The Defective Cow is a master of disguise. Though she takes many forms, she always uses fear and shame as her tools for keeping people in line. This cow is always looking for an opening to make you feel that you are the problem to be fixed. She wants you to know that only defective people are unhappy in their marriages, and your defectiveness will be plain to everyone if you divorce. The Defective Cow loves to quote experts about how sad you will be if you don’t listen to her and how happy you must be to be married.
Tipping over this Cow removes unproductive fear and shame surrounding the decision about whether to divorce, but it does not excuse bad behavior. Society has no right to tell you that you are defective for being unhappily married, but surely we all have some behaviors that could use some work.
It is a pervasive stereotype in our culture that women lose interest in sex after marriage. Many explanations for the disappearance of women's interest in sex have been proposed, including fatigue, stress, hormonal shifts, poor body image and low self-esteem. The implication is that there is something wrong with either the wife or her lifestyle, and fixing this problem can restore lost desire. The Defective Cow would prefer that nobody think about the issue any further than this.
One reason for lost libido that the Defective Cow ignores is that spouses sometimes fall out of love (or lust). She knows that there is no easy answer to that problem, and so she insists on looking for answers elsewhere. She will go so far as to agree that lack of intimacy may be a problem, and she is in fact a huge fan of the intimacy creation industry, because it gives her something positive to hide behind. She categorically rejects the notion that married people could simply lose interest in one another romantically and sexually, and she cites books and marriage gurus to prove that she is right.
The Defective Cow does not really want married couples to simply resign themselves to a passionless relationship. Once a person realizes that his/her spouse will never be more than a roommate, then that person has to be honest with him/herself about realistic choices: a life of celibacy, extramarital relationships or divorce. This causes instability in the marriage and sometimes the outcome the Defective Cow is trying hardest to avoid.
However, since the Defective Cow wants everyone to stay married, and since she sees that marriages can sometimes become loveless and passionless, she knows that she needs a backup strategy. For those who are giving up hope about rediscovering passion in marriage, she turns to experts who mourn the loss of old fashioned values. The Defective Cow talks about marriage as a business. She tells people that marriage is a partnership entered into in order to raise children, achieve life goals and build a stable nest. If those aspects of marriage are functioning well, then verything else is just gravy.
By switching arguments, the Defective Cow sets up a conundrum: 1. Passion is intrinsic to marriage and just needs to be rekindled with the right treatment or advice; 2. Marriage is a business partnership, and passion shouldn't be expected. The Defective Cow refuses to concede that her two views are essentially incompatible.
The Defective Cow doesn't just want people to feel defective for being unhappily married; she wants to make sure that we all know that divorced people are defective. The influence of the Defective Cow can be seen when society judges people and situations involving divorce more harshly than analogous situations in which marriage is not an issue. Her influence can also be seen in the prejudiced view that divorce makes people less happy than marriage.