Peter Kramer in his essay “Divorce and Our National Values” suggests that either Americans celebrate the individual, autonomy, and self-fulfillment or we honor marriage as the centerpiece of social stability. The question is whether these values can be competitive and destructive or can they be complementary and empowering. Through teamwork and communication, marriage can be complementary and empowering while being honored as the centerpiece of social stability; however clashing points of view can cause the relationship to be competitive and destructive.
First of all, I am the perfect person that can talk about marriage because I am married. Individualism, autonomy, self-fulfillment and the concept of marriage being the centerpiece of social stability all play their role positively if balanced correctly. Although we worked together to pay bills and satisfy our needs, we also supported each other’s sense of worth and striving towards our personal goals, such as education and travel. Positive support and feedback are very important because there will always be disappointing moments, even overwhelming at times.
Being reminded and loved helps society and our marriage move forward. Marriage being the centerpiece of society strives for the greater good, which is the world. I am in the Navy, an organization that gives me self-fulfillment. My wife is always at the house and after a while, she becomes itching to find herself other than be a housewife. We take up many identities: I am a sailor, a husband and a friend. With these titles, not only we can play multiple roles in society but at the same time, it contributes to personal satisfaction and from there, you can help others including the family succeed in any aspect. However, there is a dark side to all of this. Secondly, clashing viewpoints can cause relationships to be competitive and destructive. In most cases, selfishness is one example of a destructive viewpoint.
Although there is a certain extent one can be selfish, too much selfishness is destructive to all walks of life, both work and relationship wise. I hear from my friends and family talk about people they knew that would go out and party instead of staying at home to spend quality time with the family. They talked about how the husband had to grow up fast due to impregnating his high school sweetheart and joining the workforce without realizing his personal ambitions or experiencing life as a bachelor. In society, women are more prone to settling down at younger ages than men. However, both sides are at guilt due to maturity and making the big decision of starting a family.
Despite all the clashing, couples learn to understand each other’s viewpoints or edit themselves for the integrity of the relationship; all others take a turn for the worse and are not willing to work at the relationship, being satisfied with the outcome and themselves. Divorce can be double-sided or one-sided. In total, it depends on the couples and their viewpoints; some work out and some don’t. Although clashing viewpoints can be detrimental to marriage and even unsuccessful marriages hurting society as a whole, I believe that teamwork and communication will lead marriage in the right direction and can be honored as the centerpiece of social stability.
We must learn to set aside our differences for the sake of the new generations to come. I do believe that nothing is perfect in our society; however people in general will become more productive, positive and moralistic when these values are incorporated into them, especially the marriage and eventually everyone will be able to understand one another for the sake of the greater good.
Kramer, Peter D. “Divorce and Our National Values.” Merickel, Missy James and Alan P. Reading Literature and Writing Arguement 4th ed. Boston: Longman, 2008. 503-505.