Marriage is insane…?
If I were to ask you: What is the most important event in a woman’s life?
What would you say?
Well, I think there are actually TWO important events.
#1 is her Wedding Day.
Think about how much a woman is programmed from birth to focus all of her energy in life to this one goal of snagging a guy, and getting him to commit his financial, sexual, emotional, and physical energy toward her, and then locking it in with a ceremony.
For her, this is the most important event imaginable.
It’s changed quite a bit from just 30 years ago or so, but the unspoken command is: “Thou shalt prove thy value as a woman by getting married!”
There are dozens of magazines out there focusing on weddings, and nearly all of them are completely focused on the female experience of fulfilling this dream.
I found one magazine that focused on the groom, and oddly enough the articles were about “is she the one?” and how to have a great bachelor party. They also covered where to have the honeymoon, and sex on the “big night.” Very little was spent focused on the event, oddly enough.
Does that impress upon you the completely different viewpoints of this one event?
Now, what is the second most important event?
#2 on that list is having her first child.
Of course it’s an experience that’s almost equally important to both the man and woman.
But what most guys don’t understand is how women tie these events together into one inextricable knot.
In fact, there’s a whole sequence of things that women expect from this process.
It goes something like this:
Meet a guy, start dating: The beginning of any possible relationship starts here, and she’s an expert in this area.
Get him to give her his committed attention (i.e., monogamy) and you can have sex.
If he’s got the right qualities (stability, income, ambition, etc.) do whatever you must to get him to ask you to marry him.
Get the largest diamond possible for a ring…
Expect bliss for the rest of your lives…
When that last one doesn’t happen (usually because both men AND women expect this marriage thing to happen without thinking and effort), start the long process of emotionally disconnecting, being unfaithful, divorcing, and finally…
– Trying to rebuild your shattered sense of self-esteem that you unwittingly invested in your relationship first – before yourself.
There’s a whole industry out there to feed every layer of this process, from engagement to divorce
Now, I know I sound horribly cynical by putting it in those terms, but you have to acknowledge that we have put a LOT of unreasonable importance on marriage. Even in light of the fact that people are getting married much later in life, and fewer do it at all anymore.
But that doesn’t stop a woman from wanting it, and all that it symbolizes.
Self-actualization (when she becomes a mom)
But something I’m seeing more and more every day is that there is much less importance placed on “how can I be a good wife to him.” (We’re leaving out the guy’s side of this for now.)
For most women, much more obvious here in America, the focus is more on “how can I get what I want” than it is on giving herself to create the relationship they desire. (I know there will be a massive public outcry on this, but we’re living in VERY selfish times. And the justification is usually the selfishness of OTHERS, funny enough.)
That focus on the size of the wedding ring is just one of the ways that women misplace their priorities.
Hey if you go to the diamond sellers, they tell you: “This is an emotional event, and a purchase that will last a lifetime. The two-months salary convention is a common starting point…”
The idea that a man should spend a significant fraction of his annual income for an engagement ring originated from De Beers marketing materials back in the early 1900s, in an effort to increase the sale of diamonds.
Way back in the 1930s, they suggested that a man should spend the equivalent of just one month’s income in the engagement ring; later on they suggested that he should spend TWO months’ income on it. (Don’t worry, this will probably go up even more if they can sneak a new updated rule by you.)
But keep in mind that until the Great Depression, a man who broke off the engagement could be sued for breach of promise. Monetary damages included expenses incurred in preparing for the wedding, plus damages for emotional distress and loss of other marriage prospects – believe it or not.
Damages were greatly increased if the woman had slept with her fiancé. Beginning in 1935, these laws were repealed or limited. But by then, the diamond engagement ring had become a kind of financial security for the woman.
Tradition generally holds that if the engagement fails because the man himself breaks off the engagement, the woman is not obliged to return the ring. This reflects the ring’s role as a form of compensation for the woman’s “damaged reputation.”
If you shook your head about that last one, I’m right there with you.
I know that this could start a massive public outcry, maybe even getting me banished from the planet. But I feel that if the relationship doesn’t work out, the woman is morally obligated to return the ring.
And the guy should return his ring back to her, too!
Wait, that last bit was obvious sarcasm.
Am I crying foul about the whole thing…? Urging you to see how unfair it is for men and how you should rise up and start a social revolution?
No, not really.
I’m just trying to you pull back and see the big picture of how we just accept the situation that we’re given. And just because someone “says so” doesn’t mean you have to accept it.
Ultimately, you have to have the wits about you to handle this whole marriage thing with smarts.
Don’t be a sucker, don’t be played like one.
And as someone I know says, “Be smarter than they think you are.”
When you consider marriage, remember that it’s never structured to benefit the man. So you need to architect it to be what you want it to be.
You’re the President of YOU, Incorporated. Never forget that!
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