Marriage Isn’t For You by Seth Adam Smith
As is the case with much mediocrity these days, this near-viral article is receiving a lot of applause. Why is anyone’s guess since giving the article anything more than a second of critical thought devastates the author’s assertion that marriage is something we should do for the sake of others. Such an assertion is all well and good for people who want to approach marriage from such a perspective I suppose, but such an approach is not necessarily the way it ought to be.
The author begins the article by voicing his concerns about getting married, but his fears are soon assuaged by some “sage advice” from his father. “Sage advice” is in quotations, naturally because his father’s advice is about as potentially bonkers as you can get. Personally, had my father given me such advice about getting married, I would have doubled my efforts to ensure I never put a ring on someone’s finger. Marriage is not about the other person more than it is about one’s self. Such an assertion almost guarantees a miserable marriage due to the undercurrent of resentment the unhappy person harbors. For example, I once knew a woman, Emma, who married her husband given the understanding that neither of them wanted children. Six months into the marriage her husband began pestering her to have children because he thought she’d change her mind about children after they married. Was Emma supposed to cave into her husband’s hidden agenda because marriage is about making her spouse happy? That is the outcome the author’s father’s advice leads her towards. Of course, we could argue that Emma’s husband should not have hidden his agenda from her if he wanted to make her happy, but he may have been under the false assumption that having children will make Emma happy and may have believed that she just doesn’t know it and cannot know it until she has children. Unfortunately for the husband, Emma remained true to her original, honest position on children and divorced her traitorous husband because marriage is NOT about the other person, it is about both people.
Furthermore, the father is off the mark about marriage being about having kids. Sure, he’s giving good advice if the couple wants children, but the old argument about marriage being about children is practically medieval at this point in history. What would the father’s advice have been if his son said him and his wife didn’t want children? That his son was being selfish? Uh, wouldn’t it be selfish of the father to demand that his son and wife have children (selfish insofar as having children upholds the father’s beliefs about marriage)? The father’s advice becomes even worse if the point of being in a marriage is to make one’s children happy. I say this because the constant placating of children has produced a generation of spoiled brats who think they’re entitled to everything and don’t even appreciate their parents. I never wanted to have children myself because, frankly, I don’t want to put up with their shit (both figuratively and literally). I guess that makes me selfish, though I fail to see how I’m any less selfish than people who actually want children.