I have, over the past few years, become a big proponent of both getting married AND having children young (even though and perhaps because I did neither). I see no benefit in the arguments for waiting, controversially, especially for women.
I have written before on relationships – click here – and it’s always an interesting and controversial topic.
First let me say this is not a well formed argument… It’s more of a feeling based on personal observations so there may be holes in my argument, but it’s strong enough that I am unlikely to be swayed from it. And it also only refers to hetrosexuals willingly and enthusiastically embracging marriage as a form of legal bond, in a first world, British Common Law based society.
And to keep it fair this article explains some of the challenges faced by young marrieds.
Today people, particularly women are discouraged from marrying young. I want to reverse that and ENcourage it.
Somewhere, possibly in the principles of feminism, the rush to get women everything men have has forgotten to ask, is it even beneficial?
As in, it’s perfectly fine for women to be equal with men, have the same opportunities, and so on (and I’m discussing this in a first world context), but I just don’t understand why women would want everything man have.
Maybe it’s the grass is always greener syndrome.
Every benefit in life comes with a negative and because men are generally non-communicative it’s not often understand what the negatives are attached to everything in a man’s life, but that’s another conversation.
Suffice to say for the purposes of this debate, the benefits to not marrying young seem all based around perceived benefits of masculine expression, for example career.
Women delay getting married as far as I can tell to focus on their careers or conversely because they want to find / deserve “the one”.
You can have it all but why would you want it?
The levels of stress I see in women who are trying to “have it all” are extreme. Why would you wish that upon yourself?
We forget that young men, until recently were sent off to war to die, or the mines to die, or the factories to die, or agriculture to die, and those that came back were often damaged, depressed and unable to fit in.
Their lives had meaning through their careers because that was a simple, easy “solution”, but the reward was monotony and servitude.
Anything that’s happening today is reflective of that. Young men (and now women) are sent off to the office cubicle to die a spiritual death and frankly only a small percentage of them “make it”.
More and more men are lost, seeking out masculinity through growing silly beards and having no idea how to deal with women.
Sure they have careers but 99% of those are just jail sentences until a miserable retirement. I made a career of teaching people how to get wealthy as quickly as possible (yup, proudly get rich quick – well, 10 to 15 years anyway), so they could escape this existence.
What feminism is REALLY saying is women want what the1%of men have but it doesn’t acknowledge that most men never had that either.
So sure, strive for that if you want it but understand that you are condemning 99% of your gender to the same drudgery that men have endured for decades.
To be fair it’s probably more a 80/20 ratio. 20% of men have had fulfilling careers even if they haven’t made it to the top. But frankly most men, when they are honest, did not have a rip snorting time at work.
Now I acknowledge as a white male I know nothing of prejudice or lack of opportunity but again just because you can have “everything” doesn’t mean you should.
I see so many of my friends struggle with juggling career, kids, personal time, etc and virtually forgetting their marriage altogether.
What’s wrong with getting married early, getting kids out of the way and tackling career a bit later? God knows just about anybody would prefer to employ a thirty something rather than a twenty something!
I think it’s a great fallacy thinking establishing your career and then putting it on pause to have kids is a good idea. Most women who I know who do that are absolutely craving to get back into the work place then placing the double stress of child rearing AND career as well as guilt of leaving them in day care and so on. Whereas my younger friends who are raising kids seem to know there’s plenty of time for that later. They get their brood off to school and then when the kids are more independent and have friends and so on so need less time and focus, the person can focus on career.
By now you’ll notice the significant gender bias in my argument. Ok, so there are lot more guys these day who are happy to be stay at home dads or at least contribute significantly to child rearing but there is also an assumption in my argument that the masculine energy is driven to perform in a work environment and therefore more naturally attracted to that, whereas the feminine energy is more naturally attracted to a nurturing role. So to go to work women need to get on their masculine energy and to look after the kids men need to get on their feminine energy.
And as much as I believe that it’s possible for us to negotiate the spectrum of masculine / feminine energy fact is most people struggle with that.
People find it hard to go to “work” where masculine energy is de rigueur then come home and transition to child rearing which is a feminine energy, so people tend to adopt one modality as their base.
So hence today we have women struggling to roll from work to home to bed, and men struggling from rolling to home to work, to bed.
When I look at Gen Y women they seem to have resolved this better than older generations, like people my age. I have Gen Y female friends who are beautiful, feminine and can hold their own in modern workplaces. They can negotiate hard in the boardroom but revert to being princesses in the bedroom.
But more Gen Y Men are struggling. Now that they have been liberated from the restrictions of only having the be masculine all the time they are struggling to find their role, and their relevance, and many are reverting to masculine stereotypes, which serve a purpose, but are equally as unfulfilling as the career bind I discussed before.
So what’s the good of girls who have got it sorted looking for a strong, masculine partner, when all the guys are sooking?
So, as a consequence women are less inclined to marry young, and men aren’t masculine enough to deal with it!
Princesses and Toads
And then there’s the opposite problem – the Princess looking for her Prince ignoring all the frogs until the tadpoles start screaming and they marry the next toad that comes along.
The concept of “the one” is assuming there is one and only one special soul mate out there.
Fact is we DECIDE who to be in love with.
We decide every day what to focus on, and what not to, what upsets us and what doesn’t, to accept or reject subtle or direct affection or reject it. And we decide to be happy with that or not. To contribute to that or put our energies elsewhere.
And those decisions are so much easier in the throes of young love.
When you haven’t had relationships where by the end every God damn little thing they do makes you want to kill them then wonder 5 years later what was so wrong with them & why you let them go!
And what ends up happening with most people in their late 30’s & 40’s anyway? They just become so obsessed with building their little empire and giving the kids everything they want from the attention the adult never had as a child and have somehow been led to believe they’ve missed out to every material advertised on TV & then some while posting everything on Facebook but somehow never being able to make their perfect life fit the budget so back to work you go.
Fact is when you are young you don’t need that shit. And attention, love and care for a little life are easy to give.
Even getting into a relationship with a woman of few remaining childbearing years is a challenge. A date isn’t a fun night out with some dinner, a few too many drinks and a roll in the hay – it’s a job interview for the position of perfect husband and father, with a role description so long and intense no man on the planet could stack up!
And THAT’s having it all?
Really at that point he really should only need the following qualities – he’s not an axe murderer and he has sperm that swim!
Older Parents and The Struggle
I’ve seen my older friends struggle & struggle to conceive and as the clock ticks louder & louder the desperation becomes palatable.
Fact is women are designed to have children when they are young and fit and healthy, not when they are 40, stressed about their career, life, health, and indeed the act of sex itself.
And then when older couples actually have the child everything is more difficult the older you get.
I once read an article saying that having children over the age of 50 was a form of child abuse, quoting multiple studies the harm that it causes – everything from the child not getting enough attention because the energy is not there, to fear of death. And while I wouldn’t go that far, I can understand what they were saying.
This article explains some of the scientific risks.
My father died when he was 67. That’s not young but not old either. I was in my twenties and it was too young for me. I still find it difficult that he is not here. My mother is still alive so if he had lived on he’d most likely still be here. If we all do what we’re supposed to do we live long enough to see our grandchildren grown into adults, to see them get married and have lots of grandchildren.
Kids realise when their parents are a lot older than their peers and when they become aware of death they, some of them apparently become fearful for themselves experiencing all the symptoms of premature abandonment. And who wants to deal with teenagers in the 60’s?
To Have or Not To Have?
I was asked recently if I still wanted to have children and my answer, for the first time, was “probably not”. I have always been adamant that I wanted to have my own children, but now, I’m definitely more on the “no” side than the “yes” side. I’m just too old! LOL
Doesn’t mean I’m not open to raising somebody else’s kids just that the opportunity may have passed me by and I have to get ready to accept that. I’ve always dated women who are a lot younger than me so if I stick true to form that means I may have to have that conversation and I would be inclined to indulge my partner if they wanted kids, but if they didn’t I don’t think that would be an issue for me anymore. And that’s a little sad.
The older we get the more selfish an inherently supposedly unselfish act (having kids) is.
Marriage and children are a turkey shoot anyway.
Seemingly great marriages fall apart, and ones you’d think never have a chance hang together.
Some kids with all the opportunity in the world turn out to be deadbeats and some kids from the worst possible circumstances turn out to be Presidents.
We’ve got to stop believing the fairy tales of handsome princes on perfect ponies slaying dragons and pretty princesses with magic birds who do all the housework and just accept that it doesn’t exist.
The Time of their Lives
The things is just about everything that young people do to have fun (after the binge drinking stage), you can do as a married couple and kids travel better when the parents are younger and carefree. So my young married friends are not missing out there.
But just look at your friends who had kids young and are now in the prime of their lives and peak earning capacity with their kids off their hands and happily ensconced at Uni and all of them having the time of their lives!
Having fun at 50 is a LOT more fun than hip replacements at 70!
You’re young enough, fit enough, healthy enough to enjoy anything and have the money to do it and you still look good enough to put it all on Instagram!
I could have had kids in my twenties and I totally regret it today.
They’d be all growed up now, their monster teenage years behind them and morphing into the wonderful adults I know my kids would be. LOL
And I’d still be young enough to enjoy them, have actively participated in their lives and probably have made less dumb decisions because I had other people I was responsible for.
And who knows who those relationships would have worked out if I had been more committed?
A Vegas Wedding
More recently one of the girls I dated wanted to get married in Vegas. She wrote up a pre-nup on a napkin saying she got nothing if we divorced (which I have on good authority would hold up) and just wanted to do it because it would be fun, she loved me and “why not?”.
I baulked because I’d only known her for a few months and the whole idea seemed crazy, but you know, I reckon I should have. Who’s to say it wouldn’t have worked out, or been a hell of a lot of fun along the way?
Written by Peter Spann
Peter Spann is a business coach, writer, presenter and investor.
His goal is to help people make their dreams come true.
© Copyright: 2014 Peter Spann – All rights reserved