This is the first difficult Maxim I have to address, and not nearly the hardest (because there’s one I intend to dismiss entirely so stay tuned). This is a Maxim geared towards a specific cultural norm that no longer exists. Yet some of the root virtue inherent in this Maxim still applies.
Marriage meant children, and continuity. It meant maturity and stability. It meant status. It meant family. It meant love.
So how does this translate into modern culture? For one thing, marriage doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have children. Today marriage doesn’t specify the genders or numbers of partners. But marriage is alive, despite all the naysayers. “Free Love,” the sexual revolution and the GLBTQI rights movement were all supposed to sound it’s death knell, but marriage is still going strong.
Why do people still get married? Continuity, maturity, stability, family and love are all still prime factors. In a modern interpretation of this Maxim I think it’s more helpful to view it through those factors:
- Intend for there to be continuity in your life. Create something that will pass on to the next generation. Not merely in art or physical objects, but in values, virtue and ideals.
- Intend to reach a level of maturity in your life. This doesn’t mean becoming dull and boring, but it does mean acting like an adult. I think everyone knows someone too old to still be acting like a teenager. Don’t be that person.
- Intend to be stable. Be your own fortress, and a bulwark others can rely on. Be the person who shows up, who calls and who can be reached. Be the person who knows their bills are paid and keeps a bit back in savings.
- Intend to have a family. Maybe this means biological children. Maybe this means adoption. Maybe this means remaining close to your biological family. Maybe this means creating your own family from close friends that support each other. Build family relationships that last.
- Intend to fall in love. Every chance you can. Life is short and contains too little love as it is.
Of course, this Maxim, even with a modern twist, isn’t one I’m very good at. I should probably meditate on this Maxim.