Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Dear Richard, get off thy butt and get thee a wife.

Dear Richard,

You've mentioned recently (and occasionally in the past) how you'd like to get married and have children.

We, your adoring followers, think that's an excellent idea. We wholeheartedly encourage you in this endeavour. Many of us have followed that same path and have found joy. You know we get a kick out of you being happy.

If you wish to pursue this path in your life, I recommend you do it sooner, rather than later. This is why:

1. You're not getting any younger. Granted, the older you get, the handsomer you get, but not every part of us improves with age. Fertility rates decline in men as well as women.  Also, consider this: you may be able to handle a baby in your forties, but can you handle teenagers in your sixties or seventies?

2. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. This goes for conception as well as having the energy to keep up with offspring.

3. Your potential future wife is not getting any younger either. Remember those declining fertility rates? Age 35 tends to be the magical "top of the hill" for women.  Issues increase for mothers several-fold after age 35. Incidences of Down's Syndrome increase, as well as other genetic-related diseases. Difficulties in conception, nidation and carrying to term also increase. (I have a PhD in OB/GYN from the SoHK. Believe me, you don't want to ignore these potential complications. Nothing is more heartbreaking than a couple who have difficulties in conception simply because they waited too long.)

4. Age gaps do matter. If you choose to side-step the age issue, consider how much younger your potential future wife is. She might be young enough to have greater fertility success, but how well do you get along?

How big an age gap is too big?  Marriage is more than just a nice situation wherein to have children. Marriage really should be a "til death do us part", or even "for time and all eternity". This is a woman you will be spending the next forty-plus years with. You need to ensure you both are compatible in goals, interests and more. A large age gap can add extra tension. Do you really want avoidable tension in your marriage?

That's not to say that a May-to-September relationship can't succeed. They can. But it takes a bit more work.

5. We'd love to see you being more proactive in courtship. You know, we never hear of you going out on dates, we never see you bring a date to the BAFTAs, premieres, etc. Either you've kept your dating ultra low key, or... you're not dating at all. For a while there, we heard rumours that you might be gay, because we never see you in the company of a woman. (If you choose this path, that's your choice. But to say "married and children", that usually implies you and a woman. And dating.)

If you have any glimmer of hope of ever getting married, you simply cannot sit back and wait. You are not in a position, socially to be un-proactive. I know lots of reserved men who managed to get wives, because their wives were proactive and did the chasing. You can't do that.

You have managed to acquire quite the fandom (I know. I've met many of them). When that happens, if a woman expresses interest in you, is it interest in Guy/Thornton/Thorin/John the Actor, or is it in Richard the man? Often it would be impossible to tell until it was too late and you're taking out restraining orders. I feel you.

There are women out there who can see past your career to who you are. But you need to be the one to go find them.

That said, your career takes up much time and you travel the world. A good wife would either have to be willing to spend so much time away from you (NOT recommended), or her life will need to be in a place where she can follow you wherever you go. Some careers would allow a wife to do just that: author/writer, crafter, artist, stay-at-home mom, etc.

6. Love is the greatest thing. Don't miss out because you've been "too busy". There is nothing better in this life than to love and be loved in return. Why sell yourself short?  On their deathbed, nobody says, "I wish I worked more."  They say, "I wish I could spend more time with my family."

Do you have a date for Valentine's Day? I recommend you find one, if you haven't. It's not a marriage proposal, just a date. May not even lead to anything more.

But do you know what will lead nowhere? Not going on a date.


Her Grace

Her Grace, alas, already has a date for Valentine's Day and is unavailable to volunteer as tribute.

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