Friday, March 14, 2014

I gave her to you

We watch the television show, Parenthood, on a regular basis. I appreciate the show for the writers' willingness to showcase all the challenges that are real and present today in our society. It's a drama and skews fanciful but on many occasions even the secular get it right. Truth is Truth no matter what, and I can't help but believe the popularity of this show is because of the Truth this family stumbles across, regardless their godless perspective.

One of the story lines is a daughter, Julia, and her husband who are struggling in their marriage. Some background, he was a stay at home dad and she was a lawyer. Being desperate to have another child and being unable to conceive, they adopt an older boy. The husband, Joel, goes back to work in his construction company and she comes home. There remains distance between them as is common in marriages today, their parenting sucks, their marriage sucks, and they keep going down their her own selfish path. Julia creates a way too comfortable relationship with a man whose child goes to her daughter's school. This part is a bit unrealistic, the man is a soft Beta going through a divorce. Her attraction to him makes no sense, when you understand reality. Regardless, she lets things get too close, the Beta dude kisses her and she doesn't pull away in revulsion as she should, being a married woman. She confesses the incident to her husband. He reacts as a man would - utter disgust, betrayal, repulsion, and moves out of the home.

It's painful to watch this unfold. The writers have made sure the children of this couple say and ask the exact things that children of separated parents will say and ask. They are headed for divorce, no question about it. If it weren't for those children, we would all cheer Joel on: "divorce the ungrateful bitch! She's a clueless, selfish woman who lacks loyalty and restraint." Well, that is if we weren't civilizationalists and Christians to boot.

Julia is remorseful, to an extent, but she wants her marriage to work. It's unclear what she's willing to repent of. Sometimes she's written as the victim and others the wondering, clueless, adulteress. What is clear, is the patriarch of the family, Zeek Braverman (played by Craig T. Nelson), loves his family and believes in this marriage. He's not a Christian man yet upholds some Christian tradition. This last episode he goes to see Joel for the first time since Joel and Julia's separation. Joel and Julia were going to be the God parents of the latest grandchild born to Zeek. Due to their separation, Joel has been replaced by a different uncle as Godfather and has decided he won't be attending the baptism. Zeek goes to see Joel to encourage him to attend. There isn't a clip of it available and this link to the full episode won't work after a few weeks, but if you're interested, the exchange happens at the 35:00 mark: Limbo
Zeek:  Let me ask you something... What the hell are you doing?
Joel: I'm trying to figure things out.
Zeek: Well, let me ask you a favor then, could you try harder?  Hey look, I know that you guys are going through some stuff and I know that you're pissed at Julia. I don't know the circumstances, I don't know that's really important
Joel: It's pretty important
Zeek: Okay, you guys have had it pretty good, and now you're going through a rough patch and you're going to give up? Come on. Look, when I walked Julia down the aisle, I gave her to you and I was so proud and I was so sure, and still am, of the man that I gave her to. I know what kind of a guy he is. I made a vow to support you and her in that marriage, I took you on as a son...
"I gave her to you."

Well, isn't that nice and traditional. Unfortunately what Zeek gave Joel was a feminist woman steeped in equality and careerism. Everything about her life has been about her. Joel has played the dutiful husband meeting all of her wants, dreams, and desires. And, as soon as princess was feeling a bit unhappy, she found solace with another man.

What is playing out in this show is precisely what I envision when I read countless stories of men who have either gone through divorce or are staying in the marriage for the children. They're good guys, hard workers, will do what needs to be done in order to make their bride happy.

But their bride is never happy.

ZEEK! Why is your daughter never happy? Why is your daughter never grateful? Appreciative? Loyal? Honorable? Virtuous? Quiet? gentle? submissive?

Though Zeek is a fictional character, he represents countless fathers in our society who have brought up their daughters in today's feminist culture, believing that they will be able to have it all. They work hard to make sure their daughters will be able to pursue their dreams careers. They pay for expensive college tuition, encouraging her to "find herself" outside of traditional roles. Yet they expect their son-in-laws to tow the traditional feminist line. "Good men don't quit on their families" (even when their wives are being self centered, solipsistic, irrational brats who are not loyal, void of honor, disrespectful and uncommitted to their marriages).

The first place Zeek should have gone was to his daughter. "I'm sorry, honey, I did a terrible disservice to you. I did not tell you about the nature of men. I failed to inform you of what happens in the heart of a man when his wife betrays him with another man. I failed to tell you how important those vows you took are. They meant something to him. He believed you. I supported your marriage because I know the kind of man he is. He's honest, loyal, and hard working. He embodies everything I wanted my little girl to marry. But I failed him. I abdicated my responsibility in raising my daughter to be a wife worthy of this good man. I raised you, my daughter, to be a self serving woman who puts her own wants and desires before her husband's and out of line with what God has instructed for wives. It's not the natural order of things as is evident in your failing marriage and broken family."

