The United States has one of the highest divorce rates in the world. In fact, we are probably second only to Sweden as having the very highest divorce rate on Earth. That’s a high stat, no? But I’ve been thinking that Barack Obama and Michelle Obama might be good for marriage in this country. I mean, this could all be a mirage, but it seems to me that they epitomize a “good marriage,” and that they have great chemistry, and that they understand the value and role of “family”, and the importance of preserving the family at all costs.
I particularly admire Barack Obama, the man. And this is high praise because I am someone who is this close to losing faith that there is even one good man left out there. I mean, with every passing day I become more paralyzed with this fear that, omg, there’s no decent man left! I am so full of skepticism and distrust, disillusionment and sometimes, even disgust. And then, someone like Barack comes along, and I start to think, well, you know, where there is one, maybe there is another? Could I dare think so optimistically? I mean, he seems so decent!
What is it that I admire so much about President Obama? I like the way he puts his wife first. He treats her like a queen. At least, he does publicly. He doesn’t forget to thank her, praise her, acknowledge her and show affection for her. Because of how he treats her, other men will think twice about disrespecting her. And so will everybody else. They are friends. They are united. They are in sync. This is not easy to find. Or maybe they worked at it? I don’t know. But whatever it is, I am impressed with what I think I am seeing.
I have always thought that a man can make or break his wife. He can exalt her, or totally destroy her with his words, deeds and misdeeds. The way a man treats his wife not only speaks volumes about him as a person, it also puts the world on notice, “Lay. Off. My. Wife.” And when a man does that, the world lays off. They don’t mess with her, they actually revere her and so she is able to thrive in a way she wouldn’t if she had married a different man who did not have the same regard and sensitivity for her feelings. You know what I mean? A man has to be into his woman in a way that excludes all others and it should be visible and palpable and discernible to all who witness it.
I mean, it is not just about loving one’s wife. It’s about respecting her as a woman, as a human being, and as a wife. That is what I think is lacking in a lot of men today. Not all. But too many. I am not trying to bash men, you know? I’m just saying. Something is wrong. And that is one of the reasons why the divorce rate is so high. Cause, I mean, even before a woman becomes a man’s wife, he is already full of disrespect for her. One of the things I can’t get over, personally, for example, is for a man to call me the “B” word. I mean, I use the word freely and if a stranger does it I don’t care. But if the man I am with calls me a B? Like in anger? Like he really meant in even for a minute? OMG I couldn’t cope. I would go to pieces. It would be the beginning of the end.
I just think that a lot of guys don’t understand the power they have to save their own marriages and relationships, simply by showing consideration and respect to their women and their wives in everything they do and say to her. A man’s attitude should be that he would cut out his tongue before he calls his woman by the derogatory epithets. This sort of thing breaks down a woman, I think. It makes her less than she can or should be. It starts to eat away at her joy, and eventually the relationship. It’s just acid. And what about women? They too should watch their tongue, although I think a man’s self-esteem and skin are a bit tougher than the average woman. Women are expected to be shrill and emotional and say nasty things when angry that she doesn’t even mean. A man is cooler and slower to anger and when he cuts a woman with his tongue, he usually means what he says.
I don’t see Barack Obama ever referring to his wife in a way that degrades her. I see him as being very respectful of her. I could be wrong, but he seems to exalt her. He admires her. He lusts for her and he loves her as a partner, an equal and the mother of his kids. She may not be another man’s cup of tea, but she is his and he makes that known and clear to the world and I think this sets a very important stage in their marriage. (I hope it translates in private too.)
I think a lot of marriages could be saved just by how a man treats his wife, what he says and does not say to her, and how he shows their immediate community that she is his queen. A woman has to be her man’s queen. I’ve always said that to my friends when we have our little chats over coffee. If you can’t say he treats you like a queen, you are with the wrong man. There should be no resistance there. Everyone who comes in contact with you and him should know that you are his queen. (He should be your king too, but he’s got to love you a little bit more – kind of the way I perceive Barack and Michelle. It’s just nature.) That is the foundation of a good marriage that lasts.
They say behind every great man is a great woman. But I think behind every successful marriage is a man who simply respects his wife, and who loves her a little bit more than she loves him, and who would never ever call her a “B” and who makes clear to their community that she is his queen.
More men should look at Barack H. Obama for a how to guide of how to pull this off. More marriages will be saved than lost. Trust me.
Check out these additional Obama reads.
(pics by AP and Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/usembassynewdelhi/6297544891/sizes/m/in/photostream/
Originally published January 19, 2009