James Long, Ph.D., P.E. Retired Analog and RF Consulting Engineer
If you arrived here from a search engine, you will probably be interested in other similar pages.
Brother Cysa Dime has authored a book on the seven deadly sins. I recommend it and his how to study the Bible book. Both are available on Amazon.
You may also be interested in my review of dating sites including eharmony
For those recovering from a divorce, this has good advice.
Even though I am a recluse, I have seen many miserable marriages that should not have been. Today's high divorce rate is more of an indictment of parenting failures than other things. Had the people's parents told them the following basic concepts, the marriages would have never taken place.
Another common failure of parenting is to not instill principles in children. They are programmed like read only memories. That is, they are told what to do in different situations instead of being given the moral, economic, or health principles involved. As a result, the children form their own principles from the statements from their parents, which seldom are the principles that the parents wanted to instill.
The euphemism "reinventing yourself" really means to trade one false front for another false front. This could not be done in past times. It is only journalists that can allow this moral and ethical degeneracy to happen today by being part of it. This happens on a small scale in presenting a false image to the potential marriage partner.
Marriage and children intensify your basic feelings, they do no make them better. If you are unhappy single you will be very unhappy married. If you have a bad marriage, children will make it worse.
There is a good book Toxic Relationships & How To Change Them by Dr. Clinton W. McLemore which is a must reading for spotting behaviors in yourself and your potential spouse that will lead to disastrous marriages and relationships.
Why There are so Many Marriage Failures Today
This is caused by three things, mobility, affluency, and isolation.
In times past people lived and died in one geographic area as did their family. This meant that there were many relatives of yours who had observed your potential spouse grow up and could give you wise advice about them. Since both you and your spouse came from the same area, it was more likely that you had shared values and aspirations.
In times past it was both spouses against nature. Keeping alive was the primary goal. They did not have discretionary resources to spend. Each spouse could have different dreams of the future, but since they would not be implemented, they did not conflict. Now that life is easy, there are expectations that these dreams can be implemented. If there are not enough resources for both, conflicts emerge.
People live in isolation these days. They do not get to observe others and see how actions have long term consequences. Instead, they live in an unrealistic dream world created by fiction entertainment, journalism, and advertising. As a result, they have world views that are more conducive to causing disasters in the physical world that their bodies live in.
Follow Through to the Logical Conclusions
Things take on a different appearance from other perspectives. One woman was impressed by a fellow who gave a large amount of his time and money to charity. After she married him, it was her money and time that could have been spent with her that went to charity. She was less impressed with his generosity.
One woman felt "protected" because her date frequently performed acts of physical violence on others in public places. She never wondered if he would use it on her after the marriage. She also did not consider the arrests, jail terms, and law suits it would cause later on.
Goal achievers will put their efforts into getting a spouse and once obtain put their efforts to other goals. I know of a woman who married one and lives in economic opulence but her husband spends no time with her.
Another woman who likes to take charge in romantic playing ended up with a husband who only wants her to instantly lie passively with her legs spread whenever he is in the mood and never meets her special needs.
Excitement comes from danger and danger brings disaster.
Martin Luther gave the illustration of the drunk who kept falling off one side of the horse, so he leaned the other direction and fell off the other side. This frequently occurs with women who are pursued by people with the wrong motives or personality traits. The woman ends up selecting someone with the equally offensive opposite traits and motives.
One prime example is women with physical, political, or economic power attracting men who want to be dominated and abused. This offends the women so that they end up selecting husbands with mental illnesses that express themselves in dominating and abusing their wives.
Another example is women with physical beauty being tired of being desired for it alone. They end up selecting husbands who do not mention their beauty or react to it because they are obsessed with having the woman for a status symbol and have no emotional feelings for them.
Making Assumptions Instead of Asking
It is so easy to ask that is surprising how many don't. There are so many basic value conflicts that people should list their values and compare the list with their intended spouse's. One common pitfall to avoid with this procedure is to tell the truth, not what you think is expected from you. People from rigid homes, such as dietary or politically oriented ones, frequently fall into this trap.
