Out of these confusing messages, we must choose what we will tell ourselves. Context becomes significant in this process. Following the exhilaration of sexual intimacy, a period of physical and emotional letdown frequently follows. Sooner or later the shining moment of oneness will be followed by negative emotions. Feelings of connectedness get displaced by feelings of isolation or, in some cases, depression. Extreme highs drain us and breed extreme lows. Irritability follows ecstasy. Movies or sex manuals seldom explore these realities.

These transient reactions wouldn’t be significant except that the rational, cynical critic in the back of our brains goes into high gear. It starts interpreting intimacy as fleeting and ephemeral. Intimacy sometimes leaves us feeling exposed, as indeed we are. We feel vulnerable, out of control. The feelings of insecurity – which most of us seem to be born with – come rushing to the surface. If we give in to our defensive reactions, we will be tempted to lash out and say hurtful things as we struggle to restore our sense of independence and control.

Here is where context becomes such a big factor. The man and woman who have not entered into marriage are least likely to get through the inevitable rough spots. The lack of a public commitment plays into the negative messages that boil up out of our insecurities. The notion that a man and a woman who love each other don’t need a marriage license is bogus. The married couple’s commitment to each other is designed to be like the sailor’s anchor. Storms are inevitable, and they call for a safe harbor. Cohabitation doesn’t provide that. Nor will marriage if it regards divorce as an easy option.

The treasure of motherhood deserves the most secure environment possible. Pregnancy and caring for an infant make huge physical and emotional demands. These events rearrange a new mother’s whole world. Nature provides many of the feelings needed to strengthen us and assist us to have positive hopes and expectations surrounding the birth of our child. But still there are trying moments; sometimes, full-blown crises. In these times of stress, there is no substitute for a husband who in the little acts of love and devotion makes you feel adored –– even when you are harried –– and who has vowed to stand beside you through the daily grind of life. Such cherishing actions demonstrate real love and commitment.

Being cared for and protected puts the right messages in your mind when you are struggling to meet the challenges of motherhood.

Hey Terminator, meet Cinderella Man.


Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse is a Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute. She writes about contemporary issues that affect women, family, religion and culture in her regular column "Dot.Commentary."