ring adorned on her left ring finger. Her name is Candace Saunders-Grewe and she’s a senior studying English who got married this past January. At the end of class, I begin to ask her questions about the reasons behind getting married so young. Back in the day, getting married at the age of 20 was not that big of a deal. Now it seems to be almost unheard of if you’re still attending college.
Her husband, Gabe Grewe, is studying construction, engineering, and management at Virginia Tech. Contrary to what you might think, they didn’t meet in Virginia.
They met at Trinity Lutheran Church in California. It was the summer of 2010 and Gabe played drums in the praise band and Candace sang and played the piano. After they spent three months minding their own business, Gabe asked Candace to the homecoming dance.
“The first thing that attracted me to her was that she was so talented,” Gabe said.
But by the end of their senior year of high school they knew it was meant to be.
Getting married at a young age didn’t cross Gabe’s mind until he met Candace. The opposite is true for Candace.
“We knew we would get married. We didn’t know when we wanted to get married, but we know we wanted to get married,” Candace said.
Gabe had signed a contract during his junior year of high school with Virginia Tech to be in the Army ROTC program.
Candace hadn’t planned on moving to Virginia just because Gabe was going. Candace applied to six schools, but when she visited RU she knew it was the school for her. At the age of 18, Candace moved cross-country to Virginia with her mother. They lived in an apartment together until Candace got married.
Both their parents were supportive of Gabe and Candace’s decision to get married.
“They wanted to make sure that we get through college, but knew that it was for the best that we got married,” Gabe said.
Neither of them regret getting married at a young age and while still being in college.
“I always wanted to get married young. This may sound strange, but because I’m an only child, and come from a small family, I always feared ending up alone,” said Candace.
One of the reasons that they got married early was that after graduation, Gabe will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army, which means a possible move.
“I think it’s better for us to be married in college because it allows us to establish our marriage before being assigned somewhere and being deployed. It’s really not that much different because school’s pretty much a job,” Gabe said.
“You also have to take into consideration that we’ve been together for almost four years. If we waited to get married until Gabe graduates, we’d have been together for six years. That’s a long time to wait, especially when you know you met the person you want to spend the rest of your life with,” Candace said.
Everyone knows teenagers have sex; they’ve been doing it for centuries. Your grandparents may tell you otherwise, but it’s probably just to justify their speeches to you about why you shouldn’t have sex before marriage. So why do so many states still have abstinence-only sex education? In my high school, the sex education teacher would explain how to use condoms, but constantly preached abstinence. She would say, “abstinence is the only 100 percent effective form of contraception,” at least once in each class. Continue reading Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Purity→
If you could, would you allow two people to be purely happy? Or would you stop them because of society’s values? Same-sex marriage has been a largely debated issue for our generation. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, there are an estimated 9 million Americans that identified themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in 2011. Continue reading Pursuit of happiness: Love for all→
The month of March brings a few great things every year. These include St. Patrick’s Day, Mardi Gras, spring break, the first day of spring, warm weather, Daylight Savings Time and, my personal favorite, Women’s History Month.
Women’s History Month is a time to reflect on the achievements the women before us made and celebrate the rights we have because of their revolutionary actions. It is also a time for today’s women to think of new ways we can break through the still-existing glass ceiling and finally be seen as equals.
Unfortunately, some women are taking a step back instead of looking forward. Below is a list of women, or groups of them, who are a disgrace to our gender.
The entire cast of “The Bachelor”
So let me get this straight: you haven’t been able to find someone to settle down with, so you’re going to compete with 25 girls for one guy’s affection on national TV? They’re all sleeping with him at the same time and making sure everyone knows about it. It’s bad enough that women feel like they need to compete with each other for male attention, but to do so in front of a camera for the “prize” of being able to be his fiancee is just despicable, and not genuine. You shouldn’t have to wait to see if he gives you a rose or not to see if he actually cares about you or not. And at the end of the season when he’s complaining about “how hard it is to choose between them,” don’t buy into that BS; that’s just his way of saying he can’t decide who he’d rather bone for the next few months before the engagement falls apart.
Charlie Sheen’s “goddesses”
If you haven’t heard about them, then you’ve been living under a rock for the last three weeks. As Sheen’s stopped using drugs, he’s relied on the media to give him the high he so desperately needs, and his two live-in girlfriends haven’t minded sharing the spotlight. He calls them his “goddesses,” and they all sleep in the same room together. They also help raise his twin sons (at least they did until they were taken away from him a few weeks ago), which many have raised concern over. One was a porn star, the other was a bikini model turned graphic designer. The most pathetic part of all? When one of them left, he tweeted “We’re sad
I consider myself knowledgeable on a limited number of subjects. Film is one of them. All you moviegoers better know who the hell Vince Vaughn is. Old School and Wedding Crashers are two of my favorite movies, and Vaughn made his move into print by writing The Breakup and now Couples Retreat. This isn