Skip to comments.Jane Austenís Advice: Choose the Right Man and Live Happily Ever After
Posted on 04/18/2012 6:59:33 AM PDT by Kaslin
Culture Challenge of the Week: Finding A Good Man
Call it the lament of the young, single woman: there are no good men left. Or if there are, where are they? And how can a young woman pursue a healthy, marriage-minded relationship in a singles culture of casual sex and perpetual adolescence?
In her new book, The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After (Regnery Publishing, 2012), Elizabeth Kantor provides some answers. She writes, “Of course it’s no secret that modern mating rituals have gone badly wrong.” And indeed they have: the number of cohabitating couples has doubled in the past twenty years, and the marriage rate has dropped precipitously. Many singles find themselves on a path to lifelong singlehood, not necessarily by choice. And even within relationships, time-honored ideals---like fidelity—increasingly fall by the wayside. (A recent Match.com survey found that only 62% of men believe that sexual fidelity is a “must have” in a relationship. In comparison, 80% of women say fidelity is a must for a successful relationship.)
Happily Ever After offers a thought-provoking, encouraging, and often witty take on what’s wrong with today’s dating patterns. Even better, Kantor draws on the wisdom and insights of Jane Austen’s heroines to mark out a confident path for young women who want a good man and a relationship that will deliver a lifetime of happiness—and love—in marriage.
Kantor asks, "What is it that Jane Austen heroines do (that we’re not doing) that makes really satisfying happy endings possible for them, and not so likely for us?"
The author’s interpretation of Jane Austen—whose old, romantic novels became modern box office hits--suggests a model for young women who want lasting, happy relationships. Modern-day Jane Austen “heroines” should cultivate “true elegance” instead of “hotness,” demand love without humiliation, develop competence about men, respect their own female psychology, and take relationships seriously.
How to Save Your Family: Share Happily Ever After
Today’s singles often seem clueless about what makes a relationship work or even what they should hope it will include. And for women, it’s even more confusing. Feminist thought urges women to plan their futures with a single-minded career focus, leaving little room for men, marriage, and children. Young women may fall into the trap of pursuing personal autonomy and career success with little thought about relationships, marriage, and family—until they find themselves lonely and alone.
Kantor resists the notion that a Jane Austen-style approach to relationships requires “a life of pre-feminist misery and oppression.” But she stresses that it’s reasonable for women to “spend significant intellectual and emotional capital on our relationships—but in the right way, not the wrong way.”
What’s the right way? Neither romantic illusions, nor Victorian repression, nor modern cynicism. Instead, Kantor writes, women need to understand the real meaning of love and happiness—and settle for nothing less.
Sprinkled throughout the book are “Tips” for “Janeites,” little nuggets of good advice, like these:
-“Stop making the same old bad choices about men before those choices ‘fix’ your character, freezing you into habits you may not be able to break out of.”
-“Drama is not the same thing as love.” (Who really wants a Kardashian-style relationship?)
-“Keep your distance, not to increase his love by suspense—but so you can make up your mind about a man while you can still see him clearly.” (An important point for a generation that too easily moves from the bar to the bedroom to sharing an apartment.)
At the end of each chapter, Kantor frames questions to help readers assess their own relationships. In easy to read bullet points, she helps women probe the strengths and weaknesses of their current relationships. And in true Jane Austen style, she urges them to have the boldness to “arrange their own marriages”—to choose wisely and decide fearlessly if a relationship is likely to secure a happy future.
And the Jane Austen promise? That love and happiness go together: women can live “happily ever after” marriages if they recognize, expect, and pursue true love.
ShareThe Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After with your daughters – and all the single women you know.
It's not spite, it weakness, and it's not some kind of quid pro quo threat I just have my limits. I try and try and after a time I fall short.
The same one who tempts her to say no, tempts me when I'm down.
EXCELLENT! Thank you for posting that. There are a lot of women and girls today who have the attitude “What have you done for me lately?” Well, sweetheart, it isn’t all about you. Get over yourself and realize a relationship is TWO people.
I especially like the one about appreciating him and being thankful for your blessing. Time passes so quickly. My parents were married for 55 years when my dad passed away, and my mother never got over losing him.
I hope you are not sleeping with this young woman if the two of you are not married.
I’m so sorry for your loss. God bless
Nuts, I been using that rule on everybody for the better part of my life, and now I find out it's only for women.
See my post #111, plus check your private email.
Over thirty years of successful marriage revolving around one principle: If you want me to do the things that make you happy, then make an effort to make me happy. If you're not in the mood to make me happy, then don't expect much interest from me in making you happy.
She sufficiently likes what I do to make her happy to make an effort to reciprocate.
Great post, heartwood, great post.
I am blessed. I married when I was a bit older (30) but that was because I had to be absolutely sure that when I got married, that she was the right one.
I adore my wife (24 years) mostly because of one simple fact: She accepts me for who I am as a person, and accepts me as a man.
I am by no means perfect. I have many faults, both major and minor.
