Marriage…Giving Up A Piece of You?

I finally finished reading Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I began a discussion about it a few months back in the post titled Should We Come with a WARNING Label?  While the title may be explanatory it might make sense to revisit it.

I liked the research done about the topic of marriage.  The different points of view of what marriage is and what makes it survive varied from country to country, but the one constant was the work that went into it.  I believe that marriage should never be taken lightly and neither did Elizabeth.

There were many points in the book that I jotted down, but what I’d like to discuss with you today is what you think about marriage.  Do you feel that marriage is giving up a piece of you?

‘…Robert Frost wrote that “a man must partly give up being a man” in order to enter into marriage – and I cannot fairly deny this point when it comes to my family.  I have written many pages already describing marriage as a repressive tool used against women, but it’s important to remember that marriage is often used as a repressive tool against men, too.  Marriage is a harness of civilization, linking a man to a set of obligations and thereby containing his restless energies…’ Pg 197

In all honesty, this idea of marriage being a repressive tool saddens me.  I am not married yet.  But I do not want to feel repressed and I do not want my husband to be to feel repressed either.  I love his restless energies.  I would hope that we could have a 50/50 relationship, where the responsibility of a marriage is not carried more by one person than the other.  I know that we have our strong suits and I feel confident that we work as a team on virtually everything except for picking a restaurant.  I do feel that the times have changed significantly, enough to say that the husband and wife no longer have assigned roles.  What say you?

What are your thoughts on marriage?  Do you disagree with marriage being a repressive tools for both sexes?  Are aspects of this statement true?  Let me know your thoughts below!

Until then,

28 thoughts on “Marriage…Giving Up A Piece of You?”

  1. Let me preface my comments with the notice that I have been happily married for 22 years so that pushes all my opinions in favor of marriage. My husband and I are a team with different strengths and weaknesses and we help each other be better at life.

    We are not 50/50 people. We each give 100% to making our marriage work. If we are lifting a box that weighs 100 pounds, I cannot lift 50 pounds. But I can lift 40 pounds and let my husband lift the other 60 pounds so that the job gets done. If he waited for me to lift 50 pounds, the box would sit forever. In school if you get 50% on a test, that is an “F.” I give 100% and I want a 100% partner.

    1. I like that and writing this down in my notes :) Give 100% all of the time. This is obviously a great strategy Janeane as your time together proves as sufficient enough evidence. For one to admit they have been happily married for 22 years, well I am in awe. When I get married I shall be calling you frequently, giving you fair warning!

  2. This is certainly a different way of looking at marriage! I really don’t think its a repressive tool for women, although I do think that the pressure on a man can sometimes be really overwhelming. Although my husband is the head of the house, I try to keep him as comfortable as possible, not letting him get to that place of being overwhelmed by taking care of him as best as I can.

    I don’t feel like I gave up piece of me, I do feel like I blended myself with another person and that in itself is a major choice. I strongly believe that all people about to get married should consider that they will not be the same exact person they were before they got married.

    1. Schnelle I am happy to hear that you do not feel repressed in your marriage. I do believe you are right, you will not be the same after marriage. I do believe your spouse brings out the best in you, you may become a better person for it, but definitely, you will be different. I am ok with that. Thanks for sharing with us :)

  3. Still being considered a newlywed, I have learned a lot and still have tons of learning to do in regards to making a marriage work and making a happy home. In my opinion, just like in any relationship you get out of it what you put in. I don’t feel that marriage is a repressive tool or that you have to give up a piece of you. But you must go in understanding that you do have to consider your spouse’s feelings and not be selfish when making decisions. In our household, we do not abide by ALL traditional roles but there are some that we do. For example, I understand that my husband is King of our home and I do not take that from him. However, he understands that at times the Queen must hold down the fort at times. Which brings me to the point that I don’t believe in always giving 50/50; sometimes it’s just impossible. As Janeane stated, sometimes I can’t give 50%. There may be a day or a few days where I can only give 20-40% and he picks up the rest and vice versa. My advice is don’t get caught up in traditional roles so much and believing that it HAS to be a 50/50 relationship. If you do, you run the risk of repression by not being your true self and trying to be this Super Wife you just don’t have the strength to be and that can turn into resentment. Hope this makes sense. I’m at work and typing on my Nook as thoughts pop into my head lol

    1. I agree 150% with this! Remembering to consider your significant other, I am working on this. I do believe I am getting better :) (I hope he agrees) I do find myself pausing and taking the time to remember that I am no longer “single” and I find I like sharing my next venture with someone. I love the reference to King and Queen! I’ve seen women try and be this “Super Wife”, living what I would consider a traditional marriage, and I do see the resentment. I would like to avoid that at all costs. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! Love you! Now get back to work :-)

  4. I am not married yet but I do have wonderful parents who have been married for 26 years. Their relationship is not 50/50 but 100/100. My mother is a working woman and take care of responsibilities around the house, which is a lot of work and stressful at times. My dad works and is responsible for the finances. But this arrangement has been working out for the better.

