The notion of death in marriage, of losing oneself amongst the myriad of parenthood problems, financial difficulties or whatever, is a bit much. First, marriage is not a contractual relationship but rather it is a covenantal relationship. These are very different. Marriage is not a 50-50 deal. One does not only give 50% and expect to receive 50%. Rather, one should be giving 100% and expecting to receive from their spouse, 100%.
Marriage should be a life-long commitment and as such, one should be mentally, physically and spiritually prepared before giving one's life, one's dreams, one's love to another person. In marriage one will change, hence the covenant rather than unchanging in a contract deal.
Children are a natural part of marriage, of two people bonding deeply through love, and producing offspring out of that love. To say that Wifehood=sacrifice is 100% correct. You are no longer one person but two people united as one. That means sharing. That means that a husband must also sacrifice. And they do!
Perhaps not all men do, but then neither do all women who are married. As for motherhood, of course that means sacrifice, just as your parents sacrificed for you. Our progeny need our guidance, our warmth and our love to get by until they have been sufficiently equipped with the necessary skills, hopefully acquired primarily from their parents, to do this all on their own.
Some women actually love this SACRIFICE and live for it each and every day. Some men do too. If we stick with stereotypical parental roles, then the man would go to work each day trying to make enough money to support a wife, and children. Is this not a sacrifice? I think it is. Men sacrifice as husbands, as parents as employees, as employers, just as women do. This is LIFE not DEATH and no one needs to lie to keep the world from being scared about this truth. Some of us actually like it and wake-up excited each day to live it all over again.

Stereotypical parental roles? Do you mean Ozzie and Harriet? The average family now in America hardly qualifies as stereotypical. The two income family is far more the norm and the "old" ways of the wife staying at home while "hubby" goes to work, see "Death of a Salesman", are fading faster than the popularity of Vanilla Ice. The number of women in the workplace is the first tell tale sign of how great their sacrifice is, after all, in the first few years of life the child bonds more with the mother than the father. So if both parents are away the child is feeling some loss as well as the mother. Sacrifice the income from her job and the picture looks bleak for the family financially but the bond between mther and child is the tradeoff. Tough choice, more sacrifice. Yes there are now work at home moms, but that is a very small percentage of the population. The "rest of the world" still has to make ends meet the old fashioned way, they work at some job making less than what they are worth. Before this becomes a social diatribe on the evils of the "new economy", I will stop.

I'm glad I missed the pretty lie. It was always plain to me that the awful and beautiful truth of having a family is that there is a tremendous amount of responsibility to others, along with a tremendous amount of reward.

Being capable of appreciating the love of being a family together is probably one of the greatest gifts of being human. Can you imagine a world where everyone was solely a self?

Do you have to give of yourself? Yes, tremendously. Do you have to give up yourself? No, I don't think so. Find help in keeping a little sense of your self until your kids have grown and moved on. Your parents -- his parents. Your church. Your friends. Other moms. You shouldn't have to hate the gift you've been given.

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