Focus on Preparing for Your Marriage, Not Your Wedding

I recently stumbled across a classic piece from a delightfully cantankerous Catholic priest, sternly lecturing an insouciant (and probably made-up) bride-to-be for her frivolity with respect to her coming wedding. (The priest, Father Richard Simon, is presently in the Archdiocese of Chicago, and runs a worthy blog). It’s worth reading.

I’m interested to hear what our readers did to prepare, not for their weddings, but for their marriages.

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24 thoughts on “Focus on Preparing for Your Marriage, Not Your Wedding

  1. As dedicated (i.e., rebellious) protestants, Mrs. N and I focused on neither our wedding nor our marriage. Too young and poor to afford anything fancy, we were woefully under-prepared, probably ill-suited for each other, immature. The only reason I wanted to get married was guilt-free sex. 23 years, a dip in the Tiber, and 8 kids later, it has been a smashing success.

    Guilt free sex is no doubt one of the worst reasons to get married. Still the worse reasons for doing the right thing are better than the best reasons for not doing it.

  2. Of course is often turns out like that. The parents are seldom ever involved in the mate selection, courtship, or wedding plans and expect, apparently, that the ignorant kids will figure all of it out on their own.

    • I can’t help but wonder, however, how much of preparation for successful marriage might come from 1) genetics; and 2) early childhood environment. Neither my parents nor Mrs. N’s ever divorced. If a child isn’t raised with the concept that divorce is possible, then it probably won’t easily become part of their toolkit even if they suffer for a time in an apparently difficult marriage. And an unwillingness to divorce under any circumstances is probably the best predictor of marital success.

      As a parent I want very much to be a part of that selection process, even as I actively encourage early marriage, principally as a way of avoiding sin. If, however, I were to find one run off and marry someone I don’t consider suitable, I wouldn’t lose much sleep over it because I think the kids have been raised well enough to make adult decisions, and be willing to live virtuously with the consequences even if they make bad ones.

      On the subject of divorce, this song from Everclear warms my reactionary heart: an angry middle finger to the boomer establishment.

  3. I wouldn’t lose much sleep over it because I think the kids have been raised well enough to make adult decisions, and be willing to live virtuously with the consequences even if they make bad ones.

    You should. There’s no way most kids today can pull this off because the social environment is way too toxic. Heck, it was bad when I was young, it’s much worse now. The vast majority of parents are way too liberal and polite to do or say anything when a child has chosen an inappropriate mate, they just let him go ahead without a peep. I’ve seen it over and over, with all my family and friends’ families. This is whether the child is rebellious or not, how well they have been raised, it doesn’t matter. Kids just don’t know about any of this, despite having been instructed over and over. They need constant guidance, esecially on something this difficult and important and the adults are not helping them.

    • Of course I cannot say with certainty how I would react when presented with a particularly vexing situation. But you are ignoring the premise of my comment, Rusty, which had to do with genetics and upbringing. How much of a person’s moral fiber is set in stone by age 7 or age 13? I don’t no, but it is no doubt a fraction much larger than 0.

      And while the environment is toxic, the principles which allow a young person (man that makes me sound OLD!) to navigate the stream are simple, easily learned, and unchanging. If anything, the evils don’t disguise themselves nearly as well these days. 50 years ago a man would really have to work hard to get a girl to offer her virginity. Today, the wrong kind of boy would expect to get it on the first date. There are a lot more of the wrong kind of boy, but they are nowhere near as skillful.

      • Oh, Steve, did I leave the impression I was criticizing your first comment? Sorry, originally I was addressing the reasons why the marriage ceremonies turn out like in the article — because of low parental involvement.

        I agree with your first post. Congratulations on your long, fruitful, and successful marriage, and wish you many more years of the same.

  4. “On the subject of divorce, this song from Everclear warms my reactionary heart: an angry middle finger to the boomer establishment.”

    There’s a very good reason why so many old people are sitting alone in nursing homes. Many of them were perfect jerks to their children and now their children don’t want to be around them. It is cruel but they are reaping what they have sown. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for most old folks. A tiny handful of them had time for us when we were younger and needed their help and attention. Baseball, boy scouts, 4H, FFA, you name it, only one or two parents ever bothered to help or show up, ever. They nad no more idea than a man in the moon what we were “learning” in school, not a care. Though they all preached about getting A’s and education, they never even seriously investigated our classes or even cracked open one of our books. They were always too busy working, partying and enjoying themselves, golfing, dancing, smoking, drinking, falling down. But, boy, could they preach to us! Psycho hypocrites. Now my generation, no surprise, is even worse with their children. It sucketh.

    I’m breaking that chain.

    • “I don’t have a lot of sympathy for most old folks.”

