Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Counsel to young people about spouse selection

Trigger warning

This post contains some truths that are likely to offend people who have adopted false ideas into their core world views. Of course, unless this is your first time on my blog, that shouldn't surprise you.

While it is risky for me to say these things, knowing how people who love a lie will say and do all sorts of evil when confronted with truth, I believe the joy that will come to those who take a higher path as a result of these words is worth it. You can rage against the truth all you want, but that won't relieve you of the pain that inevitably results from living incomplete or incorrect principles.

Note: Everything said here is broad brush generalization. While there are exceptions to every rule, I advise you to take extreme caution.

Marriage is a transaction

In order to marry, each potential spouse has to believe that it is in their best interest. After all, the risk of a bad choice is high. Men marry women for certain reasons, and women marry men for certain reasons. These reasons vary according to culture and wisdom, but they shouldn't.

A man's currency is his production capability, his wisdom, his stoicism, his vision, and his looks.
A man's value at 18 is mostly looks. He is not stoic, he is not wise, his vision (if he has one) is weak, and he has very little production capability. His value increases steadily through the next few years, and hits the threshold where he may be worth marrying at 25, but not before. But a man's value keeps increasing over time. If he stays in shape, his looks fade very slowly, and if he is wise, his production and vision keep growing for most of his life. Put basically, a man's value grows the older he gets. When a woman marries a man worth marrying, all his most valuable years are ahead of him. The only reason a man should marry young is to fight the artificial cap modern women have on dating a man > 10 years older than they are, but to maximize market value, he should wait until at least 25 to consider marrying in order to provide sufficient time to increase his earnings, wisdom, stoicism, and vision. Fortunately for women, a man's worth is very easily measured. In one date, you can gain a clear measure of how productive he is, how stoic he is, how wise he is, what he looks like, and what he is doing with his life.

A woman's currency is her looks, her excitement, her dedication, her kindness, and her emotional stability. None of these things grow over time. Some may stay the same, most will not. Put simply, the longer a woman waits to marry, the less currency she has to attract a valuable man. There is a point where she has too little value to attract a man worth marrying, which is the point at which the least qualified man worth marrying would prefer someone younger. Unfortunately for a man, the only part of a woman you can evaluate in one date is her looks. Even more unfortunately for a man, you can go on any number of dates with a woman and never get to an accurate measurement of her dedication, kindness, or emotional stability.

The bottom line: By nature, most men are not worth marrying. Modern culture makes it so even fewer than normal are worth marrying. By nature, most women are worth marrying. Modern culture makes it so few are.

Advice to Young Men

If you want to find and attract the best woman you can, focus on improving yourself. The good news is that you have time. You shouldn't even think about seriously dating anyone--no matter how amazing they seem, until you are 25. If she is amazing before you are 25, it just means you can find someone better after 25, when you have more to offer.

You need to make money. Choose and prepare for a career. The average wage is 30k per year. If you want to provide your wife with the opportunity to be a stay at home mom, choose a career where you can earn at least double that. To be on the safe side, you should triple it.

Learn stoicism. Read Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. Learn to develop routines and mindsets that establish your core so strongly that nothing anyone else does can affect you. Learn to control your schedule. Don't waste your time. Learn to control your actions. Don't let anything dictate them to you. Become a warrior.

Establish a life vision. If you want an example, here is mine. Read books from great minds to rise out of the mediocrity of thought your circumstances provide you. Decide how you will fight the entropy in this world. Consider your greatness, and then do what it takes to make it manifest in your life.

Above all else, seek God. Seek to know more about God than anyone you know, not to brag or boast, but so that you can do the greatest good. Learn to trust him completely. Master the scriptures. Internalize his words. He is the source of all strength, all wisdom, all power, and every character trait worth having. You need all of these things, and going to him is the most direct way to get them.

When you get to the point that you can support a wife and kids--financially, emotionally, and spiritually--you are ready to date seriously. Until then, you have no time or energy for it, nor should any woman pay any attention to you. You have to come to the point where you have something to offer a woman. That is your job as a man: to have something more to give her, so that she becomes something more than she would otherwise be.

