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Compromise Works Essay Sample

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Compromise Works Essay Sample

Within the last few decades, much controversy has surrounded the institution of marriage. Prior to the 1900’s, arranged marriages were more prevalent in the United States. Marriage was a way to gain material wealth. Endearing thoughts toward the betrothed were not considered important. Today, marriage is viewed as a personal choice. Those who seek to wed now expect happiness. The majority of Americans in today’s culture idealize freedom, romance, equal opportunities, and individuality between men and women. Divorce is extremely common now due to a lack of communication regarding ideals. This miscommunication happens when one spouse believes his or her individual values are more important than their spouse’s values. Values of individuality that are improperly balanced cause marriage relationships to falter. Peter D. Kramer states in “Divorce and Our National Value,” that American values of individuality do not coincide with marriage and is the reason for increased divorce. Kramer explains that, “American culture, although it glorifies marriage as the centerpiece for social stability, promotes individualistic freedoms of self-fulfillment the most” (486). He states that divorce shows the overriding respect for the unique and separate self. Kramer also believes that in the 21st century the search for personal identity is valued higher than mutual compromise within marriage (488). Marriage is undervalued and misunderstood in culture today due to individualistic beliefs that are given more importance than teamwork and mutuality.

Values placed on an individual’s sense of self, play a big part in whether a marriage will survive. A person’s sense of identity and self-worth should not be defined by being someone’s partner. If a person does not feel complete and self-confident before entering a relationship, they will not be completely satisfied from their spouse either. Other people cannot make a person happy; it is a choice to create contentment by the individual. Humans, both female and male, share a gamut of the same emotions, skills, and strengths. For example, some women doubt their femininity if they possess a higher than normal sex drive for females, while men can feel emasculated if they show signs of tenderness and compassion. Personalities have been stereotypically and incorrectly labelled, pigeon-holed into masculine or feminine traits. Another value of the human heart that is often distorted is the over significance placed on erotic attraction. Many times romantic ideals, sensual emotions that are perceived as love, are the first fruits of brand new relationships.

When daily living tames down the flames of attraction and excitement, and the newness becomes boring, couples must choose to show love through service and sacrifice, which is difficult if an individual is only concerned with his or her own needs. Dr. John Gottman, a marriage expert and author shared in the short film “After Happily Ever After”, shared statistical research stating, “Perpetual problems exist in marriage. Sixty-nice percent of the problems are recurring problems that cannot be solved, while thirty-one percent of marriage problems can be solved.” The misery chosen in a marriage should be misery that can be tolerated (“After Happily After”). Fantastical views of true love and soul mates does not leave much room for human error and can cause disappointment in someone’s spouse due to unrealistic expectations. In addition to individualism, the miscommunication and disagreement of roles within a household can negatively impact marriages. Complexities within marriage have increased significantly due to the increased acceptance of equal choices for each spouse. Today, couples define their personal relationship between one another by the roles they choose to perform in everyday life.

Traditional roles in marriage have changed since women’s liberation, but even now married couples benefit from having twice the talents, manpower, and opportunity for productivity. The marriage partnership can be productive no matter how the roles of daily life are divided when trust is established. Linda Waite and Maggie Gallager, who specialize in sociology and marriage programs, state in the book, “The Case for Marriage,” that, “Spouses expect to be able to trust each other financially, sexually, and emotionally, not only because of their individual personal qualities but because being married means that most of their goods are jointly owned” (33). Two individuals giving their best to another in teamwork is rewarded with mutual individual satisfaction. Deciding roles within a marriage should be uniquely chosen and agreed upon based on the couples individual strengths and level of enjoyment. Culture dictates that submission shows weakness and loss of identity; however the level of dependence on one’s self is just as important as depending upon another person. Dependence can be looked at as a weakness, but it actually strengthens trust and security. Knowing that one belongs to another and is being trusted and counted on increases an individual’s sense of purpose and responsibility. The couple that is in tune with each other depends on each other when disaster strikes. Individuals have a need to form a deep bond with another person and also to be a part of something bigger than just themselves and marriage feeds these needs. Within marriage, freedoms of individuality are reconfigured as two separate individuals choose to willingly align their will under the will of another.

