I’ve been told by several people here recently that my content seems to have strayed further away from the message of improving a marriage, and veered closer to the message of “run for your life”. I’ve gone back over my recent content, and I honestly just don’t see it. But, if I look at my content through the lens of what I call a “marriage fetishist”, then yes… what I say could be construed as negative, simply because I’m not painting marriage as the beacon of hope and key to heaven that many seem so keen to put out there.
Marriage is tough. Marriage is work. Marriage is not for everyone. If that puts you off of the idea of marriage, then yeah… it’s probably not for you. And… that’s okay. Please don’t enter into the extremely legal and consequential agreement of marriage only to later create chaos because, “Oops.. I didn’t know it was going to be this tough.” It’s not fair to you, to your partner, or to the kids that you will probably create. It’s also not fair to the generations of grandkids that will probably also have broken families.
If it sounds like I’m bitter, it’s for a reason. I’ve spoken to so many men that paint themselves and their partners in the worst light imaginable. Anybody listening to their story would say, “Now there’s somebody who needs to stay single and work on their issues for several years.” So then, WHY do they get married? “Well… it’s just what you do.” That’s the number one reason I hear. Marriage, in many cultures, is just a given. It’s just “what you do”.
Picture a guy who is notoriously bad at math. He’s taken tests and looks like he has a propensity toward writing. He loves to write. He’s great at it. He always scores high on things like reading comprehension. But… he insists on majoring in Engineering when he enters college (a field of study that is notoriously heavy in math). He struggles through the courses, barely scrapes by with passing grades, and later ends up in a job that he hates. He is depressed, out of shape, and lost all oomph for life.
He later rediscovers his love for writing and finds himself devoting more and more time to it. It reenergizes him. He finds himself saying, “I wish I would’ve done this instead of Engineering.” So… why didn’t he? Probably because everyone told him to go into Engineering since he was a young boy. His father was an Engineer. His grandfather, also. Within the culture of his immediate family, it was a given: You will become an Engineer.
The boy probably protested throughout his childhood. “But, I don’t like math. I don’t think this Engineering stuff is all that interesting. It’s boring as hell.” “Yes,” his family replies. “But it’s a great career that anyone would be lucky to have. Look how good your father does. He can take care of his family. Don’t you want the same?” So, he gave in to the pressure and did what he was “supposed” to do.
Fast-forward to adulthood and the man approaches his family with the news that he is quitting his job and pursuing a career as a writer. “What do you have against Engineering?!”, mom says. “Nothing against Engineering, really. It’s just not for me. Never has been.” The mother doesn’t let up. “Do you think your father is an idiot for being an Engineer?!” “Uh… no. Why would you say that?” the son responds. “Well, you obviously have something against the profession. You probably think he’s a boring idiot fool for devoting his life to such a lifeless career! I’m sure you think you’re better than him! You probably think you’re more well-rounded and thoughtful! You know what… stay away from the grandkids. I don’t want you infecting them with your anti-Engineer mindset!”
Mom’s response is a bit extreme, wouldn’t you say? This is precisely what I hear from the Marriage Fetishists.
“Society will crumble if everyone doesn’t marry!” Well, allow me to put you in touch will hundreds of guys who live in a VERY chaotic and toxic marriage that they felt pressured to enter. The case could be made that their world and society overall would be far less chaotic if they just stayed single through their twenties instead of jumping into marriage with the first girl who showed him her hoohah.
Yes, there is a decline in marriage and birth rates going on, and I’m the first to say, “Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.” I know you more conservative types feel that this is the next fall of Rome, but it could also be the Pareto principle at play. We’re getting rid of all of those that shouldn’t enter into the “career” of marriage. What’s left are those that have the personality and skill set to make it work. Is that such a bad thing? Maybe we’ll see a reduction in the divorce rate and fewer kids with emotional issues.
I’m married. I feel that long-term monogamy suits me. I enjoy most of the work that is needed to make it function year after year. I found an excellent partner. She puts in effort as well. That is key… because I can’t tell you how many men I talk to enter into a relationship where the other party doesn’t feel any need to reciprocate the effort. The man feels the entire weight of the marriage on his shoulders because he is doing the work of two people. I’m not going to paint that man as the victim, because experience and maturity would show him that he picked an objectively bad partner. He’s also to blame for the situation he finds himself in. Unfortunately, the societal pressure to marry didn’t allow him to take the time gain the experience and maturity needed to do the relationship thing the RIGHT way. For some of us, we didn’t gain this next level of knowledge until after life smashed us in the head with the proverbial 2×4 of divorce.
Marriage is great… for the right people. Marriage is a complete disaster… for the wrong people. Which one are you? Take your time to figure that out. That may mean devoting your 20’s and 30’s to self-discovery, career, dating, etc. That may mean bowing out of the marriage game completely. That may mean meeting the perfect gal who is the yin to your yang. Only you know for sure.