Marriage is not a right. It is a privilege, and one for which many men never qualify. If you are not a productive person who has something to give a woman, you ought not seek marriage. Stay single. There are far more marriageable women than marriageable men. This is just a fact of life driven by the Pareto distribution.

What should you look for in a woman? Someone who will receive everything you have to give. You are looking for humility and kindness, over all else. Unfortunately, this is nearly impossible to evaluate through dating. Historically, these attributes were easier to come by because they were taught by culture. In modern times, culture produces the opposite. I wish I had a trick to test a woman's humility and kindness. I don't. The nearest I can get is to teach you about how feminine energy manifests.

Women have positive energy. This includes excitement, happiness, joy, cuddliness, sexiness, etc. Women also have negative energy. This includes emotional violence, sadness, moodiness, testiness, anger, jealously, etc. At any given moment, a woman will be in a positive state or a negative state. WOMEN COME IN ALL DIFFERENT CONFIGURATIONS OF THESE THINGS. Consider this graph, which plots state over time:

You can imagine how many different plots you could get. Some women have frequent high positive states, some women have frequent low negative states. Some (very few!) women are very even keeled and don't have extremes. Some women stay in a positive state for longer periods of time. Some women stay in a negative state for longer periods of time. Some flip flop very frequently. And on and on. 

If we could design an ideal woman, it would be one who was very high all the time. That woman doesn't exist. How close you can get to that will depend on the reality of what is out there, and essentially you will have to choose what drawbacks you are willing to deal with. If you really want  extreme highs, it is likely you will have to deal with extreme lows. If what you prefer is higher lows, you will probably have to deal with lower highs too. No matter your preference, to avoid regret, seek a woman who is net positive.

When you are dating a woman, you should be thinking about these graphs and assessing her energy plot. Like I've said, it is really, really hard to get an accurate read of a woman during dating. You might try to engineer situations where she is massively sleep deprived or very highly stressed. Do everything you can to reveal what is certainly hidden from you, and likely hidden for you. If she is on mind altering drugs, move on and don't turn back. Understand that, for a young woman, her life is an unending cycle of new emotional highs. She develops and starts attracting men's attention. She gets the excitement of being chased. First date, serious dating, physical interaction, engagement, baby. After a woman has a child, there are no more new emotional peaks. It is all downhill from there. Her stress levels will keep going up, her hormones will keep going down, her looks will fade, and she will get bored with you and with life. A woman will give you 5 to 15 years of her peak (depending on whether you marry her at 30 or 18). You will be with her for another 50 years where she is a completely different person in every way. Choose based on who she will be for the 50, not for the 5-15. A consistently kind, loving, grateful woman is worth everything it takes to find and marry her. But that kind of woman is rarer than anything else on this earth, and almost impossible to judge without actually marrying her.

If you encounter any of the following red flags, move on: Uses mind-altering drugs (including prescribed ones), checks her phone often, is over 30, single mother or divorced, overweight. Ask a date what she is interested in in life and if she wants kids. If she says no, or says something that indicates kids come after a decade of travel and career, move on.

Marriage is not for companionship. For a man, it is to provide an opportunity to serve through obtaining and becoming then giving. If you pick a wife that will receive what you have, you will be happy. If you pick a wife who is prideful and doesn't recognize what you offer her, you will be miserable.

What you are looking for is a woman who is able to find her strength in you. You aren't expecting her to be perfect. What you are looking for is someone who recognizes her weakness and your strength and is able to trust you sufficiently that she can have peace in situations that exceed her capabilities because of your strength. If she can't trust you, move on. These traits (humility, trust, dedication, love)  in a woman are more of a product of how many times she has been let down by men she relied on than it is a choice. If she doesn't have them now, she probably never will. They can be lost, but I'm not sure they can be gained.

If you are in your peak, seek a woman in hers. This means you should be dating women who are as close to 18 as you can get, whatever age you are. This isn't because looks are super important or even very important--they aren't. It is because the things that do matter are very very hard to measure, and in absence of good measures, it is best to go with the fact that the younger a woman is, the more likely she is not jaded, the more positive energy she will have, and the more years you will have with her before rolling the dice of the hormonal changes that might turn her into a completely different woman than you married.

