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What Makes a Great Marriage?

Honda Civic, will you marry me?

Honda Civic, will you marry me?

Recently an unusually cynical and jaded male commenter observed that the traditional male exchange of commitment for sex, i.e. marriage, is a bum deal:

 

 

“The buyer isn’t buying anything, but rather financing a depreciating asset for a long term.”

Yikes. Condolences to the wife. Reader J was moved to share her wistful hope of “a dozen roses with a card addresed to “My little depreciating asset” from her husband for Valentine’s Day. But this elegant response from commenter Mr. Wavevector is especially worth sharing for those who want to know what a great marriage looks like, from a male point of view:

Let me consider my 20 year marriage in these utilitarian terms. As I’ve had to fend off a few determined husband-snatchers 15-20 years my junior in recent years, I’ve had the opportunity to consider this.

When viewing my wife only as a sexual asset, this is true. She’s wrinklier, saggier and heavier than she was 20 years ago. However, this physical depreciation is mitigated by the excellent level of sexual service that she has maintained. I can think of only one time in the last few years where she refused my sexual advance. She has maintained this excellent service throughout 3 children and menopause. Could I count on that sustained level of service from a newer model? From what I read, it’s doubtful. They don’t make them like they used to, I’m told. The customer review sites on the internet are full of horror stories from dissatisfied customers.

Another aspect of value is emotional return. The asset has a 20 year track record of dependable character, emotional stability, and pleasing disposition, and a consistent record of yielding high emotional returns. Unlike the sexual value, this type of asset can appreciate strongly in time.

A surprise benefit of the asset has been an unexpected expansion in the food service industry. I entered the corporation expecting a 50-50 egalitarian split of food service chores. Now I have a SAHM who packs my lunch every day and has a hot meal ready when I come home. This benefit was not solicited on my part. It’s like buying a stock that unexpectedly starts paying high dividends.

But the biggest benefit of my continued investment in this asset is that it gives me a controlling interest in the family corporation. This is currently a flourishing enterprise, with three healthy, well adjusted, academically and athletically high achieving sons, a work environment that receives high ratings from the employees, and a management team with a proven track record. Given the rules of incorporation where I live, withdrawing my investment from the depreciating asset would result in my being stripped of my controlling interest and the payment of a large portion of my remaining assets in penalties. (And while emotions should not drive business decisions, I have to admit that this would be devastating to me.)

My conclusion is that this asset is depreciating only on one axis of value. A complete accounting shows that it is an asset that has yielded high returns, such that any attempt to sell with the goal of buying a higher return asset would be likely to produce a significant loss.

My analyst recommendation for this asset is a Strong Buy. (The asset objects to the rating Overweight).

In a New York Times editorial about the short shelf life of new love, Sonja Lyubomirsky writes:

Newlyweds enjoy a big happiness boost that lasts, on average, for just two years. Then the special joy wears off and they are back where they started, at least in terms of happiness.

When love is new, we have the rare capacity to experience great happiness while being stuck in traffic or getting our teeth cleaned. We are in the throes of what researchers call passionate love, a state of intense longing, desire and attraction. In time, this love generally morphs into companionate love, a less impassioned blend of deep affection and connection.

That state of intense longing, desire and attraction has been likened to the state of being high on cocaine. Here’s a new video on the science of falling in love:

 

From the Times article:

There are evolutionary, physiological and practical reasons passionate love is unlikely to endure for long. If we obsessed, endlessly, about our partners and had sex with them multiple times a day — every day — we would not be very productive at work or attentive to our children, our friends or our health. (To quote a line from the 2004 film “Before Sunset,” about two former lovers who chance to meet again after a decade, if passion did not fade, “we would end up doing nothing at all with our lives.” ) Indeed, the condition of being in love has a lot in common with the state of addiction and narcissism; if unabated, it will eventually exact a toll.

…When married couples reach the two-year mark, many mistake the natural shift from passionate love to companionate love for incompatibility and unhappiness.

Clearly, the role of expectations is key to understanding this phenomenon. If the first two years of marriage are a heady cocktail of sexual surprise and novelty-triggering rushes of dopamine to sustain feelings of elation, we can hardly expect or even wish for that to continue indefinitely. Perhaps “back where we started” is a very good place when you are with the right person. 

Companionate love, what Helen Fisher calls Attachment, does not preclude intense desire or happiness. Fisher and others recommend that couples do novel things together to stimulate the dopamine response. In other words, you don’t just stop trying.  Couples mistakenly assume that the waning of OCD-like behavior is a bad sign. This assumption pervades the culture, and makes many young people wary of signing a lease for a “depreciating asset.”

Comedian Aziz Ansari has long mined the subject of dating and relationships for his standup material. (H/T: Jimmy Hendricks). Summarizing the Lyubomirsky essay as “love fades,” Ansari mourns the loss of his ideal:

It all goes against the romantic notion of meeting someone and falling in love and being happy with them forever, which is all that’s been ingrained in our heads since we were young.

 It’s interesting to note that it’s not only women who have bought into the “soulmate, happily ever after” myth. And Ansari admits to focusing on what doesn’t work:

I have had great dates, relationships, etc. But that stuff is not interesting for a comedian to talk about. Who wants to hear a comedian come on stage and say, “Last night I met this girl, she was really nice, and we connected. We’re now in a successful relationship! Things are looking great.” That guy would probably get stabbed after a show. It’s much more fun to share and laugh at the bad times and the frustrations.

Yet Ansari hasn’t given up hope:

I don’t want to get married tomorrow, but I also don’t want to sit around dealing with stupid texting games or whatever. Maybe it’s that I’m turning 30 this year? Look, I like going out and I like being single, but a growing part of me would rather just stay home, cook food with someone I really like, and do nothing. Well, that’s not a really strong pitch, “Come cook food with me and do nothing.” Maybe that’s my problem.

On the contrary, I suspect that many good marriages include a lot of cooking food together and staying in. You don’t even have to put on your winter coat to find sex!

If young people successfully navigate their way to a marriage commitment, what can they expect? Does Attachment mean the death of Attraction?

Reader J had the brilliant idea of asking married commenters here at HUS what makes their marriages work. What does a successful, happy marriage look like? What are your secrets? 

Does marriage feel like a life sentence? How do the ravages of time affect your feelings about your partner? 

Happily Married Readers, please share your thoughts in the Comments. I’ll follow up with another post highlighting the best of them. 

 

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  • http://asinusspinasmasticans.wordpress.com Mule Chewing Briars

    Sue -

    I’ve said it before here and I’ll say it again.

    Today is my wife’s 60th birthday. We are experiencing a semi-empty nest situation where our kids are no longer underfoot all the time, but away at college and we see them on weekends.

    To our surprise, we have found that we actually enjoy each other’s company now that the sturm und drang of child-rearing are mostly over. It is so hard to say why our marriage has lasted 25 years, except that I still prefer her to every other woman I know and she prefers me to every other man.

    I think there is/was an element of fate or Divine Providence involved in that the very first time I met her I heard a voice in my head: “This young woman is going to bear your children. Treat her with respect.” It took me six years to convince her of this, though, and the road to the altar was exceptionally rocky. We are both of us deeply religious [although of different religions], so it makes sense within our narrative.

    One thing I did do early on was to win over her mother. I invested a lot of time and energy in making sure Mama thought well of me. That investment paid off handsomely when the inevitable marital spats arose. I simply had to call up Mama and put my wife on the phone with her and let Mama do my work for me. I have to say that my mother-in-law, may she rest in peace, was a remarkably fine woman and a pleasure to know.

    Now, 25 years later, I cannot tell my story without it inevitably being a story about her. Our narratives have blended, and it would do unnatural violence to it to rend it asunder. That will happen too soon when one of us passes. No need to go looking for trouble.

    I also have to admit that I was fortunate in finding a traditional-minded, very attractive woman who had been burned by a couple of alphas [one of them French] and was ready for the Beta With Benefits treatment.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Mule

      Thank you so much.

  • INTJ

    @ Susan

    Good article, though it is aimed mostly at female readers:

    Companionate love, what Helen Fisher calls Attachment, does not preclude intense desire or happiness. Fisher and others recommend that couples do novel things together to stimulate the dopamine response. In other words, you don’t just stop trying. Couples mistakenly assume that the waning of OCD-like behavior is a bad sign. This assumption pervades the culture, and makes many young people wary of signing a lease for a “depreciating asset.”

    I doubt many guys consider it a depreciating asset because passionate love ends. In general, I don’t see many guys seeking passionate love – at least until they actually experiencing it.

  • http://www.theredpillroom.blogspot.com Ian Ironwood

    First!

    (sorry. Lost control of myself).

    Wavedoctor’s analysis is essentially correct: we men trade off the loss of looks (“depreciation”) for the value gained with experience, familiarity, and “ease of use”, or sexual availability when we marry. Our wives might not be 19 anymore, but they don’t fuck like they’re 19 anymore either (and that’s actually a good thing). If that is not an appealing prospect to you, get a vasectomy and don’t get married. It’s that simple.

    I’m running a pretty tight Married Game with Mrs. Ironwood for over a year now (I’m chronicling that first year in the forthcoming book The Red Pill Experiment . In essence, taking Athol Kay’s brilliant Married Man Sex Life Primer, adding some common sense and good Manosphere values, I’ve managed to go a full year in a relationship of over 20 and only had one (1) fight. That was my fault. And my sex life has more than doubled in quantity (qualitatively, it’s a difficult metric to measure, but consider I think it’s gone up significantly AND I work in porn. ‘Nuff said).

    The Red Pill Marriage is easily the best way for a couple to navigate past the 2 year mark . . . but then a good Red Pill relationship is just getting into the good vetting parts at that point. The Captain/First Officer model is ideal, allowing both parties to work and cooperate on childcare and housework and STILL managed to scrump multiple times a week without all of that pesky whining and begging.

    Seriously, if you want the straight scoop on how to stay married, get Athol’s book. Memorize it. Fix your relationship and enjoy the fruits of marriage the way they were intended — as mutually beneficial and slightly sticky.

    I’m happy to answer any specific questions, either here or at the Red Pill Room, but sex, humor, and a love of each others’ company is probably the best prescription, short of a full Red Pill approach.

  • http://www.theredpillroom.blogspot.com Ian Ironwood

    Damn. I thought I was first.

    Anyway, I’d also add that Spouse Selection is of the highest importance to your over-all mating and reproductive strategy.

  • taterearl

    How about my car as an example.

    97 Bonneville…probably an 8 while new when my folks bought it…now a 4-6. But I take care of it, treat it like a car should be, keep it garaged, washed, etc. I know how it handles, it’s history, and how to address problems with it. As a result (knock on wood) it has been dependable. To me that means more value than trying to be an expensive shiny new car and not having a clue about it.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @taterearl

      I drive a 2007 car, but we also own the 2001 version of the same model. I prefer the older one! The ride is less sporty, more fluid. It’s easy to drive. I still feel most comfortable with the controls in the old car. Sure, it lacks a few bells and whistles (it’s got a tape deck), but I don’t want to let it go. It’s got about 175K miles on it, and I’ve always said my goal was 200, but I don’t think I’ll be able to give it up.

      While I hope this is not exactly how my husband feels about me, I have to admit the metaphor works to a certain extent. :)

  • Ted D

    Susan – Something occurred to me while reading this. You wrote that most newlywed couples spend the first two years (give or take) in a semi-charmed state of passionate love. But, what if the couple has been together for years prior to marriage? Does the actual act of getting married trigger a new passionate phase? I can see that it might being that the act of getting married is an emotionally fueled affair, but it seems that a couple that has already been through this phase wouldn’t necessarily have a second.

    Also, is it pretty much the same for cohabitating couples?

    Now on to your questions:

    “What does a successful, happy marriage look like?”
    Hopefully it looks like my marriage. I’ll have to get back to you in a few years though to be sure. :P

    “What are your secrets?”
    I’ll skip all the Red Pill stuff because its ground well covered. I also can’t give you all my secrets or I’ll ruin my chances. LOL

    Mostly this time around I’ve really taken the time and effort to learn how my wife most feels loved, and I make sure to provide that. In the past I made plenty of projection mistakes in assuming that the way I feel love is the way everyone else feels it as well.
    Example: I’m a horrible, terrible gift giver. Not because I don’t care, but because I simply don’t pay attention to those little “hints” dropped throughout the year. Now? I keep a list on my phone of things my wife “mentions” randomly to keep as good gift fodder. She absolutely glows when I get her something unique and surprising, and I simply love the shit out of seeing that woman happy. I still suck at gift giving, but I’m faking it ’til I make it. ;-)

    “Does marriage feel like a life sentence?”
    Never. even at the end of my first marriage when I was miserable to my core, I still didn’t see it as a life sentence. It would be a lie to say I didn’t feel some relief when I knew we were through, but up until that point I was still fighting tooth and nail to save what I had. FWIW I see work/career as my life sentence and my marriage and family is the highlight that makes that life sentence bearable.

    “How do the ravages of time affect your feelings about your partner?”
    Well again I may need to get back to you in a few years. (probably more than a few since wife #2 is younger than wife #1.) But that being said, my ex and I both let our health and well being slip while we were together, and despite her added weight I still found her to be attractive and desirable. As strange as it is, my ex is in better shape today than she was during most of our marriage, and I don’t find her attractive in the least. I still love her as the mother of my children and a damn fine person, but there is absolutely nothing left of what I felt for her in the beginning. I guess I’m overly susceptible to “wife goggles”, but I don’t intend to look that gift horse in the mouth.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ted

      But, what if the couple has been together for years prior to marriage? Does the actual act of getting married trigger a new passionate phase? I can see that it might being that the act of getting married is an emotionally fueled affair, but it seems that a couple that has already been through this phase wouldn’t necessarily have a second.

      That’s a good question, I don’t know the answer. My husband and I lived together for about a year and a half before we married, but I never noticed at slump at either of the two-year points.

  • Joe

    Wow! Great article.

    My wife will be 64 next month, going on 29. We’ve only been married 12 years, which, honestly, seems like nothing compared to the 60 years my parents will reach this fall. Their example, watching them grow from young adults with two kids and a baby (yes, I remember pretty far back) to established and satisfied town elders, taught me that there’s something to be cherished in every stage of life.

    That’s kept me going in my marriage when we stopped having sex every day (!) and when it got hard. There’s been the loss of jobs and income, injuries and the infirmaries that come with the loss of youth. But there’s also been the unexpected victories, awards, and benefits of just plain good luck to compensate. The biggest surprise of all was discovering each others strengths and discovering our own strengths – the ones we didn’t know we had.

    I can’t say my wife is the woman I married. She’s better.

  • Ted D

    Susan – “Sure, it lacks a few bells and whistles (it’s got a tape deck), but I don’t want to let it go. ”

    ya know, that’s pretty damn easy to fix. It isn’t even an outpatient procedure! I put a new deck in my 300 on the curb in front of our house in a little over an hour. Would have been faster but beer was involved of course.

  • OffTheCuff

    This will probably be the shortest HUS thread in months. :) Wouldn’t “ask Han/Jason/BB” go over a bit better?

