The men who make the best marriages are usually those who had a loving, supportive, nurturing (and yet also guiding and censoring, when needed), mother. In my own life I have seen certain men ( e. g. V.B., C.M., P.G., B. W.) who fall into this category. As boys these men entered manhood with no fear or loathing of women as a species; they confidently chose a woman and enjoyed a good marriage. They had learned in childhood that a good woman in your life gives you love, support, strength and confidence. A man needs such a woman. Such men are fortunate: they find their wives enormously valuable as a source of love and support, and good partners for raising children and socializing. Their wives will fill many of the needs that were satisfied by their mothers.

I used to think that the song (from 1911) “I want a girl just like the girl who married dear old dad.” was sentimental baloney, maybe even the words of someone with a huge Oedipal complex. I don’t think that way any more. If the mother of the man in the song was a good type of woman he knows he  would be wise to choose a woman with qualities similar to those of his mother.

The unfortunate boy who does not have a loving, supportive mother often will carry into adulthood negative feelings about women. Chances are he will be avoidant and eschew marriage altogether or he will marry on impulse and choose a shallow, good-looking narcissist or a sexy-looking woman without depth. A good example of this contrast in women  is the movie “The best years of our lives” from 1946. This is a movie that every fifteen year old man/boy ought to see, because it makes some very important points. One of the protagonists, Dana Andrews, marries on impulse a shallow woman (very good looking), Virginia Mayo; he starts to realize that she is not a woman with good values. She is superficial, materialistic, and not loyal to him. Then Dana meets the daughter of an Army sergeant whom he met on the plane coming home from war abroad. She is altogether different from the type played by Mayo. She (played by Teresa Wright) is loyal, intelligent, and has good values. I won’t spoil the movie by telling you what happens.

This is a short posting. I have based it on a page I wrote in my most recent book, “Home Study Projects and New Ideas for English Language Arts.” You can read about this book on my website: http://www.godwinbooks.com

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