When I read that, I imagined women everywhere getting up in arms (and indeed many did, as is evident in the comment thread), for what these women imagined they heard was a high-profile conservative encouraging women to become barefoot and pregnant.
Of course, that’s not what Ms. Owens meant. What she did mean is that women shouldn’t listen to the lie they’ve been fed since the day they were born that to cook and to clean and to take care of your family amounts to oppression. A new wife and mother herself, Ms. Owens knows first-hand that nothing could be further from the truth. Shocking as it seems, these activities are rewarding – and, hold onto your hat, even liberating.
The Many Lies Women Have Been Fed about Happiness
Unfortunately, the oppression narrative isn’t the only lie American women have been fed. They’ve also been told that sex is just sex, that women should “never depend on a man,” and that career success will (and should) define them.
Absorbing these lies has not served women well. My inbox is loaded with emails from women who lament the dearth of guidance they received when it comes to their futures. The common refrain I hear over and over again in my coaching sessions is: “I wish someone had told me this stuff sooner.”
By “this stuff,” they mean the fact that women’s priorities change dramatically by the time they’re 30 years old. Or the fact that women’s marriage prospects dwindle the older they get (which is not the case for men). Or the fact that marriages tend to crumble when wives out-earn their husbands. Or the fact that babies need their mothers.
Our society is hell-bent on preaching the equality myth and dismantling anything that smacks of tradition.
These details are lost on young women because the society in which we live is hell-bent on preaching the equality myth and dismantling anything that smacks of tradition. And what could be more traditional than marriage, motherhood, and apple pie?
The bogus equality narrative only serves the small, albeit mighty, group of women who envision a different kind of future than the one most women want. Unfortunately, this small, albeit mighty, group of women has the clout they need to do real damage – and they have.
The main message they’ve imparted is the idea that men and women are the same. This is an egregious lie. Women – not men – are the sex that gets pregnant, that gives birth, and that breastfeeds. This brings with it a different set of circumstances for women than it does for men when mapping out a life. At the very least, women have a much shorter time frame than men do in which to get their lives in order.
What the Marriage-Minded Woman Should Do
Indeed, American women are in desperate need of a new roadmap. “The desire of those who have never been married to get married someday remains high,” writes Jeffrey M. Jones at Gallup, “with more than eight in 10 singles hoping to marry.”
How can the marriage-minded woman achieve this goal in 2021? By being as ambitious and intentional about love as she is about her career. Don’t waste time in relationships that are going nowhere. Don’t marry a man who hasn’t found his professional footing. Don’t choose a career that offers no flexibility.
Instead, prioritize love and family and make all other life choices accordingly.
Be as ambitious and intentional about love as you are about your career.
And while you’re at it, stop having sex with men so quickly; it undermines a man’s incentive to stick around. So does living with a man to whom you’re not engaged. If you’re concerned that men aren’t “manning up” and/or wanting to settle down, know that women have a hand in this phenomenon.
Marriageable men will begin to appear the moment women change their modus operandi. As Steve Harvey wrote in Act Like a Woman, Think Like a Man, “Men automatically know from the moment she opens her mouth that if they want her, they'll have to get in line with her standards and requirements or keep it moving because she’s done with the games and isn’t interested in playing.”
Finding Mr. Right isn’t complicated. It’s just harder to do in a culture that’s working against you. The one and only way to succeed in this realm is to reject the lies the culture tells and travel a different path altogether. Think and behave in a manner that will get you where you want to go.
That’s what I did, and it made all the difference.
This essay is adapted from Suzanne Venker’s new book, How to Get Hitched (and Stay Hitched): A 12-Step Program for Marriage-Minded Women. It will be published on August 31, 2021 by Post Hill Press. Suzanne’s website is www.suzannevenker.com.