There was once a city fellow who thought that all country women wanted a simple, low cost lifestyle. There was a country gal who thought that all city fellows had high economic earning powers that could support her in the style she wished to become accustomed. They got married and bought a bookstore with her inheritance and lived to the limit. Times got bad, and she refused to sell the stable of horses. She withheld physical affection from her husband in order to force him to make more profits from the store in spite of the poor economy and the stock liquidations that were done to generate cash to maintain the horses. Two years later the store was abandoned in bankruptcy, and the couple lost the quarter million dollar inheritance and the horses. [Since writing this I have discovered another case. A married couple from Eastern Europe came to the US. The husband worked as an engineer. The wife stayed at home because she could not speak English very well. The economic hard times of 2002 came and the husband lost his job. He took training classes in areas of engineering that had job openings and after 9 months he got another job. His wife complained bitterly that he was spending money on these classes that could have been spent on her wardrobe.]
There once was a woman who was so sexually sensitive that she could not be touched without "going all the way." She therefore refused to be touched. There was a fellow who never touched her. She assumed that this was because he had high ethical standards. After the marriage she was looking forward to a bit of fun. He continued to not touch her. You can guess his sexual orientations and his assumptions about hers. (Her income was larger than his, and she was in line for a hefty inheritance.)
Here is a double problem. Different people need different amounts of solitude and of people time. Most do not consciously know their own requirements. I have seen many cases of mismatch between the two spouses needs as well as their available time after the time spent making a living.
We live in a dream world of illusions produced by advertising, journalists, and fictional entertainment. "Life is tough and then you die." is a realistic evaluation to keep in mind. Whatever disappointments and irritations you have as single will be accentuated by having to live intimately with someone else. Living with someone else while not being married will not reveal these. In fact, people who live together before being married have a higher divorce rate than those who don't.
Rescue and Reforming
After the marriage spouses have less influence over each other than before. Also, the traits you dislike in the other person will become more intense and exercised more frequently.
In different cultures, values are so wide spread and commonly held that they are taken for granted. Cross cultural marriages require special investigation because the people never think that other cultures have different ways of doing things.
A woman from an upper class South America background married a US fellow who was studying to become a professor. She did not realize that US professors are not well paid. She ended up living in what to her was degrading poverty. He did not realize that upper class women from her country did not do housework. It was the duty of the husband to hire the help or do the work himself. He ended up doing it himself.
Believing False Fronts
People, in general, make the biggest shows about what they are the most lacking in. This is usually done more to fool themselves than to fool others. Sometimes others are also fooled. Many professional societies are functionally mutual admiration societies for the people at the bottom of the talent range.
Here are two examples from fiction. Mrs Peel was genuinely talented and went about her business helping others without making any big show of it. The original Sherlock Holmes stories had him with this same behavior. The recent PBS Jeremy Brett dramatizations showed Sherlock Holmes as a mentally ill person who had to be arrogant and put down others to compensate for his lack of talent and self esteem.
Putting God to the Test
This usually occurs in women with strong religious beliefs. On the surface it sounds reasonable. They pray to God to select a mate for them. They will know this person is God's choice when the next man proposes to them.
There are many flaws in this. It is trying to use the criminal act of extortion to force God to follow your directions with the alternative that you will end up with the wrong husband if God doesn't supply one and soon and it will be God's fault if you end up with the wrong husband. God does not take kindly to being ordered around by humans. God will always allow people to make errors and suffer the consequences. Look how many religious people suffer health problems from their eating habits (usually gluttony). What if God wants you to never be married or to be married many years into the future? God has ordained trials and tribulations in this life and you are not going to get out of them so easily.
What I have frequently seen happen in this situation is that some fellow who proposes to every woman in sight and gets turned down for good reason (usually mental illness problems plus the inability to hold a job) finally get around to proposing to the woman described above and she accepts. She lives unhappily ever after because she does not believe in divorce and he is not going to walk away from a source of financial income from her working.
The Gambler's Syndrome
Some people beat the odds once and keep on trying again and fail. They only remember the first success and do not consider the many failures. One application of this is trading short term gains for long term losses. They always remember the initial gain and not the subsequent higher loss. As a result, they continue time and time again to do the trade and suffer the consequences.
