Wednesday, June 27, 2007

There Is No Love

Il n'y pas d'amour, il n'y a que des preuves d'amour.
There is no Love, only proof of Love.
- Jean Cocteau

Ladies: if'n yer gent ain't a provin' his love, well, the honeymoon's over...

Does he still run out in the rain to open an umbrella above your head? If you wait by the car door, does he spring forth to open it?

Gentlemen: make proof of Love an everyday occurrence, and by simple force of habit the bond will be formed, able to weather inevitable droughts and clouds of locusts. Every day you neglect the proof is three days to get back to where you were. Do the math.

Marriage, while beneficial to both parties, is particularly beneficial to the man: health, wealth, and happiness flow as a byproduct of marriage maintenance. Do your part, secure your future--and that of your progeny. Appy Adam Smith: attend to your wife for your own selfish reasons and, by gum, the whole marital organization and economy will benefit.

Remember, men: There is no such thing as Love, only proof of Love.


Jess said...

It's a humorous paradox that women are often enamored of the idea of marriage and classically seek the union out, yet statistically, the happiest people are married men and single women. Hmmm...

Anonymous Bosh said...

What you left out of that statistic is the caveat that by "single women" is meant "women who are unattached," which is very different from women who move in and out of relationships.

The quote:
Certainly, research suggests that single women enjoy themselves and cope better psychologically than single men. Some of the most recent research, carried out in 2004 by the University of London and published in 'The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health', surveyed 4,000 men and women under the age of 65. It concluded that women who remain single throughout most of their lives display good mental health compared to married women, while the happiness gap between single and married men is much more pronounced. Yet women were more adversely affected by moving in and out of several relationships, leading some researchers to speculate that single women are happiest if they stay single, rather than if they have many short-term relationships.

However, the majority of research has found that, for both men and women, the most beneficial state in terms of physical and psychological wellbeing, financial gain and longevity, is marriage. A recent survey by Professor Andrew Oswald, who has written widely on the 'economics of happiness', likened the benefits of marriage on our mental health to the equivalent of an annual cash injection of £60,000. In terms of our physical health, he says, it gives as much of a boost as giving up smoking. His 2005 study on the subject concluded that those who are married earn more than single people, have better physical and psychological health, better longevity and reported happiness.

And remember, the absolute worst case is that of a single parent--usually the woman. There, financial and family pressures intersect to make the worst of all possible worlds for all involved, but especially the child.

Yes, marriage has more profound effects for the man (duh! I myself would be dead if not for my wife), but if properly constructed, marriage is a pretty good deal for everyone else involved as well.

In my opinion, folks these days don't put sufficient time and effort into a marriage--don't take it seriously enough--to attain full satisfaction and benefit. You are not going to reap the rewards by going in with anything less than full commitment. Gee, it's almost like the authors knew whereof they wrote with "for better or worse, richer or poorer," etc.

Time and again, through conscious reflection and construction, my wife and I find that the old ways are the best ways, and we could have saved an awful lot of time had we listened to "conventional wisdom." A danger now is that much of that "conventional wisdom" is lost: the Baby Boomers destroyed the connection between adult and child, and they themselves now have not the proper knowledge to pass to their offspring (hence the need for such books as "The Dangerous Book for Boys").

So--for maximum happiness--stay single, childless, and unattached. In fact, I think that that is a great idea for young women--it prevents problems with career (earnings) progression and avoids the whole career/family conundrum. For those women bent on having children (note, I do not say "bent on getting married"), then best find your one true love, assist him in his career aspirations, maximize stability and income, and prosper.

One or t'other; tough to do both.

Anonymous Bosh said...

Quick follow-up: part of the dichotomy is that marriage (historically) is about CHILDREN, not about romance, wine, and roses...

First: I love my wife, and she, me. Yet as we both find ourselves in middle age (and, thankfully, still romantic), we both acknowledge how much financial security plays into our happiness.

Mind you, she chose me while I still had nothing and, frankly, any success I have had is largely attributable to her support, so neither of us was "in it for the money."

But children need tuition, and tuition ain't cheap. So, she feels good that her choice early-on has proved her intution, whilst I am happy that my uber-intellectual, over-educated, liberal (but still good looking) wife has chosen what, to critics, appears the route of Ozzie & Harriet.

So, happiness, I guess, depends on what your priorities are. Turns out that she wanted smart, healthy, good looking children--and the freedom to raise them as she sees fit. I just wanted to be useful (and to be, uh, appreciated for that usefulness, however that appreciation might be expressed...). Everybody's happy.

I might make this a full-on post someday; I reserve that right.