Our three children are all under four years old, but I'm already worried about whether they can find a good spouse. Since I have, I've realized it may be the best thing in life to marry a good man (and I presume the converse is true for men). There are lots of reasons marriage means a good life, not least of which is more and better sex: A longer life, better health, greater long-term happiness, less loneliness, and more.
I want my kids to have what I know will make them absurdly happy. But I'm worried, because I already know quite a few twenty-somethings who would be a great catch but haven't been able to find anyone to marry, and are rather discouraged.
I know I can't control whether my kids find a husband or wife, but there are some practical things I can do to make it more likely. Matthew Cothran makes a brilliant comparison between how American parents prepare their kids for college versus how we (don't) prepare them for marriage:
It would be foolish of parents who so value a college education to content themselves with telling their little children that they’ll come across the right college someday and feel in their heart that it’s the right one when it happens. They wouldn’t disregard their high school students’ academic indicators, content that the right college won’t be shallow enough to care about such things. They would hardly resign themselves to passively watching their offspring occasionally audit classes that look fun or sign up for a correspondence course from time to time, remaining silent except for the occasional passive-aggressive comment at Thanksgiving dinner that it would be nice to see them settle down with a nice B.A. program. If parents think of college as extremely important, avoiding this uninvolved approach would be a no-brainer. It’s too key to a child’s future to approach the goal so casually.
It is therefore a stark contrast when we compare parents’ dedication to getting their children into a good college with their dedication to getting their children into a good marriage. One cannot help but suspect from the lackadaisical approach of middle class parents to their progeny, that they do not consider marriage very important at all.I don't have an exhaustive list of ideas for positioning our kids for marriage like middle-class parents prep their kids for college, but I have some ideas.
- Set aside a "start your life" fund rather than a college fund. The money could be used for college, a wedding, house down payment, technical training, to start a business, or similar big investments.
- Encourage our kids to marry early, and offer to be a free nanny if they have kids during college. This college-and-a-good-job-before-kids plan is just asking for premarital sex and apathetic young men.
- Model a good marriage: Don't argue in front of the kids, consult with each other on decisions, refrain from speaking negatively about each other, express affection, be open about how we handle finances and why, etc.
- Teach them good marriage skills, like how to care for children, how to communicate and listen, how to balance a budget and stay out of debt, the importance of faith and piety, etc.
- Help them start earning money young, like age 13, and saving some of those earnings for future expenses like a car, college, engagement ring, wedding, and house.
That's my idea bucket on this topic. Anything to add?
Image by epSos.de.
Image by epSos.de.