    Most of us have here said plenty about out marriages over time, except for a few folks who are curiously silent about personal details. I’d much rather be asked what people want to know… and if they don’t want to know, well, that says something, doesn’t it?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @OTC

      It’s true – lots of the married folks have said many things over the months and years. If I have time I may cull through some of the commentary.

      Any post on marriage wouldn’t be complete without Munson’s wisdom, for example.

  • TGP

    I met Mrs. TGP in 1987 when we were both stationed in West Germany (Army). The first positive thing I noticed about her was during a long run, she did not quit. It was a slow-paced run, but I was hung-over, and wanted to quit, and I am sure most of the runners did too. In fact, lots of people fell out (this was a permanent party post, so many folks were older and out-of-shape). She did not quit (neither did I). She was the only female to complete the run. That showed me she had character and will. I remember that moment to this day.

    A few months later, one of Mrs. TGP’s friend’s told me Mrs. TGP was interested in me. I did not share that interest, at the time. I wanted to fuck her roommate quite a bit more. But she did not give up. She kind of integrated into my circle, hanging out with mutual friends, and we shared cigarettes and watched movies. Valentine day 1988 she left a rose outside my room with two cigarettes tied to it. Cool gesture.

    I gave her a chance a couple months later, and our romance and love just kind of spontaneously emerged and grew. I left the Army and went back to my home-town Chicago in October 1988. Mrs. TGP still had ten months to complete her three year commitment.

    She flew home for Christmas in ’88 for a two week visist, one week in her hometown and one week in Chicago. I took a train down to central Missouri to meet her parents. They hated me. I stayed a full week at their house, at the end of which I did the traditional thing and sat the mom and dad down, requesting their daughter’s hand in marriage.

    My future FIL says, well, let me ask you a couple questions. ‘Are you going to go to heaven when you die?’ I replied, I don’t know, I have never died. This was not what he wanted to hear. After more and similar discussion, he said no way. I told him we were getting married anyways (Mrs. TGP was 20 and I was 24 at this point).

    You should know, at this time I was a high school drop-out, spent six weeks in alcohol rehab in the Army, and got busted down twice in the Army (one was for having Mrs. TGP in my room at a restricted time). The in-laws had this information, and just generally did not like me.

    The next day Mrs and I are heading to Chicago for a week with my family. Before we leave, the FIL calls her and tells her “I just want you to know, if you go, you are breaking your mother’s heart.” He tried other manipulations, but that particular one still stands out for me (he later offered to pay for her college anywhere if she left me, and offered to hire a private eye to show her how ‘bad’ I was). As we were heading to St. Louis on the way to Chicago, she asks me “what will you do if I don’t come to Chicago with you?” I said I would find somebody who makes their own decisions instead of doing whatever their parents want.

    We got to St. Louis, where my Gramps Ray lived, and visisted him for a couple hours. He was immediately kind, accepting, and loving of Mrs. TGP. As a normal family member would be. This was an epiphany moment for the Mrs. Like a light went on. She called her folks and told them she was in fact going to Chicago with me, and would return in a week. Our first son is named Ray after this kind man and this moment.

    I see I am getting long-winded. Fast forwarding . . . we got married in 1990, lived in Chicago, I started college, first baby in ’92, next in ’94, our angel Terry in ’96 (we held him in the hospital as he died, I carried his little coffin and put it in the ground myself), next baby in ’97, we also moved to her hometown in ’97 (I had my own epiphany about the best place to raise my kids), and I started law school at the U of MO in Columbia (undergrad took me 8.5 years because I had to work to support my family so went to class nights and weekends, Mrs. TGP stayed home and took care of our beautiful kids). We had another baby in ’99 and the last one (I hope) in 2001. Total of six kids, three boys and three girls.

    My dad now lives with us. Plus we have five dogs (big fucking house). Ray is in the Marine Corp, stationed in Japan. I just love this life and this woman to no end. So, to answer your questions, no, the ravages of time have done nothing but deepen the bonds of love and friendship. I have so many memories I had to pick just a few choice ones. I cannot imagine any richer life than the one I chose. My lady is my Queen, and I would kill or die for her (call me “beta” or whatever you want, I am a BAMFing cock-of-the-walk, and always have been), and I know she would kill or die for me too.

    The only “secrets” I can think of is (1) pick the right one, and then (2) stand beside them like you fucking vowed to do, forever. The rest just seems to fall into place. We built a life around loving each other and having kids, and raising kids. We spend every evening together, sharing food, wine, beer, fireplace, still watching movies (no cigarettes since the Army). I mean, what else is there?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @TGP

      Your family life and marriage sound chaotic and wonderful! Thanks for that story, you are a very fortunate man.

  • Sassy6519

    Great post Susan. I’m really learning a lot from the comments as well. Thanks everyone! :)

  • http://davidvs.net/ davidvs

    To help make February more romantic, I have been blogging each day about why I love my wife .

    http://davidvs.blogspot.com/search/label/Why%20I%20Love%20My%20Wife

    Not even halfway done yet.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Davidvs

      Welcome and that blog project is AWESOME! It’s gratifying to have people already sharing their thoughts on marriage, and having new commenters is a bonus!

  • Maggie

    My husband and I are happier with every year.

    Marriage is not always easy. There can be financial difficulties, worries about your children, problems with in-laws, and job stress but it’s so much easier if you can face these as a team, with a partner who always has your back.

    The rewards, however, are fantastic. We each have someone who loves us through sickness and hardship. We have a bond that brings love, support and protection to our children. We have a partner who takes interest in our interests, and looks out for our happiness in any way possible.

    I’ve never heard my husband speak disrespectfully about me to another person. He truly likes women and always shows respect to my mom, family and girlfriends. He gets great joy out of seeing me happy and likes to do thoughtful little things to please me. He respects my hobbies and tries to show interest.

    Susan had a post awhile back about how to be a good girlfriend and these are also excellent suggestions for a wife. I’d add: don’t treat your husband as if he were your child. This is a common portrayal in the media and guaranteed to make a miserable marriage. Show respect for your husband, let him have his hobbies and sports, don’t expect him to be like your girlfriends. Show that you desire him, don’t get a haircut that says “I have no interest in sex” and don’t wear sweat clothes, ever. Get those $100 yoga pants to work out in, they look so much better, lol!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Maggie

      Get those $100 yoga pants to work out in, they look so much better, lol!

      Yeah, there’s a reason why Lululemon is so successful :) Everybody’s bottom looks better in those.

      Thanks for your comment, great stuff there.

  • http://en.gravatar.com/marellus Marellus

    My day will come. Whomever she is. My day will come. And then I too, can say something more on this thread. Even if it’s the last thing I ever do. God help me.

  • Ted D

    “Yeah, there’s a reason why Lululemon is so successful Everybody’s bottom looks better in those.”

    No lie. I sincerely hope whoever invented yoga pants is VERY rich!

  • http://whoism3.wordpress.com M3

    Wish i had a happy tale to add to this. I don’t. But i won’t bother with the details of that.

    I do wish to share my sentiments tho, regarding the feelings ascribed here by the other men and the article itself.

    I had nothing but love for my wife and did not notice aging, or depreciation of any kind. At first i thought this post was about me (because im so vain lol) because i wrote a post myself about cars/hondas/depreciation.. but that was in relation to slut value, not a working happy marriage. in that post i wrote about both ‘love blinders’ that you see your wife through when you’re in love and it doesn’t fade over time. it only fades like it did for me, when the sudden stop of the marriage’s heart takes place. with the blinders off, i see where age has taken it’s toll. i no longer love her so i’m not bound to seeing her as the woman my heart longed for and enjoyed seeing every day.

    i also wrote about the specific euphoria people get when they first meet new love. it’s exactly like a drug addled high and this is what many promiscuous women chase.. that neverending high that dissipates over time. It’s why the chart shows every partner after your first increases the divorce risk by x%..

    it’s why bonding ceases for sluts and cads. they’re always looking for the high of sniffing new car smell over and over.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @M3

      At first i thought this post was about me (because im so vain lol) because i wrote a post myself about cars/hondas/depreciation.. but that was in relation to slut value, not a working happy marriage.

      That’s too funny. Just a coincidence, tho.

      in that post i wrote about both ‘love blinders’ that you see your wife through when you’re in love and it doesn’t fade over time.

      I think this is true, for both sexes. Men peak physically a few years later than women do (late 20s vs. early 20s), but after that we’re all prone to show signs of aging. A fit 40 year-old body does not look like a 25 year-old body, for either sex. Skin slackens, fat redistributes. None of us can cheat Time. Not really.

      Sometimes I glance at my husband and feel a jolt of surprise that his hair has gray in it now. Nearly always I see it as the light brown color it was when we met.

      It’s why the chart shows every partner after your first increases the divorce risk by x%..

      I assume you mean the Teachman study there. It is not without its problems. Most notably, it was not conducted to measure the risk of divorce depending on premarital sex partners. I’m not saying there is no effect, I’m sure there is, though I doubt the effect kicks in at 1. But the data is very, very thin.

  • rgoltn

    Does Attachment mean the death of Attraction? No, but that is not a “given.” I will be married to wifey 18 years in May; been together for 21. We have had our ups and downs, but our marriage is stronger than ever today. As a couple, you have to work at it. If you stay on the topic about trading committment for sex and the car example, than the car will provide ongoing excitement and fun as long as it has been well cared over time.

    Wifey and I both keep ourselves in shape and work at making sure we are attractive to each other. It is sometimes subtle and other times explicit. The result is that while I may look at newer models, my curent one still looks great for its age and delivers as much excitement and joy as it did when I first slipped into it (No pun intended…well,maybe.)

    Now, she may also look around at newer drivers and ponder if they are more exciting to handle her handling and power. However, I work on her engine parts, nourish her needs, keep her temperature cool, warm and hot and invest into making the drive fun; newer ones seem to offer less in value. After 21 years, she still tells me that I know how to, um, slip into the driver’s seat, push all of her buttons in the right way, get her engines roaring and open her up for an exciting drive.

  • Zach

    Susan,

    That guy’s comment is old news. Shocked you’ve never seen this: http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/sex/a/gold_digger.htm .

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Zach

      I am familiar with that Craigslist ad, but here’s the difference: Rollo (the commenter) is long married. :(

  • mgambale

    “Happy families are all alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

    Leo Tolstoy, from Anna Karenina

    I’d wager the same principles that lead to a successful life in general apply equally to marriage. Be like Kitty and Levin. Should you behave like Anna and Vronsky instead, your life will be a train wreck (haha).

  • Sassy6519

    @ rgoltn

    Does Attachment mean the death of Attraction? No, but that is not a “given.” I will be married to wifey 18 years in May; been together for 21. We have had our ups and downs, but our marriage is stronger than ever today. As a couple, you have to work at it. If you stay on the topic about trading committment for sex and the car example, than the car will provide ongoing excitement and fun as long as it has been well cared over time.

    Wifey and I both keep ourselves in shape and work at making sure we are attractive to each other. It is sometimes subtle and other times explicit. The result is that while I may look at newer models, my curent one still looks great for its age and delivers as much excitement and joy as it did when I first slipped into it (No pun intended…well,maybe.)

    Now, she may also look around at newer drivers and ponder if they are more exciting to handle her handling and power. However, I work on her engine parts, nourish her needs, keep her temperature cool, warm and hot and invest into making the drive fun; newer ones seem to offer less in value. After 21 years, she still tells me that I know how to, um, slip into the driver’s seat, push all of her buttons in the right way, get her engines roaring and open her up for an exciting drive.

    I really like this. :D

  • Tilikum

    Ask most men in 2013, and the chief worry about marriage and commitment (and what makes 95% of women un-marriagable) will be as follows:

    Today’s girl (and no, I didn’t say women on purpose) feels justified and entitled to 100% of a mans efforts (financial, emotional, physical) and has little incentive to reciprocate. In fact, reciprocation to a mans emotional needs, what he really needs, is frowned upon and shamed by their peers (read: other women)

    The net effect is a reversion to the mean, as the beta male is eradicated by genetic selection (read: can’t mate because he is restricted by women) and alpha progeny become the next generation.

    Ah, 1944, Christmas Island redux as the great Beta DieOff. Ain’t that a bitch.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      The net effect is a reversion to the mean, as the beta male is eradicated by genetic selection (read: can’t mate because he is restricted by women) and alpha progeny become the next generation.

      Ah, you missed our debate last week, where several commenters analyzed the data and concluded that betas are out-reproducing alphas.

  • blogRot

    long time lurker; first time commenter. 9 years married, turning 40. Not full Red Pill and have purchased Athol Kay’s MMSL (but not read it).

    >What does a successful, happy marriage look like?
    I would answer just like if someone asked me if I was a good father: I don’t know or frankly care if I’m a “good father” or in a “successful, happy marriage” or care if anyone thinks I am or not – I’m doing what I know and feels is correct, my kids are well adjusted, happy, and healthy, and my wife makes me love her more with every passing year.

    >What are your secrets?
    secret #1: I’m not her best friend, I’m her husband.
    secret #2: She recognizes secret #1 as fact.
    secret #3: Very hard to explain clearly; I’m her ground but she’s my flying kite. Where one of us would be weak or dificient the other complements (or we work as a team and fake it/wing it).
    sceret #4: she rolls her eyes when I gut busting laugh at what I find to be humorous, but yet she smiles if I try to explain it to her. I don’t know why that works at all, but I just seem to love her more when she doesn’t always ‘get me’.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @blogRot

      Thanks for de-lurking, and welcome. I love your secrets. I especially like this:

      Where one of us would be weak or dificient the other complements (or we work as a team and fake it/wing it).

      My husband and I have also colluded many times to wing it – a lot less scary than doing it oneself. I especially enjoy the complementary aspects of marriage – after years even our conversation style is in sync.

  • Wants to know

    Mr. Wavevector’s marriage sounds like my parents.
    I wonder does he have any sons?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Mr. Wavevector’s marriage sounds like my parents.
      I wonder does he have any sons?

      He has three! Would you like me to compare your IP address locations? It could be Dear Old Dad!

  • http://whoism3.wordpress.com M3

    A good marriage is like hard core porn.

    You know it when you see it.

    :P

  • J

    Reader J had the brilliant idea of asking married commenters here at HUS what makes their marriages work.

    Susan, you are too kind.

    What does a successful, happy marriage look like? What are your secrets?

    OK, here’s my big, boring answer. Marriages thrive on old-fashioned stuff like similar goals and values, mutual respect and consideration and firm moral character on the part of both spouses. Not too sexy, I know.

    Much is made in the ‘sphere about game, looks and attraction, but Helen Fischer and I can tell you it’s fleeting. DH is a pretty good-looking guy IMHO, at least he has the sort of look that I really like. As so many of ‘sphere bloggers advocate, DH did marry a woman who was head over heels in love with him. Unfortunately, that sort of love did not/could not last. The human brain can only pump out those chemicals for so long.