13 comments:

  1. So, basically, Zeek told Joel to 'man up'?

    I don't watch the show, but based on your account, Julia can recover their marriage, but she and Joel need to swallow the red pill together, quick.

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  2. I don't watch TV at all. I haven't seen the show. I didn't even know it existed.

    From your description it sounds like yet another case of, "its all the man's fault".

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    1. Surprisingly the show offers a lot of "not just the man's fault" - like I said, it's the Truths they stumble upon that keep us watching it and discussing the issues/situations with our daughters (our son doesn't care to watch it).

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    2. (our son doesn't care to watch it).

      No wonder. I stopped watching TV about 12 years ago. Although I still catch some things on the net or see movies every so often. I can't say that I miss it much. I think TV more than any other media outlet distorts our world view. I didn't stop watching TV for that reason, we just happen to live in an area with poor reception and I'm too cheap to pay for cable.

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  3. Men do need to be men, but the strongest man cannot change the inner decision of his wife. That is ultimately up to her. He may be able to do some things to make it better, but beliefs cannot be forced from the outside.

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  4. Interesting perspective. I always thought Proverbs 31 commends women whose wise enough to earn a little extra income. What's your take on that passage?

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    1. A wise married woman does not put anything before the reason for her creation: to be her husband's help meet.

      The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
      So he will have no lack of gain.
      She does him good and not evil
      All the days of her life.
      Proverbs 31:11-12

      It is a rare woman who can balance the good of her husband while simultaneously pursuing outside ambitions that require major time commitments.

      In this situation, the woman represented herself to another man as an available woman - I can assure you, the Proverbs 31 woman does no such thing. That is the height of betrayal in a man's heart. Only a woman who has been distracted from her intended course of doing her husband good would be seen as an approachable woman to a man not her husband.

      The very definition of "career" is antithetical to a woman's role in marriage. In order to be sustained, at some point its importance will be placed before her role as a wife, which is the first step in the breakdown of the marriage.

      This has nothing to do with a woman earning income.

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  5. Ah ok, we rarely watch TV, so much is unedifying. I was not aware of how the character you describe presented herself.

    Myself, I was asking with regard to your comments on careers. Sorry, I'm being dumb here. Is the issue about women who see themselves as having a career vs. earning an income? Are you saying that it is sinful for me to look upon midwifery as a 'career' or that it is sinful for me to even work as a midwife? I live in Europe we don't have OB/GYNs deliver all the babies like you do, we have midwives and 99% of them are women, always have been. Are you saying I'm wrong to consider midwifery to be a form of 'serving my neighbour in the vocation I was called to'?

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    1. Is your career placed before your husband in importance? Do you believe you were called first to be a midwife and second to be your husband's wife? Does your time commitment to your work cause challenges in your marriage or home? If your husband asked you to cut back or quit would you?

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    2. Well of course family-life comes before work.

      I could tell you my daughter's god-mother is a lawyer. You'd probably be appalled. But she comes from an extremely wealthy family. When her children came along she went on a career break, followed by very part-time work (as a partner she can basically pick-and-choose her caseload). She returned to full-time for a while but is on another career break (her husband got a job in Far East) so she went with him but is not able to practice out there. Your immediate gut-reaction when you learned of my lawyer friend may have been that she was an angry feminist, nothing could be further from the truth. She volunteers at the local school (her kids are now grown) and teaches Sunday School. God first, family second, other commitments last is her view, that's why she is my daughter's god-mother.

      Not everyone who calls how they earn money a 'career' is selfish and me-centred. Some women just use it as an alternative to 'job'. Thank you for replies anyway.

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    3. I'm not appalled at all that a married woman is a lawyer. I hope you're coming to understand that it is a matter of the heart and a commitment to obedience to God that matters and not semantics. In our culture, the phenomenon of careerism is rooted in feminism and rebellion. The words I use convey a common understanding of the culture. When someone intentionally uses the word "career" to explain what they do to trade hours for dollars, it displays pretentiousness - which very much is me-centered. Status and pretentiousness are very much part of covetousness.

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    4. I'm appalled that anyone would be a lawyer.

      Not really. My brother is a very prolific ambulance chaser. What can I say? It happens in the best of families.

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  6. My wife and I also watch Parenthood. The Black List, Parenthood and Tom Selleck on Friday nights. That's about it. Parenthood, though, we started watching it to glean the bits and pieces of parenting an autistic boy they show. Often they just nail it. What works one week doesn't work the next. The frustruation, the love, the commitment of two parents working together.

    Then there was the cancer thing, they nailed that too, when Adam and Christine were grinding through the stress of her cancer and told Adam what she needed from him, my wife turned to me and said "that's what I needed" knowing I had met her needs as poorly as Adam had, then Adam explained what he had provided and how he'd been there, I just looked at my wife and said "That's what I was doing" and whatever growing disconnect we'd had evaporated as fast as the one on the show.

    I do agree that Julia falling for the big soft beta is unrealistic, but so is the younger guy chasing after Sarah.

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