So there I am standing in the hair products aisle at the store and I hear this tall rather stocky built African American man talking on his cell phone. It turns out that he is looking at twenty different curling irons and his conversation goes something like this: “Hi honey, I’m here looking at the curling irons and there are so many I’m not sure what I should be getting.” (Other person talks) “I just want to be sure I’m picking out the right one.” (Other person talks) “Uh Huh. Ok. I got it. I love you and will see you soon.” I should add that all of this was said in the most loving and supportive tone.
I looked to see if there was a ring on his finger and there was. His respectful attitude very much reflected what I often observe of my daughter and her husband (together 15 years) on a regular basis. Both children came from divorce families and I would say that sexism and stereotype expectations were an underlying factor in those divorces. Something they do not indulge in.
If I were to predict the longevity of the couple in the hair product isle, it would be very favorable. Listening to this man talk in such a loving tone to his partner was inspirational in believing, even though divorces have been going up since the 1970’s, divorces may just start going down with the younger generations. For the most part previous generations tended to build their relationships out of need… the need to be financially supported… the need to be served. Perhaps, this and future generations, will find more depth and authentic reasons to be together. Just imagine the gifts that can come from such a union.
When I visit my daughter and her husband I am impressed with the reciprocity, the fair minded thinking, the respectful discussions, assertiveness, and apologies. I have watched them over the years making sure that each is supported in living their career dream. Their individuality is enhanced, which in turn enriches their relationship.
This hopeful direction that I am seeing young people go in would be a result of the push for women’s social, political, and economic equality. Perhaps, Erich Fromm’s words on love will become the norm and we will see a new reason for two people to want to spend a lifetime together.
“Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.'” —Erich Fromm