Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wife Rule #30: They're Worth It

The sky is a clear, pale blue. Yellow sunlight illuminates the tops of the snowy peaks, casting purple shadows across the mountain saddles. It's a beautiful, late-winter morning.

And I'm angry.

My mood has nothing to do with the weather, but it does have a lot to do with the climate we live in today--the social climate. I generally think of myself as a pretty optimistic person. I try to see the good in others and in life, and I am usually very content to enjoy what's good in this world, while trying to ignore most of what's bad. But sometimes things get to me and grate on me and I can't suppress my disappointment and frustration.

Today's disillusionment comes from reading a few lines out of a recent Reader's Digest article. You know, Reader's Digest: the family-values-oriented, socially-conservative, all-American magazine that entertains you month after month. In it you read the every-day stories people submit about funny things that happened at work, or at home, or at the grocery store, or in some remote wilderness location where a hare-brained fool attempted something stupid, and narrowly escaped death, thereby defying Darwin's theory that nature should select these types of people out of the human gene pool (Headline: "Attacked by a Great White Shark! The Amazing Survival Story of Diving While Disguised as a 200-Pound, Wounded Tuna"). That's the Reader's Digest we all know and love.

So this morning, my happy mood was put into a tailspin when I read this:

"It's that time of year again, when men replay the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show or thumb through the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue while their women sit nearby feeling lousy about their postholiday weight gain." (January issue, page 166)

I have heard disturbing statistics and anecdotes about pornography use before and the devastating effects it has on love and affection, on marriages, and on women's self-esteem. But if Reader's Digest is printing statements like this as nonchalantly as if they were reporting on, say, trends in cheese consumption, something is very wrong with our culture.

And I'm sick of it.

I'm sick of hearing about men who are worms and refuse to crawl out of the mud. I'm sick of hearing how their women feel inferior because they can't measure up to a perverse fantasy that the men shouldn't be entertaining in the first place. I'm sick of hearing about the deterioration and destruction of the pure and holy relationship that ought to exist between a man and a woman. I'm sick of the beautiful, private, and sacred physical aspect of that relationship being paraded out in the open and publicly dragged through the mud, where the worms like to crawl.

I'm sick of always being on the defensive: of never being able to trust what I will find on prime-time TV, in the few magazines we still take, in most new movies, in many song lyrics on the radio, and even in news stories and footage from "reputable" news agencies. I'm sick of having to turn the channel on the TV during the few wholesome programs that are left, because the commercials are risque. I'm sick of being visually assaulted every time I stand in the supermarket checkout line by images of scantily-clad women. It sickens me to see the effect those images have on my four-year-old son, who does notice. I'm sick that my daughters, at their tender ages, are being taught persistently by the world that their bodies are play-things to exploit for attention and approval, instead of God-given gifts of wonder and beauty, and integral parts of their eternal souls.

I'm sick that women have almost universally been objectified and are seen by so many as creatures to be used as commodities to satisfy appetites or make money. I'm sick of the wide-spread acceptance of such terrible marginalization, by women themselves and by those who have promised to love and cherish their them above all else. I'm sick that women have been fed these lies for so long that many believe that it's not only okay for their husbands to indulge in pornography, but that it's their prime objective in life to look like the drug-addicted, bulimic, and unnaturally-enhanced models their husbands lust over. I'm sick of the deafening drumbeat of image, image, image that is drilled into our heads from dawn until dusk.

I'm sick of hearing about the inevitable consequences of our sex-saturated society: spouse and child abuse, rape, murder, adultery, and wide-spread failing of families. I'm sick of hearing of women I know whose husbands have become porn addicts and allowed their marriages to wither and die. I'm sick of fathers who have broken the hearts of their tender wives and lost the confidence of their children. Every broken family is a terrible tragedy.

Thankfully, there is something we can do about it.

We can remember that the marvelous human body was created in the image of God, male and female, and the inherent sacredness that is part of such a design. We can remember that the pattern of trust, respect, fidelity, and love that was established in Eden still works for the children of Adam and Eve today. We can remember that every woman is a daughter of God, and is by rights Royalty, with nothing to hold her back from soaring to Celestial heights if she can only remember who she is and act accordingly. We can help our women remember who they are by treating them like Royalty.

We can speak up against the tide of lies and filth that has engulfed our society. We can reject the subtle and explicit influences that try to crowd into our homes and lives by simply turning them off or throwing them away. We can tell the media outlets that have gone astray about our values and why we object to what they produce. We can affirm that sex is sacred and is meant only for husband and wife, in privacy and purity. We remember that the physical aspect of a relationship is only one part of a whole, and not the sum-total of what life or love is about. We can learn the profound truth that beauty is independent of physical form, and increases exponentially as pure love increases. We can teach these vital truths to our families, our neighbors, and the public at large.

We can and must do whatever it takes; there's too much at stake to stand still. Our women and children are worth it.


Mom said...

Beautifully said, Matt. Way to go!

Amy said...

Hear here!

Julie said...

Amen! You have such a way with words!