    Now, this is the point where I start thanking God for my pragmatic nature, crappy childhood and rampant distrust of almost everyone. I knew that the dopamine high wouldn’t last, so I filtered like crazy for things like common goals and values, same sense of humor (as in “Know what I love about you, J? We laugh at all the same people.), moral character, kindness (He’s pretty sigma, yet I’ve never seen him go out of his way to be nasty to anyone. In fact, unless provoked, he’s generally rather well mannered.), loyalty, intelligence, wit, ability to provide, ability to put the relationship first, talents I’d want kids to inherit, etc. That way, when the dopamine tapered off, there was a solid basis for the attachment phase of the relationship. I didn’t have to take any red pills or learn to submit because even without the constant dopamine rush, I still had a decent guy whose company I truly enjoyed and who was good to me. I never had to school myself in the idea that sex was a “marital duty” because it’s still a pretty good time. I’ve never had to invent baroque forms of showing respect for the role of husband like physically adopting a submissive posture (One of the ‘sphere’s ladies auxilliary wrote a post about sitting at her husband feet, etc.) because I married a guy who was easy to respect–not as the proud owner of a dick, but as an individual who was worthy of respct. I’m fairly sure he had a similar thought process in making his choice and has had a pretty similar result.

    At the risk of sounding snotty, all of this seems pretty simple and straightforward to me. It’s all time-tested, cross-cultural stuff. I think more people would be happier if they could do this. I am often mystified that people don’t get this and go through such ridiculous lengths to do things to make up for relationships that seem so miserable to me. I just don’t get it.

  • http://cupidselves.com Christina

    What a nice post topic! I predict it will be relatively unpopular, because for some reason, it’s more fun to wallow in misery than know these things. :-)

    This is my second marriage. My first ended six years ago with my husband’s unexpected death. We’d been married almost 13 years and it was a good marriage, though very difficult. He was severely bipolar, and even though he was diligent about receiving treatment, his condition deteriorated radically in the last five years of his life.

    After his death, I was pretty sure I would never marry again. The difficulty of living with someone that mentally ill had ruined my health, physically, mentally and financially. At that point, I was happy to just take care of myself.

    After a few years, I dabbled in online dating, mostly to meet some new people. I really wasn’t interested in even having a boyfriend at that point. In fact, I was having more fun just interacting with all kinds of people on the Plenty of Fish forums. That was where I noticed my husband. He was a prolific poster, and stood out as being very smart and funny. I sent him a message at some point, never dreaming we would meet. His location was Indiana and I was in Oregon.

    We had a pleasant, but not earth-shattering IM convo and then I forgot about him for a few weeks. What I hadn’t really processed was that he was a truck driver and could get to my neck of the woods fairly easily. He was on his way west when we got in touch again and figured out a way to meet. It was winter and there were all kinds of crazy obstacles, but he finally made it.

    We were totally taken with each other, instantly. We ended up spending a whole weekend together and made the rather rash decision to just go for it- whatever that meant. Two weeks later, we were able to meet for a long weekend in California, and at that point, we decided that I’d get into the truck with him.

    It was a pretty crazy decision on my part, and my parents were really upset. I felt this way- I didn’t have much to lose in the way of career or home at that point, I felt what I had with this guy was pretty special, and I do love to travel. If I didn’t at least give it a try, I’d always regret it. And if it didn’t work out, I wasn’t an immature teenage girl who couldn’t take care of herself. I had the resources to get myself back to my family if it didn’t turn out as I hoped.

    It was actually a smashing success. We got along really well from day one, and that’s saying something when you’re stuck in a semi-truck sleeper 24/7. We just turned out to be extremely compatible. We seem to agree on all of the major things, and where we don’t, we respect each other enough to have no problem with disagreeing.

    My parents came around pretty quickly once they saw I was happy and got to know my husband better. We got married on Thanksgiving Day, 2011 and have been together for four years now. We’ve had to cope with some major adversity, especially in the first year, but every challenge has only served to show us how good we are for each other. There’s no question that he makes my life better in every way.

    What are your secrets? Mutual respect seems to be one of the key things in a good marriage. Beyond things like sexual attraction and intense liking, we admire each other as people. We’re a true partnership, have each acknowledged the other’s strong points, treat each other as equals, and discuss every major decision. We like to make each other happy; there’s never a question of what’s in it for me, because the benefits are extremely clear.

    Does marriage feel like a life sentence? Definitely not. I come from a family where 50-60 year marriages are the norm, and have had a front-row seat to the ups and downs that are just part of life, and how they are handled by a successfully married couple. That being said, the final years of my first marriage did feel like a life sentence. I was very much in for better or for worse, and the worse was very bad. At the time he died, I was trying hard to figure out how to make it bearable for the decades I was sure were still ahead of us.

    How do the ravages of time affect your feelings about your partner? If anything, I’m more in love and more convinced of his worth. Our physical connection is very strong, but much of that seems to flow from the mental and spiritual. Since we’ve been together, we’ve both gained some weight and some gray hairs. My health is improving- thanks to tons of tlc from him- but more slowly than I’d like. Honestly, it’s impossible for me to separate the physical part from the rest of him. When I see him, it’s not just a face and body; it’s a complete person.

    In looks, we’re both very average, but it’s safe to say that we seem beautiful to each other.

  • J

    Sometimes I glance at my husband and feel a jolt of surprise that his hair has gray in it now. Nearly always I see it as the light brown color it was when we met.

    I always describe DH as having thick, curly dark brown hair, and he’s about 75% percent gray.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Last night an event without precedent in our generation happened. A meteor injured hundreds of people in Russia. I will answer this question when I stop geeking out about and watching all videos I can find. Here is one if you are into this WTF! moments.
    Watch some pics and videos here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/02/15/breaking_huge_meteor_explodes_over_russia.html
    Now my Catholic side says: I wonder if this has anything to do with The Pope resigning for the first time in 600 years? End of the world got delayed?

    PS
    Hubby woke me up to watch this at 3:00 am in the morning. BEST HUSBAND EVER! :D

  • J

    Today is my wife’s 60th birthday. ….To our surprise, we have found that we actually enjoy each other’s company now that the sturm und drang of child-rearing are mostly over. It is so hard to say why our marriage has lasted 25 years, except that I still prefer her to every other woman I know and she prefers me to every other man.

    That’s so sweet. Happy B’day to Mrs. Mule.

    @Christina

    Glad you found love a second time around. It sounds like a wonderful relationship!

  • JL125

    Just for laughs

    1. Marriage is not a word. It’s a sentence (a life sentence).

    2. Marriage is love. Love is blind. Therefore
    marriage is an institution for the blind.

    3. Marriage is an institution in which a man loses
    his Bachelor’s Degree and the woman gets her masters.

    4. Marriage is a three ring circus: engagement ring,
    wedding ring and suffering.

    5. Married life is full of excitement and frustration:
    In the first year of marriage, the man speaks and
    the woman listens. In the second year, the
    woman speaks and the man listens. In the third
    year, they both speak and the NEIGHBOURS listen.

    6. Getting married is very much like going to a
    restaurant with friends. You order what you
    want, and when you see what the other person
    has, you wish you had ordered that instead.

    7. Son: How much does it cost to get married, Dad?
    Father: I don’t know son, I’m still paying for it.

    8. Son: Is it true Dad? I heard that in ancient China,
    a man doesn’t know his wife until he marries her.
    Father: That happens everywhere, son, EVERYWHERE!

    9. Love is one long sweet dream, and marriage is
    the alarm clock.

    10. They say that when a man holds a woman’s
    hand before marriage, it is love; after marriage it is
    self-defense.

    11. When a newly married man looks happy, we
    know why. But when a 10-year married man looks
    happy, we wonder why.

    12. Eighty percent of married man cheats in
    America, the rest cheat in Europe.

    13. After marriage, husband and wife become two
    sides of a coin. They just can’t face each other,
    but still they stay together.

    14. Before marriage, a man ‘yearns’ for the
    woman he loves. After the marriage the “Y”
    becomes silent.

    15. It’s not true that married men live longer than
    single men, it only seems longer.

    16. When a man opens the door of his car for his
    wife, you can be sure of one thing – either the car
    is new or the wife is.

  • Emily

    @Anacaona,

    If you think that’s freaky, check this out:
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/lightning-strikes-vatican-day-pope-1704295

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    If you think that’s freaky, check this out

    Hubby showed me that one too. Hubby and I have a very blasphemous sense of humor and we joke that working for God is like working for The Mafia. YOU DON’T QUIT THE MAFIA! That was a warning lighting “It could get worse Joey” :p

  • David in Dallas

    I’m still a pip-squeak in my 40s with a 10-year marriage. I certainly don’t have everything figured out, but the following seem to be helpful for my marriage (note, I will write mostly from the masculine, since I’m a man.):

    1) Realize that the relationship requires work and compromise. I think one of the silent killers for marriages and relationships is the “no compromise” or entitled attitude coupled with the “Twu Wuv just happens on its own and it’s wonderful” attitude. You can’t have a pet without making compromises in your lifestyle and schedule, why would you think that having a marriage or LTR wouldn’t involve compromise?

    2) Learn to recognize when something is or is not a priority to your spouse and learn what is or is not a priority to you. Compromise and pick your battles accordingly. Not every issue is major and not every argument is something you must win. If it’s serious, treat it as such (respectfully, of course); if it’s not, don’t treat is as if it is. If it’s serious for each of you and you have a serious disagreement about it, get a specific an understanding of whatever you work out as possible. It pays to be pragmatic in this area. Hopefully, you won’t have any deal breakers because you vetted properly.

    3) Try to identify what your spouse likes about you and make sure to present that to them as much as you can. This, I think, is where some people get off track by being complacent. Don’t. Your spouse likes certain things about you; make sure they get a regular dose of that. It’s part of the “bargain” they hoped for when they entered the relationship.

    4) Don’t just rely on what your spouse says they like, watch how they react. You will be surprised. And it’s never bad to be paying attention to what your spouse is doing.

    5) Give your spouse some space. The amount is highly individual and likely different for each of you. However, recognize that your spouse may need a “girls night” or some form of individual interests outside of you. (I’m sure you’re great, I know I am, but it’s possible to get a little too much of me. No really, stop laughing. It is.) If the amount of space needed by you and your spouse are radically different, then you may have special challenges because it will seem like one of you is constantly trying to pull away. If you see this, deal with it upfront and non-emotionally, if possible.

    6) Understand that you are a couple. (This is mostly for men; women seem to intuitively get this.) What you do affects your spouse and her standing among her family and peers. Be cognizant that you and your actions reflect on her. You don’t have to be hyper about this; a little can go a long ways. Regardless, issues will come up where he or she may have to deal with family or friends because of you; don’t be a hinderance to them in doing so.

    7) While you are couple, respect that you are individuals and different people. Your spouse is under no obligation to always agree with you and it’s okay if they like different things than you do.

    8) Understand, be prepared for, and assist with change over time. The person you marry will change. You will change. Your families, jobs, and social structure will change. How are *you* going to deal with that and how are you going to deal with that as a *couple*? (This is part of why relationships require work.)

    9) Men and women are different. They are. You may not be able to conceive of why he or she thinks the way they do: deal with it. (This is part of the reason I say to “observe” your spouse. You will feel an inherent desire to filter their actions through your own understanding. Don’t.)

    10) Exercise and watch what you eat. Both sexes appreciate in-shape, healthy spouses. Everyone battles weight and health issues as they get older. Do not accelerate things by being lax in exercise and nutrition. You owe it to the other person to maximize the potential that you’ll be around and functionable for as long as possible, particularly if you have children.

    11) Find a balance between comfort and excitement. Your relationship will naturally drift toward either comfort or excitement. Make sure the other is included.

    12) Figure out the division of household chores and responsbility clearly. This will shift over time and through different circumstances. Make sure you’re holding up your end of the deal, then do some more. (When couples are interviewed on how much they contribute to the household, the percentage usually come in around 130% because everyone overestimates how much they contribute. So do some more because you’re probably overestimating how much you’re doing.) See something your spouse normally does that isn’t done? Do it. Everyone likes to feel like they’re getting some help.

    13) Treat your marriage as a continued courtship and try to become a better man or woman as time goes on. Change will happen, so why not lay some groundwork to push it in a positive direction? You may not be able to control everything, but there’s no reason to leave it entirely to chance either. If you focus on becoming a better person and you treat your marriage as a courtship, you’re probably doing about everything you can to make things the best they can be. You only control one person in the relationship, you. Put your best into it if you want to get the best out of it.

    There’s a baker’s dozen.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @David in Dallas

      There is such great stuff from new commenters today. I love it when a post strikes a chord with someone who hasn’t been around the threads much (or at all) in the past.

      I think one of the silent killers for marriages and relationships is the “no compromise” or entitled attitude

      That’s very similar to one of my suggestions, which is “never dig in your heels.” Certainly not so that you can be right and have your way.

      Your spouse likes certain things about you; make sure they get a regular dose of that. It’s part of the “bargain” they hoped for when they entered the relationship.

      Brilliant. And for the record, this often is about demeanor, playfulness, sense of humor, etc. It’s not always about “letting yourself go” physically.

      Understand, be prepared for, and assist with change over time. The person you marry will change. You will change. Your families, jobs, and social structure will change. How are *you* going to deal with that and how are you going to deal with that as a *couple*? (This is part of why relationships require work.)

      More brilliance!

      Your wife is a fortunate woman.

  • OffTheCuff

    J, funny how our experiences differ, with regards to the “dopamine drop-off”.

    My wife reports still being as attracted to me as day one, and I think I’m very darn close to that. I never experienced the “crazy high” that so many people report, it’s been quite steady. There was a *little* more lust due to the new realtionsip, but nothing enormous. So, either we started low and stayed there, or we started high and stayed there. I don’t know, since I’ve never been in love with anyone else.

    Maybe it’s what you have said in the past, low SMV people ( the dreaded 3′s etc.), are happier long term? Is it better to be below average? Or was it our mutual inexperience? I don’t get it…

  • Ion

    Happy/non-whining stories. This is great!

    Ted

    “She absolutely glows when I get her something unique and surprising, and I simply love the shit out of seeing that woman happy.”

    I’m glad you found happiness the second time around, you definitely deserve it.

    Ana

    “Hubby woke me up to watch this at 3:00 am in the morning.”

    Aww, cool! You and your hubby’s nerdiness is what I have in mind.The footage of meteor is kind of spooky, I’ve been watching it on repeat throughout the day.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    @Ion
    It doesn’t scare me but the fact that we have 2012 DA14 passing close to Earth almost the same day gives me pause. Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is enemy action if tomorrow we got another ‘event’. I will be digging a bunker in the backyard.

  • J

    J, funny how our experiences differ, with regards to the “dopamine drop-off”.

    I wouldn’t say that I lost attraction for him as much as I’d say that the dizzying, infatuated, take on the world, everything is a pleasure feeling described in the video abated. I still think he’s one fine looking older guy.

    My wife reports still being as attracted to me as day one, and I think I’m very darn close to that. I never experienced the “crazy high” that so many people report, it’s been quite steady.

    Oh, believe me, I did. If the video is correct in saying that a cocaine high is like that, it’s good I don’t do coke. I’d have OD’ed several time over just to get that feeling back. I’ve never felt anything better than what I felt then; I felt like he and I were invulnerable together.

