Friday 23 March 2012


If you think that Marriage can be dealt with in a single blogpost you are probably not married. If you think I would have the temerity to cover it in one post I must have misled you, grossly, about who I am. At any rate, I do intend to make a start on a subject I have avoided up to now although it exercises, often, my mind and because, yesterday, it leapt in to focus in a rather unexpected way. To begin at the beginning: the mores of marriage are amongst the greatest changes observable in the years between age 40 and 75. Obviously, one great change is what might be called 'non-marriage'. Two people of opposite genders living together without benefit of clergy, as the saying goes/went, in the 70s when I was in my 40s, were regarded as Living in Sin. The woman was no better than she should be. The man was on to a good thing. The waterfall of reasons, ideas and philosophies inherent in that and, more important, in the acceptance of the current status quo, would take a dam of unimagineable proportions to control and exploit. At risk of drowning, I shall, nevertheless, approach and hold a jug under the flow to analyse just a litre or so. Marriage must have seemed the only solution which would both protect a woman and give her an acceptable role in a world where she was largely excluded from professional gratification. This solution would have lost its attraction as women gained more and more freedom and stature in the world of work. I have watched this erosion with mixed feelings. I am both pleaased for and envious of women who are currently 40. But I am also concerned. I do see value in tradition and containment. Whatever went on behind closed doors, men, women and children, too, for that matter, knew what was expected of them and, more or less, how to carry it out; no bad thing, surely.
Yesterday, I took part in a discussion which was, loosely, about comparative religion. The significance of woman was raised. An idea was put forward that there may be an intrinsic fear of women, of their power. A power that may be implicit in their fundamental and essential faculty to feed the young. From Nature's point of view, before the arrival of teeth - and Formula - civilisation could not survive without the milk of the Mother. The fact that without the man there would have been no conception in the first place got swallowed up in the overwhelming awareness that things would have progressed no further if there had been no means of nurturing the new-born baby.The point being that this dependence on the woman for survival made her threatening beyond tolerating and, as I see it, led to all the sublimation of that gender that we know about. Simplistic? yes, indeed. What it incontravertibly (?) shows is that there is essential necessity for both genders. Does equality follow, I ask myself: I ask you? Anyway, this may well prove to be quite the wrong forum to raise the matter. I suspect the Guru switched off a hundred words ago. Why should a man for whom a mobile phone is as ordinary and accepted as are his ears, his hands, be caught up in the mind-blowing development of the role of marriage between the time when his Godmother was married and the present day?
The story may have a happy ending. A couple, married 62 years, attended this meeting having travelled by 'bus. The lady got off first, at a particular stop and walked through a passage to reach the top of the road where the venue was. The man continued on the same 'bus, up through the village and down again to a stop at the bottom of the venue road. This was done with complete unanimity and acceptance. No argument about efficiency, no marital sniping, no "I told you so" by the first to arrive, just the independence each to do what he/she thought worked better. Who would want it any other way? Prynhawn da

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thoughtful and interesting. I enjoyed the anecdote at the end