Life

Alanis Morissette on Men, Marriage and Raising a Humanist

Image: WENN

Image: WENN

In my relationship, our definition of marriage definitely includes monogamy. There is something about being “trapped” (ha!) that creates an alchemy….a hot kitchen that requires you to push through that which you could have run away from in a relationship that had less commitment. And it also includes being active participants in each other's healing. We take each other's childhood wounds very seriously. And we want to be active participants in the healing of them. And usually — maybe 100% of the time — that requires us to change certain behaviors, so we can help each other out. Which is not easy work! This does not mean changing what our essential qualities are, more that we would look at our survival strategies that keep us from intimacy. Our survival strategies have served us really well for a long time. It kept us alive in a family where we had to think on our feet. As a spouse, as part of our value system, we want to be active, conscious participants in each other's healing. That sounds great on paper, but in a way that might be obvious, it's not always easy. 

I think I'm raising my son to value both masculinity and femininity (or 
"yin” and “yang,” as is more easily accepted), so perhaps I'm raising him to be a humanist. Or a wholeness-focused person.
My husband and I are very child-led attachment parenting parents. We're doing homeschool, for example. We just really want to see and nurture (while protecting him) who he is. So I want to provide as many options and opportunities for him to grow and build his brain, senses, natural capacities and connection with others, god and his own self. To allow his essential qualities and views and unique gifts to be expressed. I want him to be protected physically and psychically and emotionally. That's the ideal, anyway. Somewhere way beneath that perfectionism, is the real version of what we're up to here. Our intention is virtuous, and our application is human. Ha!

In my mind, the ideal empowered masculine (within males and females alike) in 2014 is very generous, a quality that provides, but now provides a different kind of currency than in the past. Back in the day, there were more stereotypical roles at play for women — we wanted men to bring home the (vegan) bacon. We wanted them to bring home money, specifically. As we've evolved as women, we are becoming more integrated. At this point in evolution, a lot of women are bringing home their own money. So the currency of what defines “provision” has changed. Perhaps the currency, which is different from family to family, shows up as: listening, or support…really how the mom or the woman defines it. For me, a highly valued currency is commitment to growth, and the changing of behavior (on both our parts, frankly) that keeps us from intimacy. And listening while I process how to best serve in my career, etc.

I think men are built to provide and they're built to protect and they're built to be generous. And the most harmonious men that I've seen, the ones that are most at peace with who they are on this planet at this time, are men that truly are providing and protecting in the way that the people in their life are most touched. One woman will say, "The currency I need from my husband or my boyfriend is cash." Another woman will say, "I really need my man to listen to me." Or, "I really need my man to be available for my children." So the currency of what men provide now is different. And the more men adapt to what it is that we need in this current climate, the more deeply touched we are. And grateful. oxox

— As told to Nika Mavrody

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