Advice to Young Women

Almost all young women are attractive. Do not derive your self worth from your looks--they will not last. Instead, seriously evaluate your inner character, and seek to improve it with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. Cultivate a love for correction, and seek God sincerely to help you find how you can be better. Be brutally honest in your motives and desires. Seek to be an integral person. Evaluate how you feel against how you should feel, and seek to align differences. Know yourself and grow towards seeing yourself as God sees you.

Unfortunately, you have to make many important decisions while you are still very young, before you have much wisdom or experience. There are many decisions in your life that will have permanent consequences: Every man you have a serious relationship with will significantly reduce your capacity to have a full, meaningful relationship with another man. Every year you live outside of a family (that is, outside of the child relationship but not yet in a married relationship) will decrease the amount of happiness you have in marriage, because it will imbue you with counterfeit sources of happiness, and those lies take years and years to correct, if ever.

You don't have time or capital to waste on poor choices in men. Your physical attractiveness is your most valuable asset in finding a husband. This value peaks from 16-18, fades slowly until 25, then starts fading quickly. Your pool of potential husbands shrinks significantly with every year past 18. Don't waste your capital. Don't waste your time. Realize that marriage is a net loss for a man, and that you will need everything you can muster to land a good husband. Take care of yourself physically. Looks are not important, but they are one of very few things a guy has to go off of. If you can't keep yourself in shape as a single person, how are you going to do it when you have kids to take care of? If you can't control what goes into your mouth, how are you going to control what comes out of it?

Fortunately, you have everything you need from day one to objectively evaluate a spouse. In one date you can do it. How much money does he earn? What is his purpose in life? If a man doesn't have a good answer to this direct question, move on. How much effort does he put into improving his spirit, mind, and body (in that order!)? Is this a man who you honestly believe will have something to provide you your whole life? Is he getting better every day? You are looking for someone who is better than you and will continue to grow faster than you do so that he continues to have something to offer you in what he produces, what he gives, and what he teaches. Is he oriented to service? How has this manifested in his life? If he is not serving people now, he will not serve you or your kids later. Does he want kids? If he isn't sure or says no, move on. Is he stoic? Can he maintain his center even when he is tired or hungry or stressed? Does he get stressed? Does he require mind altering drugs to cope with life? A man who can't keep himself aligned with his vision and his center (or who doesn't have a center) is not worth marrying, period. Move on. Is he addicted to anything? A man who needs external materials or activities to derive his self worth is not worth marrying, period. Move on. You are looking for a guy who can withstand your storms and the storms of life, who can be your rock. If he doesn't fit this description, and you can find out in one date if he does, move on.

Don't fool yourself into the lies that society teaches you about men and women. Don't seek an "equal partner." If you find a man who is only as good as you are, you will be miserable with him. A woman's nature is to seek someone better than herself, yet modern culture teaches the lie of equal partners. Get used to the idea of your husband being better than you, then go out and find someone for whom it is true. Settle for nothing less. A woman will be happier being single than married to someone who is less than she is.

A brief, unpopular note on polygamy: Polygamy, in most cases, is a very bad idea. However, I would be remiss to point out that the surest way to find a man who would be a successful husband is to find one who already is. About half of men do not marry, and 75% of those who do, fail. If you find someone in the 12% who are in a successful marriage, you are already way ahead of the curve, even without considering the tangibles of success, which are much more obvious than with a single man.

Addendum: Differences in pools of men vs. pools of women

Above, I wrote "By nature, most men are not worth marrying. Modern culture makes it so even fewer than normal are worth marrying. By nature, most women are worth marrying. Modern culture makes it so few are."

Also in the polygamy post I linked above, I went into some dynamics of differences between men and women. You should read that.

Men and women are objectively different. If you pretend these differences don't exist, it will result in a worse experience for you.

