This morning Athol Kay of Married Man Sex Life put forward his thoughts on the Marriage as Restaurant meme. (props again to Dalrock) He did an amazing job of discussing where the concept falls flat. Namely: that getting married is a hell of a lot harder than having dinner.
I started writing a post to commend his thoughts, and an idea started evolving in my head, which took me to another idea, and then another… in the end, it took me nearly twenty minutes to write the comment because it was evolving so damned fast. Needless to say, I didn’t want to encumber MMSL with an essay in the comments section, so I decided to evolve it a bit here.
I believe that the current state of marriage is a part of the process of human evolution.
There is no growth in life without pain, that is true of anything from an individual organism to a whole species.
Human beings have a habit of creating social conditions, through movements, social experiments, etc., that make people miserable as fuck. One generation’s social experiment, leads to the next generation’s major social issues, leads to a third generations clean-up job, which leads them to raising the fourth generation to be a whole hell of a lot smarter.
Take Objectivism: My grandparent’s generation took the idea to an extreme: we let all of the corporations do whatever they wanted, trusting that the elite would get rich, innovate, and create, then that wealth, and the social benefits from it would enrich society. The Silent Generation and the Baby Boomers did well by it – the average ‘boomer had more money than most kings in history, and everyone had jobs until the mid-80s or so, when layoffs, a bloated non-producing finance industry, and foolish metaeconomics started coming into play and workers became a disposable resource. Generation X (that’s my crowd) was left with few jobs, underemployment, and deep in debt – they had to learn to lower their expectations and go into businesses for themselves, because the elite, it tuns out, only care about making the world happy for the elite. Fast forward to Generation Y – and we see people more interested in a manageable pace of life, self-fulfilment, and avoiding the stress and emotional drama that traditional employment has offered.
The economic disasters of the last 21 years have been the crucible in which we are purging ourselves of the worst miseries and destructive impulses of the industrial revolution.
Likewise I think that the state of marriage, and what it takes to keep a marriage alive today is a crucible that is going to eradicate mental complacency from out culture.
Marriage has no safety net anymore. No one will stay in a marriage because of social pressures, fear of punishment by god, or fear of poverty. We have erased a lot of the expectations placed on both a husband and a wife. Where feminism hasn’t succeeded, the recent economic collapse certainly has. There are no rules for marriage anymore except the ones that say when and where you have to get married, and the horrifically unbalanced ones regarding what happens if someone decides to pull the plug on the marriage.
The failure of a marriage , nine times out of ten, will destroy a man socially and economically. The onus on keeping the marriage intact is on him. Most marriages collapse (statistically we are talking 70% of divorces) because women choose to pull the plug because the husband is not performing up to expectations: he is not attractive enough, exciting enough, or successful enough for the marriage to keep her interest.
Let me restate that: it is your job as a husband to make sure you stay married. Your wife should be the most trustworthy and moral person you know… in fact that should be the first criterion for marrying her. But that doesn’t mean she won’t pull the plug, just that she will need a lot bigger incentive to do it. It’s not fair, its not just, it’s frustrating as fuck, and it is the truth. If you are not ready to make staying a husband a 24-hour a day job, you aren’t ready to be married.
This means that to stay married, a man has to constantly work on the relationship. He has to build up his attractiveness. He has to initiate and maintain the sexual aspect of the relationship. He has to constantly improve his earnings. He has to make the big decisions and display leadership. And he has to constantly work on communicating with her on her terms in order to make sure the wife is comfortable and feels loved. Failure on any front will lead to either a sexless, unfulfilling marriage, leading to depression and divorce or it will lead to anger, resentment, and high drama from the wife leading to an ulcer and divorce.
You can’t do all of these things unless you are first and foremost a goal-oriented and driven individual. If you are complacent, passive, or unmotivated, you will not succeed in marriage. You need passion, purpose, and power in order to manage everything that is asked of you. A mission outside of the marriage will lead to the skills you need inside it.
Secondly you need to let go of any metal baggage. Expectations that your wife will fulfil some religious ideal of helpmeet and lover are not going to cut it. Nor is any high ideal of passionate romantic love. Those feelings fade within eighteen months of starting a relationship: they will never be enough on their own. In fact, chances are that any woman who has had more than two or three partners or has a romance novel habit is addicted to that feeling, and the natural course of those feelings will lead to withdrawal and a serious marriage crisis.
Give up any expectation that she will try and make this marriage work, and will meet you halfway. Women are raised by our culture to believe that pulling the plug on marriage is a road to personal renewal. Even if your wife doesn’t believe that, her friends do. So does her favourite author, and her co-workers. They will suggest divorce to her subtly and constantly throughout your marriage. It only takes one moment of weakness for her to latch on to the idea that divorce is a good solution. This doesn’t mean your wife won’t try… just that you can’t afford to expect her to.
For every idea and expectation you have about marriage you are going to have to ask yourself if it will make you complacent, or hold you back from being the best possible man you can be.
Also, you will have to give up on any pretence of “being true to yourself”. As it is taken today, this is the world’s biggest piece of bad advice. People seem to think that this means that they should want what they want, feel the way they feel, and refuse to adapt or compromise that. They seem to think that if you do, you are lying to yourself, and won’t be happy. This is bullshit: you are not your thoughts, wants or feelings. You are so much more than any of those things, and you can transform anything about yourself that isn’t suiting you. Nothing about yourself is true, except what you choose. And you are going to have to choose to be a very different man if you want to be married.
And that is the third major point: you will have to take a metacognitive approach to everything you do, if you want a marriage to succeed. Whenever you try something in your marriage, you will have to ask yourself “what am I hoping to accomplish?”, “what is it I want from this action?”, “what signals am I really sending my wife?”, “is this working the way I want?”, “how can I change this?”, “do I like this?”, “if it isn’t working very well, is it because I am resisting it?”, “if it is working and I don’t like it, what do I have to change about myself?”. To keep up with her demands that you succeed you will need to do the same at work.
You will have to use the scientific method to constantly measure and improve your results in everything you do.
Fourthly you will need to fill the gap where all of those old beliefs were with ones that work. This means learning what really turns a woman on, how love really works, and how to change your own behaviours. This means learning something about the psychology of women (“Taking the Red Pill”), learning the art and science of seduction (“Game”), learning leadership skills (“Being the Captain”), learning effective time management (“Getting your Shit together”), and learning to communicate authentically and assertively (“Getting Real”).
Every man who goes into a marriage and keeps it alive in the next 30+ years is going to learn to be a master of metacognition. He is going to learn to think about how he is thinking, adjust his behaviour according to goals, and change himself to suit the marriage he is in. He will be a master alchemist who changes himself if he can’t change the problem.
And those men will teach their children the exact same behaviour. His children who, simply by having the rare advantage of coming from a stable, happy, household with a father, will be at the top of society. They will be able to reach levels of effectiveness not seen in previous generations, where people had ideology serving as a safety net and letting them be complacent.