Jewish World Review July 6, 2010/ 24 Tamuz 5770
By Tom Purcell
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ah, July, the wedding season. What a great time of the year to not marry.
So suggest Jessica Bennett and Jesse Ellison in the June 11 edition of Newsweek magazine.
The two young, urban women write that marriage no longer makes sense -- that it ought to be replaced by a series of relationships, "mostly monogamous," over time.
They say that, thanks to the feminist movement, women no longer need husbands for financial security -- that women make plenty of dough on their own.
They say that it is unrealistic to commit to one other person for life.
They are wrong, of course. Most men and women are worse off not married. I know. I'm still single.
Single men are a scourge on society. We do stupid things, take chances, eat badly, smoke too much and are far likelier than married men to wake on a concrete floor still clutching the bottle of tequila we began sipping from just before the party broke up.
We forget important dates -- we're more likely to attend our parents' 50th wedding anniversary a week after the celebration occurred.
Pretty quickly, the youthful passions that once drove us on Friday nights to search for a woman to love and cherish are whittled down to a simple desire to sit, crack an ice-cold beer and watch the Pirates get slaughtered.
Single women do better -- but not much better. The longer they go without marrying, the more disappointed in us they become -- and rightfully so.
Pretty quickly, they get a couple of cats and go to sleep by 10 on weekend nights so they can wake early to take pottery classes with other women left empty by their impossible search for the perfect man.
The women who penned the Newsweek article believe we have been liberated by our enlightened, progressive era -- an era of unlimited choice and freedom.
I think we've let ourselves become hamstrung by it. With all our wealth, you see -- the recession notwithstanding -- we are being strangled by choice.
When we wake in the morning, we must choose among hundreds of breakfast cereals, drinks, coffees, toothpastes, shampoos, towels, clothes ...
Throughout the day we're pursued by advertisers promoting multiple products and services. Picking out a lousy pair of blue jeans -- stone-washed, acid-washed, relaxed fit -- can take an entire Saturday if you're nutty enough to waste your time that way.
And now we're applying the same approach to dating, relationships and marriage in our fruitless search for our "soulmates."
Sorry, but there is no soulmate, despite the lazy sense that someone will enter your life and make you feel all warm and fuzzy.
Human love is as much the result of work, commitment, kindness and sacrifice as of anything else.
Unlimited choice isn't what makes us happy. Genuine happiness is the result of making, and sticking by, a decision to love and care for someone -- before your family, your community and, if you're lucky enough to still have religion, your G0d.
G.K. Chesterton said marriage brings a man happiness because it limits his choice.
Could you imagine being an artist, he said, who is trying to paint a canvas as large as the moon? Where do you start painting?
By being boxed into a small rectangular area, the artist gains a point of reference and perspective. It is the frame that sets the artist free.
The authors of the Newsweek article are trying to paint the moon. It's just a matter of time, as I have learned, before they run out of paint.
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© 2010, Tom Purcell