Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Real Patriarchy

One topic which is always bound to attract a lot of attention is that of sex. In fact, I'm sure I'd get many more readers if only I wrote posts on "great tips for marital sex" or discussed the details of my own private life with my husband or gave dating advice or something similar. While having great sex life is beneficial for any marriage, some people tend to demonstrate an obsession with sex normally only typical for horny teenagers.

In fact, I'm reliably informed that all and every marriage problem can be explained by one thing: wives refusing to have sex with their husbands. If only they stopped doing it, the divorce rate would go down immediately. Does your husband cheat on you? Watch porn? Spend too much money? Call you names? If only he had more sex, he wouldn't do any of this! Heck, some folks speculated that Andreas Lubitz crashed the plane into the mountain because he couldn't get enough you know what (that in Germany, the country where the prostitutes advertise their craft in local newspapers).

While the idea that any wrong thing a man does can be explained by him being not satisfied sexually is rather simplicistic, to say the least, nevertheless, the discussions raise a serious issue, namely that of what in the more discreet era used to be called "marital rights" or "marital debt". In the past, the wife refusing "marital rights" to her husband was grounds for divorce.

However, this right came with responsibilities attached: namely, the wife was entitled to be financially supported by her husband. Traditional marriage was based on property rights: in a traditional marriage contract the wife exchanged her sexuality and the products thereof, i.e. children for life-long financial support of her husband. That's why the wife could divorce her husband on grounds of abandonment (non-support) but not on the grounds on his infidelity alone, but the husband could get a divorce on the grounds of the wife's adultery (though some countries allowed legal separation in the case of the husband's infidelity).

In fact, this system still exists in more patriarchal countries, such as India. Some time ago there was a controversy about an article written by an Indian man who attacked the concept of "marital rape" which is currently not acknowledged by Indian law. He stated that since sex outside marriage is criminalised in India and Indian men have a duty to support their wives financially, the wife has to perform her marital duty or otherwise file for divorce.

Here is an excerpt:

Rights come with duties. A woman in India has a right to maintenance even when husband is sick, and incapable of earning or is unemployed. He is duty bound to pay his wife alimony even after divorce. The Indian Courts have held that a man must “beg, borrow or steal” but he must maintain his wife. Then why shouldn’t a man have right to have coitus with his wife if he is duty bound to maintain her?

(emphasis mine) 

Well, I'd say it's a two way street. If the wife isn't supposed to ever deny her husband, as some men claim, even when he is being a total jerk, then a man must "beg, borrow or steal" but maintain his wife, even after divorce. That's what a real patriarchy looks like. Something tells me that not everybody complaining on the net about the wickedness of modern wives would like it.


  1. Interesting comparison. The Jewish marriage certificate mentions only husband's obligations/wife's 'rights' (shelter, food, clothing, marital relations) And if one of them is denied, wife can file for divorce.

    Of course there are 'unwritten' rights for husband, that wife is obligated to: taking care of house and family, and for example maintaining her beauty...

  2. Unlike in India, sex outside marriage wasn't considered a crime in Europe unless it was adultery, and it wasn't unusual for upper class spouses to have separate bedrooms, after the wife produced at least one boy.

    However, it was done by agreement and the wife unilaterally cutting her husband off could face charges in divorce court. My point though was that a man can't demand his traditional rights without facing traditional obligations. BTW, I like this the rule about maintaining one's beauty:)

  3. Neither can woman :-) It takes two to tango. No 'game' can be played succesfully if 50 per cent of the players don't take the rules seriously.

  4. I have had very frustrating time commenting here. Some problems are obvious, like above, some are not. Blogger doesn¨t like me. Please remove the duplicate.

  5. I did remove the double post. People seem to have problems commenting if they use i-pads or something similar. i always login first, then comment.

    I agree it takes two to tango. Since the governments in the Western countries don't enforce traditional marriage contracts any more, people should just make their own. My husband and I reached an agreement before marriage on how we would divide the duties and we both still keep to it.

  6. I like the idea of including obligations in the marriage vows, but might housework be too mundane for such a romantic occasion as a wedding ceremony?

  7. Well, I'm not sure anyone mentioned making obligations the part of the ceremony itself, Miriam told us what is written in Jewish marriage certificate. However, the official wedding liturgy used in Reformed churches in my country does mention the duty of the husband to support his family and of the wife to be a good housekeeper.

    Marriage contract (which could be oral, not written) isn't the same as the wedding ceremony. I hope it makes sense!

  8. If we look at our marriages as having "rights", we will be in trouble. If we look at marriage in terms of "I want to do this for him" and "I want to do this for her", wouldn't that eliminate a lot of the problems? Sex is not a leverage - if you do this for me, you'll be lucky tonight. A man also must understand that being a mother can be exhausting - the husband would do good to go out of his way to make his wife's day a little easier.

  9. Ideally, that's how it should work.

  10. Marriage should be much more than a contract with obligations and rights, it's a fusion between two single beings that make a new life together with God's blessing, with God's power. In our wedding ceremony no vows or promises are made, no questions are asked, no answers are given, these things belong to the civil ceremony. In the church the spouses are supposed to be prepared beforehand regarding their duties and the ceremony is not a place to make your mind, it has another meaning, that of entering a new life in the church where something new begins that wasn't before - a new life as husband and wife, before you are on your own, after the ceremony you have started a new existence, everybody present are part taking in prayer and congratulations for the young family that has just come to life and afterwards the priest holds a speech. But it is very true that those obligations for husband and wife should be made officially with civil consequences for either spouse. If you don't do your share, you should respond for that like in India.

  11. Housewife from FinlandJune 13, 2015 at 4:02 AM

    Women had their marital duties and husband's had their rights, yes. But what most men seem to forget is that woman's duty was to "close her eyes and think of England". They had absolutely no duty to - well, do things that quite a many men seem to expect nowadays, because pornstars do them, too.

    I personally don't like the idea that I would have some sort of duty to "maintain my beaty". Sickness, age and gravity do their damages so I think it is just better to joyfully let go. :) (of course one can always keep her appearance tidy and age-appropriate etc., but staying forever beautiful... and some women have never been beautiful in the first place.)

  12. Yeah, for naughty things men usually visited women of ill repute:) As for maintaining beauty - well, I think a lady should always try to look as good as possible, whatever happens.

    Just yesterday we were watching Poirot, when men changed into evening clothes in the middle of the desert. Nowadays the default seems to let yourself go, for both men and women.

  13. Housewife from FinlandJune 13, 2015 at 6:15 AM

    Maybe I got that maintaining beauty -thing wrong. I just imagined Madonna, who tries desperately stay young and sexy forever. We do not want that, do we? Staying classy is another thing.

  14. Somehow I doubt that religious Jewish people want to copy Madonna:)

  15. May be Miriam can explain us what "maintaining beauty" really means.

  16. Dear Ladies, do not be offended! Maintaining beauty has nothing to do with desperately trying to stay young :-)

    There is inner beauty, too :-)

    Maybe staying attractive for your husband is more proper way to say the same thing. To take care of yourself... whatever it means to different women. Everyone has different level of grooming and excerising habits, and everyone has her unique body and genetics. But the point is to kind of stay where you were when you were married. It's like the zero level - as a bride you represent something your husband fell in love with, at least partially. :-)

    So, you 'maintain your beauty', by not just letting everything go because you love chocolate and beer and you are now married, so the catch is caught, so to speak and now you can relax.

    Please, do not make this issue more complicated that it is :-) It's just keeping your appearances, after years and after possible children. I think it's just normal for a woman to take care of yourself and being as beautiful as possible :-) (age-appropriate, of course) When you get older, it's just natural, but you can still be the most beautiful woman in your husband's eyes, because all the things you have been through together.

    Of course aging gives new challeges. You might need medication that makes you look more chubby. After possible child birth your body changes and you might gain some weight that might seem to be impossible to get rid of. But the point is between your ears. You want to be beautiful to_your_husband, not to everybody else. You need to take his preferences in serious considerations - if he likes longer hair, don't get yourself a hairdo that looks like a chicken's rear. Dress modestly, so that other men won't be whistling after you. Always be reliable and trustworthy. and so on.

    My thoughts are not very well organized now, but I hope I got it clear. :-)

  17. Thanks for clarification, Miriam! I wasn't offended, I sort of figured out that that was what you meant)

  18. Housewife from FinlandJune 14, 2015 at 7:34 AM

    I can totally agree with staying attractive to your husband. :)

    BTW: Madonna is devoted Kabbala follower, I have read. Maybe that is why I immediately thought about her...