I don’t think we need to throw out the concept of marriage. We could just use a few fundamentals…
In less than 50 years we have dismantled the family unit. Gender roles have become ambiguous. This is without a doubt a triumph for human rights. Women have more liberties than at any other point in human history and this is something to be proud of. However, the unintended consequence of reducing the polarity between masculine and feminine is that interdependence has also become ambiguous. For the sake of productivity, survival, reproduction, we used to depend on each other for a specific purpose. The man hunted, the woman nurtured. The economics of the family unit made sense. When we moved from hunters and gatherers into farming culture, we taught our children to work with us. When we moved from farmers to industrialized nations, we created assembly lines to standardize our children. And now, growing up in the most abundant culture on the planet, we just want our kids to be happy. Unfortunately, as such, we are the first culture of any species that raises its progeny without a tangible purpose.
Couples stay together because of trust. Trust is gained by sharing mutual goals, beliefs, and values. But most modern couples cannot be trusted. Both men and women are given more options than they have the decision making engines to employ and the overemphasis on novelty has incentivized us to constantly upgrade partners like cell phones and software platforms. Breakups, divorces, and single parents are so common place, that marriages are arguably irrelevant. In a culture where single mothers are the way of the future, men become mere sperm donors. Without a stable family unit we see increases in crime, poverty, and the expansive chasm between rich and poor. But I think we can reclaim the American family through individual responsibility.
Liberty demands accountability and we need to be trustworthy. First, we need to be honest with ourselves. Mediocre individuals expect to find exceptional mates. The problem is not that there aren’t any good men and women out there; it is more likely that you are simply not one of them. In relationships we tend to say there must be chemistry between partners. In chemistry, likes dissolve likes. In relationship, you must become the type of person you want. This is by no means an easy undertaking. There is no 30 day program that will get you instant results. You must develop social skills, compassion, and patience. Most of all, you must understand that your commitment is no guarantee of success. And yet, serendipity has a way of finding people who consistently do the work.
If we want marriages and family units that thrive, we need only work on the fundamentals. And there are no new fundamentals. The formula is simple: keep growing and take care of your partner.
Written By Nathan A. Essex
Excerpt from Kwapi Vengesayi‘s book, Men Cheat More, Women Cheat Better: Stories and Conversations About Love, Life and Everything in Between (2017) Available on Amazon