the right stuff is currently on tv. gus grissom has just faced the consequences of splash landing sans capsule. his wife, betty, is upset that instead of a ticker tape parade and meeting with president and mrs. kennedy, they had a small ceremony at an air force base. she tells gus, that the military, nasa, the country (i forget who all she mentioned, but some combination of the above) OWE her for all the time he's been off doing dangerous stuff in service to the country. obviously, i have no idea what betty grissom may or may not have said to her husband, but since astronauting did eventually kill him... her feelings would have been understandable.
there seemed to be this idea, at one time, that women could find fulfillment via their husbands and families. if women were good wives and mothers, then they would be repaid by the successes of their husbands and children. i'm not saying this is wrong, per se. i am sure even now many women feel this way and i don't see anything wrong with that.
however, i do know that we have a little bit of a problem with a lot of people... it's not possible, for practical reasons, for women to always do this (even if they want to). also, some women do not WANT to do this anyway. they have their own goals which they wish to pursue that go beyond the household. i don't have any problem with that idea either.
what i do see as sort of a problem is now we have TWO people feeling "owed" if things do not go the way they expected. and, honestly, a lot of the time it won't. i don't mean that it's necessarily a problem that can be fixed by one person just giving up their desires. when you see people overcome it, it's because they decide their relationship with one another is more important than these feelings. however, a lot of self-help type of books will say either someone (it varies which one... not just by gender, but also by the feelings of owed-ness) must simply feel different. which sounds confusing to me.
as time goes on, it seems more and more is expected of people with less chance of personal reward. they're supposed to be "rewarded" by a feeling of doing a good job or whatever else. which is fine until you consider what the workplace is like... maybe everyone would be happier if it was just admitted that sometimes most people like to have much made of them. sometimes, by someone. i'm not talking about "oh, we're all WINNERS!" but, a way to be honest with the people in your life.
of course, i say this and i have total hang ups about all of this stuff. probably why i noticed it!