For at least the last 5000 years, women have been seen as inferior to men by almost all cultures, political systems and religions. This perception has done enormous damage to marriage and all other intimate relationships between men and women. As stated in other sections of this book, intimacy, especially the radical intimacy present in romantic love, cannot grow and prosper if one partner is perceived as superior or inferior to the other. Intimacy requires an equality of power, otherwise, safety is diminished and closeness is limited or damaged.
When a man and a woman fall in love, the love itself is an invitation to a deep and transforming relationship between equals. Every romantic experience has offered this gift since the first two lovers fell into each other’s arms. Sadly, only a small percentage have been able to take advantage of the immense blessing of radical intimacy that this love always promises. Too quickly, both partners fall prey to the pernicious perception that men are somehow superior. As soon as this nasty but ubiquitous idea takes hold then both lovers lose access to the deep waters of romantic love and are relegated forever to the baby pool of intimacy. Neither partner is aware of the subtle shift but both suffer from the shallowness of connection. Instead of continuing on a mystical journey of loving discovery and the realization of the great potentials of romantic love they settle for mediocrity and even boredom. Then, with no true depth of bonding, the once loving couple becomes highly vulnerable to the difficulties of life and the dissolution of their relationship becomes a real and present possibility.
It would be easy to blame men for the persistent perception of inequality between the sexes. That conclusion would be both sophomoric and ultimately a waste of time. The truth is there have been a thousand reasons for this unfortunate concept and men and women alike have subscribed to it for millennia. Solutions to social problems, especially those that involve intimate relationships, are never found in blame. Blame creates victims and victims perceive themselves as powerless. The real solution begins with honesty and vulnerability. Both men and women need to admit to this sad state of perception and then open their hearts to each other in a radical new way. Love, once fully invited, will do the rest.