    Maybe it’s what you have said in the past, low SMV people ( the dreaded 3′s etc.), are happier long term? Is it better to be below average? Or was it our mutual inexperience? I don’t get it…

    I don’t know, but my suspicion is that my favorite pair of newlywed threes feels no different than I did.

    A side note re the wife. She was as wide as she was tall on her wedding day. They are trying to conceive, and the OB/GYN told her she was too heavy. She had spent years trying to take off weight before she met her husband; she dropped 70 pounds in the past few months so great is her motivation to give him a child. When you’re in love, you can do anything.

    A side note re the husband. He watched her come down the aisle as though she were Kate Upton and Megan Fox all rolled into one–and at their combined weight they’d have just been a snack for her. (He looks like a shorter, uglier Lenin, BTW.)

  • HanSolo

    Just what we need…more shorter uglier Lenins!!!!! LMAO ROFL Thanks for giving me a good laugh.

  • OTC

    I’ll have to watch the video. I don’t ever recall feeling invulnerable or high. Just be something I don’t have.

  • PokerCat

    I’ve been married for nine years now (both of us are 39) with a three year old, and another due in about a month, we’re generally happy, but oftentimes rocky…I’ve just read MMSL once, and am going over it again slowly. Totally worth getting IMHO.

    What does a successful, happy marriage look like? I don’t know if there is a generic template that everyone can aspire. I see marriage as a dance, and not every couple has the same rhythm, and yet lots dance to the end.

    What are your secrets? We dream together, and more importantly, we set goals and achieve them together. We’re both goal oriented, and this seems to be the glue that holds us together. I don’t think I can leave her, not just because I love her, but because it is clear that our lives would be far worse without each other. And the kids would suffer too.

    I personally think that our society focuses too solely on the sex and romance part of the marriage. Marriage is far more than that, it’s also a financial and legal contract, and should be the strongest friendship you have (I know, this is opposite to other comments in this thread, but it’s my opinion, so whatever…). You’re a team against the world.

    I agree with the above comments (several times!) that mate selection is crucial. To hear others talk about their failed marriages, I wonder if they are cut out for it, would they be better off without marrying at all?

    Does marriage feel like a life sentence? Nope.

    How do the ravages of time affect your feelings about your partner? No, not at all. Yes, I see the lines on her face, and the sag, but she keeps her figure up, and is aging far better than most of her friends. She’s more sexy now than when we were dating, because I know she knows what gets me hot. Mind you, we don’t have sex nearly as often (especially pregnant), but it doesn’t seem to be as important as it used to be.

  • Snow Flake

    “I doubt many guys consider it a depreciating asset because passionate love ends. In general, I don’t see many guys seeking passionate love – at least until they actually experiencing it.”

    What do you mean?

  • Thomas

    Kids. Raising children in a stable household with the woman who gave them to you is, as far as I’m concerned, the only reason any man should ever consider any attachment to any woman as potentially a lifetime commitment. Minus that, nothing any woman ever had or ever could have measures up to the entire world of abundance of potential alternatives out there.

  • Annie

    I’ve struggled a lot with depression over the years and when feeling particularly down (which is a polite way of saying suicidal) over my last birthday my husband (along with our children) gave me a card telling me all the ways they appreciate me.

    My husband gets all his dinners cooked, packed lunches made, all the adult attention he desires, the house cleaned, his clothes washed, ironed and put away, his own personal cheerleader and encourager.

    And money whenever he needs. I used to be his boss at work and earned considerably more than him. Knowing that one day I hoped to get married and have children all that money I earned was squirrelled away in savings accounts. When he lost his job due to redundancy I paid the mortgage with my savings. When his old car finally broke down for good I bought him a new one in cash.

    We are a partnership and both of us are considerably better off financially, emotionally and physically together than apart. It saddens me when people cheapen marriage and say it has no value. It has immense value.

  • OTC

    Marriage *can* have immense value for some. They’re probably right that it has no value for them.

  • Sternhammer

    I think the cynical commenter has a point about the depreciating asset.

    When I met her, my wife had the most perfect breasts you could imagine. Exquisitely shaped, firm, perky. Just blow-your-mind Perfect. And 20 years later they aren’t the same.

    But that asset didn’t just disappear. It got reinvested. She turned the glory of those tits into love and kindness and poured it down the throats of three children. Three kids who are whip smart and rudely healthy and look just like me. Playboy wouldn’t want to publish their portrait anymore, but when I look at her getting dressed I still see them in all their youthful splendor.

    We’re all going to die, and our strength and beauty turns to dust and ashes. But if I die surrounded by a flock of grandchildren, and I see my face and my wife’s face in theirs, and the cynical commentator dies alone in an institution, then who made the smart investment choice?

    As far as what makes marriage work, One thing that hasn’t been said yet is the pleasure of doing kindnesses for another. I mean, sure, I love all the blowjobs. But I also love it when I make some dinner for her. It is much more fun that making it just for yourself. When I chop wood to heat the house I get this satisfaction because the ache in my back is going into keeping my wife and children warm. I guess that comes back to this question of investment again. Marriage gives you something to put your own youthful strengths into, before they disappear and leave nothing.

    BTW Susan, thanks a lot for you work on this blog.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Sternhammer

      Marriage gives you something to put your own youthful strengths into, before they disappear and leave nothing.

      Wow! This is so profound. What a great way to start the weekend, thank you.

      I also like the way you reminded us that breasts have a purpose besides attracting you to us. :)

  • Richard Aubrey

    I got the impression that the jaded commenter was riffing sarcastically on the tone of the comment thread.

    That said, my wife and I know two generations of a family all of whom were happily married, afaict.

    But both generations, the folks our age and their now-deceased parents, shared a characteristic.
    If one of them is recounting something…”I went to the grocery story Wednesday….”, the other will yell, angrily, dismissively, with an expression of anger, ” Come On, Ellen. It was Tuesday. What’s wrong with you?” About nothing at all important. About something of no import in the middle of something important. Ex. A friend had had a minor traffic accident, was found wandering about the block, was put into psych eval until too late to discover a tumor in the brain. She’d been driving their Honda. “Brad! It was the Taurus.” Expression of infinite disgust and anger.
    ALL THE BLOODY TIME.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Richard

      I got the impression that the jaded commenter was riffing sarcastically on the tone of the comment thread.

      No, unfortunately. Unless the entirety of his blog writings and commentary are one big joke. Which is unlikely, as this male is a rare thing: a Dark Triad without charm or charisma.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Come On, Ellen. It was Tuesday. What’s wrong with you?” About nothing at all important.

      We have some friends like this. They don’t do this angrily, but they correct one another constantly on the smallest details. I’ve always assumed it’s because they’re both lawyers. It’s very frustrating when either one decides to tell a story.

  • Richard Aubrey

    What is it with this thing?
    Anyway, the parents of each did the same thing.
    It’s embarrassing to watch. Done if as long as we’ve known them, which in my case is better than forty years.
    Taking the view that people expend energy to solve problems, if only of feelings, and don’t waste it when nothing is at stake or interesting, I asked my wife, rhetorically, why they bother to eff up a normal conversation, even in front of others, with such nonsense.
    My wife’s view is that they’ve been doing it so long it no longer takes effort or has an impact. Being the object of such doesn’t impel them not to do it to the other party, or even strike them as an issue.

    Marriage lesson: If you’re going to be an asshole as a matter of reflex, marry somebody else who’s going to be the same kind of asshole as a matter of reflex and, meet your soul mate/ spare the rest of us.

    Broader lesson is to know your intended long enough to see whether such traits exist. Keep in mind the cumulative effect of the cumulative effect. The first time, they’re cute. The second time, interesting. Third time, well, part of the package. Tenth time….

  • Ian

    A Boomer-Inspired Meditation:

    The dots below represent people, you are one of the people represented in the dots. You are not a single dot. Each dot below represents 7 million people, the population of Chicago. You are a 7-millionth of a particular dot below, bolded, somewhere near the center.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    Stare at a particular dot, then close your eyes. Every dot has parents, ancestors, friends, descendants. Every dot is aging. Every 40 days, a dot dies. Every 20 days, a dot is born. Consider the likelihood that you have ever been the most important 7-millionth of those dots.

    Deep breath, eyes open. This Boomer-Inspired Mediation fresh in mind, the Boomer (or Post-Boomer) is prepared to discuss marriage with new perspective. Something like: Children > Civilization > Community > You > Diminishing Play Value of Baubles.

    Pompous assery aside, I’m getting married in a few weeks. Swearing off the MBTI Perceivers seems to have done the trick.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ian

      That video on Manic Pixie Dream Girls was hilarious. Congrats on the upcoming wedding!

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Congratulations Ian! :)

  • Bells

    However, this physical depreciation is mitigated by the excellent level of sexual service that she has maintained. I can think of only one time in the last few years where she refused my sexual advance. She has maintained this excellent service throughout 3 children and menopause

    One of the best things that I’ve learned from HUS is the fact that I shouldn’t refuse a husband’s sexual advances often. I never knew that men derived a lot of their feelings of love from sex. It’s still an strange concept to me, as a woman, but I can appreciate the differences between the sexes

    @Mule

    One thing I did do early on was to win over her mother. I invested a lot of time and energy in making sure Mama thought well of me. That investment paid off handsomely when the inevitable marital spats arose. I simply had to call up Mama and put my wife on the phone with her and let Mama do my work for me. I have to say that my mother-in-law, may she rest in peace, was a remarkably fine woman and a pleasure to know

    I think this is a great plan. It’s so different from the common stories about the mother-in-law from hell. I’m sure it depends on the character of the mother-in-law but I, personally, have a solid relationship with my mom. So, if she scolds about an area that I may be slipping up in marriage- I’ll probably pay more attention to changing things around.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    Thanks for this post, Susan. The responses have been great to read!

    Four years ago, my husband and I met and fell in love. Three months later, I moved across the country, and we moved in together. Three years ago, we got married. Two years ago, I gave birth to our firstborn son, who passed away at 9 months gestation. A year ago, we said goodbye to our second baby due to miscarriage. Now we have a healthy, adorable little five-month-old boy.

    Life is not always easy or smooth or happy, but being with the right partner makes everything a little easier, smoother and happier. It also makes it all worthwhile.

    A healthy relationship is between two self-actualized individuals. We are each conscious of ourselves, our words and our actions. In some terminology they call this “red pill,” but in ours we say “aware.”

    We do not fight, we do not argue, and we do not give in to our darker thoughts. We respect each other, support each other, and care for each other. We are grateful to have what we have, and we do not take it for granted. We focus on love, light, and unity, even in the bleakest of times.

    What we have is not lust, not love of pleasure, not pursuit of “what can you do for me?” What we have is a deep spiritual love for each other and all of creation. Our love will never run dry, because it is fueled by the vast expanse of the universe. We send our love to the world, and love is multiplied by love, never diminished. My husband was the one who taught me this, and for that I am eternally grateful.

  • Bells

    I have too many favorites to mention them all! But reading all these different commentaries brings a greater sense of peace. Although my parents have stayed together, a lot of my friends come from divorced families. And after a generation of having high divorce rates, I think many young people are wary/reluctant about the future success of their own marriages.

    @Sternhammer

    She turned the glory of those tits into love and kindness and poured it down the throats of three children. Three kids who are whip smart and rudely healthy and look just like me. Playboy wouldn’t want to publish their portrait anymore, but when I look at her getting dressed I still see them in all their youthful splendor.

    That was such a powerful imagery. So it seems that with age, a lot of the woman’s raw sexual beauty becomes transformed into a different type of motherly/wifely beauty. That’s very encouraging

  • http://bastiatblogger.blogspot.com Bastiat Blogger

    Christina, I found your thoughts on your romantic history to be very moving.

  • Richard Aubrey

    “”Come On, Ellen. It was Tuesday. What’s wrong with you?” About nothing at all important.””

    “”We have some friends like this. They don’t do this angrily, but they correct one another constantly on the smallest details. I’ve always assumed it’s because they’re both lawyers. It’s very frustrating when either one decides to tell a story””

    Maybe they both have Asperger’s. What I said. Find your soulmate. Wonder why it isn’t annoying to the receiver.

  • JamesH

    I was lucky. We met at a church meeting, and I remember standing next to her towards the end, and something said to me, ‘You see this [droolworthily gorgeous] face? You will come to know it better than your own.’ We decided pretty soon that we wanted to be married, and did so the next year… BUT my natural Omega behaviour reared its head and almost scuppered things, at the 7-year mark during a bout of unemployment.

    Fortunately, before I even discovered Athol Kay, I decided I wasn’t going to be phased by her snits anymore, and I was going to act like the leader of the pack, and not her ‘partner’. It was helped by a lovely old Catholic lady telling me straight up I should be the leader of the household. The results were striking, and then I discovered how it worked when I found MMSL.

    So, I guess the answer to the question ‘What worked for you?’ is, take a ripe, stinking dump on feminism and on fashionalbe attitudes to marriage;
    unbend, to be the leader, the king in effect, you were meant to be;
    the king, while being the final word and authority, is not his own – he belongs to his people, and with them at all times.

  • Robber

    I can perhaps provide an unusual perspective on a happy marriage. I met my wife when I was 19 and she was nearly 18. We both lived on campus at a university in Melbourne. We were pretty much inseparable and spent most of our free time together, though she did like to go rock climbing or skydiving and I liked to spend that time reading or catching up with friends.

    I think we had a few things that made it work. (1) Chemistry. She wasn’t hotter or anything but I was drawn to her like no one else. She felt the same about me. (2) shared values. We’re both from religious families and both had moved away from the religion of our parents (her’s Baptist, mine Catholic) but the shared ideas about family, marriage, etc. worked really well. (3) we enjoyed each other’s company and gained a lot from the other. I’m a classic ISTJ nerd, she was an ENFP free spirit.

    Sadly she is no longer with us – she died during the birth of our son (he’s 4 now). I went through hell dealing with her loss and simultaneously having to deal with a new baby, being a new father, and getting my career off the ground floor. I was so fortunate to have the support of our families and friends. Dealing with all that has made me a much stronger man than I thought possible. Moving to the US has been easy by comparison.

    I obviously can’t say too much about the ravages of time as we didn’t have that much time married and she was still quite young when she died. But I am confident we’d still have been a happy and contented old couple.

  • OffTheCuff

    73 comments! A record low.

    Nobody gives a crap about marriage.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @OTC

      73 comments! A record low.

      Nobody gives a crap about marriage.

      You’re a real Negative Nancy sometimes, you know that? I specifically asked the happily married folks to share in the Comments. Believe it or not, you’re not my core constituency. I’m actually delighted with the new names that have popped up in the thread, and expect that thousands of people will read the follow-up post with some interest.

  • J

    @Ian

    Congrats on your upcoming marriage from an MBTI Perceiver.

  • J

    I’ll have to watch the video. I don’t ever recall feeling invulnerable or high. Just be something I don’t have.

    I can vividly recall a conversation from 25 years ago in which DH said to me, “I feet like a king when I’m with you, J.” and I replied that it was him and me against the world and there was nothing he and I could not accomplish together. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that if two people are about to embark on building a life together, they need to feel that comfort and optimism.