That is why your post hit such a chord with me. She knows my strength and weaknesses, and understands a key point that many spouses don’t: Those weaknesses, if not destructive, are part of what makes you, YOU, just as much as the strengths do.
She doesn’t steer or drag me to try to improve me. She leads me.
Think about that: “She leads me”.
Sounds like a bad thing, but in no way is it bad. Her gentle persuasions over our time together have made me better in many ways, without taking away the essence of who I am. That is not an easy thing to do.
And another point: She UNDERSTANDS I am a man. A Man. She doesn’t try to turn me into a woman who happens to have male genitalia.
My wife knows, as all intelligent women do, that being a man is more than just difference from women in anatomy and physical appearance.
She understands completely that our brains are wired differently than those of women. We often operate on different frequencies, occupy spaces in our minds that belong to us and they will never be able to get in, and to be comfortable and grow as a man, we need the freedom to BE a man.
Basically, she understands that masculinity in men is not a crime, something to be suppressed.
This opens up our marriage in ways that I sadly see are stunted in many other relationships we observe.
She knows she doesn’t have to like professional footbal for me to enjoy it. If I want to tackle some project that she doesn’t see as important, she understands that I am doing it because it is interesting or important to me and she respects that.
Actually...it all boils down to respect. Without it, nothing else is possible except bad things and unhappiness.
I have had a bumper sticker on my car for going on ten years now, and it is a private joke that couples coming behind us on the roadways seem to occasionally share in. The bumper sticker says:
“MY WIFE SAYS I NEVER LISTEN TO HER, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.”
I will see a couple in a car drive up behind me, crane their necks to read the sticker, and begin laughing. I got stopped by a cop once who, when he decided not to give me a ticket (taillight out) said: “I really like your bumper sticker!”
But that sticker says something about us, because my wife knows that I hear every single thing she says, no matter how inane it might seem.
She tested me one day (she had apparently seen it on television somewhere) by speaking to me of the day’s events:
“I had a meeting at work today, it wasn’t very productive. I saw a friend who said to say hello. I picked up milk on my commute home. The plumber called and will be here next Tuesday. I am going to do some work in the garden on Saturday morning. I cut my head off with dental floss when I walked in the front door.”
Stop with the porn immediately. It has been shown that it truly is addicting and even causes the exact kind of physical changes in the brain that drug addiction causes. Don’t be dragged into something that will become master of you.
Have you and your wife visited a marriage counselor? I suggest you find one immediately, and make sure he bases his work on Biblical principles.
Interesting, you choose the two most basic, and least interesting Twain offerings. Austin was a true dud. Ive found that Twain is more for thinkers,,, and Austen is more like an opiate for depressed women.
Twain wrote eloquently about the world, cultures from all over, languages, the ignorance of anti Semitism, China in the era of the Boxer rebellion, Indians, immigration, the universe, history, metaphysics, and everything that drives man,,,, greed, influence, ignorance, kindness, work, laziness, brilliance, etc.
And then we have Austen, and her thousand pages of he loves me, he loves me not drivel.
>>I just have my limits.<<
God has no limits. He doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle. Talk to your pastor and have him speak to her.
Sounds like your have a hate on for men. Men are usually a lot more realistic than that. the women I’ve taken to rarely meet my physical ideal. But I won’t go with a 200+ woman with no respect for her body, and doesn’t care if she’d widow me by fifty because she wont control her eating habits. I can’t speaks for all guys, but that is my only physical limit.
IMO, that “friend” thing usually results from one of two situations.
1) The man is trying to win a woman out of his league. He may need to lower his expectations in the looks category.
2) The man is frustrated that he is kind and nice, but just can’t get anywhere with women, when the component that is missing that attracts women is manliness.
Most women want a man who is polite and considerate, but they also want him to be assertive and take the lead. Being mild-mannered does not require you to dump your testosterone.
Precisely my experience. I am divorced after 19 years of marriage and single for the last 11. I have found 1 woman in those 11 years worth her salt, and she is deathly afraid of a relationship because she has been clobbered twice. It has been a tough, tough relationship road for me. I am a banker, Christian, very active in church and have many, many friends, known and respected in the community and am now in my mid-50's. Many have shown interest, most of whom were quite attractive. But most are either very shallow, display an intolerable degree of arrogance or have major moral shortcomings. I have pretty much given up.
maybe...but most of THEM are coming up empty handed....
I see far too many women these days seeing their man as nothing more than somebody that should treat them like a queen while they behave like a spoiled brat that appreciates nothing. Ultimately, theyre very selfish.
You are so right there.
And I am appalled at how many will just criticize their husbands in the presence of others. Above all, a man wants respect.
Sounds like you showed great restraint.
And thank you for your service.
Maybe it is you and not them?? Maybe it's your personality?
Hint. Most women are moderate politically. Don't ever talk politics until you get to know her and she knows you.
One word: BUSHMILLS!!!!!
My wife and I enjoy a glass of it every night, and it keeps our marriage STRONG. :)
Sex/intimacy only 5% of marriage?.....Uumm no. Sex/intimacy is a major factor of healthy marriages.
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