I have seen this in marriages. A fast talking fellow gets a high paying job that he is not qualified to hold. The job is a type that takes several years for his failure to be noticed by higher levels in the company. He lives a flashy lifestyle to the credit limit. He takes a physically attractive wife who is addicted to materialism and who is used as a trophy or status symbol. Once he gets fired, the credit empire collapses and they are left with nothing. A divorce follows either by the wife who is out to find another fellow with the same traits or by the husband who wants to divest a financial liability.
Neither person learns from their experience. This cycle continues until the husband gets a track record that keeps employers from giving him jobs beyond his skill level or by the wife's declining beauty with age that puts her out of the trophy class or makes her old enough that men who are as described above are way younger than her and want a younger trophy who will keep her beauty for years to come.
Finishing School Frauds
Not everyone who graduates from a finishing school is a fraud and not all finishing school frauds have gone to finishing school.
These are people who have a very rigid external behavior. They say all the right things and have the right clothes and do the right things. It is all a show that covers a vacant interior. They stick to this exterior with a fanatical religious-like consistency.
If you get married to such a person it is the vacant interior that you have to live with. Do not be fooled by the exterior.
Quotes From the Past on Child Rearing
Here are two quotes from about 120 years ago:
Favorite children ... God disapproves of us doting upon them above measure. They will live to be as great a curse to us as Absalom was to David. If people want to grow thorns to stuff their mattresses, let them dote upon their dear ones.
from Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon, reading for May 4.
If you want to ruin your son, never let him know a hardship. When he is a child, carry him in your arms, when he becomes a youth, dandle him, and when he becomes a man, dry-nurse him, and you will succeed in producing an arrant fool. If you want to preventh his being made useful in the world, guard him from every kind of toil. Do not suffer him to struggle. Wipe the sweat from his dainty brow and say, "Dear child, thou shalt never have a task so arduous." Pity him when he ought to be punished; supply all his wishes. avert all disappointments, prevent all troubles, and you will surely tutor him to be a reprobate and to break your heart. But put him where he must work, expose him to difficulties, purposely throw him into peril, and in this way you will make him a man, and when he comes to do a man's work and to bear a man's trial, he shall be fit for either.
from Miracles and Parables of our Lord by Charles Spurgeon, vol. 1, page 350
Here is a quote from about 200 years ago:
It is hard to say whether pride or self will be the more fatal distemper.....First, be aware of adding fuel to the flame, of feeding the disease you should cure. Almost all parents are guilty of doing this, by praising their children to their face.
from The Works of John Wesley Volume XII, page 93 by John Wesley, Sermon XVC On The Education of Children
I frequently see the results of this today. Parents praise their children for doing the relatively simple minded activity of entry level computer programming and the children grow up thinking that they are the fount of all knowledge and have nothing new to learn.
That the world is over-run with vice, cannot be denied; but, vice however prominent has not yet gained an unlimited dominion. Simple and unmingled good is not in our powers, but we may generally escape a greater evil by suffering a less; and therefore, those who undertake to initiate the young and ignorant in the knowledge of life, should be careful to inculcate the possibility of virtue and happiness, and to encourage endeavors by prospect of success.
from The Rambler No. 119 Tuesday, 7 May 1751, by Dr. Samuel Johnson, the famous English author and compiler of the famous dictionary.
Too frequently people think that teaching children about all of the evil in the world, such as by having current events classes in school, does them good. It only makes them cynical and unwilling to try to be good. "Screw others before they screw you" is what they are in effect taught.
And finally, married women who do not wear wedding rings are doing a grave disservice to women who are not married and want to be. This is because one time chance encounters with potential husbands remain just that. In the past the unmarried status of women would be immediately noticed and lead to invitations for future encounters. Now, men who have high ethical values would never broach the subject for fear of possibly tempting a married woman. Even an inquiry into marital status might tempt a married woman to misrepresent herself.
Claims of married women that giving the illusion of not being married increases their business income should be compared to the dictionary definition of prostitution.