Should Women Marry?

“ There is no greater risk than matrimony. But there is nothing happier than a happy marriage.” – Benjamin Disraeli

The other day I went to see the movie Agora. The story centers around Hypatia, the female philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician of 4th century AD Alexandria.

Hypatia devoted herself entirely to brain pursuits and, although a serious beauty, she had sworn off men, with the blessing of her father. Theon, who headed the Library of Alexandria.

Both Hypatia and Theon acknowledged that if she were to marry she would be subject to her husband’s whims and would not be permitted to continue teaching, nor would she be free to indulge in her intellectual pursuits.

Hypatia was the first to discover that planetary motion was not circular but elliptical. Shortly after her discovery she was murdered by a Christian mob and it wasn’t until 1,200 years later that the world learned of the proper planetary motions.

Sadly, knowledge at the time was being destroyed by religious zealots and women were expected to abandon all sense of self and give total control of their existence to men in exchange of their survival.

I couldn’t help but think of some of the middle-aged women that I see in my practice who complain that their husbands are not at all supportive when they start itching for a sense of achievement outside their family roles as mothers and wives. I also couldn’t help but think of the numerous young women whom I see in my practice who believe that they will capture happiness once they marry, although happiness has eluded them for so long.

I often cite the statistics that display that married women are generally more depressed and are arguably less healthy than their unmarried counterparts, whereas for men it’s the opposite: they are generally happier and more successful than unmarried men, and even live longer.

I explain that the reason for this discrepancy is that often young women, due to their family circumstances and societal expectations, haven’t developed a strong sense of self and they’re desperately hoping that a man will make everything better.

Young women are under the delusion that once they marry they will gain intimacy, autonomy, security, stimulation, reassurance, adventure, cosiness and many other goodies.

All very possible gains in a marriage – but only for those who have the emotional intelligence and maturity to gratify their own, and each other’s needs without having to sacrifice their autonomy.

Women have a better chance of finding happiness in a marriage when they assume the role of being their own guardian..