One of those differences is in IQ. Women and men have, on average, the same IQ. In both cases, the IQ scores are distributed normally (meaning according to the so-called bell curve). But the distribution of women is different from the distribution of men. The female distribution is narrower, while the men's is fatter. What does this mean? It means that while on average a human being's IQ will be 100, it is much more likely to be lower or higher if you are a man than if you are a woman. Does this difference matter? It absolutely does. Someone with an IQ of 85 or lower can't follow written instructions. Note the use of the word can't. It isn't about how hard they try. Likewise, someone with an IQ of 115 is going to have markedly different capabilities than someone with an IQ of 100. What does this mean in practice? An IQ of 115, 130, or otherwise will find their comprehension dominating that of someone with, say, an IQ of 90. If you were to plot their conversations on a Venn diagram, instead of the the familiar two circles with the bit shared in the middle, there would be one circle completely surrounded by a much larger circle. If you are told your whole life that marriage is meant to be about "equal partners" and you find yourself in such a situation (no matter which circle you are), you are going to be very upset. In reality, no matter which circle you are, you ought to be thankful. If you are the smaller circle, you have been blessed with a firehose of intelligence beyond your own, and will reap the benefits of a crop that you didn't plant. If you are the larger circle, you will have a daily opportunity to bless someone else with the gift you've been given.

The dark side of this information is that it shows us that, for half of women, half of men are incompatible (because of Briffault's law aka "women marry up"), and the higher IQ a woman is, judged only by IQ, the pool of compatible men shrinks considerably.

But IQ does not tell the whole story.

What about looks? Physical characteristics are distributed normally.

What about attraction? This is different than looks, because it includes the whole picture. There are public datasets that measure this, and the patterns are pretty clear. Men strongly prefer women closer to 18 (not good for women), but also find far more women attractive than women find men attractive (very good for women). In other words, the attraction distribution for men->women is Normal. Men find most women attractive, some very attractive (~15%), and some not very attractive (~15%). How about women->men? Most women find only a small percentage of the male population attractive. This creates a differential: most women are competing for the same small set of men.

Why do women find less men attractive than men find women attractive? Because women put a far higher weight on production than men do. Unlike IQ and looks, production is Pareto distributed. The Pareto distribution is what governs income and every other measure of human production. It essentially goes like this: The vast majority are very low. There are a few that are decent. There are very very few who are outstanding. PQ correlates to everything a woman ought to look for in a man: income, stoicism, wisdom, rate of improvement, etc. Why is the PQ distributed so differently than IQ? Because IQ governs someone's book smarts, but not their production. I know many high IQ people given the nature of my two jobs. They can ace a test, but are as or more likely to live in their mom's basement playing video games as they are to start a multi-million dollar company or cure cancer. You can be very smart and still be lazy. You can be very smart and still be very foolish. You can be very smart without being very discerning. These traits are independent. When you have all positive traits coherently aligning, you get PQ, and that is really rare. PQ should sound familiar. It is what the scriptures call intelligence, light and truth, wisdom, godliness, etc.

A woman chooses a man based on his PQ more than his looks (though too many foolish women overweigh looks), and a man chooses a woman because of her looks rather than her PQ or IQ or anything else. Rather than get ruffled at the importance men place on looks, women should be grateful because: 1) men can't objectively measure what they should really care about, which is her feminine energy, and 2) if they could, most women would not be worth marrying. In other words, while it seems harsh and unfair that women are judged by their looks, most women, at least when they are young, have much more attractive physiques than characters, and can leverage that to get a far better man than they deserve. But most don't, because they select a mate from the shallow end of the PQ pool, either for lack of understanding or because they waited too long and therefore didn't have sufficient capital to qualify.

All this being said, the wiser a man is, the less he will care about looks. The wise man, like God, looks upon the heart. The wiser a woman is, the more she will develop her character (which, unlike her IQ, is wholly within her ability to change). She will find a high PQ man, dig in, and never look back. It is far easier for a woman to find a high PQ man than it is for a man to find a good hearted woman. This is why Solomon said that a virtuous woman is so valuable. He should know, because he couldn't find one in spite of trying 1,000 times.

A woman will receive a far greater benefit from finding a high PQ man than a man will benefit from finding a good hearted woman. Why? A woman with a high PQ man will have the opportunity to acquire lifetimes more light and truth from her husband if she is wise. If she is not wise, she will still benefit from the immeasurably better circumstances of life and treatment provided from her husband compared to the vast majority of other potential husbands. A man who finds a good hearted woman will have a much more enjoyable life than he otherwise would.