How does it affect men when we look at them like that? What are we supposed to make of the fact that for the first time in history, there are more single than married women in the United States, and – astoundingly – one in three babies in the United States is born to an unwed mother? For a woman, who came into the world in the context of a relationship – Eve was created as Adam’s wife – life is often about relationships.Generally, she is not the one schlepped screaming and kicking into commitment. But what does she do if wearing her heart on her sleeve is a great way to get it broken?I thought about that recently when one of my students, after bemoaning her boyfriend’s refusal to commit to a wedding date (despite their three-year relationship), sighed resignedly and said, “Well, I guess, it’s to be expected.After all, he’s a man….” Is that what a man is, someone from whom one can’t expect much?
They were disappointed that boys “…were being told to be strong men and take care of their wives….One teacher who received particularly severe criticism was a man who dared to speak to his students – all boys – about what it means to be a productive man.The teacher had said: “We talked about strength, and we talked about self-control and being able to control your emotions and making sacrifices for others.Yet, requiring a man to take responsibility doesn’t have to mean that the woman can’t take care of herself.Obligating the man might be seen as an acknowledgement that if it isn’t safe for her to be vulnerable, a woman might, symbolically, take her heart off her sleeve and hide it behind a stone wall to keep it safe. Jewish law asks man to take responsibility not because women are weak and needy, but because we, as a society, are needy – life is about love, so we have to make it safe to love.Traditional gender role stereotypes were reinforced and gender was portrayed in an essentialist manner” (Boys Adrift, 203–204).One can easily see why the image of the man as the strong caretaker and the woman as the one-being-taken-care-of risks creating a patriarchal relationship that puts women and children in the same category. Rent a movie and enjoy it with take out from your favorite local restaurant. Exercise together – go for a jog, play your favorite sport together, bike ride, etc. So we’ve talked about the reasons to keep dating your spouse, and why we haven’t given up on pursuing our relationship…now for some CHEAP ideas to keep things fresh. When Brad and I get the opportunity to enjoy some time out of the house or a night in while the boys are sleeping, we keep it simple and inexpensive.