We are at the top of the John Hancock building and I think to myself that maybe my son’s wedding will be here…
My younger son is not a farm kid. I mean, you’d think he’s a farm kid because he collects eggs every day and he can herd cattle in a pinch, but there is no question in my mind that he will grow up and go to a city. He’ll marry a girl who does not shop at Farm and Fleet.
I guess what happens is that when you stop dreaming about your own wedding, it’s only a few years before you start dreaming about your kid’s wedding. Will I cry? Will I love the girl? Will she be better than I am at the things I care about most?
I hope so.
One of the great benefits of homeschooling is that you can expand the curriculum to reflect what you think is important. And clearly, the criteria we use to pick a spouse is very important. Yet I don’t see much lesson planning around the idea that choosing a spouse is a science you can learn.
Here are some suggestions for approaches kids can take when learning to pick a spouse:
1. Train yourself to think in terms of money and timing.
The biggest career decision we make is who we marry, so it seems that kids should receive at least as much marriage training as the most valued academic topics.
There are rules to follow if you want to have kids. Whether you are training for how to pick a wife or how to pick a husband, the bottom line is that you can either choose to be the breadwinner or marry a breadwinner. But sharing all duties evenly almost never works.
2. Learn about personality type.
The Fortune 500 uses personality typing in a ubiquitous way for one reason: it works. Personality typing is great for understanding someone’s core motivations and preferences. Those qualities do not shift significantly over the course of a life.
An ISTJ will never be the life of the party. An ESFP is never going to be a big reader. An INFJ will be loyal. An ENTJ will earn a lot of money. Really. This is a good system to get basic information about what you need for yourself and whether you’re a good fit for the person in front of you.
You can’t be certain that a spouse will change over the years, and you can be certain you won’t be able to predict anything in your life precisely. But knowing a person’s type tells you immediately what sort of support that person would need from you and what values will not change over the course of five years.
All kids should learn how to pick out someone’s personality type by talking with them. You can teach your kids this skill by learning it yourself.
3. Understand what makes people happy.
Spending time with people we love is what makes us happy. Which you probably already knew. But did you know it has been quantified? Yes. Sex once a week with the same partner is a tipping point for happiness.
Jobs don’t make people happy, but bad jobs make people unhappy. People are able to find happiness when they have reliable work, with hours they can control. When evaluating a potential marriage partner from a field of employed people, your kids should know that some careers are notorious for making people unhappy.
For example, lawyers are the most suicidal of all professionals. (So maybe keep your kids away from Washington, DC which has the highest lawyers per capita in the US.) Some jobs are understood as naturally tuned for creating happy people. For example, janitors are usually happy at work, (So maybe teach your kids to search for a spouse at a janitorial company.)
The big takeaway here, of course, is that kids should learn about relationships just as they learn about other subjects they’re interested in. And kids should understand that the goal of education is to grow solid relationships. A career is nice, but a career in the context of poor relationships surely belies a hole in one’s education.