Vows of Poverty | Letters | Chicago Reader

Vows of Poverty 

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To the editors:

Divorce lawyer Michael Minton has publicized the greed of American housewives and therefore will increase divorce proceedings instigated by women ["What's a Wife Worth?" March 18].

Women choose to marry for love just as they choose to stay home and care for their husbands and children. The operative word is choose. Not once did these wives demand salaries much less raises, profit sharing, paid vacations, full health and dental plans. They chose to let their husband be the breadwinner and taxpayer.

Oftentimes, a woman marries because she doesn't want to work or is tired of working outside the home. Being married, cared for, paid for, etc. is a relief from previous headaches and responsibilities, so she thinks at first. To put a price tag on what a wife does; a choice she made that is now a bad choice sounds like revenge to me.

Comedian Richard Pryor put it best when cracking on his ex-wives' demands on alimony and a piece of the action. "She didn't sign one contract, write or tell one joke, show up on a movie set one day. So why is she entitled to anything that I've earned?"

These wives speak of putting their husbands through school. Tell me how a onetime waitress or receptionist can prepare her husband for the bar exam when she didn't take one class. How can a doctor's wife claim she made him what he is today when all she did was have babies and clean the house? Support him? Sure they did. Listen to him? Care for him? Well, I'm sure they did it only in the best interest for themselves.

The ex-wives are bitter and angry and taking their husbands to court because they now want to be paid handsomely and for the rest of their lives for the choice they made years ago. They feel they were raped of their youth and onetime ambitions. "She gave him the best years of her life" is commonly said when one hears of a divorce. So what! So did he! How do you think she's been getting by all these years free of charge?

I'm all for child support, but c'mon, give us a break. What these women need is a dose of reality. Love yourself. Take care of yourself. Be yourself. Nothing lasts forever.

Pat Rowell

Chicago

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