Most of the submissions to the Marriage Section come from women. Gint Aras continues to wonder if this is a symptom of something greater.
In recent weeks, The Good Men Project has asked readers what kinds of articles they would like to see. I didn’t expect anyone to log in and offer this: “We need more first person narratives from men about how they see themselves as husbands.” Of course, that’s exactly what I’d like to see. But getting that kind of essay from men has been difficult.
I continue to wonder why men are reluctant to write about marriage, even after they have divorced or separated and feel free to “live as they have always wished”. Do we feel emasculated, exhausted by the topic? It’s no secret that wedding media and mythology target future brides. The vast majority of weddings I have attended, perhaps two dozen in all, cast the groom as a supporting actor, even a necessary sidekick or an afterthought. I went to one where I swore the event could have gone off without any groom at all—he was actually interrupted by a variety of voices during a thank you speech when he had spoken for less than a minute. Does that first day cast a bigger shadow over the whole of the marriage than we believe? In other words, do so many of us continue to feel like sidekicks at home, so much that we don’t bother to express ourselves about it? Or is there a simpler reason men have little to say on the subject? Do we just find it boring?
The anecdotal evidence says that contemporary men have an easier time identifying themselves as fathers and workers rather than husbands, at least in the stories they are willing to tell. Fathers are gaining respect. For some of us, fatherhood has become a refuge, a meaningful identity following a failed (or simply ended) marriage; our society respects us for doing well as parents. While many of us are not doing as well at work as we would like, we still feel valuable for the work we’re able to do and the service we provide to clients and communities. That’s a story that energizes us.
Should not the story we’re able to tell as husbands also energize us? Aren’t we valuable there? And if not, isn’t that the story that demands to be told? Doesn’t it affect our society profoundly?
I welcome thoughts from our readers.
Photo by spjwebster.