Rule # 12 : Don’t Marry Till You’re 30
” To thine own self be true”
Most of us though a 10th grade english class can recall this line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. And most of us remember something about the play but the context of the quote is often lost.
It was a speech made by another Father to his son, Polonius to his son Laertes before he heads off to Paris. This was a time long before blogs when the use of long winded speeches was about the only way a father could impart wisdom to his son. And by the way Laertes rushed off at the end of the speech. it is obvious that relationship between advice giving fathers and advice receiving children has not changed much over the centuries.
But like Laertes, you likely heard the first part of the lecture and not the whole message.
The whole quote is much more meaningful in its lesson.
“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!”
So what Shakespeare was saying was far more important advice than just to be “honest with yourself”, he was was saying that you should be true to who you are, and not pretend we are someone else to others.
As I write this entry I am 51 years old and only beginning now to fully accept the person I am – recognizing my many failures and what my strengths and likes are as a man. I realize now in the wisdom that can only be gained by making many mistakes, often making the same mistake multiple times, that most of my missteps in life came from trying to be someone I was not.
Nowhere were these missteps more evident than in my relationship with women.
Every wrong move or bad relationship I had in my life stemmed not from errors on the woman’s part but from errors on my part in not truly being myself. I wanted to be loved, accepted and told that I was doing the right thing more than actually doing the right thing.
That’s not to say I was the complete reason for the relationship failures, but not knowing who I was made it virtually impossible for me to know another person.
When you are in love, or more likely in lust (see all men are pigs posting), you want to keep getting the high that comes from being connected with someone. Passion for another person is like the cocaine of life, it feels so good when you connected with another person completely we are willing to give up everything we have, including ourselves to feel it again.
Being in love/lust is very much about compromise and embracing the uniqueness of each others. It isn’t bad to try to learn to love and share the interests of a partner. Let’s face it Matthew McConaughey would not have a film career if not for a million men trying to make their dates happy by seeing his latest uni-demenishional screen performance in the “chick flick” offering of the season.
What I’m talking about isn’t about learning to love opera, its about how you view the world.
Things that define who you are and how you love your life, like;
- Am I social person or am I a loner?
- Do I view the world optimistically or pessimistically?
- Is being successful in business more or less important to me than my family life?
- What things in life truly make me happy?
- How do I view money, am I a spender or saver?
- What type of relationship do I want with my extended family- Do I want to be a part of the Waltons or be a hermit?
- Do I really love kids enough to have them?
- Do I want to travel the world and move often, or do I want to have a house at the Jersey shore and stay near where grew up?
- Do I forgive and forget or am I a person that enjoys revenge?
- Is God the center of my life or am I the master of my universe?
I know that these questions seem very simple, but if you don’t start asking yourself them you won’t be able to really connect fully with someone in a real way. You can’t ask someone to join you on life’s journey until you know where you want to go, and how you want to get there.
That brings me to the title of this entry ” Don’t Marry till You’re 30″
I established this rule not because there is something mystical about the age 30, its about the probability of truly not only asking the tough life questions but being able to answer them. Yes, there are a few very enlightened people that truly know who they are at 25, but I personally have never met them. I have however met hundreds of 50+ year olds that have been so busy with work, marriage and stuff that they have never asked themselves the fundamental questions of life. They are running to one fast food restaurant after another so concerned about eating they’ve never enjoyed the meal enough to realize what they are consuming.
The probability that you will truly know the answers to what you want in life by age 20 is less than 3%, by age 25 about 25% only by age 30 is your likelihood over 60%. So to have a real chance at making decisions that are good for your partner and you, later is better.
One strong word of caution is that getting married is like starting a lifetime road trip where you together pick how you will be traveling and where you want to go on the trip. And once you start that trip the excitement of all that you will see on the way ( new houses, kids, work, college, marriages, births and deaths) you will be so busy looking out the windows of life’s road trip car that there will be very few chances to stop and think about where you are going.
Once on life’s road trip with your partner three things are TRUTHS;
Truth #1: Every mile you go will need to be backtracked if you head the wrong direction
If you get 5 years down the roads with a partner you and you look over at the person next to you in the car and realize you don’t like where you are going, you don’t get to pull over and find another person to get in the car with you.
You have to go all the way back to the beginning of your journey, find a new car and restart over again. So every mile you go in the wrong direction makes the journey back further.
Truth # 2- You will change destinations many times
Where you plan to go on your road trip in your 30’s will be very different than you plan to go when you are in your 50’s. You’ll find yourself staying longer in some places than your expected and completely missing others, stay flexible and be sure your driving partner is flexible too.
Truth # 3 – Sooner or later you will have a flat tire in the rain on a dark road.
Life, like road trip cars, breakdown from time to time. Sooner or later you will find yourself stuck in the middle of a rainstorm, on a lonely road at night with no spare. At that moment you will look over at the person next to you and either be wishing they were someone else, or so glad that you are on in that car with them.
All this comes down to really knowing yourself.
So get to know who you are..try things, challenge yourself, do stuff that makes you fee uncomfortable- learn who you really are as a person.
Then, and only then, regardless if you ar 29, 30 or 76 you can find the partner who makes the trip all the better.