October 23, 2023
By Chris Kiefer
Many young men today are looking for meaning and fulfillment in their lives. There are limitless options of where and how to find self-fulfillment and happiness.
If that is you, I will speak to you today. If you want the most self-fulfillment and happiness in life, if you seek adventure and for that which will be of greatest worth to you in your life, then get married and have children.
Do not give up on other dreams and aspirations. Rather, put first things first. Let me tell you why.
Why Marriage and Fatherhood as the Primary and Ultimate Goal
A critical part of our well-being is having meaningful relationships. And there are no relationships more meaningful in depth and breadth than building a strong marriage over your life and building a healthy relationship with each of your children.
There is much data on the benefits of marriage for men, compared to single men, including higher income, greater stability, emotional support, and life satisfaction.
But let me add insights from my own experience. The reason married men do better in these areas is because marriage and fatherhood can help you find yourself, become a man, and have meaning and purpose in life.
More Challenging, More Support, More Rewarding
A man stands strongest and shines brightest when he is a loving husband, a caring father, and an honest working provider. This is because marriage and fatherhood are no easy tasks!
As you take on that beautiful adventure seriously, you will find that life in some ways becomes more challenging, you will have more on the line with your decisions because those decisions will directly influence the life and wellbeing of your wife and children, and their future posterity. But you will also experience more support during life’s setbacks, more uplifting, and more joy from your wife and children than you could only on your own.
That is why you want to marry a woman with conviction that is committed to you like you are to her. Together you will embark on a very difficult and real journey together.
Marriage and Fatherhood Awaken You and Inspire You to Rise to Become a Man
There is something beautiful that awakens in you as a young man, when you hold your wife to protect and cherish her and when you hold your baby in your arms. You are no longer a lone man with minor risk except to yourself. Your desire and focus are now instinctively to protect, provide, and to nurture with love that family and little kingdom of yours.
Something similar happens in a young woman when she holds a baby in her arms for the first time, her motherly instincts kick in and she becomes a nurturer and a protector to those children. She also becomes a beacon of strength to you that you will realize you cannot do without! This is because she loves you and is invested in the family you both have created. Therefore, she will become your biggest champion if you let her.
Do Not Cohabitate or Delay Marriage
Some delay marriage or choose to cohabitate. Often it is with good intentions because they simply want to make sure they are ready or to avoid making a mistake.
But cohabitation increases likelihood of marital dissatisfaction and divorce, compared to marriage. Plus, cohabiting couples experience the same heavy tolls when they separate from cohabitation, as married couples who divorce. So not only would you not be avoiding the pain of divorce, but increasing the likelihood of the very things you hope to avoid.
And let me tell you about “finding yourself” or “being ready” before you get married.
During my short thirteen years of marriage, I have already experienced failures, depression, sickness, problems, trauma, losses, and personal crisis – all while married and raising children. And in all those experiences, I had to find myself, I had to pray, I had to self-introspect, I had to take care of myself first before I could take care of others, I had to look inward and make changes in myself so that I could be a better father and husband, and overall person.
I can also attribute overcoming obstacles and achieving much of my success to having my friend and wife who carried me when I was down. Here is an irrefutable life truth:
No one can uplift a man and strengthen him as much as a loving and supportive wife!
So, no. You will not be done finding yourself and experiencing growth just because you are married with children.
And you will never be “ready” enough to get married either.
But you will also not have the expansive growth and self-discovery, along with the emotional support, that you can have when you commit fully to a life with your wife and create a family together.
The crucible of marriage can accelerate your growth, not just because you must develop yourself to be there for your family, but because you must stop looking so much inward and start looking outward to your children, to your spouse, and to the future.
A Treasure that Increases in Value and Worth
Investing your time, effort, and priority into your marriage and into fatherhood is just like investing your money. It takes time. This is not a get rich quick scheme. Life will provide plenty of opposition to you, to your marriage, and to your children. It takes effort and time to make the love between you and your wife flourish. It takes effort to very patiently teach, love, and discipline your children, from the time they are infants, to toddlers, to teenagers, and into adulthood. But those who do will find the greatest treasure in their life standing in front of them as they age and look back at their life. When you get there, the life you and your wife created together becomes your greatest achievement. Your children and grandchildren will be your greatest treasure and the greatest source of joy!
And like I said, you can still achieve a fulfilling career in whatever endeavors you personally embark upon. But the difference is that when you prioritize building a family over everything else, you can avoid ending up like the lone pirate with only his treasure by his side that becomes increasingly more meaningless as he ages closer to the end.
So, what now? In Part 2, I will give you steps you can take to best prepare for and seek marriage and fatherhood.