If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve probably heard me speak about traditional values with a modern twist quite a lot. So what does it mean exactly?
Well what I mean by traditional values with a modern twist are values that consider marriage as something that relationships can potentially develop towards. These values also believe that women are stronger by allowing themselves to be feminine, empowering their man to be a better man for her by being feminine in his presence and by encouraging him softly, sensually, and warmly to treat them how they want to be treated (no nagging necessary); while men should allow themselves to be gentlemen who lead and who protect and provide for the woman they feel for, while also treating her with respect and caring.
The idea behind these values is to move towards a focus on valuing oneself, actually connecting with someone special for real, so that it lasts long-term and to move away from meaningless very short-term passing relationships. If we take tradtional values to be marriage, self preservation, femininity and feeling good long-term, then I stand for all of these because this kind of relationship is the healthiest and will have us be the healthiest within it.
It’s true that marriage as an institution has changed. The other day I watched Esther Perel’s talk on “the secret to desire in a long term relationship” as she articulated very well just how the modern day marriage has become what a whole village used to be for a wife. Let me explain, while in the past marriage was an economic arrangement, either agreed by the parents of the couple to wed or chosen as the most suitable prospect without really knowing the person, actual love was to be sought elsewhere. Basically, the husband and wife relationship was that of honour and respect a father to her children type of situation, while a best friend, your secret keeper, your partner in crime, your sexual lover, your soulmate, your sense of belonging had to be looked for elsewhere.
In the past each and every single role was acted out by a number of different people: your maid might have been your secret keeper, your close friend your partner in crime, the experience of love was most likely sought with another lover and real passion might have remained in a never fulfilled relationship of distant eye flirting with the writer of the village.
Modern day marriage, however, has us entering into huge expectations of what we’d like our ideal spouse to be for us, and they are expectations which are truly difficult to fulfill fully. We now want to take all of these things and put them into one person and share that for the rest of our lives: our spouse now has to be our best friend, our ideal sexual partner, our soulmate, the person who makes us grow, the person who gives us identity, the person who shares our values, the person who will make us be the best version of ourselves and the person who will go crazy for us till death do us part. Yes, marriage has become very hard BECAUSE we invest and expect so much from our spouse. We invest not only financial stability, we invest totality of our being and above all our identity and livelihood.
Therefore when marriages crash we feel that we crashed with them!
You might be wondering whats the positive of this rather bleak development of a marriage? Well, as we know the positives are plenty! Though the expectations are raised significantly, so has the reward. Marriages today are actually built (at least in the majority of the free world) on love and camaraderie. Rather than just having our spouse play one role in our lives, we actually WANT this person to be someone we spend time with and get to know. Sexuality within a marriage has overall improved as well. The safety of the marriage commitment should allow us to be more open and free with one another. Honesty within marriage (though not always the case as we know) is something most of us hope and strive for.
We have finally realised that what makes life worth living and what gives it meaning is love: love for the other person, love for ourselves, love for our work (something most of us want to develop), love for our children and love for our friends and family and those we allow close to our hearts. Love requires authenticity. In order to allow ourselves to love freely we must first be honest with our hearts to understand who we are and what we feel. We have reached a stage of what 20th century existential philosophers spent most of their time talking about: a stage of demanding and understanding the value of authenticity.
Authenticity brings dignity to oneself and life lived in a dignified manner brings meaning and value. Thats is why I argue for the benefit of marriage as it can result in that dignified life. My definition of marriage is that of a modern understanding: demanding all of these things to be in one person, struggle through them together and no matter how hard and complex it might get, simply be honest with one another.
I would love to hear your views on marriage. What do you think makes it work? Do you have any good examples? Please share with us on our social media below.
And if you want to Attract Authentic Love into your life, sign up for our self study program here or book a free 30 minute call with Julia to discuss how she can help you to write your ideal love story.
You can watch Esther’s talk here: