We interrupt your regularly scheduled, witty, and poignant commentary to bring you this message about personal relationships.
A gal I know in her upper twenties is wrestling with what to do about her boyfriend, whom she has dated three years and has lived with for (I think) about a year. What’s the issue? Take a guess.
I feel for her. It’s easy to see how much she loves him. From what I know, they seem like a good couple, seem dedicated to each other, and would likely be good parents. So what’s the problem?
This man is getting everything he wants, free of “charge.”
In cases like these, I often wonder what the problem is for men — because, truly, it’s usually my people who live comfortably under similar situations and just don’t want to rock the boat. Why mess up a good thing, right?
I’ll tell you why.
Because, brothers, she might not wait long enough for you to decide if what you have is a good thing that should be made permanent.
The question that’s rarely asked is — why do we get married? Seriously, married people. Why did you do it? Was she hot? Was he rich? Was it because you were bored, saw a good-looking person on the side of the road, and said, “You, random person. Would you like to get off the street and into something life long? Hop in!”?
As I may have mentioned in another column, I believe we get married because, together, we become better people than if we were apart. That’s it. That’s all. Both in getting married and becoming a parent, there are no acts on this planet with potential to mature a person more.
I used to think everyone should wait until they’re 30 years old before they get married. In the last few years, I’ve modified that rule. To those at least in their twenties, if you’ve been dating at least a year and can confidently say, “Overall, we’re on the same page” with the following, get down on one knee and make that commitment.
We agree on how to spend and save money
We agree on how we will recreate together
We agree on the influence of our families of origin, and that we’re taking the good and leaving the bad. We also agree on how we will divide our time with our families during vacations and holidays
We agree on how many children we want to raise, regardless of where they come from
We agree on whether one of us will stay home and raise our children, and which will be the main income earner
We agree on how we will discipline our children
We agree on how (hopefully not if) our children will be raised with religion
Your local church or synagogue will have a more exhaustive list of things to consider, but I beg you to consider the core issues and then get on with it.
Some of my family think I’m nuts. No, no, they say. Wait until you’re at least 30. Get an education. Get a career. Travel. Live a little. Excuse me, but why do these objections preclude marriage? You can’t travel, you can’t get an education, you can’t have a bunch of fun when you’re married? To get married when you’re young, and then travel the globe on adventures with your best friend and spouse, before you have kids…? Just do it.
As a whole, Americans are waiting to get married and having fewer kids. This is not a good thing. While we are just ahead of the population replenishment rate, it’s a virtually meaningless lead that won’t last.
Rely on your parents, siblings, wise neighbor, or boss — pick anyone in your life smarter than you. Bounce every negative of your mate off the trustworthy people in your lives. Let them tell you why it can’t and won’t work. If you come up short, if they can’t tell you why you shouldn’t get married — do it. Take the leap. Be bold. Women, propose to your boyfriends — or at least grant your men every opportunity to propose to you.
And yes, invite God to your wedding. He is the most important attendee. Then have as many kids as you can handle.
Now back to your regularly scheduled political commentary.