The princple of non-commitment in relationships was preached in the West Coast environment I grew up in. To my embarrassment, I’ll share the personal note that my single father’s advice, all respect due to him, was to “wait until prom night.” I heard this at a tender and underdeveloped age (I was a late bloomer) and was utterly disturbed by the unromantic notion. I was equally appalled when, confiding in a mature woman I viewed as a mentor, I was met with the response “at least he was realistic.” Such was one of the earliest signs I had that I was would be living in a world that was averse to my own inner sense of truth and intuition.
As I’ve grown older and expressed wishes for a more committed romantic arrangement, namely the path to marriage, I’ve encountered the protests “you’re too young” and “you still have plenty of time for that.” I’ll admit that my intense personality may have the effect that when I discuss subjects with passion my listeners incorrectly perceive despair, when in fact I am honestly praising and striving for an ideal greater than my own personal circumstances. The protests I face are commonly followed by warnings against becoming dependent on a man and admonishments against romanticizing…well, romance. Allow me to also to also provide the background that I had not clearly vocalized my desires until 22, after I had graduated college. I am of the opinion it is only natural to seek out a partner once the civic duties that were asked of me had been fulfilled.
At 26, I still lead a single lifestyle, and however unwillingly I’ve put on the clothes of a career woman. The experience has given me valuable insight into the results of the non-commitment preachings. I’ve also used the time constructively to reflect of the nature of ideal marriage. One of the most convincing concepts I’ve stumbled across is that of the start-up marriage laid out in the Wall Street Journal by Charles Murray, Advice for a Happy Life.
The modern world’s ideal is putting off marriage until the late twenties or early thirties, when young adults have received an education and established themselves in a career. This is the concept of the merger marriage. With all the arguable advantages of stability and self-actualization, there exist a few grave disadvantages – the least of which is not the patterns of rejection of failed relationships on the human psychology in terms of self-worth and sense of direction in life or the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Yet, I’d like to offer my personal story as an illustration of a point not often considered: I can tell you that as a woman who has traveled the world and developed a unique set of counter-current beliefs, by far the single greatest challange in search of a mate has been finding a man who is of my like fiber.
Murray’s piece offers quite a bit of valuable advice to young adults. I do not wish to misrepresent the work by only presenting one facet of it, but out of interest of focus of topic, I’ll close his involvement in this discussion by noting his suggestion that the advantages of the marrying young are often overlooked. Murray coins the term start-up marriage to describe unions formed in the early twenties. Young couples face life’s struggles as a team, and eventually look back on their hard work and growth together when the they enjoy the fruits. Relating to my point about like fiber, friends of mine who married young have told me that they cannot truely discern if it was their likeness that attracted them to one another in the first place or if their likeness came about through their union.
I suspect the latter.
If the reader despairs at the fact that his age makes the ideal unobtainable for him, let him take comfort by my noting that I could not be more confident that I too will be blessed with the romantic ideal despite the opportunity of a start-up marriage having passed. Choosing a mate can be a daunting task, and it is helpful to seek out a commitment to truth and transcendence in another as a guiding principle in the search. Personal circumstances aside, it is crucial to remember that ideals are targets for achievement and that they are needed for guidance even if no one individual leads a life fulfilling all ideals.
Pairing off at a young age is the custom of our ancestors, and it may have taken the event of this most recent dark age to shed light on the positivity and health such a practice promotes. If traditionalists reject the materialism of the modern world for its attitude of disposal and lack of fulfillment, it is only consistent of them to reject serial monogamy or the more degenerate forms of non-commitment relationships. Furthermore, the principle of community is quasi-synonymous with traditionalism when it is understood that tradition is born of the transfer of customs and beliefs from one generation to the next. If it can be poetically expressed that traditionalism is the means by which wisdom of the ancients is applied to the lives of the young, this discussion of love and commitment demonstrates that the unguided youth has proven its folly.