"There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience." ~ French proverb
It Always Comes Back to Marriage
My path of libertarian self-discovery has held its share of revelations. One recurring discovery is how it always trails back to marriage and family. In fact, when looking at the supporting structures of a successful life, very little of it does not rest on a supportive family. It's the indispensable element of civilization. And while I'm certain there are individuals with chaotic family lives who did manage to become great inventors, entrepreneurs, and institutional founders, I'll offer without data that they are the exception and not the rule. Time and again, my unscientific samplings turn up individuals who are emotionally or financially hamstrung by bad family situations. Creating the family, starting with that marriage coupling, was the choice a person made that either launched him into a successful adult life or left him staggering for years or decades. So without credentials or corroboration, I offer the following suggestions for men in choosing that all-important partner. I'm not quite vain enough to make suggestions for women, not having the experience of being one.
- 1. Choose a significantly older or younger mate. I first got this advice in 1994 from an older acquaintance on his second wife. 'Someone your own age will compete with you and argue with you all the time,' he warned. He married the second time following that model. Another buddy explained his older girlfriend to me as a trade of 'drama' for 'stability and experience.' Who am I to argue with wisdom like that?
- 2. Choose someone who earns less or a heckuva lot more. If your partner passes you in the bread-winning department, you might hear the sentence structure in your conversations change from something like 'What kind of car do you think you want to get?' to 'I think we should get two cars in the next two years ' one for our long distance trips and that Celica I really like.' Huh? Hello? This is the same guy you were talking to last year, ma'am. On the other hand, if you are making a significant improvement in quality of lifestyle by coupling with this person, it may be worth your while to grin and bear these moments.
- 3. Choose someone with equal or lower educational aspirations. You may have been clapping during the post-graduate degree ceremony, but now she has all kinds of time on her hands to find all kinds of things wrong with you. After all, she did just get her masters while you won't even work up the initiative to complete that last 15 credits toward your kinesiology degree. Unless you want to be her tormented improvement project for the years leading up to the divorce, ditch this one ahead of time.
- 4. Torpedo the relationship over any child-raising disagreements. If you're going to have children, be settled on the details up front. Whether you want kids, how you'll school the kids, what toys you'll let them have, etc., etc. Any disagreement is enough reason to say 'Enough!'
- 5. Torpedo the relationship over any kind of recurring disagreement, whatsoever. If she becomes annoyed that you watch football on Sundays, that is good enough reason to say 'So long.' If she refuses to squeeze the toothpaste tube from the back and not the middle no matter how many times you've asked, this is enough of a reason to say 'Sayonara.'
- 6. Repeat often in clear language, 'This is who I am, and I'm not going to change.' Repetition is the key here. For example, if you are a shooter and have no intention of giving up the habit, make certain your firearms collection is a front-and-center topic of interest and conversation. Use clear, declarative sentences like, 'You know, the gun collection and I come together as a package,' or 'I plan on taking my sons out when they're ten and teaching them to shoot.' You should utter these sentences several times a week, as if the other person has never heard them before. You can substitute 'drinker,' 'gambler,' or whatever is your passion for 'shooter.'
My tongue is only part way in my cheek. Forming families is no joke. Put what rationality into it that you can. And make no mistake ' men need marriages and family. It shifts us into a 'low time preference' perspective ' a good in and of itself. Also, we have two choices with our libertarian outlooks ' be builders of the civilization or just act as free radicals within it. Civilization starts with civil families. Take your time and be smart about it when you create one.