From: Nora Helmer,
RE: HOW OUR MARRIAGE COULD BE A TRUE MARRIAGE
I cannot describe our marriage as one that has been “a truemarriage”. This is because in many instances I feel that you havenot treated me, as a wife would expect of her husband in an actualmarriage. We have not been living as married people, rather it hasbeen a union manifested by having to follow rules, not questioningyour judgment as my husband, and one where I have not been free toexpress my ideals. I believe that any lifetime relationship shouldallow independence, bring out the best in the couple, as well asinvite individual development. However, our marriage is going wrongon many aspects, which makes it impossible for us to have a truemarriage. Despite having been married for eight years with threechildren from the relationship, we are yet to understand one anothertruly.
I feel that you have seen me as a possession and not a wife. Byreferring to me as “my little squirrel”, “my little lark” or“doll”, it can only mean that I am something you own and not love(Ibsen). Using pet names in place of referring to me as your wifecreates the impression that I do not have a legitimate position inour marriage. It implies that to you I am not an adult, but somethingto take care of. This further explains why I have always had toadhere to what you say. You rarely consider my opinion because youthink of me as a child seeking your attention. By so doing, you havebeen controlling my life, making decisions on my behalf. Any time Iattempt to voice my ideas, you hastily use pet names and insultingreferences to me being a woman. Such remarks as “worries that youcouldn’t possibly help me with” or “Nora, Nora just like awoman”, only means that you diminish my status in our marriage(Ibsen).
Our marriage has mainly been one, which has been one-sided. As thehusband, you have been in control of all aspects of our life. I donot have any personal resources of my own, because I cannot work.Hence, I have to rely on the money that you give me to manage anyhousehold expenses. I delight in the money that you give me, notbecause I am a spendthrift as you describe me, but because I do nothave any money of my own. I live in my husband’s house, yet I donot have a key to the letterbox and I have to dress in clothes thatyou like. As my husband, you rarely speak about your affection to me.You have only expressed what you enjoy because I am your wife. Youclaim, “All these eight years, I was your joy and pride” (Ibsen).This only enhances my status to you as a doll wife. I desire to feelthat you love and appreciate me as your wife, and do not merely viewme as someone you have the responsibility to cater for.
I cannot say that I have been perfect as well, and may havecontributed to our marriage not being true. I have consented to yourdemands without expressing what I feel is right for me. I have usedmy inferiority to you as a channel for getting what I want. Worse offis that I failed to disclose the actual source of the money I used tocater for your treatment. I understand how much you detest borrowing.However, borrowing the money was only a gesture of my love for you.As a loving wife, I will do anything to save your life. You claim, “Ihave wrecked all your happiness and ruined your future”, because ofborrowing money (Ibsen). You continue to refer to me as a“featherbrained woman” in addition to a “blind, incompetentchild” (Ibsen). However, if I did not make the haste decision totake a loan, you would possibly not be alive. It seems that themarriage is all about protecting your social status. You are moreconcerned with what people will think instead of appreciating myeffort to save your life. It can only mean that there is no love inour marriage.
A true marriage is one that has love as its basis. One where none ofus is apprehensive of expressing their ideals, and most important weshould be honest towards each other. Our marriage can be a “truemarriage” if we reaffirm why we got married. The relationship needsto be based on love and not issues relating to money and authority.We need to be open with each other and make decisions as a couple.This means that when endeavoring to take any decision that may affectour marriage, we need to consult with each other. It will ensure thatthere are no secrets between us. We also need to treat each otherwith respect, and not view each other as a possession.
Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House, 2008.<http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2542/2542-h/2542-h.htm>