I wonder how many couples got engaged or were married yesterday; and of those unions, I wonder how many will last.
It’s funny, isn’t it? It’s almost as if some believe Valentine's Day comes with insurance stamps for marriage licenses and magical everlasting spells sent by Cupid. Loving gestures such as sending flowers, romantic dinners and expensive gifts of diamonds are expected... and if a man does all that, he must be a keeper. Frankly, I see Valentine’s Day as a precursor to disappointment because many women - and I used to be one of them -- measure their self-worth through men and how romantic they are towards them. When I was in college, if my boyfriend didn’t plan something special on Valentine’s Day, then he was in the doghouse for a week. It seems like he would have learned.
Women still believe in happily ever after, yet they want to be self-sufficient. They believe Prince Charming will come along, but they lower their standards and wind up appearing too easy. They believe they can have a career and raise kids, yet they feel guilty when they have to put their babies in daycare at just six-weeks-old. Or their careers get in the way and all of a sudden they wake up one day only to realize their biological clock is ticking and they'd better find someone pronto... and then they settle. They settle with magnetic attraction as the basis of their decision, when lust does not a marriage make.
In How to Choose a Husband, Suzanne Venker brazenly addresses what she feels are the problems in today’s society; promiscuity, career vs. family, and detachment from God. She ascertains that part of society's problems result from the feminist movement. She says women need to return to their roles as caregivers and accept the fact that they can't balance a career and raise children without suffering from constant guilt and lack of quality time doing what they were meant to do- nurture.
“The fact is, to find Mr. Right – not Mr. Perfect, Mr. Right – women need to recondition their brains to think about marriage in a way that contradicts everything they’ve been taught since the day they were born. Because there’s nothing empowering about moving in and out of intense romantic relationships, postponing marriage indefinitely, or pursuing careers with a verve that belies common sense. There’s nothing empowering about shacking up, rejecting your husband’s surname, ignoring your biological clock, refusing to depend on a husband, or becoming a single mom.
To be truly empowered, you’re going to have to do a 180.”
Venker provides a Christian-based recipe for finding your soul mate and maintaining a healthy marriage in the form of a detox followed by her own customized 12-step program. I read this book for my friends over at PR By the Book, and I must say I felt a little silly doing so. I'm not in the partner-finding market; I'm happily married. Walking around with a book entitled How to Choose a Husband (because “and make peace with marriage” is a tiny subtitle that’s hard to decipher at first glance) seemed a bit hypocritical. But this book is more than what you might think. It's about making love last. I did find this an interesting tool for young women; but can't say I agree with everything.
The main question here is: would I want my daughter to read this? Probably... with an open mind. I appreciate the Christian morals and values strewn throughout the book.
I think women should be able to support themselves and have a career. I did that before I settled down and it has made all the difference in the world. The fact of the matter is that marriage is a commitment that takes work and serious consideration needs to be made before walking down the aisle. The author does a great job getting her message across. Marriage is not one big Valentine's Day. You can find the book here.
Suzanne Venkerhas written extensively about politics, parenting, and the influence of feminism on American society and has appeared on FOX, CNN, ABC and C-Span to discuss her points of view. She lives in St. Louis with her husband and their two children.