Are you succeeding in life but not in love? Want to get married but don’t know how? Worried that you’ve left it too late? It’s not your fault. But there’s something you can do about it.
Marriage coach and podcast host Suzanne Venker’s new book How To Get Hitched (And Stay Hitched): A 12-Step Program for Marriage-Minded Women is a guide for modern women who are going against the cultural grain and pursuing their desires of marriage and motherhood. Suzanne spills all her secrets on how the culture has failed modern women, and what they can do about it.
Really? A book on how to get married? And stay married? Yes, it exists. And it might just be the book that every woman needs to read. In 2021, marriage is seen as optional. It isn’t exactly popular for a woman to declare her desires for traditional marriage and motherhood. Women are expected to demand no less than equality with men – but is this truly what women desire?
A Detox from What You’ve Always Been Told
How To Get Hitched is a detox. It focuses less on learning and more on unlearning. Women know what they truly desire – but a lifetime of cultural influence leaves them jaded about their desires.
Part One of the book examines the four lies the culture tells women about sex, love, and relationships. Suzanne warns women of the dangers of modern dating from hooking up to shacking up. She debunks the myths regarding marriage, career, and equality. I won’t spoil all the lies for you. They aren’t exactly politically correct or modern feminist-friendly, but they certainly pose a potential threat to women mapping out the life they truly desire.
Society’s lies divide the sexes and break down the nuclear family.
How did these lies become so pervasive? Well, they have a common theme: division between the sexes and the breakdown of the nuclear family. When women choose marriage and motherhood, they often leave the workforce. Not exactly the feminist ideal. Although desires for a traditional family life are perfectly natural, women engulfed by modern feminism require guidance to pursue the life they’ve always wanted. Suzanne dives deeper into how to get the life you want in Part Two: The 12-Step Program.
How To Get the Life You Want (Not the Life You’re Told To Want)
The 12-step program doubles down on the lies from the culture. It’s a guide for women who choose to pursue what they desire rather than what’s expected of them. In the past, this may have been interpreted as breaking free from the chains, seeking independence and liberation, and finding yourself. No more. Living traditionally is the new counterculture. The 12-step program tells all on how you too can live this way.
Live an Examined Life
How To Get Hitched warns women of the dangers of living an unexamined life. Suzanne states that “living an unexamined life means living a life someone else designed for you.” A life designed by your friends, family, and/or pop-culture is unlikely to be one that is satisfying to you. Your friends and family might have your best interest at heart, but only you know what you truly desire.
The media doesn’t tout fulfilling cultural values; it promotes trends, excitement, and expediency.
How do you live an examined life? “The examined life is when you tune out the voices, sounds, and visuals in your midst and make important decisions based on what you want and on what you believe is right.” The modern woman faces the unique challenge of trusting her intuition despite local cultural pressure (friends and family), while also drowning out the noise from the larger cultural picture (the media). The media doesn’t tout long-lasting and fulfilling cultural values; it promotes trends, excitement, and the pursuit of the expedient. None of which are conducive to the goal of a long lasting marriage.
Beyond removing yourself from conflicting cultural pressures, the final part of this step is to engage with like-minded individuals and to immerse yourself in an environment that will provide support for your goals and aspirations. It’s hard to go against the grain. It’s hard to pursue excellence in the face of adversity. However, it’s impossible without peer support. There we have it: the steps to listening to your gut and living an examined life. Easier said than done.
Find Your Feminine
All their lives, women are encouraged to fill masculine roles. To be strong, powerful, and assertive. This might work in the office, but does it work in marriage? Suzanne argues that finding your feminine is a key ingredient to a happy marriage. Why? Because relationships thrive on polarity. Men want women to be feminine and to complement their masculinity. They married a woman for a reason.
Finding your feminine means relinquishing the power you’re told to want and embracing the one you were given.
What does it mean to be feminine? “Put simply, to be feminine is to be soft, nurturing, and receptive – as opposed to gruff and aggressive.” It doesn’t mean to be a doormat. Finding your feminine means to relinquish the power you were told to want in favor of embracing the one you were given. Suzanne assures women that if you embrace your femininity and stay away from competing with men (at least at home), you too can find the love you’re looking for.
Falling in Love Isn’t Enough
First comes love, then comes marriage…you know the rest. But can you rely on love alone? “Once you accept that ‘falling in love’ is not love, that it’s merely step one of what has the potential to become real love, your perspective on marriage will change dramatically.” Falling in love makes for a beautiful fairy tale or an entertaining romcom, but it doesn’t make for lasting love. It’s temporary – you could not possibly fall forever.
It’s easy to be enthralled by the beautiful idea that if two people just love each other enough, they can make it work. But what happens when the credits roll, the lights in the theater turn on, and suddenly real life is real again? This step of the guide, “you can’t rely on love alone,” doesn’t shy away from the fact that love isn’t enough. You can’t just love someone into the life you want with them. And considering how obsessed with self-love we are, perhaps no one will ever live up to the standards of love we create for ourselves.
“Falling in love” is merely step one of what has the potential to become real love.
What does Suzanne suggest you do? “Keep your feelings in perspective. You may love someone deeply, but that alone is no reason to marry him.” Romance is beautiful and important. But it’s fleeting. Real love lasts forever.
Suzanne knows from experience that marrying someone who isn’t on the same page as you in regards to faith is a recipe for heartache. It’s perhaps the most important factor when choosing a spouse. Two people must be aligned on what they believe and what their marriage is serving before taking the plunge. It’s easy to shy away from this topic, but I’m so glad Suzanne didn’t.
How To Get Hitched (And Stay Hitched) provides young women with all the guidance, warnings, and life lessons they need. Suzanne drowns out the noise, deprograms your mind, and allows you to find what you need and what you desire. If you’re wishing to get married, but you don’t know how to, or you feel like it’s too late, then How To Get Hitched can guide you. It certainly helped me.
You can purchase How to Get Hitched (and Stay Hitched): A 12-Step Program for Marriage-Minded Women here. It will be available on August 31, 2021 by Post Hill Press. Suzanne’s website is www.suzannevenker.com.