Standing tall in your marriage

Another View
By Bill Hall

I saw a woman literally standing by her man, and her man was literally looking up to her.

Strange to say, that hardly ever happens. In almost every instance, the man in the marriage is taller than the woman.


Almost all other common barriers to choosing a mate have faded away. Back in the early 1900s, parents and other rule makers were aghast at marriages that violate the rules against mixed marriages. Parents who maintained the rules kept a list in their hard little hearts of which pairings were tolerable and which were not.

Race, for instance. Mixed race marriages were out of the question. Several states passed actual laws forbidding marriages of black and white or tan and white or bronze and white. White was in the saddle and if your son or daughter fell in love with any outside candidate in a marriage, there would be hell to pay.

Then there were the other unwritten laws of what families would tolerate. Religion was a major barrier. If your kid was a Catholic and he or she had fallen for a Mormon or a Baptist or an admitted Episcopalian, there would be sobbing and outrage all over your family.

Politics upset some families if their kid, brought up as a Democrat, married a Republican, or vice versa.

My own father once said to me, “I don’t care what race you marry into or what religion, but by god you had better marry a Democrat.”

I think he was kidding. It was a suggestion spoken with a twinkle in his eye, although he did quibble over why I would cast an occasional Republican vote.

Mind you, it is no wonder that most people will fall for a spouse from a family about the same as their own. That’s comfortable. But when your kid marries someone from a different realm, that can be a healthy dose of cross pollination. Different strokes can improve your folks, and having a parental hissy fit is a waste of opportunity.

Almost all of the old rules against marrying outside of your preferences have melted away. So I was surprised when I saw that marriage the other day with the man shorter than the woman.

Now, I hardly ever see married couples where the woman looks down on the man.

But why would there still be such a dominant pattern as the man standing tall while the woman looks up to him? That hardly ever changes.

Of course the male ego inadvertently rules men in that situation. On the other hand, do men in love actually say, “I can’t marry you because you would make me look puny?”

The strange part of all this is that tall women today have pretty much shaken off the former ignorant belief that there is something wrong about a woman being tall.

A couple generations ago, some tall young women even slumped, trying to look shorter than they were. But we now live in a kinder world. If anything, statuesque women today are a common and welcome sight.

I admit that, at my age, shrinking a couple inches below where I used to be, I am startled when members of the nearby female college basketball team walk by. And yes, I do look up to them in more ways than one.

I would say to a grandson who is a tall young man, look everywhere high and low for the one woman who lifts you up with love. I don’t care what race you marry into or what religion but by god you had better marry the girl of your dreams.

Bill Hall is a Lewiston, Idaho writer who contributes regularly to the Enterprise.