It takes courage to be female. Everybody recognizes male courage–in battle, fighting fires, on the football field–but your average woman is actually bravery personified: She teams up with a partner (usually a man) and takes the huge risk of caring about him, caring for him, having his kids (or taking care of the ones he already has), without knowing what the future will bring.

Maybe he’ll leave her for a younger woman after the years (and pregnancies) have taken their toll, and all her effort will have been for naught. When men invest their time and energy in something–a business, for instance–they expect to succeed and while their accomplishments may not end up being beyond their wildest dreams, their hard work most always pays off in a limited degree. Women get no such guarantee.

We recently heard from a 70-year-old relative of Whitley’s who is a divorcee AND a widower. She and her new husband are coming to California and we may get a chance to see them when they’re here. She writes, "Our California trip is a sentimental journey–revisiting the place where we met five years ago, seeing good friends and relatives of Bill as he approaches his 90th birthday."

I think it takes exceptional courage for a 70-year-old woman to marry a 90-year-old man. This particular lady has already lost a beloved husband to lung cancer and she surely realizes that her new husband is not likely to live past 5 years more, so their time together will be relatively short. Yet she decided to take the plunge anyway. She closed her eyes, jumped on the board, and dove right into the deep end of a new relationship.

That takes guts.

It reminds me of the lyrics to one of my favorite tunes, "September Song." by Kurt Weill, which goes like this: "Oh, its a long, long while from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September. "When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame, one hasn’t got time for the waiting game. "Oh the days dwindle down to a precious few–September, November "And these few precious days I’ll spend with you. These precious days I’ll spend with you."

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  1. So lovely Anne! Just what I
    So lovely Anne! Just what I needed as a boost for my attitude these days! What a brave gal, I’d like some of the courage she’s got! And of course yours is stupendous too Anne! Warmest regards of the season to you and Whitley! Don’t tell him that I always check your page first when I come to the site!

  2. I am of a different point of
    I am of a different point of view, actually it’s difficult for everyone now days to be in a relationship. It can be dificult to find someone, and long term relationships are just not for everyone. Marriage itself can viewed as a form of celibacy for some, or as a form of serial polygamy for someone else. And many people prefer to live without a relationship but instead put there energies into friendships. It’s also true that 80% of all divorces are initiated by women. Which makes it more dificult for men to marry and commit knowing that if his wife seeks to divorce, he can lose literally everything he has worked for his entire life. He may be ordered pay to his ex wifes mortgage, as well as alimony, hefty child support orders, the cost of school tuition for his children, medical insurance, child care, custody evaluations, counseling fees, and his wife’s legal fees. All on her initiative. The cost may exceed his yearly salary, in which case the court can take away his drivers license, professional license, and order him to jail without trial, administratively if he doesn’t pay. As someone who spent many hours in court as a Social Worker in Los Angeles County, I can testify to witnessing a parade of thousands of men in court under these circumstances. Once and a great while it also happens to some hapless women, but it’s one of the reasons why people no longer wish to invest in marriage.

    There are so many uncertainties in life, it seems at times as if the world has turned into jello.

  3. Anne that is beautiful! The
    Anne that is beautiful! The subject has been on my mind as well the last few years. A man’s take:
    It takes courage to live. It seems maybe male and female have split the duties of courage into complementary halves. Men specialize in the courage of bulls, to contest with other bulls and protect the females and young at peril of their lives. Women undertake the courage of women, to contest with the (relative) vulnerabilities necessary to get the rest of survival done for the species. (Note I do not equate women with cows. Male courage is relatively mindless IMHO – on auto pilot. A woman’s must endure a level of awareness and hence of suffering that “cows” do not.)
    Women have to sustain the courage of the underdog, and as a man I esteem that more highly than the bravado of the bulls. The smaller human female frame specialized for bearing and nursing is more vulnerable to predators, diseases, and the greater brute strength and testosterone triggered aggressiveness of men. The men are the worst part of it. Women have to be protected from and be protected by them both – a politically dicey proposition.
    From Gerald’s posting above one can gather that perhaps our underdog-oriented Western society has gone perhaps too far in protecting one gender against the other. I too was strongly biased against marriage having seen what my father was dragged through when my angry (yet beloved) mother opted out. Underdogs may be forgiven the tactics to which they must sometimes resort. But one hopes for a balance to be struck between the sexes that is both just and sustainable. We have that duty to the children.

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