I had this long conversation today and something very interesting came up. Somehow we ended up on the topic of his marriage and how a large percentages of marriages fail. He started to talk about how his marriage works because his wife has taken on the traditional role of the wife and his to some degree subservient to him. Subservient in that if he puts his foot down she'll abide by it. That isn't to say she just stays home and cranks out kids. She is basically an executive at a Fortune 500 company and brings in a good chunk of change. I joked and said 'But you still expect her to have dinner ready when you get home?' and he said 'Basically.'.
From there he started to talk about how one of the reasons our nation is going in the shitter is because we don't have these traditional roles anymore and men are being wussified. He points to African tribes that still have this sort of structure but his favorite example is the lion. The lion sits underneath the tree all day licking his balls and sends his women out to go find some food. All he does is provides security and knocks them up. So, the argument goes, because we as a society stress behaviors that are counter to this basic instinct we end up with some really messed up results.
Ok. My counter-argument is that while we may have evolved with these sorts of instincts from a survival perspective they really aren't necessary anymore in a modern society. I don't need to sit at home with a gun in my hand and protect my kingdom while my women go out and provide for me. I don't need to climb the trees to get the fruit or hunt down a boar to feed my family. Those hunting/protection instincts just aren't as necessary. I'm not saying they aren't there, I'm just saying that they aren't key for survival anymore.
However, back to the main point about a man and a woman. His basic point here is that when society goes counter to these basic instincts you end up with broken marriages. I argue that it is society that creates these bullshit roles and pushes people into them. Would men really feel like they need to be your never crying, no emotion 'John Wayne' types if it they weren't brought up that way? You keep repressing that crap and it is going to come out sideways, regardless of what your basic human instinct is and how in tune that image is with it.
No, successful relationships are the product of good communication and a willingness to compromise. Because his relationship works does not mean that same pattern will work for everyone. They found a balance that works for them and more power to them. But to argue that their balance works because it is based on this basic human instinct is rationalizing I think.
What say you?
UPDATE: So really, the question that I'm always curious about is this: how much is the result of human instinct and how much is the result of cultural influences?