      Young people will have exactly the same attitude towards you some day when you’re sitting alone in a nursing home. It won’t matter what you do for them. They either won’t remember any of it or they won’t want to be reminded. They are being taught to dismiss their elders as a bunch of losers, in any case.

      • You are right, they will have the same attitude because that is the culture. I am working to reverse that with my own family, which is the best anyone can do.

  5. As a young, single, traditionalist-minded man, I’m always mildly concerned about finding an actual woman to settle down with. I shoot for white, southern, and Christian, but that’s never a guarantee that she won’t turn out to hold deep-seated feminist views.

    Thoughts from older, married men?

    • A willingness to follow, truly follow, in Biblical marriage is, in my view, the only basic requirement. There are practically no women born in the US in the last 60 years that haven’t swallowed some of the poison. My advice: find a woman…

      1) with low N (ideally 0, but at most less than 1/2 of your own N, to account for self-deception);

      2) with a non-career “oriented” career if she has one at all;

      3) who will eschew divorce for any reason whatsoever. Would she, for example, shun her own sister or best friend if they wanted out of their marriage for any but the most lethal of reasons? Would they refuse to attend a re-marriage of the same?

      4) who wants children, preferably as many as prudence will allow;

      That and a nice ass and she’ll be a keeper.

      • Learn female psychology. Women are emotional creatures driven by attraction; they cannot help their feelings for or against a man. Chemistry is numero uno in their book. Learn what “game” is all about (Google Roissy game) but beware the moral degeneracy of its proponents. If you are going to be a husband (be a steward, the one with ultimate responsibility) and she is to be your helper, you’d better know her better than she does or you will not hold her respect.

        Flowers and buying dinner doesn’t get the chicks. Don’t be a doormat or a whiteknight trying to rescue every wayward girl, they hate that. They will take advantage of you and treat you like the little boy you are. It doesn’t work on 99% of them anyway. Go for the good girls and give them a man they are irresistably attracted to.

    • Where I come from, they have an old saying:
      A woman marries a man, hoping he’ll change, but he doesn’t.
      A man marries a woman hoping she won’t change, but she does.

    • I really have to wonder whether feminist views can truly be “deep seated” anyway. That is not to say that there cannot be a huge mountain of emotional tissues tied up around and over them… but at its core feminism is truly incoherent, at best prioritizing secondary and tertiary goods above primary ones, and maintains ideological war against nature herself. No woman who truly loves (and respects) her man can conciously persist in such silliness. Her mouth may continue to spout inane platitudes, but her true loyalties (i.e., to tradition) will ultimately betray her.

    • If you will accept the advice of an older married woman, I urge you to look to her family. Are her parents happily married? Does she want children, not as an aside, but as a vital goal in her life? Above all, remember that women want to marry up. Be the kind of man that it simply makes good sense to defer to. Be willing to grant her areas of life that are her domain. Most controversial in the modern world, marry a woman not older than her early twenties. Talk to her honestly about your concerns and goals for your life together. I am sure you will find her. I wish you joy together.

    • In addition to learning female psychology, as I said earlier, I strongly second Alice Teller’s comments. Remember that when you marry a woman you are marrying her entire family into yours. Be very, very careful that you first check them out well. Unequal yolking — whether by race, religion, or income — invites all kinds of neverending troubles..

  6. I’m older and have been married for 21 years. My wife is from Mexico. My advice to guys looking for a wife is to look in a non-feminist country. If you prefer white women, then the former Soviet countries might be a good choice.

    I just looked at your blog and see that you are Eastern Orthodox. That is another good reason to look in former Soviet countries.

  7. Thoughts from older, married men?

    These days you have to be a good judge of female character. There aren’t a lot of ready made wives out there. A lot of women have absorbed some aspects of feminist culture and many women have issues stemming from their personal lives.

    But it’s still possible to get a sense of what a woman’s real commitment to marriage and motherhood is. Is this commitment primary or secondary? Does she think of it as a natural expression of herself as a woman?

    And it’s possible too to get a sense of whether her feminism is serious or whether she is paying lip service to it. To what extent does she freely accept the masculine and feminine roles within a relationship? Does she see motherhood and fatherhood as distinct “offices” that we as individuals try to fill?

    Remember too that men have to actively “husband” in their marriages. I once imagined that relationships were the province of women and that a woman would expertly take charge of keeping things on track. I was grossly mistaken. Women can be remarkably, almost stubbornly, passive when it comes to guiding relationships. It is likely to fall to the husband to do the job.

    So you have to make the judgement whether a particular woman is the kind of woman who would, over time, take on the traditional characteristics of wifeliness, if you as a husband guided the marriage in the right direction.

    That does happen. I live in a middle-class Anglo suburb and I am impressed by the women I live amongst. They are feminine and family oriented and loyal to their husbands. I didn’t have to go overseas to find either a wife or a community which lives by traditional standards.

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