One of the less-recognized core purposes of marriage is to structure the sexual behavior of the unmarried. In the past it may have been easier to see this structuring, since the basic message was, “Don’t do it until you’re married.”
But even today the prospect of marriage shapes young adults’ sexual behavior—it’s just that the shape has been turned inside-out. Instead of waiting until marriage, you’re supposed to try a few different sexual partners. You prepare for marriage not through chastity but through sexual variety.
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Regnerus and Uecker draw out the beliefs about the self which shape this ethical norm: for example, the belief that you should only marry when you’re done with “life,” done with change and personal growth.
This post is about identity. How to see yourself. How to figure out if you can remake yourself. How to make a life that is true to yourself. And, put more bluntly, how to get the best deal in a wife given who you are.
For men, there are three choices: breadwinner, and stay-at-home dad, and shared responsibilities.
Then, something happened. Another birthday, maybe. A breakup. Your brother’s wedding. His wife-elect asked you to be a bridesmaid, and suddenly there you were, wondering how in hell you came to be 36-years-old, walking down the aisle wearing something halfway decent from J. Crew that you could totally repurpose with a cute pair of boots and a jean jacket. You started to hate the bride — she was so effing happy — and for the first time ever you began to have feelings about the fact that you’re not married. You never really cared that much before. But suddenly (it was so sudden) you found yourself wondering… Deep, deep breath… Why you’re not married.
If you’re holding on to negative ideas — “husbands bad/wives good”; “marriage is suffocating”; or this one especially: “If I become in any way a traditional wife, marriage and motherhood will swallow me whole” — you’re doomed. Doomed.
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Too many women today unknowingly sabotage their chance at a happy marriage because they’re holding on to ideas they’ve been taught by the culture or because they’re afraid they’ll turn out like their parents. Ignore the culture, and forget about your parents’ story. Make your own story.
Love today has become a power struggle, largely because women have been conditioned to keep their guard up – as though men and marriage will swallow them whole. As Sandra Bullock once said to Barbara Walters, “I’d always had this feeling that if you got married, it was like the end of who you were.” That attitude is commonplace, and it’s the direct result of a generation of feminists who told their daughters never to depend on a man.
We live in a new world. But that doesn’t mean it’s a better world. Women are struggling more than ever with how to rectify their desire for independence with their desire for love. These two things can be reconciled. But you must first be open to ideas that sound blasphemous.
There are very few jobs that are truly just taking care of people. And most of them pay very poorly, if at all. So you may as well do it for your own family, where the pay is not so important. It’s ridiculous that we don’t think of taking care of a family as a career path. That’s a good path for some people. Just like earning a shit-load of money is a good career path for other people. In fact, those two types of people should marry each other.
Actually, this brings us to the real key to opening a successful yoga studio: marry one of those middle-aged divorced guys who hang out in the back of the room, struggling in downward dog, who have more money than God. You know who I’m talking about. Alec Baldwin is the Hollywood poster boy for rich-guy-marries-yoga-teacher, but he’s just the tip of the cliched iceberg. Keep your yoga studio running long enough to marry one of those guys and then they’ll fund it.