Do you ever ask yourself why marriage and relationships are so much harder than they used to be?
There are three main reasons. One, the modern generation is largely a product of divorce and have thus had no role models for lasting love.
Two, the culture sets men and women up to fail by preaching two narratives that undermine their success in love: that women should be independent at all costs and should "never depend on a man," and that men are Neanderthals who need to become more like women.
Three, our society insists that sex differences (and thus, sex roles) are social constructs rooted in backward thinking—as though biological differences aren't real and profound.
It should come as no surprise, then, that marriages and relationships are mired in conflict. This generation has no clue how love works.
What you need is a new relationship roadmap, and I can’t wait to be your guide.
In this section used to be all the stuff about how I'm the author of five books and a columnist and contributor for various publications. It said that my 2012 article at Fox News, "The War on Men," remains one of their most read op-eds in history and that I've made appearances on Tucker Carlson Tonight as well as on The View. There were lots of other accolades, too.
But none of that gets to the heart of who I am and why I do what I do.
I am the product of a high-conflict household: My childhood years were filled with memories of yelling and of overall tension. I cried myself to sleep many nights and prayed hard and often to make it all stop. Graduation day couldn't come soon enough.
Today when I think about my parents' 44-year marriage, I see clearly now what I couldn't see then: that my mother was too strong for my father. He was a kind man but a soft one, while she was hard and dictatorial.
I don't mean my mother was guilty, and my father was innocent. I mean their mating dance was out of whack. 'Round and 'round they'd go, never figuring any of it out.
I didn't want that.
Today I am blessed to have what I consider to be a strong 23-year marriage, but it didn't just "happen." For years my husband—who, like me, has a strong will—would insist that I stop being so critical and argumentative. And I, in turn, had my frustrations with him.
Realizing I couldn't control my husband's actions, I decided to focus on my own behaviors. I watched those whose marriages appeared to work well and those whose did not and noticed a theme: Women who were softer and gentler got results. Women who didn't nag or complain or make demands—who weren't difficult or hard to love— had happy husbands who doted on their wives.
I didn't find a ton of those couples. But when I did, it was like they were in a secret club—and I wanted in.
Since I had no model for how to be a great wife, I had to settle for a lot of thinking and studying and trial and error. I had to practice and fail, practice and fail—until eventually, I got the memo.
Don't get me wrong. I still mess up from time to time—as does my husband, who's a product of divorce and sometimes shoots blanks himself. But I don't worry about him; I stay focused on myself. And if I do fall off the wagon, I know just what to do to get back up. And that makes all the difference.
And now I coach couples who want to learn the secret, too.
What happened to chivalry?
By Suzanne Venker
A friend of mine whose mother died recently was going through her parents’ memorabilia and unearthed a Western Union telegram from 1954 that her father sent her mother just before they married. Here’s what it said: