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The Effect of Family on Relationship

Essay by   •  February 17, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,402 Words (6 Pages)  •  886 Views

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The Effect of Family on Relationship

The evaluation of newspaper advice columnists, such as Ms. Manners, Ann Landers and Dear Abby can touch on many societal values such as family, gender and marriage, but most importantly shows how individuals interpret and react to their situations. By reading a collection of these columns, one will notice the multiple factors that come into the individual's situation and how the advice they demand is one that must appease a variety of subjects. The article attached is a Dear Abby column entitled, "Husband Asks if Torn Marriage Can be Stitched Back Together". In this article we are shown a clear example of how the situations the columnists are presented with include many outside factors that affect the reaction of the writer. Furthermore, we can agree that the factor that shapes the way the person feels the most is how the trusted, loved ones around him or her feel about the issue. As a result one must agree that the most important factor in the act of one asking for advice is the pressures from trusted family members and how they feel towards the individual's dilemma.

In the Dear Abby column aforementioned, we are shown a situation in which the families around both parties are entrenched in the issue and their actions are affecting the way the married couple each approaches the problem. We are shown the perspective of the husband, who has been cheated on by his wife in the past. In the article he mentions the outside forces of in-laws that have taken over the relationship. He says, "Both sets of in-laws are trying to sabotage the marriage" and then goes on to say that, "...my feelings for my wife have changed, and I now realize I never really knew Chanelle (his wife) at all. Can this marriage be saved?" The fact that the man is writing to ask columnist "Abby" immediately opens up the possibility that he has not closed the door on this relationship and opens up the possibility for appeasement. Knowing this one can investigate why in our society cheating is something that is surely looked down upon, but is something that can be amended. It's interesting to look at Matthew C. Guttmann's book "The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City" when analyzing this situation. On page 129 of Guttmann's book, he writes in a section called Urges and Aventuras that "After I had spent several months in Mexico, my research suddenly assumed an explicitly sexual character in a very personal way when my wife and daughter returned to the United States for a couple of weeks. Before leaving, Michelle (his wife) talked casually one day with Angela and Norma (friends) about her planned trip. Angela asked if she was worried about leaving me alone for so long, hinting not so subtly at the opportunity this would present me for aventuras (adventures) - in other words, adultery." Guttmann then tells, "When Michelle responded that she trusted me and was not concerned, Angela countered, 'Well, sure, but do you trust the women?' Michelle had not understood the real threat, Angela counseled: men cannot help themselves when sexual opportunity presents itself." Although this book is about being a man in Mexico City it can shed a valuable light on our society. In Mexico, the men are not on a level barrier with women and are seen as the power in the relationship, with women not given a shot on an equal basis. This can lead to a man feeling more powerful and the fact that if he commits adultery, there will be no repercussions. When you take this idea to the United States, you realize that men and women are on an equal basis and each relationship is different depending on the makeup of the parties involved. Knowing this we can suggests that since the makeup of our society is the way it is, adultery by both parties is capable. Furthermore on this issue, we are shown the factor that the wife in the passage above is not aware at the time or even suggesting in her own mind that her husband would cheat due to their prolonged time apart, but in this case is shown this possibility by her close friends, the outside forces, who in the Dear Abby column take the role of the in-laws. Another example of this is on page 19 of Mariama Bв's So Long a Letter when she talks about her married life. "I loved Modou. I compromised with his people. I tolerated his sisters, who too often would desert their own homes to encumber my own." These examples are everywhere and have been seen throughout our study of family, gender and sexuality in society.

Being compelled to want to help this man's situation due to analyzing

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