Marriage has the potential to make people better off in part because it constrains them from practicing harmful behaviors since they have a sense of responsibility toward their mate. Misguided morals regarding sexuality also play a part in the beliefs of individuality. Within the short film titled, “Women and Men Unglued: Marriage and Relationships in the 21st Century”, the narrator shared that many single young adults who disdain commitment are trapped between their feelings of cynicism towards marriage and their romantic hopes and expectations. Marriage prohibits sex with those besides the marriage partner and can be seen as a positive sacrifice because a vow of faithfulness brings about more confidence in the fidelity between the couple. Spouses have less anxiety about sexual performance, fewer fears of abandonment, and less cause for jealousy. As author Anne Roiphe says in her book, “Married: A Fine Predicament,” “Marriage limits total freedom in sexual matters- disruption of the home, chaos in community, and misery in the soul” (35). Although some experts believe a lifelong vow of fidelity is unrealistic and oppressive, in actuality a permanent commitment to one’s sexual partner for men and for women makes a big difference for mutual sexual satisfaction (Waite 79). The long time commitment in marriage gives partners more time and motivation to learn how to please the other.

Emotional commitment to a partner makes satisfying him or her important. A concern for one’s partner can shift the focus away from the self in a relationship and towards the other person. This selfless approach is far more likely to bring satisfaction to both men and women. Nevertheless, some experts such as David Barash, an evolutionary biologist, argue against marriage because they believe that monogamy is rare in nature and not natural with human beings and that depending on one person to fulfill your needs is bogus (“After Happily Ever”). Individualistic views that are unbalanced believe that the individual self should rely only on self, while contrary Christian views believe that two individuals who join in marriage should each rely on God and each other. Marriage, from a spiritual standpoint, is a bond that is considered sacred and larger than the immediate, shifting feelings of only two individuals. Marriages today that do not hold equal freedoms, as well as equal amounts of sacrifice between spouses, are doomed to be unpleasant. Equality does not mean sameness. Dr. Laura Schlessinger, an author of marriage advice states, “Beliefs of sameness condemn masculinity and disdain femininity and generate a lack of respect for the other sex,” in her book entitled, “The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage” (1).

This lack of respect for the other gender denies the need for the qualities of the other gender in one’s life. A respect and admiration for the qualities of the opposite gender fulfill needs (Schlessinger 2). Men who are denied the privilege to protect and serve can feel emasculated, for that is how some define their manhood. Some women, although they enjoy nurturing, do not choose to nurture within the realm of motherhood. Spouses must find the correct balance to merge their separate goals for life. Respect for their partner’s needs must be present in order for them to both enjoy their relationship with one another. In conclusion, arguments against marriage will continue because individuality is believed by some to be hijacked within the marriage relationship, but with compromise between spouses a balance in marriage is attainable. When one spouse chooses to control everything, the relationship is unhealthy. Those who hold senses of entitlement of themselves within a marriage lack the ability to sustain friendship with their spouse and that pride kills marriage due to selfishness and the refusal to admit or forgive wrongs. Even though marriage does inhibit a few freedoms, the institution of marriage is of great value. Couples should acknowledge to themselves that they are not naturally all-loving souls and many times they have to choose to rise above their own selfishness. Friendship should be treasured between spouses.

Works Cited
“After Happily Ever After.” Films On Demand. Films Media Group, 2010. Web. 29 Apr. 2014. . Kramer, Peter D. “Divorce and Our National Values.” Reading Literature and Writing Argument. Custom Edition for Oklahoma City Community College. Eds. Missy James and Alan P. Merickel. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2008. 486-488. Print. Roiphe, Anne. Married: A Fine Predicament. New York: Basic Books, 2002. Print. Schlessinger, Laura. The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007. Waite, Linda J. and Maggie Gallagher. The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially. New York: Doubleday, 2000. Print. “Women and Men Unglued: Marriage and Relationships in the 21st Century.” Films On Demand. Films Media Group, 2003. Web. 29 Apr. 2014. .

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