Women Have a Greater Stake in Keeping their Marriages Together: Vulnerability Part II
After writing and reading all the comments on my last post on women’s vulnerability, I articulated something to myself for the first time. Perhaps I always knew this, but I had never put it into words – that Mormon women have a greater stake in keeping their marriages together than Mormon men.
I say this because of the replace-ability issue. My husband could rather easily replace me. If we divorced, there would be a long line of high quality, smart, good Mormon women who would jump at the chance of marriage to a nice, responsible Mormon guy like him. Even with his two children and alimony payments to me.
However, the situation would be markedly different for me. The chances that I would find a high quality Mormon man who would be willing to take on a woman with two children, a woman whose post-childbirth body is not what it once was, a woman whose earning potential (which was never all that great) is decreasing rapidly the longer she stays out of the work force to raise children, well… they aren’t great. They’re downright grim, I’d surmise.
I don’t bring nearly as much to the table as I once did, when I was slim, young, unencumbered, and getting my graduate degree. Mike, of course, isn’t as young as he once was (though he still looks almost identical to the 26 year old I married), he’s not unencumbered, but he sure would bring a lot to the table in the form of his paycheck, which has only increased as his career has progressed. And of course, as a Mormon man, his pool of Mormon people from which to find a mate would be far greater than mine.
So all this cold clinical evaluating of our divergent opportunities should a divorce occur has made me think to myself, “Holy cow, I better keep this thing together.” Not that I’m thinking of letting it fall apart – I adore Mike and love being married.* But I do wonder how many other women, women who are not married to such nice guys as Mike, likewise look at their options should a divorce occur and choose to put up with unkindness or irresponsibility, or who knows what else in their marriages.
All this also leads me to another point I’ve been thinking about – how glad I am that the Mormon church does emphasize the importance of having one partner. Of course, there are situations where divorce is absolutely the best thing, but overall, I really appreciate the focus on finding ways to try to make marriages work, despite difficulties. I think that might slightly mitigate my vulnerability, as a woman married to a great guy who could easily find someone else.
What are your thoughts about this issue of replace-ability? Do you agree that women have a greater stake in keeping marriages together, that women are more easily replaced?
And what are your thoughts about the positives and negatives of church teachings to work through problems in marriages?
Single women, how do you view the Mormon pool issue? Do you feel at a disadvantage compared to the men because of the greater number of single Mormon women?
*I don’t mean in any way to imply in this post that leading a single life is an awful possibility. I know several single people who find much meaning, joy, and fulfillment in their lives. I’m just speaking as a person that really likes being married and appreciates the benefit of having a partner around to help raise children.