The Kind of Mother You Marry

kid serving beer to dadLook at the person you’re dating, or perhaps have recently married, and think about all the ways you compromise. They might be Catholic, you might be Mormon, they might support Bush, you might support Obama, they may believe in abortion rights, you might not. You might want guns in the house to protect your family, they might believe guns cause violence. You might hate meat or the slaughter of animals, they may love bacon.

As a new or childless couple, many of these compromises are easy to make. After all, if you two decide to go your separate ways on Sunday to your individual churches, that’s okay, you’ll meet up after for lunch. Or you go to the shooting range and they rescue kittens from the gutter. You work out while they stay at home snacking on pork rinds on the couch. They’re not difficult to make, most of the time. After all, it’s just you two, and it’s easy when it’s just you two.

Don’t like that your partner smokes pot? Just make sure they don’t do it around the house or around you. They don’t like your language? So long as you’re careful in public, right?

But what about that all-important moment when your woman comes up to you and says: I’m pregnant. Or you are the woman and you see that little blue strip and you’re like, oh S#!t.

Life changes. Suddenly your relationship is no longer just about you two. It’s no longer enough that you just keep your undesirable habit away from your spouse, because you two have to be involved in more ways than you were before.

Suddenly you have to ask, who gets the kid if we still split services? What will that teach them if mommy and daddy don’t believe the same thing? And we’re not talking basic methods of how to wash clothes or the best way to study math, but the purpose of existence. You start getting into the morality of drugs and alcohol use. You begin asking the role of humanity in what’s appropriate to each and whether killing anything sentient is acceptable.

The moment children enter the picture, the relationship changes.

So when you date, are you dating for what’s easy to compromise today, or are you looking at your significant other with the assessing eyes of someone you may have a child with? Is your boyfriend rough around the edges but nice to children? Or might they be abusive or maybe not even there? Can they handle responsibility of more than themselves and you (that goes both ways), or is life likely to remain about them and what they want?

Are you asking the hard questions of how they want to raise a family? The nature of discipline and your individual roles in the raising of children? Have you thought about how much children cost and what you’ll have to give up from your carefree life prior to spawning so that you can raise them with food, clothing and shelter?

Or are you just enjoying the moment because the person makes you feel good, today? That you’re afraid to be alone and it’s better to be with someone than to be alone, no matter the consequences of potentially raising children with someone who either has no fortitude for it or no sense?

Men, are you looking to marry the party girl who always wants to go out but might not have the slightest clue how to be an honorable mother? Women, are you dating the selfish boyfriend who won’t want anything to do with you or a child he might give you?

Now, if you have no intention of having children and are willing to snip-snip, okay, great. It will be much more flexible than otherwise. But if you intend to have children?

We can’t go into relationships that are supposed to last a lifetime as if they might end tomorrow. For something as important as whom you plan on sharing your life with and raising future human beings, select someone you would want your kids to be like — responsible, embracing life but not overcome by it, planning ahead, showing wisdom, maybe some class, and shares your values.

Otherwise you’re better off with a sock.