A relationship can be lasting only if the man and woman require each other beyond emotional and sexual needs. In a modern-day relationship, once the “novelty effect” wanes, there is little else to fuel the relationship.
Women today are not happy to cook for their men, there are no large families to look after, household work is done by maids while women work in offices,.. (Hail feminism and women’s “liberation” movements.) What, then, is the usefulness of women to men in the society?
Similarly, “empowered” women don’t need men for survival and protection. In the technologically advanced world, women can do almost everything for which in the past they needed a man in their life. Thus, as far as comfortable survival is concerned, women don’t need men. They would do just fine on their own.
Usefulness of men and women to each other, therefore, has reduced to gratifying sexual and emotional needs of each other.
Sex drive and emotions are fickle. Hence, fulfillment of sexual and emotional needs would only keep the man and woman together till the spark remains.
It is very easy to lose the “spark” or the “connection” in the world with virtually unlimited choices of, and easy access to, potential mates (Facebook, WhatsApp,..) and where sexual freedom is celebrated as a development.
In the world where women don’t need men for survival and protection, marriage (even a long-term relationship) can’t sustain. In absence of any real practical use for men in their life, women feel no pressure to be useful to men. Manifestation of brutal market forces in nature.
A marriage will survive if two people need each other to be happy and if they need each other to live well. If they are self-sufficient, and each can do anything that the other can also do, the stability of their marriage is going to be an uphill struggle. There will be frequent validations required, a search for ways to “keep the spark alive”, a persistent need of expressions of love, chronic feelings of inadequacy, and a predilection to go one’s own way if the going gets tough.
In the past, if the man was being a good provider and protector, and the woman remained pretty or in shape, was a good homemaker and a mother, it was very easy to have a happy home. Now-a-days, if both earn, and both act as a mother to the children, and both do housework, it is not easy to see why a marriage will last long. Emotional bonds, in the absence of other factors, are fickle. Sexual desire, or shared hobbies, or shared values, can bring two people together, but cannot sustain their being together.
People who seek the amorphous goals of “fulfillment” and “growth” through their relationships are not going to have an easy time. Fulfillment and growth are side-effects, as it were, of a healthy relationship. A relationship can’t be based on these goals, but needs to have something more concrete at its foundation.
Consider two scenarios:
A: A wife tells her husband that she is going to be away for two weeks, and the husband says, “No problem, I’ll manage without a hitch.” Or, a husband is to go on a business trip for a week, and the wife says: “Have fun! I will too.”
B: A wife tells her husband that she is going to be away for two weeks, and the husband says, “Aw shucks, how will I manage?” Or, a husband is to go on a business trip for a week, and the wife says: “Oh dear, it is going to be so difficult for me alone.”
Which scenario makes you think that the husband and wife are going to have a long, stable, happy marriage?
And which scenario is the current ideal for an individual in our society?
I think increasingly, due to prosperity and various other factors, people are relating to each other for purely emotional or sexual reasons, and they can manage their lives and homes and careers just fine (or so they think) on their own. They want to feel great with each other, to spend time with each other, and so they invent activities (mostly related to vacuous show-business events or to spending money eating out, shopping or seeing a “new place”) to do together. They have a nagging suspicion that it is too much effort and that they would rather spend time with themselves.
We are told by the media that emotional or sexual reasons are primarily why we should get married. That love is all-important, and nothing else matters. I think that is a very wrong message. A couple certainly needs emotional and sexual compatibility, and for them to love each other is great, but that is not enough, not by a long shot, to want to spend their lives together.
A nut and a bolt may love each other, but even if at times they don’t, they are and will feel incomplete without each other, and will not be fulfilled for long on their own. Two nuts, on other hand, may decide to be together because they feel they have a “connection”, but they are tempting fate.
Modern men and women won’t feel fulfilled living alone, either. For when it comes to emotions and emotional needs, humans have not evolved as they have intellectually. Men still have the instinct for protecting, and women still have the instinct for protection from a strong man. That’s why women find strong men attractive, and men find women who are not strong more attractive. The instinct served well in the state of nature. In the modern world, the instinct is misplaced, and would create a void that can’t be filled.