Independence has been "in" for a long time, and it's one of the biggest threats a marriage can face, because the underlying message is:
I don't need you.
That's sugarcoated by the addition of "But I want you in my life"; the first part of the statement is what does the damage, and it can't be undone.
This pernicious attitude has been floating around for a long time, but it probably came to maturity in the 1960s, and has affected both men and women.
Remember the image of Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, wearing a dressing gown, with a different young woman on his arm in every photo?
It's pornography, and I'm not talking about the magazine. I'm talking about the message bluntly hammered into the minds of impressionable young men, that they, too, could live a life of wild and independent hedonism.
It's moral pornography.
And today, Hugh Hefner is a pathetic laughingstock, an octogenarian hanging out with his "Playmates" who could be his grand-daughters. No, his great-grand-daughters.
For women, equal damage was dome by Helen Gurley Brown and her "Sex and the Single Girl" manifesto that turned Cosmopolitan from a literary magazine into the checkout-aisle embarrassment it is today...I mean, to you want your kids to even read the cover?
We don't need spouses. We need to be FREE!
What utter nonsense.We're designed,, male and female, to be complimentary to one another. That's a fancy way to say that we're designed to fit, like the adjacent pieces of a puzzle. We bring different things to our shared home, and these are not things that we can get for ourselves.
We make one another better. You use a whetstone to sharpen a knife, and the sharpening stone is not the knife. It's fundamentally different. Just like men and women.
It's a cliche to say that men get worse when left ot themselves - men are something of a cultural joke in that regard, and rightly so, because most either can't keep a habitable house or go to the other extreme of 'neatnik' control. Do you know of many long-term single men who you'd consider normal, and good role models? The sitcom image of the 50-year-old wearing a lounge suit and gold chains, with hair color from a bottle, hitting on 20-year-old women in a bar is funny (on the screen) because it's true.
And they don't see it. Perhaps the greatest thing a spouse can do is to be the one who holds up a mirror that shows us as we are.
Same thing's true of women; the traits that are charming in their 20s become somewhat ghastly three decades later, and do you want your daughters to be like that?
We need each other.
Like rods and cones in the eye, we have functions designed for a purpose, but one without the other is just a crippled organ, fit only for half a life.
Embrace that other half. Embrace your husband, embrace your wife, embrace the full potential of your life.