I’ve been a long-standing fan of psychology professor, Jordan Peterson. In a world, increasingly leaning towards political correctness and avoiding speaking the truth, he has some very straight shooting and controversial views on many topics which I find refreshing. In this video post, he gives great advice to young men seeking marriage and family, which I’ve captured below.
What’s my advice to young men seeking a woman for marriage and family?
You can’t eliminate the necessity of being attracted to one another.
That’s important and that’s mysterious.
So for example, here’s a funny thing, one of the things we know that attracts people to one another is bilateral symmetry.
And so, if you take men and then you rank them by the symmetry of their faces, and then you give the asymmetrical men clean t-shirts to wear for a day, and the symmetrical men clean t-shirts to wear for a day, and you then give those t-shirts to women and you have them rate the odour – the women rate the odour of the symmetrical men as more attractive than the odour of the asymmetrical men.
There are (also) other factors that determine sexual attractiveness that is based on biological factors that are so deeply embedded in terms of smell.
So for example, women tend to not be sexually attracted to the scent of men who have Rh factors that would make for potential trouble in childbirth.
And often the reason that the women give for not preferring the scent of those men, is that they smell too much like their brother(s).
So, there are weird mysterious things that determine whether or not people are sexually and physically attracted to each other.
The next most important thing is trust.
It’s like there’s no marriage that’s successful without trust.
You guys have got to tell each other the truth.
And one of the reasons that Carl Jung believed that marriage as an oath and as a bond was necessary, which was really wise, is that telling the truth to someone else is no simple thing.
Because there’s a bunch of things about all of us that are terrible, weak, reprehensible and shameful, and all of those things have to be brought out into the open and dealt with.
But, you’re not going to want to tell the truth about yourself to someone who can run away screaming when you reveal who you are.
And so marriage is something like,
“Okay here’s the deal – I’m going to handcuff myself to you and you’re going to handcuff yourself to me and then we’re going to tell each other the truth and neither of us are going to get to run away.”
And so, once we know the truth (about each other), then we’re either going to live together in mutual torment OR, we’re going to try to deal with that truth and straighten ourselves out jointly.
And doing that is going to make us more powerful and more resilient and deeper and wiser as we progress together through life.
And I think that’s absolutely brilliant because if you leave the back door open, you’re going to use it, that’s for sure.
But the oath is there.
And this yields commentary on the spiritualisation of the Christian marriage, for example, which would emphasise what you would call the subordination of both members of the marital union to a higher-order personality that was embodied in the figure of the Logos (word or truth).
So, the idea is that in the Christian marriage, for example, the man isn’t the boss and the woman isn’t the boss – the “boss” is the mutual personality composed by the seeking of truth in both of them and that’s conceptualized as their joint subjugation to the Logos (word or truth), and that is absolutely dead on.
It’s like the “ruler” of your marital life should be your vow to tell each other the truth because in hard times during your life when you’ve done something stupid and idiotic that might take you down, for example, and you don’t have anybody that you can turn to, you know you have a partner that you can trust.
You can go and say, “Hey you know I made a big financial mistake and it’s really torturing me, and I feel like a complete idiot!”
And that person is going to help you figure out what to do about it, and they’re going to also know that when they make a stupid mistake (and they’re bloody well going to), that they can come and talk to you and that you guys are going to work your way through it.
Knowing that is a big deal.
There are a couple of things our culture gets really wrong.
One is, it devalues marriage.
That’s really a very bad idea because marriage is like a third of your life and maybe more, and kids are a third of your life, and your life outside of marriage and kids is a third.
And to miss any of that is a massive, massive mistake.
Now, having said that, I will also say that for some people missing one or more of those is necessary because they have a reason.
Maybe they’re brilliantly creative artists and they need to devote themselves entirely to their career.
Or they’re outstanding in some way and so can justify the sacrifice of one part of that.
But, generally speaking, it’s a very dangerous thing and it shouldn’t be done.
Also, kids tend to get an absolutely terrible rap because kids are actually delightful if they’re well-behaved.
One of the chapters in my new book is called, “Don’t let your children do anything that makes you dislike them,” and you can do that especially if you discuss it thoroughly with your spouse.
You’re the person that’s helping to discipline the kids, and children are the best company because they’re really enthusiastic about everything.
They love doing new things.
They really love you, so they’re happy that you’re around.
All you have to do is make sure they’re not too hot and they’re not too cold and they’ve had something to eat and they’re not too tired, and you don’t expect them to stay engaged in something for longer than they can manage.
We used to take our kids, when they were little (two and three years old), out to restaurants, for example, and they could sit there and behaved very nicely, no problem.
But they couldn’t do it for more than about 45 minutes.
You can’t push your luck.
But, I also noticed with little kids that they got antsy and unreasonable about 5 to 10 minutes before the adults did – it’s just the adults were too stupid to notice
The kids would notice right away.
So back to marriage.
You look for someone that you’re attracted to and that you love.
And then you look for someone that you can bloody well trust and then you tell them the truth.
That way, maybe, you can get through life.
You can have someone to weave “the rope of your being” with, and together you make your joint rope stronger.
And you can have some continuity in your narrative and you can have children and then you can have grandchildren.
You can have that life now and there’s nothing so fortunate if you can manage that.
And also, marry someone you think would be a good mother, and that generally speaking means knowing that she wants children.
Now, some women don’t want children, and fair enough,
Some women perhaps shouldn’t have children, that’s also possible.
But, the general rule of thumb is, once a woman is in her mid-20s and she doesn’t know that she wants children or not, admit it.
Unless she has a viciously important reason, she’s not oriented properly psychologically.
If she doesn’t know what’s important in life now, that might also be the case with you, and it probably is.
But as a rule of thumb that’s a really good one.
As found on Youtube.
I hope you found that very interesting and insightful.
As I said earlier, I’m a huge fan of Prof Peterson and find his controversial views on things quite refreshing.
He also wrote a very good book called 12 Rules for Life: an Antidote to Chaos which you can get on Amazon.
I love how he doesn’t shy away from polarising topics, but take them head-on with very honest, transparent, and educated opinions.
There’s nothing as annoying as an uneducated but opinionated fool, in my opinion.
Unfortunately, social media is littered with them.
Everyone with a keyboard has an opinion nowadays.
Which is fine.
The only problem is every opinion is not equally helpful or uplifting.
Some detract or even destroy.
On a small or big scale.
So, if you found Prof Peterson’s thoughts for young men seeking marriage and family advice good, get his book 12 Rules for Life: an Antidote to Chaos on Amazon.