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Friday
Dec042009

A Thoroughly Modern Wife Puts Her Marriage Under the Microscope

Dan brightened. “Just as you were talking there, I was having all these fears come up again. I have a real fear of being an appendage in that family, and that Liz’s real family is her and her mother, and I was just a sperm donor. That it would be really fine if I disappeared. Nothing much would change.” 

As a woman, you might be very surprised to know that many men feel like Dan, who ended up in marriage counselling after his delightful and very good writer wife Elizabeth Weil suggested they take on the project of making a good marriage even better.

By trying to make their good marriage better, Elizabeth Weil and Daniel Duane tested it. Photo via Dewey Nicks for The New York TimesTo his credit Dan talked honestly and articulately about his ideas, emotions and fears— which ultimately advanced this marriage, suddenly put under the microscope forward.

Dan’s sentiments aren’t so rare. Not only do many of today’s men worry about being little more than sperm-donors to the ambitious life plans of their wives, but men worry about becoming totally irrelevant beings in the future.

I can name five men who would gulp reading Male DNA May Decrease Longevity. a recent RedTracker post that gives us a good look at the future of reproductive science.

Previously, scientists have developed artificial sperm from women’s eggs. Now we have Japanese mice with much longer longevity, once they’re bred from two female mothers, rather than a male and female.

Driving me home from dinner this summer, a man reflected that men will be extinct in another 100 years. Sympathetically, I didn’t disagree with his prediction and remained quiet. It seemed a good moment to just listen.

Dan and Elizabeth explored their erotic life as part of marital therapy and Dan’s confrontation about always playing second-fiddle to Elizabeth’s family. It was Elizabeth who flinched, when the focus moved into the bedroom.

Last weekend the NYTimes magazine featured Lori Brotto’s research on female desire and the benefits a woman gains from owning her erotic power.  Elizabeth might join one of Lori’s classes, bringing the exploration and perhaps discovery of her erotic self to light in her engaging yet informative writing style.

This weekend’s Married (Happily) With Issues isn’t a short read, nor Cosmo-light quality. I recommend it because Elizabeth Weil captures the dynamic of her experience with husband Daniel Duane in a captivating, earnest, honest style.

Many women can’t be truly objective about their own behavior in journal-type writing, but Weil gets high marks for honesty, integrity and a clear writing voice.

I shared my thoughts about Lori Brottos’ fenale sexuality counseling work, featured in the NYTimes Women Who Want to Want in yesterday’s Private Eye.

Without revealing TMI, Brotto relates the moment when she took ownership of her erotic self, in an experience very similar to my own. I pull out that paragraph in Private Eye and believe it’s worth your read. See Women Looking for Their Sexual Selves:

Women Looking for Their Sexual Selves

See also:

When It Comes to Marriage, Love Isn’t All You Need

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