We are Cows in the Field
Five reasons to bring back arranged marriage.
When childless women turn 43 they start to get panic attacks. Not some of the time—all the time. New York is full of these women. I was on a crowded subway last week when a tiny white lady pushed her way off in an apoplectic fit. Everyone was upset but I felt sorry for her. She looked to be about 43.
The libertarian in me thinks people need to choose their own mate but the psychologist in me knows people need to be told what to do sometimes. This is especially true when it comes to the most important decisions of their lives.
A few, evolved types may have the emotional literacy to choose their mate wisely, but the majority of us don’t have the emotional literacy to even care what it is. We may as well have people code their own software.
Here’s why it could help to leave the decision of who we marry up to our parents.
1. Choosing a mate is too difficult
The truth is most people aren’t smart enough to be honest with themselves to the extent required to choose a spouse properly. Our parents may not be smart either but at least they care about us more than we care about ourselves.
A lot of people are carrying around trauma that keeps them from forming healthy attachments. But only about 15 percent of us are smart enough to manage the trauma properly.
Maybe one day when we figure out how to protect telomeres and live to 300, then we’ll have time to figure ourselves out. But until then we’re all on the clock so let your parents decide and be grateful you’re still alive at breeding age.
2. It builds communities
The purpose of the marriage isn’t for two people to live happily ever after—it's to raise children and build communities. This makes it more likely to live happily ever after, but it’s a secondary aim, not a primary one. If you want to have fun, then go to the batting cages.
3. If your parents get along, you’ll get along
People feel an instant connection when they’ve had similar emotional experiences throughout childhood. If you and your arranged have parents who get along well enough to let their children marry, then you will most likely get along with that person well enough to eventually grow to love them. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s better than swiping on some app. And if you don't end up liking each other then you can blame your parents, which will give you something to bond over.
I’m getting married next month and I cannot help but think our parents could have figured this out for us. They're curiously similar, and though they don’t come from the same culture, their values are analogous. Why did they leave the choosing up to us? It would at least have given our moms something to gab about.
4. Finding the “right person” is a fallacy
Choosing our own spouse is based on the fallacy that we need to find the right person to have a good relationship. In truth, a good relationship comes from being the right person yourself.
Once you get your own issues handled, a relationship becomes about working through the difficulties of intimacy and learning more about each other in the process. The higher levels of satisfaction in arranged marriages as opposed to self-chosen marriages testifies to this.
5. It confronts the challenge of modern luxury
The greatest challenge young men face isn’t feminism, a culture that decries masculinity, a tenuous economy, or the veritable barbarians at the gate. Our greatest challenge, by far, is that we could spend the rest of our lives complaining about these issues, holed up in a rent-controlled apartment, on disability, drinking a fifth of Cutty Sark every day. We're told that wealth creates decadence, but it's not true—wealth relieves us from the need of responsibility, which may lead to decadence. If we remain vigilant about commitment, then no amount of wealth can vitiate the cultural fabric. No family man has ever attended an Antifa protest or even heard about 4chan.
An individual, paradoxically, cannot develop properly without commitment, responsibility, and connection. Our identity, to stand on its own, must be fertilized by the genuine presence of others. The dissolution of connection and the problems it creates—addiction, depression, meaninglessness, and perpetual adolescence—could be solved by giving two people a little bit of a push down the aisle.
If we're not going to lasso ourselves, then the only other defense against the chaos of a panic attack is the lasso of tradition.