    73 comments! A record low. Nobody gives a crap about marriage.

    I think that’s because there’s really nothing to debate here. A lot of new people though.

  • Lando

    @OffTheCuff

    I think it’s just more people don’t have enough experience in this area to comment. That’s probably why a large portion read this blog, because they’re still looking for a partner.

    I’m young and single but read the comments with interest. I just don’t have anything to contribute.

  • Emily

    There are fewer comments but I think there’s quite a bit of substance. I’m not married so I don’t really have much to contribute to this thread, but I’ve been reading these comments with interest. I’d definitely take this over rehashing the same dumb debates for 1000+ comments.

  • Iggles

    @ Bells:

    I have too many favorites to mention them all! But reading all these different commentaries brings a greater sense of peace.

    I concur :)

    Although my parents have stayed together, a lot of my friends come from divorced families. And after a generation of having high divorce rates, I think many young people are wary/reluctant about the future success of their own marriages.

    Very true. I am a child of divorce, but I’ve always been optimistic about marriage. I want to build a life together with my future husband who would also be “all in”. The statistics about high divorce rates never fazed me because I stubbornly believe my partner and I will make it work. I know 95% if not more has to do with choosing the right person for you, who is compatible on all the important issues, and who is as committed to building a life together. I also know it won’t always be easy, as relationships ebb and flow, but after all these years never had any hesitancy regarding the desire to get married someday. I look forward to it!

    My friends on the other hand, some really fear it. They don’t want to make te mistakes their parents did. They’re terrified of divorce. Still, I just can’t relate.

    @ Lando:

    I think it’s just more people don’t have enough experience in this area to comment

    Exactly! I’m not married yet, so I don’t have a story to share. It’s been great reading people share theirs. Personally, I learn a lot from other people’s successes and mistake. The take away is what WORKS and what NOT to do.

  • Bob

    Life sentence? More like life without parole.

  • OffTheCuff

    J, plenty of comfort and optimism, but no “cocaine high”, obsessive limerance state, etc. Perhaps I am wired wrong, or, maybe my SMV-differential idea is wrong.

    As for my story, it’s pretty much the same as Wavevector’s (without the menopause) so I don’t have much to add.

    True, there’s no debate – but nobody’s really asking questions either.

  • http://happycrow.wordpress.com Russ in Texas

    Bells,

    Or that most of what can be said is pretty redundant. I wouldn’t agree that happy families (marriages) are ALL alike, but Tolstoy definitely got the gist right.

  • Maggie

    @Iggles
    “I want to build a life together with my future husband who would also be “all in”.

    This is what it takes to make a lasting marriage so you are most of the way there. Both partners need to make the choice that they are going to make the marriage last. You’ll still have all the problems that life will throw at you but you have the confidence that your commitment to the marriage will see you through.

    I don’t find all of these “ball and chain” jokes about marriage funny, they are just kind of…sad and pathetic. It doesn’t help that the media portrays married life as so joyless and sexless. My marriage and family are my greatest joy and it’s time we heard THIS side of the story and I’m happy we are able to do this on this post.

  • Iggles

    Thanks Maggie! It’s good to hear I’m on the right track.

    I don’t find all of these “ball and chain” jokes about marriage funny, they are just kind of…sad and pathetic. It doesn’t help that the media portrays married life as so joyless and sexless.

    I agree. It’s annoying! If you have contempt for your spouse, then why are you still together? If you’re not happy, either try to MAKE IT BETTER or end it. Complaining without any forward action is pathetic.

    My personal pet peeve is when guys who are married (its almost never women who do this) try to persuade their single guy friends not to get married! It’s all very “do as I say, not as I do”. If your relationship is miserable it doesn’t mean every else who enters a relationship will be too! Also, if you believe getting married is what destroyed your relationship, maybe you weren’t meant to be that person in the first place! (i.e., you were not compatible in the long run!)

  • Jesse

    73 comments! A record low.

    Nobody gives a crap about marriage.

    All these old people killin’ my vibes, man. ;-)

  • Ted D

    OTC – of course some of us care about marriage. It’s far easier to drive a thread to 1000+ comments when we are arguing and complaining than when we are purposely looking at the positive for a change.

    I can beat a dead horse like I’m getting paid for it. Truth is reading this thread has me wanting to put down the iPad and go be with my family. So I probably won’t be contributing to thread length. I don’t see it as a bad thing for anyone. ;-)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Truth is reading this thread has me wanting to put down the iPad and go be with my family.

      That makes me happy. I don’t view comment thread length as an indicator of the quality of the post, the commenters, or the degree of interest in a particular topic. Sometimes it’s evidence of little more than a particularly obstinate debater. I serve up plenty of controversy here, not all of it useful. It’s nice to switch things up, give young people something positive to think about, information they can mull over and put to use.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    Here’s a less hopey-feeling follow-up from me. I have a practical side, too. :P

    Don’t be excessively afraid of divorce. It is not the end of the world. Lots of people divorce and remarry, and often remarry the person they will be with for life. If you do marry the wrong person, you need to get out sooner rather than later (best before you have kids).

    Sort out your finances. Don’t get with a person who is deep in credit card debt and shows zero motivation to get financially solvent. Get your own finances in order. Be versed on credit ratings, taxes, and other simple legal matters that will become more important in a marriage.

    Find a hobby that the two of you can do together. It shouldn’t be too expensive, but it should be something you both genuinely enjoy. It will give you things to talk about aside from the drugery of everyday life, and inject some newness and fun into your lives. Even if it’s just taking a walk in nature together every now and then, doing positive things together is good glue that holds a marriage together.

    Talk, talk and talk. Don’t let things fester unsaid, and don’t assume that your spouse reads your mind. It will breed resentment if you don’t speak up and talk about your needs and wants. But don’t talk in a mean, nasty or argumentative way. Communicate like the adult you are, calmly, clearly and rationally. Talking is how you reconnect with your spouse. Talking is the first thing to go when marriages break down. It is also the first sign of infidelity, as when people step outside of the marriage, they start running up the phone hours and texting messages. So talk. Tell your loved one that he or she is loved. Talk about your past, your present and your future. Talk about each other, the kids, the news, the world, anything. Keep talking.

    More later.

  • Bells

    @OTC,

    True, there’s no debate – but nobody’s really asking questions either.

    I’m not even sure what questions to ask. I’m currently no-where near the average age of marriage (mid twenties-early thirties); but maybe someone around that age range may have some active questions to ask..

  • https://en.gravatar.com/jimbocollins Megaman

    @SW

    You’re a real Negative Nancy sometimes, you know that?

    Sometimes? A vast understatement… :wink:

    What does a successful, happy marriage look like?

    Other than my own and a few others I’ve observed firsthand, I honestly don’t know… This is an area where research can provide plenty of answers, but it probably wouldn’t mean much to the invidual married couple. :idea:

  • OTC

    My somewhat dark comment is observing that your readership don’t seem to be all that interested in marriage, based on what I can observe here.

    of course I know that I’m not your target audience.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      My somewhat dark comment is observing that your readership don’t seem to be all that interested in marriage, based on what I can observe here.

      It seems to me that they know that the best thing to do when one knows nothing about a subject is listen. That is often the mark of the most curious and enthusiastic learner.

  • SayWhaat

    I’ve been following this thread along with great interest. The majority of the new commenters are confirming my belief that a strong marriage has Communication and Commitment as two of its main pillars. If HUS readers learn to filter for that early on, then maybe we can be assured of strong marriages in the future as well.

    Speaking of filtering, here’s a question I’d like to ask of married commenters: when did you know that your soon-to-be-spouse was willing to go all-in? What gave you the sense that they would be 100% committed to making things work during the inevitable rough patches? Or was that a leap of faith when you made your vows?

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Yep. Not uninteresting at all…just that some of us that aren’t, you know, married, don’t have much to add to the conversation.

    I’ll add that communication definitely seems to be a life-saver, along with not assuming bad intent on the part of the other person. It also is good to be a bit other-focused and not self-focused all the time…

  • Abbot
  • J

    Don’t be excessively afraid of divorce. It is not the end of the world.

    That is a terrific commment, Hope. I was very tardy to the party because as a child of divorce, I was terrified of marriage. I wasted a lot of time.

  • J

    when did you know that your soon-to-be-spouse was willing to go all-in?

    On our first formal date. We are both children of divorce. Most of the evening was spent discussing what a good marriage would look like.

  • OffTheCuff

    ADBG: “Not uninteresting at all…just that some of us that aren’t, you know, married, don’t have much to add to the conversation.”

    Um, you’re not getting my point. The point is the unmarried folks should give us some rough ideas of what they are looking to hear, you know, some grist for ideas. Otherwise we just would be spouting off what we think is important, which probably isn’t of any use to you.

    Make more sense now? See, SayWhaat gets it:

    “when did you know that your soon-to-be-spouse was willing to go all-in? What gave you the sense that they would be 100% committed to making things work during the inevitable rough patches? Or was that a leap of faith when you made your vows?”

    From day 1. There was no difference in our realtionship the day after we met, vs. the day we were married, vs. today. We never had the adult talk that J did, because we were young, undivorced kids, but it was clear through her actions.

    I’ve related our DTR talk before, but now I can put it into useful context:

    Mrs. C: “I don’t date people who are playing the field. Am I your girlfriend now?”
    Me: (confused) “Yes. But I thought you already were.”

    A few months later, she told me she was in love. This was a scary thing for me, because, one girl did this to me on the second date, and I never saw her again, because clearly she was a bit messed in the head, and didn’t understand love the way I did. This time I wasn’t scared off because I sensed it really was genuine, and she DID mean it the way I would mean it. But, this was my *first* realtionship, and I just wasn’t sure yet. Was it love? Or just the fog of early lust? How could I know? I needed more time.

    So, I decided to be honest, and said “I’m not ready to say that word just yet, but when I do, I will mean it.” I thought she was going to be mad, but, apparently that was one of the big moments when she fell really hard for me.

    To recoup, I was all in from day 1, because I was either naïve and dumb, or strong and principled. I’m not sure which. Maybe both.

    And this brings me back to one of my beefs with how some people view LTR’s. I never, not even once, thought of breaking up for anything other than something manor like cheating, abuse, or addictions. I never had a “until I found better” or “until I graduate” escape clause in my head.

    Thats why the relationship lasted, even though graduated a few years before her. We did a long-distance relationship, 8 hours away. Then I moved to Germany, and it was even longer distance. We still made it work and got back together, and this was back when long distance was *expensive*.

    Because neither of us viewed it as temporary from the start.

    Mega: “Sometimes? A vast understatement”

    Oh, please. I’m still pro-marriage, family, and children – but I’m not going to pretend everything is perfect, and there are no problems anywhere, or that pure Christian once-and-done monogamy is the *only* game in town.

    You must be confusing me with someone else who explicitly will never marry. I’m more like Athol than Roissy.

  • Fifth Season

    It’s easy to see where the people talking about “depreciating assets” come from. Theirs is a world where wives routinely experience a “fatocalypse,” who then lose interest in sex beyond having children, who eventually get it on with the milkman/the plumber/”that hunk who mows the lawn next door,” then divorce their “innocent” husbands while taking the kids and assorted “cash and prizes.” The solution of those who hold this mindset is to “alpha up” and exploit female psychology to their advantage (i.e., by “spinning plates,” “soft harems,” or the like).

    There has never been a lack of unhappy marriages. What has always been lacking is enough patience, understanding, and commitment to help those marriages work.

  • https://en.gravatar.com/jimbocollins Megaman

    @SayWhaat

    When did you know that your soon-to-be-spouse was willing to go all-in? What gave you the sense that they would be 100% committed to making things work during the inevitable rough patches? Or was that a leap of faith when you made your vows?

    I’ll be the dissenting opinion on this one, it didn’t happen immediately. From this cautious guy’s perspective, having not dated multiple women at the same time, nor aimlessly jumping from GF to GF, a significant period of “just dating” (exclusively) was essential. Several years, actually. Plenty of time to get to know each other, to see if we could communicate as a couple, develop common interests, meet each other’s friends and family, assess each other’s financial habits, etc.

    All of this took place before there was any serious talk of moving in together or marriage. I tried not to confuse chemistry with compatibility, even though we were kind of joined at the hip soon after being introduced…

  • Ion

    OTC

    “Um, you’re not getting my point. The point is the unmarried folks should give us some rough ideas of what they are looking to hear, you know, some grist for ideas. Otherwise we just would be spouting off what we think is important, which probably isn’t of any use to you.”

    Good point, I guess my question is for any married men, was your selection for wife based on the fact that she was exceptional, or more because you were at the point when you wanted to marry?

    Say you got married at 29, would you have married if you met your wife at 23? What about 33?

    Are there any cases of men stringing a long the same girl for 2-5 years before marrying? Or did many of you know your wife was the one and proposed 6 months-1 year after meeting her?

    In all the cases I’ve seen, either people weren’t marrying because they were both waiting until they graduate school, or some other circumstance. But I’ve not known one guy who’s decided a girl was “the one” after 5 years of dating. When should a girl get nervous about this? After 6 months, 2 years? etc.,

    Any answers would be greatly appreciated.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    J, I personally know at least five happily married couples who got married in early 20s, had a divorce, and then went on to get married again and had kids. I suppose the moral of the story is don’t get married too early if you are in a not-so-great relationship, and also that divorce isn’t the end of the world.

    SayWhaat, I got married very quickly. We met at 25, engaged eight months later, married six months after that at 26. So there was definitely some “leap of faith” involved. I remember flying out here to spend a week with my now husband, and having the conversation with him about quitting my stable good job and moving across the country. He convinced me then that he wanted to be with me forever if I let him. So I put in my two-weeks notice and started packing. I felt like the stars aligned to bring us together, and I owed it to fate to give it my best shot.

    Ion, my husband said he had a feeling I was “the one” since the first month. However, I think there was also an element of “readiness” involved. He felt ready for a truly long-term relationship and marriage. Also we both had “been in love” before, taken the “red pill” and know when a relationship is good or bad. We were very clear-eyed about many things, while also being madly in love. We talked about how to pay the bills, leasing the apartment, buying furniture, and also meeting the future in-laws. A big part of this is his personality — he is very impatient, and when he wants something, he wants it NOW. Maybe other guys take longer to decide.

  • OffTheCuff

    Ion, I met her when she was 18 and a freshman, I was 20. We dated for 4.5 years before I proposed, and we were married 6 months later, almost 5 years on the dime. But, I knew she wanted to. She indicted interest perhaps a year or two after we met.

    I don’t see this as “stringing along” but rather making a careful, deliberate choice with my first and only girlfriend. Nobody, I mean NOBODY, was going to rush me on this when I was being a Good Boy and playing by the rules. An older guy, who’s been around the block a bit, probably deserves less time.

    That said, it’s voluntary – no one is entitled to marriage. If you want to get married, speak up, don’t wait in silence.

