I’ve spent much of the last six years of my life working with married men and couples who are looking to build a better life together. It has been an opportunity to see the best and the worst in relationships. I want to make absolutely sure that this blog gives you good relationship advice, and one of the first and most important things I want to say is that if you are going to marry, get married young!
This advice flies in the face of the conventional wisdom of the day, but when it comes to relationships these days, “conventional wisdom” is mostly a bunch of ideology-driven nonsense more interested in trying to engineer a better culture than actually focusing on what results in Happy couples.
First thing, I don’t necessarily think you need to get married to live a good and happy life. In the past, no person could go it alone in life. You needed someone you could rely on as a partner to handle the everyday running of a household. There were not enough hours in the day for a person to make their own clothes, spin their own fabric, grow their own food, raise their own food animals, cook good meals, make their own soap, butcher their own meat, and collect enough fuel to stay warm at night. Getting married and having children was necessary to survive in the cold, hard lands our ancestors come from.
Today – not so much. So long as you can make a decent wage, you can just buy the clothes, soap and food. With vacuum cleaners and industrial cleaning products, making a house sanitary takes only a couple of hours out of each day. With microwaves and modern food packaging, cooking takes very little time. Electricity has made fuel-gathering almost irrelevant. And if you really don’t want to do the cooking and cleaning yourself, restaurants and maid services are out there as a viable – if not terribly economical solution.
In fact the only place where you can’t get by nearly as well while being single is having kids. Single-parent families are becoming more, and more common; except in the case of a parent dying, they were pretty much a new thing when I was a kid. By the time you are reading this if current trends bear out, they will be more common than intact families with both parents. We have done our best to make sure that single parents feel accepted and have what support we as a culture can provide them. But the problem is that they do not do as good a job as an intact family. Children need both parents to have the best outcomes in life. They need a father in order to learn discipline, reasoning, direction, and empathy. They need a mother to learn social skills, compassion, reflection, and cooperation. Children without mothers tend to end up with unhappy relationships and poor social lives. Children without fathers tend to be more likely to wind up using drugs, living in poverty. or committing crimes. If you want to be a good father, marrying is important.
Well… that and sex. A single man today who is charming and confident can certainly have a fair amount of sex, but whatever the Pick-Up Artist crowd (or its 2020s equivalent may be) says, marriage offers a lot more fun, excitement, and experimentation when it comes to sex, and married men who take care of their marriages also wind up with a lot more of it. Taking care of your marriage is hard work, too.
Outside of children and maybe the quality of your sex life, these day marriage is not a necessity. In some ways it can even be a disadvantage: right now family laws make marriage a pretty big liability on Men; in many places a woman can have her husband jailed without any proof that he committed a crime. She can take half of everything he brought into a marriage, even if she did not put half in, and then demand a portion of his income for the rest of his life. She can take away their children and bar him form seeing them with a few deft insinuations in family court, too. Divorce is often ugly and I have never seen a truly ‘civilized’ one – often because the system is set up to make them antagonistic. And today many marriages fall apart early on.
The real benefits of marriage are not matters of what you need to be successful in life anymore; unless you want to be a father, you do not need to marry. Instead the benefits of marriage are emotional and spiritual:
- A good marriage can give you a sense of purpose in your life: you have someone who loves and cares for you, and making sure that they are safe and loved back can drive a man to heroic levels of performance.
- A good marriage can be a font of inspiration – your feelings for your wife can be a powerful fuel for your creative engines.
- A good marriage can a powerful source mental balance; your home can be a safe harbour – you can leave your stress and worries from work at the door and enjoy the love of your family.
- A good wife is in many ways an amazing friend. You will share many of your passions, hobbies, thoughts, and achievements with her. You will always have something to talk about.
- If you choose your wife well and take care of her, you will have a playmate for life – someone who shares your jokes, and likes the same games and hobbies that you do. You will never lack for a teammate – or opponent.
- A marriage offers a powerful context for spirituality. Almost every religion and set of beliefs in the world offer a meaning for marriage that helps you engage with your spiritual beliefs every day.
- A caring wife will be able to take care of you when you are sick, tired, and worn out; those things are a lot harder to deal with when you are on your own.
- Marriage makes sure that even in your darkest hour, you know someone cares. And in the darkest times in your life that can be a very powerful thing, indeed.
Those benefits can be worth far more than the risks.
Ultimately, I hope you will look at the married couples in your life: Myself and your Mother, Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Harald, Oma and Opa, Gran and Gandpa, and decide for yourself whether you think marriage is worth the risk and the hard work to maintain.
And if you do, then picking the right wife is very important. It will change the way you date, and the way you relate to the young women around you. You are going to want to look for women who share your values, who come from good families, who have a strong moral character and who share many of your goals. The young women in question will also need to be attractive, healthy, and intelligent, because for the lucky one you settle on, you are making a commitment to direct all your sexual energy, love, and support to her.
A wife who is unattractive to you will make your sex life difficult. A wife who has health issues will need a hell of a lot of care – and many not be there for you in your old age. A wife who is not intelligent will not be successful in her own endeavors, and may not have good judgment in parenting and finance.
These women are not easy to find, son. You are looking for a gold coin in a mountain of brass. When you find a woman that makes you happy, and is really worth settling down with, commit to that relationship. Get engaged as soon as you know how you will be able to support yourself – and her, if need be.
This means you are going to have to work hard to be husband material from the start. You are going to need to make sure that you have solid communication skills. That you are aiming for a career that will not take you away from your family for months at a time, and cultivate hobbies that will be of value to not just you, but your wife as well. A man who knows how to fix things, how to survive in dangerous times, how to program a computer, or how to service a car is a far better husband than a man who knows every dance move, or who never misses a free throw. (Although you will need to stay fit and active.)
And it also means that you don’t want to waste your time dating women whom you’d never marry. The dating life is taxing, and it can leave a lot of hurt feelings and strange relationships in its wake. A trail of ex-girlfriends might make sure you learn how to avoid the mistakes in a relationship that will end it, but it also leaves you with a trail of women before your first relationship who might come back and make your marriage more complicated. Avoid women who switch boyfriends a lot, have sex casually, speak ill of the exes that they do have, or who focus only on status or what they can get out of their time with you.
The earlier you get married, the longer you will have to build a good rapport and relationship with your wife before children come into the picture. That will help you ensure that it is a strong one long before the biggest tests in life come up. And it will make sure that the woman you marry has not had a long string of painful relationships in her past that she brings into her emotional present.
If you choose not to get married, know that as always your happiness will always be more important to me than you making the same decisions that I have.