On June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court struck lower, as unconstitutional, the key provision associated with DOMA, the Defense of Relationship Act. It also dismissed a district court’s challenge to California Prop 7, which had eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to get married to in the state. As one might expect, depending on which side of the problem you fall on, there was either rejoicing or consternation about the decisions of the court and what this means in order to marriage as a whole.
Relationship has undergone many changes on the ages. At one time, women were viewed as property that was transferred from dad to husband. Husbands held the top hand in a marriage and could even choose that their wife had been disloyal, condemning her to death simply by stoning. Women often lost every rights to their children if there was a divorce. Thankfully, over the centuries, ladies have gained many rights and the customs of marriage have transformed as well.
There has been a lot handwringing about what same-sex marriage is going to do to the institution of marriage. I think that we lose something significant whenever we divide marriage into straight unions and same-sex unions. Marriage may be the coming together of two people who all choose to join together out of enjoy. Rather than creating a divide between same-sex relationships and heterosexual relationships I hope that all people can learn from the love that exists between companions no matter their sexual orientation.
According to a May twenty two, 2013 article in The Atlantic Magazine “The Gay Guide to Wedded Bliss” (see end of this article) scientists have discovered that same-sex marriages are actually happier than heterosexual marriages. Instead of worrying about how the Supreme Court rulings will negatively impact the “sanctity” of marriage we should look to the examples of many same-sex couples and exactly what they bring to this institution.
Same-sex couples are not mired by the old gender stereotypes associated with male and female that straight couples often unconsciously fall victim to. Who works (or doesn’t), who cares for the children, who does which particular chores are all on with discussion in same-sex marriages. Couples must approach marriage in a way that establishes what works best for each partner and the marriage as a whole instead of what culture deems is appropriate for each gender based on centuries of habit.
While there is much more of a sense of egalitarianism in marriage nowadays, we still find that the reveal of the burden is often split based on gender roles. The Atlantic post states: “Though men are carrying really a domestic workload than in the past, ladies still bear the brunt from the second shift. Among couples with children, when both spouses function full-time, women do 32 hrs a week of housework, child care, purchasing, and other family-related services, compared with the 21 hours men put in. Guys do more paid work-45 hrs, compared with 39 for women-but still have more free time: 31 hours, compared to 25 for women. ”
In the research for their book “American Couples, Money, Work, Sex” Pepper Schwartz and Philip Blumstein from the University of Washington discovered that lgbt couples tended to be fairer in their dealings with each other than straight couples. There was clearly also more sharing of cooking food, childrearing and chores than in straight couples.
Researchers furthermore discovered that in all couples, the person with all the higher income had more specialist and decision-making power. Lesbian lovers experienced this less than straight lovers. Both lesbian and straight lovers experienced this less than gay lovers.
Lesbian couples tended to have more power plays around who all engages more with the children. But on the whole it was discovered that another difference between straight and same-sex lovers is that both partners in same-sex marriages tended to engage with the kids together. Straight couples tended to interact along traditional gender roles with women more involved than men. When they did parent together, it was found that they were more likely to am employed at cross-purposes. Lesbian mothers tended to be more egalitarian and warmer toward each other and gay dads were more egalitarian in the way that they divided the chores necessary in childrearing.
Another interesting finding was the fact that when there was a disagreement in same-sex marriages the companion that was upset tended to be seen as much less aggressive and domineering and the additional partner often experienced less dread and stress. There tended to be more affection, joy and humor in the way that a difficult issue was addressed.
I am certainly not endeavoring to imply that all same-sex marriages are happy and even-handed or “better” than heterosexual unions, but I do think that we can examine the findings in this article as well as in other research to the topic and learn some new ways to engage in marital relationships. Finding ways to communicate our needs, to co-parent, to find more balance in the energy of money within a relationship all goes a long way to creating happy, healthy marriages. Don’t we all deserve to learn from each other and move the organization of marriage into the 21st century?
If you would like some help in creating a loving, healthy relationship, please contact me for a TOTALLY FREE phone consultation. We are able to then decide how I may be able to assist you to as a marriage therapist. I can become reached at: 650 289-9972 or via email at catherine@catherine-morris. com