  • OffTheCuff

    Mega: “I’ll be the dissenting opinion on this one, it didn’t happen immediately. From this cautious guy’s perspective, having not dated multiple women at the same time, nor aimlessly jumping from GF to GF, a significant period of “just dating” (exclusively) was essential. Several years, actually. Plenty of time to get to know each other, to see if we could communicate as a couple, develop common interests, meet each other’s friends and family, assess each other’s financial habits, etc.”

    Mega, I agree with this here, except for the “dissenting” part. When I say “all in” I didn’t mean ready to marry or move in on propose, I mean “all in”, as in taking the relationship as seriously as I do now.

  • https://en.gravatar.com/jimbocollins Megaman

    @OTC

    Oh, please. I’m still pro-marriage, family, and children…

    Heh, I have to say this does come across like an exceedingly grudging admission, all things considered… :???:

  • Jesse

    I’ve never been married, but that can’t stop me from making a little logical exercise out of this.

    Let’s start with a quick definition of a healthy marriage as one in which each is concerned for the well-being of the other above their own. (Some here were mentioning common values, which is nice, but there are lots of people whom I share values with but with whom I would never, ever want to be married.)

    Now I work backwards. The question to ask is what makes this so? What characteristics of a woman would drive me to devote my energy to helping her?

    This is where my lack of data begins to show, but off the top of my head I came up with two important attributes: attractiveness and admirable qualities. The former should be fairly easy to understand though I’ll note it is not solely determined by physical appearance. The latter is a little tougher to define, though for me it clearly includes things like honesty, determination, courage, ambition, kindness and generosity.

    Those are things that would make me want to be with a woman, but I suppose the other obvious thing is for her to show an interest in me. If she’s an interesting, attractive, admirable person, and she shines her light on me… then I guess I’m sold.

    On a basic level I think each person has to continue to offer things the other wants, which means each person has to keep up or hopefully increase their value to the other over time, at least in the areas under one’s control. This should be a fairly clear warning against complacency.

    Several of the points raised by those relating their marriage experiences seem supportive of the points raised by my little exercise above. I’d be curious if anyone of either sex can build on what I’ve written, marriage experience or not.

  • Jesse

    I stayed a full week at their house, at the end of which I did the traditional thing and sat the mom and dad down, requesting their daughter’s hand in marriage.

    This is kind of funny to me, now that I think about it. Maybe I’m a dick, but I don’t think I’d ask the woman’s parents. I’d just state as fact that I’d like to marry her and listen to their reaction. I can be up front about it, sure, but unless this is some mere formality that is usually observed, I don’t think I’d ask. (This is not to suggest that I can’t have a good relationship with the in-laws – it’s just that I prefer a more assertive stance.)

    Hell, I don’t think I’d ask the woman herself if she wanted to get married. I certainly wouldn’t get down on one knee. I’d probably just pull her aside and say “I want to marry you.” I guess “Will you marry me?” just sounds a bit spineless and mushy to me.

    I’m not even sure what questions to ask. I’m currently no-where near the average age of marriage (mid twenties-early thirties); but maybe someone around that age range may have some active questions to ask..

    So how old are you?

    Robber,

    I’m very sorry about your late wife. It’s not easy to wonder what might have been.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    @Robber
    I’m really sorry about your wife.

  • szopen

    Married for 14 years if I count properly, with one crisis just before my wife become pregnant with our first child. I don’t know whether my marriage would qualify as a “great”, but we get along very nicely and the key here was, i think, that we were very similar in our views on world, had similar expectations, similar needs etc. Assortative mating in action :) In addition I guess the first child was crucial to cementing our marriage.

  • someINTP

    I cringed at that quote. There is nothing more depreciating than treating something or someone as an asset. It is the unflattering influence of egoism and materialism and the invasion of work life into family life. The trend needs reversing. People should think of themselves as community members, not some asset dropping speculator who can flee from the havoc they cause.

    Is there no shame? That economic metaphor was sought to remove the shame. If America still has a society, that shame should exist.

    But where are the appreciating assets? Should the woman come with a dowry to hedge against her “depreciation”. If a price tag has to be put on everyone and everything before you are comfortable with buying, then spend it on happiness instead of trying to buy more money with less money. Are we back to scheming our fortunes on marriage.

  • OffTheCuff

    Mega: “Heh, I have to say this does come across like an exceedingly grudging admission, all things considered… ”

    Not “grudging” at all. I quite enjoy my marriage and, unlike some, have posted detailed stories why. Do you have something specific to say?

  • J

    J, I personally know at least five happily married couples who got married in early 20s, had a divorce, and then went on to get married again and had kids. I suppose the moral of the story is don’t get married too early if you are in a not-so-great relationship, and also that divorce isn’t the end of the world.

    I’m sure this is the case, especially if your first encounter with divorce is as an adult and it’s your own divorce. Since DH and I loved through our parents’ multiple splits as kids, we were both pretty scared. Getting married was a real leap of faith for us.

    My late FIL used to introduce me as DH’s first wife, since he thought we’d be following the family tradition (On our fifth wedding anniversary. we became the longest lasting couple in his family’s remembered history.) I once replied to him that this marriage would only end with one of us in a pine box. The only question is if the other one would be in jail.

  • OffTheCuff

    Sure, in real life. However, online, it’s difficult to tell the difference between the silence of rapt attention, vs. the silence of nobody paying attention at all. And I mean this is the most genuine way. Nobody wants to talk to an empty room, ya know?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Sure, in real life. However, online, it’s difficult to tell the difference between the silence of rapt attention, vs. the silence of nobody paying attention at all. And I mean this is the most genuine way. Nobody wants to talk to an empty room, ya know?

      Yeah, I do know. Fair enough. It’s good that you put it out there, as some commenters stepped forward with good questions.

  • Maggie

    @Ion
    When should a girl get nervous about this? After 6 months, 2 years? etc.

    Back in the day after a couple had been dating two years the girl’s father might have asked her boyfriend what his intentions were. It sounds funny now but at least everyone would know where they stand.

    Once a woman is out of college, two years sounds long enough to know whether the relationship is headed to marriage. If a man still isn’t sure after that I’d question if he would ever be ready. I know a lot of men will disagree but it’s not smart for a woman to be waiting around five years for a man to decide. My husband and I knew within a few months that we each had found “the one.”

  • J

    Let’s start with a quick definition of a healthy marriage as one in which each is concerned for the well-being of the other above their own.

    That’s a good quick definition, though I think in practice people see their spouses well-being as equally important and their kids’ well-being as more important.

    I came up with two important attributes: attractiveness and admirable qualities.

    As I have gotten older and been married longer, looks have become less important to me and goodness far more important. I lucked out in that I found a guy who was both good and good looking. If I were in the market today and could only have one, I’d pick good over attractive–hands down.

  • J

    I quite enjoy my marriage and, unlike some, have posted detailed stories why. Do you have something specific to say?

    That’s the second time you’ve asked for details. I’m not sure what it is you want to know that people aren’t saying? What sort of detail are you looking for?

  • J

    @Robber

    I am terribly sorry that your wife was taken from you so young and in such an untimely way. I hope better things are in store for you and your child.

  • Cooper

    @Bells

    Why place an important on the average age of marriage?

  • Cooper

    importance*

  • Abbot
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  • OffTheCuff

    J, I am trying to get Mega to directly state what his problem with me is, rather than passively beat around the bush with vague “some male commenters” remarks and winky faces.

    I find it odd, since I’ve given tons of positive detail about my marriage, yet I am somehow only “grudgingly” pro-marriage, while he’s told comparatively little about his.

    After all, here is my grudging family: https://www.dropbox.com/s/te6oj8as26rmjg2/1stDay.jpg

  • https://en.gravatar.com/jimbocollins Megaman

    @OTC

    Do you have something specific to say?

    Just an observation, that’s all. It’s quite possible to be personally content and a bitter cynic all at the same time (e.g. Mr. Escoffier). Might explain the need for a scapegoat, which in your case is just a silly straw man: nobody to my knowledge has ever argued from a dogmatic or religious POV around here, nor advocated abstinence before marriage as the only way to go. Least of all the Blog Hostess.

  • SayWhaat

    OTC, you have a beautiful family!

    Might wanna keep an eye on the eldest one. He’s taking after his father. ;)

  • SayWhaat

    I am trying to get Mega to directly state what his problem with me is, rather than passively beat around the bush with vague “some male commenters” remarks and winky faces.

    I don’t think Megaman has a problem with you in particular. More like the attitude that you bring to the table, the same attitude that many other male commenters bring (“the world is out to get us, and we’ve suffered enough – time to make bitches pay”). It’s the same attitude that I strenuously object to — which gets me labeled a bitch too, I guess. Oh well.

    This thread is a welcome reprieve from all that. It really heartens me to see married commenters de-lurk and say positive things about marriage! I think it would be great if we could get more positive threads going every once in a while, sometimes the conversations we have here make me want to crawl into a hole. Being positive doesn’t necessarily have to mean being “blue pill”.

  • J

    Lovely wife and cute kids.

    I see you have a redhead in the bunch! I get a huge kick out of red hair. My mom and her brother were redheads.

  • http://7thseriesgongshow.blogspot.com Mr. Nervous Toes

    See OTC, you are successfully livening up this thread by making an uncontroversial topic controversial! Wasn’t so hard, was it.

  • J

    I don’t think Megaman has a problem with you in particular. More like the attitude that you bring to the table, the same attitude that many other male commenters bring (“the world is out to get us, and we’ve suffered enough – time to make bitches pay”).

    Hate to say it, OTC, but I agree with this too. I feel that you sometimes snap at me personally due to this attitude (and certain things that I say about myself rubbing you the wrong way). I usually just blow it off, but I do think you come off as unduly negative.

  • Jackie

    @OTC
    Hi OTC,

    First, your family is absolutely adorable! Congratulations! :)

    I think– and this could be completely wrong– that I read many of your posts through a lens of someone who has suffered spiritual abuse. That can leave serious, serious scars and (usually) displaced anger. I think that anger can show up in many areas, if the pain beneath it is not addressed.

    And I’m not sure where the “elite” angle fits in, as you reference it, but you remind me of when I have had a chip on my own shoulder about feeling “less than.” You continually reference yourself as “low SMV” when you have this beautiful family that you support, good health and fitness and, apparently, you and your wife have sex, like, 50 times a day! :shock:

    To me, it’s analogous to someone who has a *fantastic* job (great marriage) but has their degree from some no-name school (supposedly low SMV) being continually envious of someone who went to an Ivy (supposedly high SMV) who may be unemployed in a tough job market (i.e. dating).

    This is just my perception– I could be totally off the mark! This is how I read most of your posts, though: Someone with a great life who still may have a wounded soul.

    PS: This marriage thread has been really, really great. Heaps of kudos! :mrgreen:

  • Sai

    “the world is out to get us, and we’ve suffered enough – time to make bitches pay”
    As long as it’s just Marcotte, Dworkin, etc. and not the folks here, I accept someone must pay.

    I honestly give a crap, it’s just that I had nothing valid to type (except I feel bad about Mrs. Robber :( ) until I thought of something a few minutes ago:
    Everyone is human (I assume) and therefore imperfect, so how do you fight properly, if such a way exists, and then seek reconciliation?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      Everyone is human (I assume) and therefore imperfect, so how do you fight properly, if such a way exists, and then seek reconciliation?

      By far the toughest part is filtering out the people wrong for you and selectively filtering in people who are well suited to relationships in general and marriage in particular.

      So, for starters, never, ever marry someone with whom you argue a lot. Marriage magnifies big differences because the stakes are higher. It’s important to marry someone who shares your views, your values, and your beliefs, IMO. This applies to everything, from money, to feelings about kids, to core beliefs about humanity. I don’t think cynics and optimists mix well, nor do people of extremely different views, Carville and Matalin notwithstanding.

      Once you’re 100% comfortable with your level of compatibility, you’ve taken care of 80% of the problem. Then it’s a question of the small stuff and crisis management. There too, falling back on your shared values will get you through most things.

      My husband and I don’t disagree often, when we do it’s generally an exasperated snap of frustration, which blows over quickly. Each of us has been known to start laughing in the middle of these bickering moments. That’s possible because the relationship is 100% sound, and we know the argument is unimportant. When there are really big decisions to be made, and we don’t agree we either delay or one of us cedes to the other. For example, my husband wants to downsize and move to a condo in an even more urban setting. I think it’s a bit early. It will probably take us a couple of years to make that decision, during which he will attend Open Houses by himself. :)

      As I’ve said before, I defer to him on financial matters, and he tends to defer to me on parenting matters.

      But the key is the early filtering. That’s where 80% of the problems you’ll never have get prevented.

  • David in Dallas

    Sternhammer: ” Playboy wouldn’t want to publish their portrait anymore, but when I look at her getting dressed I still see them in all their youthful splendor.”

    This struck a chord with me.

    I’m not sure how universal this is, but a similar experience is true for me. With a little smile and a flash of some skin, I can see my wife sexually as she was over 10 years ago when we met. It’s like there’s a younger imprint of her inside me that can be accessed at different times. She and I may age, but the imprint doesn’t (at least I haven’t noticed). There will always be a part of her that I see as that younger version of herself.

    I used to think this is might be peculiar to me, my wife, or marriage. However, reflection suggests that it is not. I’m constantly having to “re-adjust” my view of our daughters because there’s always a part of me that sees them as the younger version of themselves. I’ve also seen something similar occuring at work.

    I think, younger women need to consider that, if they seek to “wait to get serious,” they may be failing to consider that, if you marry younger, then you may not be on the same “depreciation schedule” (to borrow the term) with your husband as you might be with others (i.e., the sexual marketplace). Likewise, younger men need to consider that, if you attach at a younger age to a woman, there will be part of the younger spouse that remains with you. As such, while we are all concerned with the declines that age forces upon us, if you marry younger, you may be able to capture some of your idealized youth inside your partner’s view of you.

    Unfortunately, reading over this, it sounds like hippy BS.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @David in Dalls

      I think, younger women need to consider that, if they seek to “wait to get serious,” they may be failing to consider that, if you marry younger, then you may not be on the same “depreciation schedule” (to borrow the term) with your husband as you might be with others (i.e., the sexual marketplace). Likewise, younger men need to consider that, if you attach at a younger age to a woman, there will be part of the younger spouse that remains with you. As such, while we are all concerned with the declines that age forces upon us, if you marry younger, you may be able to capture some of your idealized youth inside your partner’s view of you.

      Unfortunately, reading over this, it sounds like hippy BS.

      Haha, no it doesn’t! I think that’s a brilliant insight! I’ve never thought of this before, but I totally share the “imprint effect,” and I’m pretty sure many other people feel the same way. So it makes sense to imprint when you are as close to your peak as possible.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    I think I’m going to start answering questions until I gather my thoughts about my marriage.

    “When did you know that your soon-to-be-spouse was willing to go all-in? What gave you the sense that they would be 100% committed to making things work during the inevitable rough patches?”

