In our most introspective moments husbands may question just how good we are at the role. My friend Mark Riddle described the lack of rites of passage young people experience in our culture. I know. There are milestones – puberty, driver’s license, high school graduation, registering for the draft, and reaching the legal age. But these are not the same as rites of passage.
Tribal cultures understand the need to provide direction and affirmation to young men and women to signal the community is with them and confident they will become participants in a given culture/society. I have often likened it to the “atta boy” signal a Dad gives a son or the “you will be fine” a mother signals to her daughter.
Absent rites of passage boys and girls look for signals from respected adults, if not their parents, that they are doing well. When boys and girls fail to either distinguish these signs or to receive them, we often enter marriage with an acute need to know we are doing well in our new found roles.