    I am at the age where marriage is rolling near so my mother always take an opportunity to school me about marriage. She says during the dating/fiance’ period important topics such as children, housing, work, etc. should be discussed. For instance, she told me that my father and herself made an agreement that she would do the cooking while he would do some cleaning, she would take care of the kids while he would make sure the bills are paid on time, she would do the laundry while he would mow the lawn….things of that nature. And it works out well because both feel as if things are balanced and both are putting equal amount of effort into the relationship.

    I was taught that marriage is a lifetime commitment that will not be easy. I am not sure if you’re a spiritual person but I believe that putting your trust in God first will allow the relationship and marriage to last a lifetime.

    1. How awesome is that, to have tips from your mom! My mom falls under the category Nubian Bride discussed above, the Super Wife, so I hear all the things I should not agree to :/ I know she means well. Yes I believe that is the key, 100 percent on both accounts, compromise and using the individual strengths to work as a team and get things done, so there is that balance in a marriage.

      I am spiritual and God is there now with us :) Thanks so much for sharing Shelda!

  5. I’ve been married for 10 years, and at times I’ll be honest, I do give up things that I want to do and be because of my hubby. He’s very traditional about roles, and I’m not. We work on it though, and do the best we can. In the end, that’s all that we can do, I think–give our 100% and pray the other person is able to give at least a little too. Compromise is the name of the game, and something you learn to do quite well!

    1. Yes, I am working on compromise now, I have to admit I’m not very good at it, I hear pick your battles a lot. Congratulations on 10 years! Marriage is hard work and you’re making it work well! Thanks for stopping by Meradeth :)

  6. Okay, here goes…putting it out there… 😉

    I am not for marriage in its traditional sense. I don’t believe it takes anymore ‘work’ than any other type of committed relationship. In an ideal sense, I think all relationships should be effortless and easy, romantic or otherwise.

    Relationships come in all aspects, each with its own necessary actions to make the commitment work. I love Janeane’s analogy of putting in 100%. It should go without saying that’s how all of our relationships should be. I think the word ‘marriage’ trumps people up and causes them to thing “work, hardship, repression” or any other negative word when that’s not the case. People make it hard and its their fault when it doesn’t work. The divorce rate in this country is ridiculous for many reasons I’d rather not go into right now (that’s a whole ‘notha subject!), but it stems from people getting into these relationships and they don’t know themselves, allow others speak for them, and blindly traditional just because.

    Girl, don’t let ANYbody define your relationship with your boo…If what you have right now is working for you, keep it going. If you guys decide to get married, nothing changes (except legal stuff)…just have fun with each other, support one another, and put in that 100%!!!

    I must say too that I’ve been my partner for over 10 years and if we had a piece of paper legally tying us together NOTHING would change!

    1. Yes! Like in all relationships we should be putting in 100% and you’re right I think that its the word itself and all the history that it brings with it that trips people up and make it synonymous with repression, jail, and the like. I do not feel that way, I think marriage is a beautiful thing. For the reasons that you mentioned, divorce is at a high, making most question, why get married? Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kesha :)

  7. I’ve been married for 7 years, with my husband for a total of 13 years. I definitely don’t agree with marriage being a repressive tool. I do think that you have to become a selfLESS person, and as a few others already said: give 100% of yourself all of the time. I think a lot of issues arise when people enter into a marriage thinking that they can change the other person, or feeling like they are the ones that are always sacrificing their own needs, for the needs of their spouse. It is definitely a balancing act, but repressive, no…not in my opinion. I wouldn’t change being married for anything else and can’t imagine my life without my right hand man!

    1. Awwww, that is lovely and congratulations on 7 years of marriage :) I do wonder that when one person sacrifices too much of themselves, is it because they thought it was what they were supposed to do? If we set boundaries and talk about it from the beginning, so we know what is what, would that change? If one never speaks of it to the other spouse, is it a sacrifice if the other doesn’t know about it? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to see it, does it make a sound? I’d like to think that I am upfront and honest, what you see is what you get, If I can’t be that, then I would say I am not with the right person, lets move on. While that is easier said than done, because I see it all the time, you’re at least aware of it. When the other person, like you said, doesn’t change at this news, “Hey I’m sacrificing a lot over here…helllo?”, did one think they could change their spouse after marriage? I truly believe people show you exactly who they are, and tell you up front what they are about. Whatever it is that blinds people to these potential warning signs, the list is long, but people do not change unless they want to.

  8. First of all I will give you some of my background to help you understand my points and what validates them in my opinion. I was married at 23 and divorced at 33, I am now 45. My adult life is about 50% married and 50% divorced. So, with that said, I do believe marriage is NOT a tool but a serious commitment that must be considered above and beyond just love. Marriage is a form of partnership that one enters into because they have a preference for sharing their life with a partner under a religious or legal umbrella or both. Love is the euphoria that makes it palatable and appetizing and yes fun, but make no mistake it requires 100% give from each partner.

