"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion." ~ Thomas Jefferson
(C-BINO) Confirmed Bachelor in Name Only
Jim Antle wrote a fine piece last week about the under-publicized phenomena of contemporary man's cognitions interfering with the institution of marriage. Antle uses himself as an example and his words resonate with fellows like me who find themselves in the same boat.
His piece offered some excellent hypotheticals as to why men may no longer be moved to marry. Specifically, one of the deterrents he mentioned was that fathers get crucified by the court system: 'The men's rights movement would contend that this is because men fear that divorce courts stacked against them would ruin their lives if their marriages went bad.' Divorce courts are definitely an ominous presence in every informed man's mind.
I used to work with a special education teacher who planned on retiring in May of 2000. In August of 2000 I happened to see him at a meeting I attended. I asked a co-worker, 'What the hell is he doing here?'
The answer wasn't pretty. 'His wife divorced him after she ran off with some guy she met at a mental hospital during detox [!]. Part of the settlement was that she gets half his pension. He's never retiring.' Stories like these would freak out even the most infatuated man. My friend Robert is also a testament as to how the courts can destroy a husband ('Custody Court Massacre,').
As if that's not reason enough, Mr. Antle gives another compelling explanation: 'But many people may have a simpler motivation still to avoid marriage: They are creatures of habit already living comfortably as single people.' This is tough to refute. The last thing I want to do with my hard-earned cash is spend it on some over-the-hill princess with a bad Nordstrom's habit ['Miss, most women in their thirties aren't princesses; they're called spinsters']. Living by oneself and answering to no one is a great pleasure that should not mindlessly be frittered away. It is a wonderful thing to wake up on a Saturday morning with complete freedom.
Further, for those of us in our thirties, loneliness is no longer an issue. If it were, we would have already married the first battle ax that crossed our path (actually I did, and boy did I suffer!). The last time I personally felt lonely was during the Reagan Administration, so the desire to have someone constantly around no longer influences my behavior.
Yet, even with all the aforementioned arguments and intelligence, I find that I cannot bring myself to condemn marriage. I know that this will irritate many a reader, but I sincerely believe that marriage is a valuable institution that makes society possible.
'What is the word known to all men?' James Joyce asked. The word is 'love.'
It is not a phrase like 'club level seating at the United Center .' It is not a car named Lexus, and it's not a bevy of whores in Amsterdam . Love is the rationale for preserving marriage. Not merely love between man and woman, but also a father's love for his children.
Regardless of what evil radical feminists may preach, there is no substitute for an active and caring father in a child's life. No amount of toys or trips or snacks can replace dad's firm but loving hand.
I work at an urban alternative school, and I've seen the effects of non-existent men firsthand. The one thing universally missing from the lives of our students is the word 'father.' The school is filled with fatherless boys and girls, and the vast majority of them eventually experience run-ins with the law or pregnancy before the age of 20. Now, I agree that my school is by no means representative of the whole, but it does showcase just how bad things can get in a fatherless home.
The desire to have children, raise them, and build a meaningful life is something deep within a man's heart. Paul Craig Roberts wrote one of the best columns that I've ever read about the male desire to find women worthy of marriage in our libertine age. He is right that marriageable women are no longer the norm within our society and, in fact, are a great rarity.
With all this in mind, it is my opinion that a man should only get married if there's a possibility of having children. Kids alone merit risk and sacrifice. They are the only justification for subjecting oneself to a possible pack of white tipped lawyers who swim around marital disputes. The desire to educate and guide youth is an end in itself. Few things are more fulfilling. Being needed is far more rewarding than always being in need.
I acknowledge that many women fall in love with bad boys who will leave them pregnant at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, and that makes our job in selecting a wife all the more difficult. On top of that, the DNA information coming out on female infidelity is hardly confidence inspiring. However, if you're lucky enough to find a partner who wants to be a mother and is not materialistic, then, I believe, you've got to take a chance. Women with maternal instincts are worth a roll of the dice.
Besides, marriage is a much more viable option when not discussed in the abstract. It's easy to dismiss an imaginary person, but after finding a great woman, it is hard to think only in terms of the worst case scenario.
This last part is exactly what has happened to me. A little less than a year ago I met a girl in her mid-twenties who hates partying, loves kids, has a pleasant disposition, can entertain herself, and tolerates all of my jackassian opinions. She would have been a great catch 40 years ago, but now, in this pathological time of radical feminism, she's as irreplaceable as Martin Brodeur is with five minutes left in the third period after your star defensemen was issued a five minute major. Translation: Having her as a wife would be a blessing, and perhaps the best thing to ever happen to me.
In the final analysis, I'll ride along with Mr. Antle for 90% of his journey, but, at the last minute' before we reach our bachelor dude ranch destination' I'm going to jump out of the Yugo and roll into the air of uncertainty.