    Two reasons, first: My husband showed that he had word for people he had no sexual interest in. Once upon a time women were advised to measure the character of a man looking how he treated others, specially people of lower stature before falling in love with them. Because is easy to treat someone you are attracted to nice, but this ‘feeling’ won’t last so you need to make sure he was a good man because a good man wouldn’t assume the commitment with you unless he was all in. Old fashioned but effective.
    Second my husband was not afraid of letting me qualify him. I asked for personal info when I needed at my time I of course followed with emotional escalation so he knew he was passing tests. I think a good man likes the idea of earning a woman’s affection among all others if she shows there is a price in the end. Of course I was a virgin so he knew there was no price discrimination and I was genuinely opening up to him everything he showed honesty and goodness. I’m pretty sure that he would had told me if I was not what he was looking for so I would so it was pretty much a given that if he was willing coming home from work to talk to me till it was time to go to bed every day is because he liked to talk to me. One advantage of dating introverted I guess.

    so how do you fight properly, if such a way exists, and then seek reconciliation?

    Never insult the other person, and never use any info you know because you are intimate with them against them. Don’t seek to win but to understand. And if things get to a point where insults start don’t go there. Remove yourself from the situation take a walk or a shower and resume when you know you are not going to say anything that you can’t take back.
    Not that I ever being to that point with my hubby but the few times we ‘fight’ I’m usually holding his hand or hugging him making sure he doesn’t feel attacked or unloved. And I always end with “Is there anything I’m doing that might bother you too?” Good faith and openness to improve both of our flaws. Marriage is about what make both of us happy or at least doesn’t make us unhappy. Is not about you or him winning is about marriage winning or losing as a team. Unless is a joke of course hubby and I do mock compete with each other but never seriously.

  • Jason773

    Besides the regulars, why are there a bunch of “happily” married new commenters who are hanging around HUS? Oh, they were linked here from Game/PUA/MRA blogs they say, or just stumbled upon this site, well that makes sense in the context of their marital bliss…

  • Jason773

    IDK if my first comment went through or not, but does anyone find it ironic that so many new commenters with “great” marriages are all of a sudden coming out of the woodwork and somehow finding their way to HUS (probably through a variety of PUA/Game/MRA type sites)? Seems a bit fishy to me…

    It’s kind of like a bunch of fatties talking about how content and happy they are with their bodies while sitting around a weight watchers meeting.

  • Ion

    “I don’t see this as “stringing along” but rather making a careful, deliberate choice with my first and only girlfriend. ”

    OTC, thanks for clarifying re the 5 year string-along. I do think your situation is more atypical these days, since you were both so young. And in your case, it definitely made sense to wait. But you have men in their 30s doing the same thing, when they’ve had plenty of relationship experience to know whether he feels compatibility or not. It’s almost impossible to tell the guys who are “seeing where it goes” and marriage down the road from guys who never will.

    Maggie and Hope

    “Once a woman is out of college, two years sounds long enough to know whether the relationship is headed to marriage. If a man still isn’t sure after that I’d question if he would ever be ready.”.

    That’s exactly what I’m wondering. Sure, I’ m running out of time (I’m 28), but a girl of 23 is going through the same situation if she waits 5 years. This “waiting and not knowing” is something a lot of girls seem to go through these days. Everyone I know who has gotten married in the past say, 7 years or so, did not have to wait an extended amount of time. The guy “knew” within a year if he’d want to marry her in all those cases (I know two couples where the guy popped the question on their 1 year anniversary).

    On the other hand, I know a couple who was perfect for each other, but has been dating for 8 years. There seems to be two extremes happening. One situation, girl waits forever while her MMV declines with age, the other where girl gets engaged within a year (2yrs tops). That’s really all I have seen.

  • http://www.decoybetty.com decoybetty

    Well, I’ve only been married for a little over a year – so maybe we’re still in the honeymoon period (although our second wedding was only a few months ago…maybe we’re only just starting the newly wed period?).

    Marriage does not seem like a life sentence, it seems like the start of an adventure with an incredible partner in crime. Life seems richer because I have someone to share the incredible highs and lows.

  • Bells

    @Jesse

    So how old are you?

    I’m 21

    Why place an importance on the average age of marriage?

    The prevalent view is that younger women shouldn’t commit to an early marriage because they haven’t fully explored the world around them nor have they had enough relationship experience to be able to identify a good partnership. Thus, they’re more susceptible to be unhappy and divorced with two kids by the age of 30.

    So, that’s why marriage hasn’t been a huge topic in my mind. I mean, I would naturally select for good partnership traits in a bf but I haven’t actually thought through the actual implications of marriage.

  • J

    As long as it’s just Marcotte, Dworkin, etc. and not the folks here, I accept someone must pay.

    The problem is that no one can pay, really. Shit happens, and then the damge is done. Sometimes it can’t be undone. Sometimes restitution can be made; other times it can’t. You just have to let it go and move on.

  • http://bastiatblogger.blogspot.com Bastiat Blogger

    On a somewhat tangential note, I have been enjoying a book called “What to Expect When No One is Expecting”. It describes a whole range of microeconomic incentives against having many children, many of them the unintended consequences of progressive social goals, and the looming socioeconomic ramifications for the United States.

    Some of the factors are well known, but others struck me as quiet subtle. For instance, laws requiring that children be placed in the backseats of automobiles, in child safety seats, make it much more expensive and difficult to transport more than 2 children in one vehicle.

    Another interesting anecdote considers how high-end boutiques for
    children’s clothing are dying out in affluent urban areas like Old Town Alexandria, while luxurious pet spas, pet grooming centers, and doggy day cae centers have been seeing explosive growth. The author looks at similar trends in Japan and Italy and suggests that America’s educated white UMC cohort—which has a fertility rate far below replacement level—is increasingly viewing the luxury-groomed pet as an alternative to a human baby, although few would probably state it in such stark terms.

  • Lokland

    Happy thread, like this quite a bit.

  • tsimmons

    I’m sorry I can’t join in the happy-fest.

    I’d encourage men considering marriage to remember one thing: that women are often said to desire marriage for “security”.

    You have to ask yourself: security against what, exactly?

    I can tell you: security against the possibility that you might decide to leave.

    Now, there are women who can deal with getting that “security”. But there are also women who can’t. And it can be hard to tell the difference up front, but you have to try your best to do so. Because when you get married, you are transforming a woman who has to worry that you’ll leave if she’s unpleasant into a woman who knows she can brutalize you if you leave because she’s unpleasant. You are taking a person in a position of rough equality with you and turning them into a person who has an immense amount of power over you. Can you trust them with that power? Sometimes you can, but in a not inconsiderable percentage of cases, you can’t.

  • http://happycrow.wordpress.com Russ in Texas

    @Bastiat,

    A trend that’s present in San Francisco, where there are famously more dogs than children. Very much not the case in flyover country, where it’s hard to represent yourself as a success unless you have kids.

  • Cooper

    “younger women shouldn’t commit to an early marriage because they haven’t fully explored the world around them nor have they had enough relationship experience to be able to identify a good partnership.”

    *reads: haven’t had enough fun yet*

    :P

  • Bells

    @Robber,
    So sorry for your unfortunate loss :/

    @Ion

    And in your case, it definitely made sense to wait. But you have men in their 30s doing the same thing, when they’ve had plenty of relationship experience to know whether he feels compatibility or not. It’s almost impossible to tell the guys who are “seeing where it goes” and marriage down the road from guys who never will

    That sounds like an awful limbo to be stuck in.

    @OTC,
    I love the family picture of your little kids. Too cute! Thanks for sharing.

  • Bells

    reads: haven’t had enough fun yet

    Yea I know exactly how it reads. But I really don’t know what else to think– I suppose there’s a certain amount of truth to this viewpoint

    But it’d be cool to hear from anyone who has experience with marriage at a younger age in which the couple has stayed together for a significant amount of time.

  • Bells

    @Cooper,
    Would you say that you’re seriously down for marriage (at 21, i think)?

  • Iggles

    @ SW:

    It seems to me that they know that the best thing to do when one knows nothing about a subject is listen. That is often the mark of the most curious and enthusiastic learner.

    +1

    @SayWhaat, J:

    I don’t think Megaman has a problem with you in particular. More like the attitude that you bring to the table, the same attitude that many other male commenters bring (“the world is out to get us, and we’ve suffered enough – time to make bitches pay”).

    I agree OTC. Though, it may just be a matter to tone lost in translation. *shrugs*

    I do love the questions that have been brought up, and the light overall tone of this thread!

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    The author looks at similar trends in Japan and Italy and suggests that America’s educated white UMC cohort—which has a fertility rate far below replacement level—is increasingly viewing the luxury-groomed pet as an alternative to a human baby, although few would probably state it in such stark terms.

    Check the mother’s and father’s day cards aisle when you do grocery shopping. There are cards for daddies and mommies of dogs and cats already.

  • Iggles

    @ Ana:

    Check the mother’s and father’s day cards aisle when you do grocery shopping. There are cards for daddies and mommies of dogs and cats already.

    Sad.. Pets are great but they are not children! *shakes head*

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    OTC, beautiful family you have there!

    David in Dallas “if you marry younger, you may be able to capture some of your idealized youth inside your partner’s view of you.”

    I agree 100%.

  • Ion

    Ana,

    “Check the mother’s and father’s day cards aisle when you do grocery shopping. There are cards for daddies and mommies of dogs and cats already.”

    There are dogs in NYC who have better healthcare than the average full time worker! It’s crazy.

    If you ever visit NYC you should visit Trixie + Peanut, or the other more high end dog shops just for fun. http://www.trixieandpeanut.com/category-38679-Bathwear-+-Pajamas

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    If you ever visit NYC you should visit Trixie + Peanut, or the other more high end dog shops just for fun. http://www.trixieandpeanut.com/category-38679-Bathwear-+-Pajamas

    39 dollars for a dog’s PJ?! Not even a big dog but a tiny one. I think seeing that live will just depress me. :(

  • OffTheCuff

    Mr. NT: well, someone had get the discussion started, didn’t they? A little cut is sometimes necessary open the fruit.

    J/SayWhaat: “the world is out to get us, and we’ve suffered enough – time to make bitches pay”. No doubt some come off like that, and I dont intend to, but my personal attitude is more “I don’t want to be a chump anymore” not “I want to reign terror on evil females”. Yikes to the latter.

    Jackie: you probably right, and it’s quite kind of you to say that.

  • https://en.gravatar.com/jimbocollins Megaman

    @Iggles

    Though, it may just be a matter to tone lost in translation.

    I’m sure part of it’s perception, but I can’t ignore the irony…

  • Esau

    I have just a short note, expanding on something Hope said and maybe replying to SayWhaat above.

    I would not wish hardship or strife or even inconvenience on anyone; but when it does, inevitably, happen it can provide a real, honest testing ground. Basically, does your SO being with you make it easier or harder to deal with problems that you encounter together, ranging from annoyances up to serious threats?

    When my wife and I were first dating we went on a number of long road trips together, involving planes, trains, and — mostly — automobiles. Since we didn’t have much money in those days we had to make up for it by driving old cars and staying and eating in dodgy places at odd hours, and so there was always the potential for unexpected adventure. And, indeed, stuff did happen! though I won’t go into detail here. But what I mainly remember from those days was, that whatever accident or disaster befell us, being together always made it easier to cope with. What would have been a dreary nightmare or horrendous pain if she or I had been alone, became instead a funny story of something the two of us had conquered by working together. And that was a real clue that we were well-suited to be together for the long haul.

    With the longer view, now, I see this as the start of a gradual process of valuing people over stuff: as long as we’re together, everything else about our material state recedes in relative importance. I feel quite certain, in fact, that if we came home from some trip to find the house accidentally burned to the ground, as long as the family is all together and safe then it really wouldn’t be that big a deal. A lot of trouble, sure, but not a crushing existential loss; and eventually just another funny story of something we’d made it through together.

    So, while I can’t tell you how to find it or make it, I can nominate this as one of my favorite ingredients for a great marriage: that being able to be with the other person always makes hardships easier to deal with. You’ll definitely know it when you see it, or know when you don’t.

  • Jesse

    As I have gotten older and been married longer, looks have become less important to me and goodness far more important. I lucked out in that I found a guy who was both good and good looking. If I were in the market today and could only have one, I’d pick good over attractive–hands down.

    Without any snark, this may be because you don’t have to wonder what it would have been like to marry a better-looking man. You’ve got a point though. I think there are certain ineffable characteristics that make a person much more lovable, and a few physical imperfections can be enthusiastically dismissed… ‘because she’s wonderful.’ An attractive shell is great, even necessary, but when you really click with someone you start to see right through to the inside and you’ve fallen in love with the person, not just the face. That’s how you can adore a woman even when she’s scrubbing the toilet or her breasts have sagged.

    I mean, I want a hot wife, so looks are clearly important to me, but I’m baffled by any man who says a woman’s worth is mostly predicated on her looks. I think the man who wrote about financing a depreciating asset is either displaying a profound lack of perspective or he genuinely has no use for women other than sex. (And I make my own jokes about how women should have have a three-position dial on the back that says “Cook-Clean-Blowjob.” Sorry, just makes me laugh.)

    In all seriousness, I think there’s a certain bit of magic that looks can’t provide. It has to do with disposition and character traits, and probably also the person’s life story and experiences, because the things a person has been through and the manner in which they have reacted and overcome can really resonate and evoke very strong feelings from within, and draw you closer, to the point where you want to create the deepest bond possible with that person.

    Just my two cents. It’s strange how much I manage to write about something I have so little experience with… I hope I don’t come across like a blowhard. I just like discussing these things and applying my mind to them, and hopefully furthering my knowledge.

  • Jesse

    I’m 21

    Bells, why don’t I get your e-mail address? We seem to be vaguely on the same page on some of these things, and it’s good to have members of the opposite sex to pass ideas back and forth and serve as a sounding board. If you’re interested in having discussions or just chatting about these things I’d enjoy that.

  • HanSolo

    @Esau

    Good point on how the couple helps each other handle hardship.

  • Emily

    >> “Another interesting anecdote considers how high-end boutiques for
    children’s clothing are dying out in affluent urban areas like Old Town Alexandria, while luxurious pet spas, pet grooming centers, and doggy day cae centers have been seeing explosive growth.”

    I once worked across the street from a “Dog Bakery”. For Halloween they did a fundraiser for the Humaine Society where you could take your dog “trick or treating” to various local businesses and get free Dog Bakery samples. It was cute when little kids brought their dog around. It was less cute when 30-something women did it (often with an extremely whipped boyfriend in tow). I’d say that about 50% of the people who stopped by were kids.

  • http://Marellus.wordpress.com Marellus

    I love reading the personal testimonies. Thank you and once again thank you.

    While the cynic is seldom wrong, the idealist is always right.

  • angelguy

    As a single man over 40, I am finding all of these posts very enlightening.
    I don’t have much to say about the subject, but like Susan said in a earlier post, sometimes it is just best to listen.

  • https://en.gravatar.com/jimbocollins Megaman

    @Marellus

    While the cynic is seldom wrong, the idealist is always right.

    Humpf, no room for the realist? That’s another essential part of any good marriage, not to mention most discussions around here.

  • SayWhaat

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for all the responses to my question. There’s a reason I asked…my boyfriend and I broke up last night.

