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Equipping Parents For the Culture War

Guest: Rebecca Hagelin

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February 02, 2018

Women Need Space, Too

Women who feel isolated and lonely often look to their husbands to satisfy what has been called their "soul hunger." It is a role men have never handled very well. I doubt if farmers came in from the fields one hundred years ago to have heart-to-heart talks with their wives.

What has changed in that time is the relationship between women. A century ago, great support and camaraderie existed between wives and mothers. They cooked together, went to church together, and grew old together. And when a baby was born, aunts, grandmothers, and neighbors were there to show the new mother how to diaper, feed and discipline.

Today, however, the extended family has all but disappeared, depriving women of that traditional source of support. Furthermore, American families move every three or four years, preventing long-term friendships from developing. It's also important for women to understand that some of their needs simply can't be met by men.

In the classic book Anne of Green Gables by Lucy M. Montgomery, there's a wonderful moment when the teenage Anne says, "A bosom friend—an intimate friend, you know—a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I've dreamed of meeting her all my life." She expresses a longing that is common to women, but not so typical in men. It's the need for intimate friendship. I think this is a key to understanding the incidence of depression common among many women today.

To combat this sense of isolation, it is extremely important for women to maintain a network of friends through exercise classes, group hobbies, church activities, or bicycle clubs. The interchange between them may sound like casual talk, but the bonding that occurs there makes life a lot more satisfying.

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