Love Lingers Here: Intimate Enduring Relationships– Essay III: The Stories We Are Told
Clearly, there is no room in such a world for any alternative mode of intimacy that would neither produce children nor contribute to social stability. Life outside the bounds of matrimony was clearly forbidden, as was any form of homosexuality. Beyond these clear points of agreement, there is some dispute among the advisors of this first decade of the 20th Century for many societies were in transition with regard to the appropriate role to be played by women in the family and world in general. There were also some strong differences of opinion with regard to family values. Obviously, our current debates regarding these matters are not recent, but go back at least one hundred years!
From the perspective of Pyke in 1902 Cosmopolitan article the surest sign that love exists in a relationship is the woman’s willingness to abandon her pride, so that she might rightly subordinate herself to the man she loves and admires. With the fall of pride comes the beginning of immortal love and the formation of a relationship that shall endure. One year later, in this same magazine, focusing in a chauvinistic manner on American couples, Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen declared that “there is nothing more worthy of a woman’s best thought and devoted effort than to create and maintain a true home. The first sign of the degeneration of a race is the gradual breaking up of the home-idea and the splendid mental and physical characteristics of Americans of today as a race are due more than anything else to the yearning of the American bride to gather these sweeter and tenderer influences around her.”
From a more “liberated” perspective, ten years later, Gladden suggests in the Good Housekeeping article that women must recognize their unique role in the family and recognize the important role played by their husband as the primary breadwinner. This does not, however, mean that women should be subordinate to men. This was already considered old-fashion in 1912 (at least in women’s magazines). Gladden suggests with regard to:
. . . the management of the home, in business interests and in property interests there ought to be intelligent cooperation between the husband and wife. About many of the details of her husband’s business the wife would not venture an opinion; but on the larger aims and purposes of it, on the principles by which he is guided, the judgment of a clear¬headed woman might be worth much to him. Above all, the husband and the wife ought to be good enough friends so that they shall confer freely upon what is prudent and possible in the family economy.