Relying on a Man to Make You Happy is a Sure-Fire Recipe for Unhappiness
Quite accidentally, I ran across the blog of one Debbie Maken today. Despite Debbie's conservative Christian beliefs that women should be demure and chaste, she is tremendously opinionated, and has published an entire book chastising Christians that they need to get married.
I absolutely think that marriage to the right person is probably one of the best things that can happen to a person. I would love nothing more than to find the right guy myself. Yet...and here's the big but...
Even if you do find the right person, you cannot rely on that person for your happiness.
I took a bit of time to poke around Debbie's blog and read the intro to her book. Debbie appears to be still somewhat young (in her mid-30s from my guesstimate) and has only been married since 2002. Yet, after only five years of marriage she claims to be an expert on marriage and how to get a husband.
(Side note: It never ceases to amaze me how many women find "the one" and then go write books and do seminars on it, as if somehow their experience has anything to do with the rest of us...and why are they still so obsessed with the subject anyway? Meanwhile, their perfect husbands are perfectly silent on the matter. Quite curious. But onward...)
Debbie holds a number of conservative beliefs, including the idea that premarital sex takes away the desire for men to get married...because why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? (To this I respond: If a man's only motivation to marry is regular sex, then the wife is simply another form of prostitute.)
I'd like to think that an evolved man would be interested in marriage not just for the sex, but for the love. I mean, isn't that the point in the first place?
What's Your Life Worth?
But what's the real message here? Judging from Debbie's book intro and blog posts, the message is this:
1. If you are still a single woman by the time you are in your late 20s, you are destined to be miserable, depressed, and an all-around pathetic person.
2. If only, if only, the right man would find you (because you as the "feminine" woman can't ask him out), then and only then will you be happy and your life have meaning.
3. Career women can't be happy; only being a housewife can make you happy.
Right. Boy, if I were a man, that's what I'd be looking for in a woman. Someone who is desperate to get married, and who wants me to work my ass off so she can live off my money.
What's the problem here? (Besides the message that your value as a female is only in your capacity to breed?)
The problem is this: There are no guarantees in this world. There is no guarantee that your husband will remain faithful to you. There is no guarantee that he will live past tomorrow. He could be hit by a car. He could become ill and die.
Or what if, out of your desperation, you pick the wrong guy - a guy who at his worst beats and hits you? Or abuses his own children?
What if he leaves you for a younger woman once you hit 45?
So then, after all your scheming to get the right guy, and putting all of your eggs into the basket of permanent housewifery, you are a single mother taking care of three children. And then where are you?
Look - I absolutely love the idea of marriage, as long as it is between two whole people who support each other's individuality and personal growth. Marriage should not be something used to save you from your miserable self. Marriage should also not been seen as a security blanket.
Even if you do manage to get a good, healthy husband who never cheats or dies prematurely, the chances are you will still outlive him, because women tend to live longer than men. Perhaps by that age you will have children you can then burden with your old self, but wouldn't it be better if at that age you were happy and self-sufficient all on your own?
Don't Be a Black Hole
Call me an idealist, but my concept of a good marriage is one where two happy whole people with their own lives and interests come together to make an even bigger whole. Deciding to become married because you are depressed single person is the wrong reason to get married. If you get married from that place of lack, then you are bringing a whole host of psychological issues to your new family.
You will perhaps end up smothering your husband or your children. You could end up one of those horrible stage mothers pushing your children to live out your own unfulfilled life. You could end up like the mother of a woman I know - the mother was married for something like 20 years. Her husband left her. She had no job skills. All she had was her children.
So, instead of allowing her children their freedom and their own life, she sucks the life out of them like a succubus. If they want to move away, she'll guilt-trip them from here to Jericho - because they owe her, and she has nothing of her own. And so, the children are screwed up, unhappy, and mentally ill.
Is that the kind of mother you want to be to your children?
Find happiness in yourself first. Then go find someone to share that with, as a way to bring more love to the world. But don't just do it because you'll be miserable otherwise. Because trust me, the misery will catch up with you, husband or no.
As for Debbie, let's see if she's still happily married in another 20 years. Then, maybe then, she'll have something to preach about. Until then, she's just an overly-enthusiastic new wife and mother, thinking she's found the answer, when really, she hasn't.