    I’m fine, he’s fine. We just finally admitted that we weren’t compatible in the long run. It was a good relationship, I have no regrets. We are still on good terms.

    Weirdly enough, I’m optimistic about the future. It’ll be hard adjusting back to the single life, but I’ll be okay.

    Internet hugs are still much appreciated, though. Lol.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @SayWhaat

      I’m glad you found value in your relationship, and that you were able to objectively assess the potential for a future together. Endings are painful, even when we know they are right. I think taking a break is a fantastic idea. I think you will find that there are actually aspects of being single that you will enjoy. There is someone out there who is right for you, and when you are ready you can go find him!

  • Cooper

    @Say

    *hugs*

  • OffTheCuff

    Oh crap, sorry to hear that, SayWhaat.

  • David in Dallas

    @angelguy: If you’re older and interested in a LTR or marriage, I encourage you to realize there are at least two dating tracks: 1) I want to have fun and 2) I’m looking. (There’s probably many more than 2, but you get the idea.) Realizing which track you are on and which track your “potential” is on is very important. There is a lot of confusion that occurs when people are on different dating tracks or are unclear on what track they actually want to be on.

    I was well-into my 30s when my wife and I got together. I informed her relatively early that I wasn’t “messing around” and that I was looking for someone to have kids and grow old with. It added clarity to the beginning of our relationship. It also made it less intimidating and difficult to address “qualifying” issues, which could have been easily misunderstood otherwise.

    Maybe sometime in our cultural past the dating-leads-to-marriage track was assumed to be the norm. You can’t make those kinds of assumptions anymore, if you ever could.

    Not sure if that’s applicable for you, but many “older” singles I’ve talked to seemed to get something out of that view.

    @SayWhaat: [Internet hug.] Every relationship will fail, except your last. It’s a built in feature that failure will seem to overwhelm success in personal relationships. Just a little perspective from an e-stranger who’s been there.

  • Bells

    @Saywhaat,
    oh noo! I was really rooting for you. {{{{hugs :) }}}}

    @Jesse,
    umm okay, sure. Maybe Susan could give you the email? I just don’t want to put out info on a forum

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    I was well-into my 30s when my wife and I got together. I informed her relatively early that I wasn’t “messing around” and that I was looking for someone to have kids and grow old with. It added clarity to the beginning of our relationship. It also made it less intimidating and difficult to address “qualifying” issues, which could have been easily misunderstood otherwise.
    This was hubby and me we were both interviewing each other for the position of spouse. I guess you are right about knowing what we were looking for the relationship helped to open up about things other people might be more shy or wait for the relationship to be ‘old enough’ to share certain things. It doesn’t sounds fun but it works for the type that don’t find wondering about someone else’s feelings fun, YMMV.

    @Saywhaat
    *hugs*

  • Emily

    * eHugz for Saywhaat*

    I’m sorry to hear that. :( Please keep us updated! I care way more than I should about HUS’ love lives.

  • Ion

    Aww Saywhaat, :-( I’m so sorry. It looks like you guys are handling it maturely, way to go. I agree with Emily that you should keep us updated!

  • Sai
  • J

    Without any snark, this may be because you don’t have to wonder what it would have been like to marry a better-looking man.

    I can’t argue with that.

    It’s strange how much I manage to write about something I have so little experience with… I hope I don’t come across like a blowhard.

    No, you are obviously a very reflective young man.

  • J

    I’m sorry to hear that, Say Whaat. I’m glad you have such a good outlook towards the break up. Sometimes, from each relationship, we learn more about what works for us. Nothing is every really wasted.

  • J

    Marellus: While the cynic is seldom wrong, the idealist is always right.

    J: Pithy and true

    Mega: Humpf, no room for the realist?

    J: Also true.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    SayWhaat, I’m sorry to hear that. *Big hugs*

  • anonymous

    Financial security makes for a great marriage. A huge cushion between revenue and spending reduces marital stress. Couples in all times and all places stayed together primarily for financial security and advantages, and often for survival. In the western world UM class couples are statistically stable because of the financial advantages of two incomes.

  • A mom at home

    I’m reaching my 15th anniversary, plus 3 yrs dating/living together/engaged, we have 2 kids. This will jump around in time. We have had ups and downs – 2 particularly rough patches mostly due to my own mood problems. I had dated a fair amount, and been in 3 LTR. Looking back I guess I did some games but in a self protective way, and i was very up front with my feelings. Having those prior relationships was probably HOW I knew my husband “could be” “the one”, very quickly. Not THE one, but a good chance. In my last relationship I had to wear the pants and I was sick of it. I wanted a real man who would be in control of himself. At 23, I wanted a LTR leading to marriage, thank goodness. We met when we were both 23, we married at 26. We’d gone to the same HS so some of those questions of “who is this person, really?” were easier for us. A few months in he discovered some things about my past that he was quite put off by. I had some issues when I was younger. Having a Dad abandon you is pretty hard on a little girl and some seek approval from men to compensate. Nuff said. Guys – don’t do it. Stay close to your daughters. Once we had established that my past was not how I wanted to continue living and that I felt I had made mistakes & I had already corrected them, we were able to continue on together. It was almost a dealbreaker. I have never cheated and am committed to never do so. When we met, and during our first conversations I had a strong feeling of excitement and compatibility. I was very clear almost instantly about what his difficult qualities were, and that I could handle them, and I was very accurate about that. I fell for him very quickly. He liked many things about me, was attracted to me, found me challenging, and to be his equal. He needed a few months, and living together to decide if I was marriage potential. I passed his tests, barely, but I’ve continued to grow in my weak areas and am a better wife to him now than earlier in our marriage. I am excited about our future together. Oh, my mom remarried and his parents were still together, so we had examples of commitment (and divorce on my side) and both made clear that we believed in commitment. We agreed we both wanted kids. We are very compatible in our spending/saving styles and close on religious views. We enjoyed time together doing not much of anything. We are not materialistic. We love to explore cities. We pull together as a team against common enemies. Wanting to “win” an argument is one of the weaknesses I work on. ***there has to be chemistry between you, at some point, or i don’t think it will work*** I used to dislike swallowing, now I love it because of how amazing it makes him feel :) and it makes him love me more! He is generous in bed too.

  • David in Dallas

    @Jason773: Regarding the cynicism about new posters and their happy marriages. Since I’m a relatively new poster, I’ll respond to you directly.

    First, the post asked married folks to share what has worked. So, most posts are going to be written by married people and they will have a positive angle. This is distinctly different from the normal posts, which focus more on the problems and pitfalls of younger, single life. The focus of the post is different, and it specifically requested a different demographic to speak up. This happens and you seem surprised.

    Second, no one owes you an explanation for what we’re doing here. But people can get here for all kinds of reasons that are different from the reasons why you’re here. I came to this site a few months ago because I have two daughters, both very young. I felt unprepared to help them figure out things related to sex, marriage, and relationships because of the evolving nature of male-female relationships. I’ve had no reason to try to figure out relationships from a female perspective, except to the extent that it affected my relationships. But, now, I’ll be responsible for helping my daughters sort this stuff out. This blog seemed to be a good mixture of realistic and non-combative, while trying to sort through the literature. I’m hoping to arm my little girls with appropriate information so that they have the best possible chance of a happy life. I don’t normally post because 1) I’m here to learn about the current dating market, which I don’t know much about, not to give other people advice, and 2) I’m gathering information to help me to help my very young daughters, not myself. I came here trying to learn to be a better dad; if I become a better husband in the process, bonus, but it’s the dad thing that brought me here.

    Your implication that the new posters (like me) got here because we hanging around PUA sites to pick up chicks on the side to compensate for our supposed failing marriages (or whatever it is that your trying to imply) is nothing more than an unfair ad hominem. If you have specific issues with any of the suggestions, bring that up. If you believe someone is specifically trolling, get specific about who and why. But generally casting a disapproving eye that married people are sharing what has worked in their marriages, when specifically asked to do so, was unfair and counter-productive to request in the original post.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    I know is a bit late but I think I got something interesting to contribute finally.
    What makes my marriage great is that we assume that the other love us, accept us as we are and has our best interest at heart.
    Hubby and I are 70% compatible but that 30% left is where we need to have faith that he is not forgetting or doing something I would like just because he is a jerk, neither that I don’t do certain things for him because I’m a bitch but because we are both humans and make mistakes and are working on making them better and will in the long run. The rest of our lives is a given so we can pick our fights for another day, there will be plenty after all.

    To use an example I’m extroverted, he is introverted. He worries a lot that I will get miserable here because I don’t have as many friends and social activities as I used to have back home. I worry that I might make him to socialize much more than he feels comfortable with and he will spent more energy trying to keep up and that will make him miserable. I try to keep my social interactions where he needs to participate within certain limit and he goes out of his way to please me when I really need to go out and talk to people and encourage me to do social activities instead of staying home the days I feel like going out.
    Neither of us tries to change the other or think that our way is perfect and the best, but think that we complement each other and that he is better of having someone to push him a little out of his comfort zone and I benefit for having some quiet time when I need to.
    We don’t believe that you can make the other person happy but you can do your darn best not to make them unhappier because they choose you as a mate.
    Hope that helps!

  • http://en.gravatar.com/marellus Marellus

    Megaman,

    @Marellus

    While the cynic is seldom wrong, the idealist is always right.

    Humpf, no room for the realist? That’s another essential part of any good marriage, not to mention most discussions around here.

    A realist sees the humor …

    http://25.media.tumblr.com/670e5aac545e22de4e185a5bcc9e2605/tumblr_mhcyk899Dj1r7qko3o1_500.jpg

    http://notdiscovery.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/wheel.gif

    *******************************************************************

    SayWhaat,

    Somehow, I don’t think me offering you a lapdance, is gonna cheer you up. I am sorry about this tragedy, for this is a tragedy. But hang on luv, all good things in life comes to those who can wait.

    So have a good cry, drink some red wine, watch some music videos, swear at Justin Bieber, and go to sleep … and you know what, do it again tomorrow.

    You’ve earned it.

    And then you come back here, and start giving me grief. You hear me.

    When I was in school, at the start of a holiday, a dominee of the Dutch Reformed Church would come and give a talk/sermon to the whole school.

    Boring usually.

    But there was one sermon that stood out for me. The dominee told a story :

    A king called his wisest counselor and said the following to him :

    I’m having a new ring made. It needs an inscription. And that inscription must have a message for me, in every situation that I’m in, no matter what I’m thinking. I need you to formulate that inscription for me. Leave the palace, and don’t come back until you do.

    The counselor left. He was tormented by the request. It took him days. He returned to the king.

    Give me the ring Your Majesty, that I may take it to the artisans.

    His request was granted. And later he returned to the king.

    Your Majesty, you requested an inscription that will counsel you, warn you, and comfort you in any situation that you’re in. I have found it. Here is the ring.

    The king took the ring. And on the ring were engraved these words :

    This too, shall pass.

    *****************************************************************
    J,

    Thanks, I have my moments.

  • http://en.gravatar.com/marellus Marellus

    Anonymous #179.

    One can’t argue with that … but one can still hope.

    *********************************************************************

    Ana, #183

    I never pegged you as an extrovert from the way you write. Interesting.

  • Iggles

    SayWhaat,

    Sorry to hear that :(
    *hugs*

    Though it’s good you can appreciate what you had together, how you’ve grown personally, and harbor no regrets. Endings are painful, however right around the bend is a new beginning. We’re just too close to the screen to see how all these pixels form an image. (Ok, nerdy analogy but you get it.)

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Sorry to hear about your misfortune, SW :(

    I hope all the best for you, but….you seem like a smart enough girl that you aren’t going to need it. You got a good head on your shoulders

  • https://en.gravatar.com/jimbocollins Megaman

    @SayWhaat
    Damn… that’s a mature response to a *very* rough thing to go through.
    Though I’ve never seen ya nor met ya, you’re in my thoughts… :sad:

  • SayWhaat

    Thanks, everyone. Your kind words mean a lot to me.

    Yes, it’s pretty painful right now. I’ll get through it, just like I’ve gotten through other painful things before. Knowing that it was the right decision makes it easier. There’s no “what if?” or looking back, which makes the future a little more clear.

    I still think highly of him and I’m glad he was a part of my life. I’m glad I had a positive relationship experience. I hope that when I’m ready, my next one will be 10x better.

    Thanks again for your supportive words and e-hugs. I really appreciate it.

  • https://en.gravatar.com/jimbocollins Megaman

    @Marellus
    Dry humor doesn’t always lighten the mood, but here’s hoping:
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Wqo9IVCWV5E/SdzI-kzjG5I/AAAAAAAACMY/unFNzaUSiZU/s1600-h/bz+MuseumInternet04-01-09WB.jpg

  • Jackie

    @SW

    ((((((SayWhaat))))))

    I must say, you’re handling this with a great deal of maturity and self-possession. That is something upon which to be congratulated. :)

    Here is something to take your mind off of things for a few minutes:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlezOeXGt4c

    And this, too :mrgreen:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/can-you-make-it-through-this-post-without-your-day

  • http://en.gravatar.com/marellus Marellus

    Megaman,

    :-D

  • Jesse

    umm okay, sure. Maybe Susan could give you the email? I just don’t want to put out info on a forum

    Hmm, judging by your reaction, looks like I’m going to have to tighten up my HUS game, Susan Walsh-approved. ;-)

    There’s no need to bother her. If you’re interested send it to this address: 1959creamgmail.com

    J,

    No, you are obviously a very reflective young man.

    Thanks. That’s nice of you to say.

  • Jesse

    Aye, that address should have an at sign just before ‘gmail’. I tried to use the inequality symbols to evade the bots but I forgot those symbols are used for code around here.

  • Bells

    @Jesse
    No I really don’t mind. I’ll send you an email

  • Cooper

    @Jesse

    1959cream.. ?

    Lmao.

  • Cooper

    Cream wasn’t founded until ’66 ! :P

  • Jesse

    I know, but the guitar Clapton used to create those glorious tones was a Les Paul of that era – most likely a 1960 model, but I just picked 1959 because I like the number and I have this warm, fuzzy feeling about the 1950s. It’s just a throwaway address anyway – don’t judge a man!

    Which is your favorite album of theirs? I think Fresh Cream is wonderful. The way they play is really trippy, because Clapton is a straight blues man while Bruce and Baker play in more of a jazz style. Clapton has such a lovely tone on that album, probably because of the KT66 valves in his amplifier. It’s such a large, round tone without being too aggressive – it still sounds smooth.

    He plays some great passages in songs like Sleepy Time Time and Sweet Wine, but I think Spoonful is the centerpiece of the album. When he launches into that solo… wow. I just love those tones with the high end rolled off. They hit you in the chest – no shrillness at all. The reverb he got is great too.

  • Jesse

    This is maybe the finest cut from an earlier album he played on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EwreAQBMSE&t=3m02s

    When I was maybe 13 I read a journalist’s description in Rolling Stone of that solo as being like a cock ripping through a girl’s trousers. Naturally I thought that was quite vulgar, but then I went back and listened and I was like oh God – he’s absolutely right. There’s a really delicious buildup of tension and then when the solo hits – yep, that description is about right.