    Marriages almost never break up because we stop loving each other. So, look closely at the things that do break it up which is money, and how one feels in the union. If you do not feel repressed now, you should not feel that way later as long as you do your due diligence to making sure you all have like goals and values for your union. These are the things I found that can tear a union apart and when not given the proper attention, can make one feel like they don’t matter or are being taken for granted. Marriage should only be undertaken if both partners agree that this form of companionship and partnership is the supremely preferred way of living, not because you want to please anyone or because you are scared of being alone or to prove that someone will marry you. Again, the latter are reasons why one begins to feel repressed in a marriage when hard times come about. Marry someone because they continue to challenge you to be the best you can be and celebrate your achievements therein, not because they agree with all that you say and do and think. Marry them because they incite passion in you, not only love. Passion keeps fires burning and yearning. Finally, marry someone not because you feel a responsibilty to them because YOU love them, but because you are energized, appreciative, and joyfully happy because THEY love you!

    1. Absolutely love this! In addition to love, you have to make sure everyone is on the same page. Money is on the top of the list that causes divorce. Loving someone and not getting it back but moving forward with a marriage anyways sounds like torture and a potential Spanish Novella. Thank you so much for sharing with us, love design life 😉

  9. I don’t think of marriage as being repressive at all. It shouldn’t be. I have only been married for 5 years now, and am still learning lots about it, but I can safely say that neither my husband nor myself are repressed by it. If anything, it has taught me to not be so self-centered (as I was when I was single).
    I think if you truly love your spouse, you will give of yourself 100% in everything, even when you are mad at them, or they have hurt you. And hopefully they will treat you the same.

    1. Thank you Mercy for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I can totally relate to your words :) Being in a relationship does teach you to be mindful of your significant other and you do find yourself still giving 100% when you’re ready to kill each other. It is a little comforting to have that kind of relationship, you never feel alone.

      Again thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  10. Oh, you’ve touched my opinionated topic. :) Marriage isn’t giving up “a piece of yourself,” it is GIVING ALL OF YOURSELF. There are subtle differences–pieces vs. all, but giving UP is not the same as simply GIVING. Giving *up* implies it’s gone, lost, while giving simply implies gift.

    Still, it’s a particularly scary idea, giving your all, because marriage can only work if both people do it, and you have no control over your spouse, no way to force him (her) to reciprocate. But when you both grow up (and that’s a long process–lifelong) and do it, it’s a beautiful, beautiful, holy thing.

    I’m 13 years in, and it’s so, so, so much better now than it was when we were two or three years in. Although I do miss the starry-eyed phase sometimes.

    1. helllllllllo Kathleen! Yes, it has become less scary, I think that when you do find “the one” you are pleasantly surprised to automatically give yourself entirely. I love the idea of calling it a gift. having love in our lives is truly a gift. Thanks for stopping and sharing your thoughts :)

  11. I am a little nervous about giving up myself in marriage. My boyfriend and I are living together now, and I struggle with making sure I’m not compromising too much of myself, giving too much of myself up. It’s definitely a delicate balance, so I appreciate seeing the comments above from the married folks!

    1. You’re not alone Mama Brandi! Its work to find that balance but I think you’ll have no problem finding it :) The comments from the married ladies are comforting to read.

  12. Great questions raised on marriage. I read and watched Eat, Pray, Love, but haven’t read Committed. Instead of looking at marriage as a repressive tool, why don’t we look at it from the bright side and see it as a complimentary tool and growth tool. Instead of repressing each other, you learn from each other and expand your capacity, quality, understanding in the marriage.

    1. “A complimentary tool and growth tool” is what I believe she walked away with seeing how marriage really is after all the traveling and all the research. Love has a way of changing us, usually for the better and we do so willingly. I thought it was interesting to see how generations back looked at marriage in different ways but still consider it the best times of their life that they would not change if given the opportunity to do things differently. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  13. As I am not married yet I look forwad to one day being married that it can be considered a repressive tool. I think that it indeed can be in certain cultures where a woman’s only job/ability/worth is based on her being married regardless of the circumstances of that marriage. I feel blessed not to be a part of that type of culture.

    I do think when I marry I will have to give up part of myself. Since I will be getting married after having been single and independent for years I will have to give up that way of thinking and give up the security that comes from only depending on myself. However these are things that I am willing to give up to have the love and support of a husband and the foudation to raise children in the best possible circumstances.

    1. You’re so right Arlette, it is a blessing to not be apart of a culture where we are not forced to do things against our will. We love and give of ourselves freely! It sounds like you have the right idea when it comes to what is needed to start a family. It will definitely be a slight adjustment from the single life but having a family is a blessing indeed! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  14. I’ve been married for 30 years. I’ve never viewed marriage as anyone giving up anything, it’s better to look at what you are gaining not losing.

    I suppose some people are repressed when they marry, it all depends on a particular personality type or perhaps culture or religious views?

    I also don’t view marriage as 50/50 we just do what we have to do to make the day work for us and so far we’ve managed to work our way through a lot of days.

    Good topic.

    First time follower via GFC through the hop.

    Hope you can drop by my blog when you have some time.

    1. Hi Michelle,

      I love the idea of gaining something, when I marry, instead of losing something. I am sure there are many factors that go into influencing a marriage, cultural and religious views included. I’d like to think though that marriage is a much more private affair than that and one could get away without too much outside influence. Then again it will definitely vary per couple.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts :) On my way over to your blog :)

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