For a young (preferably Christian) woman looking to marry and become a mother, it may seem strange that a divorce between the richest man in the world and his wife could offer any useful tools on securing a (hopefully God-fearing), supportive, decent husband. But there are a lot of strange things in the world and Mrs. Bezos offers three valuable lessons for secular women and Christian ones undertaking the difficult quest for a husband in a rough, uncaring world.
- Be where the fish you want to catch are. Mrs. Bezos threw herself into a pool of men who were going to be very big fish financially. The very-near certainty was that this day would come, and her luck or blessing was that it took a little longer than is usual with that kind of man. But make no mistake, she knew she wasn’t swimming in a pond of men offering lifelong devotion. So particularly for young Christian women, you have to go to where the men who want or plan for lifelong marriage are.
- Line up connections that aren’t dependent on your husband. Mrs. Bezos appears to have spent quite a bit of effort as a very young college kid connecting with Toni Morrison. That connection certainly panned out in a lot of big ways for her, allowing her a creative outlet once supporting her husband in his crazy dotcom scheme started to look up and pan out. Which leads to the third lesson.
- Have a creative outlet independent of your husband and your children. Having this means you create the space to maneuver for yourself when you need to. It doesn’t mean it has to come first, but without something for yourself, the risk is always there of collapse when the nest is empty or emptying. Mrs. Bezos’ four children are all teenaged. Her husband giving in to adultery and stupidity could easily have left her in a position to lose it as her kids were also leaving and have a breakdown.
The profile above is where I got the details about her life. For young (Christian) women, the goal is not to have an escape route planned, to the contrary, the goal is to do the best you reasonably can to arrange the conditions for a robust and stable marriage environment.
There are spaces and places where men interested in lifelong marriage are, but due to atomization, it takes more time and effort to place yourself in those spots. But if you do, you’re putting yourself around the kind of men who are already part of the way there as far as marriage goals and views.
Having connections outside your husband is about having safe emotional outlets if your husband is in a busy season or is of a different social nature than you, or both. It’s also about having a broader social and economic network, two people combining their networks is always better than being totally dependent on one person’s connections.
A creative outlet that isn’t husband+kids means you aren’t frustrated when the kids inevitably grow up and out of the home.
Most people don’t know this, but comedy can be disassembled and deconstructed and why certain sounds and jokes are funny can be written up. At one point we sat down and did that very thing. I can’t find the notebook though.
I found instead that I’ve been starting journals and losing them over and over again since my first child was born around the time of Occupy Wall Street. Since I stopped having anyone to nurse of late, I was finally able to gather some of them together. There’s general journalling, book journalling and some interesting notes and sketches for planned novels and novellas. Right now the one I’m looking at was started and is almost entirely from late 2015 and has a brief book note about Anne of Green Gables and a very extensive set of notes about a polemical book I reviewed a a while later. The last page for that year has some notes about books I planned to read when I though I’d write more about the frontier. And this:
“Marriage civilizes women
Fatherhood civilizes men”.
I already have some characters I’d love to attribute those words to.
The last written page is actually not from 2015, though. I skipped some blanks sometime last year and started anew with writing notes. One is for a children’s series Dagmar dictated. The rest of the page is a bunch of calculations from which I was deriving triplet birth rates by educational attainment and college attendance rates crossed against income levels.
I tend to feel like I do very little writing by hand, and just putter about for months on end doing not much. But I clearly keep trying and doing so for weeks at a time, so there must be something there.
Over 70% of children in America were raised in two parent families in 1997. That percentage is virtually unchanged today in 2019. The difference, and it is not unmeaningful, is that cohabitation went from 3% to 7% in that span of time. Married parenthood dropped slightly from 68% to 65%. This suggests that at the margin, marriage was too costly, but the importance of keeping two parents around was high enough that it produced a cohabitation increase rather than a single parenthood increase.
Single parenthood didn’t budge. It was 25% combined for single mothers/fathers in 1997 and it’s the same two decades later.
It’s also worth noting that single parenthood was 13% in 1968, while married parenthood was 85%. Kids being raised with no parents varied from 2-4% over the decades, currently at about 3%.
Chandeliers do not really belong in the bathroom, though.
It’s against code to have hanging lights over water, for some strange reason. So we just gave up on fancy lighting and went with a focus on the fixtures and very unusual tile choices.
In one of our baths the windows make up half a hexagon, rather than half an octagon like this one. Turret-like, but not going full turret.
Also we have no media panel, because those are wack. Looking at illegal chandelier efforts (although the second one would not be) just reminds me that we still have to replace the Ye Olde Ren Faire “medieval” chandeliers that came with the house.
It looks like I can submit to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the next two weeks. Spending a lot of January nursing sick people kind of got in the way, but things have cleared up a lot and mid-Feb looks pretty solid to get this done. The first submission is the hardest, but then you have a formatted story and can just cut and paste as needed if you need to do it again and again. I was going to go with Asimov’s, but MSF has a higher pay rate for the length of story I’m submitting.