The meme doing the rounds is “Marriage as Restaurant”. It started as a comment by Dalrock here, was expanded on by Anonymous Reader, Hawaiian Libertarian chimed in, as did the Wild Man Project. They are all worth a read and make a strong metaphor for Marriage 2.0.
Summarizing them all into a single loose thought, Marriage is like having dinner in a rather questionably run restaurant where bad things can happen to men, and you’re potentially better off eating outside the restaurant. As far as it goes, I agree, though I have got to wonder why no one mentioned the possibility of one guy being duped into having to pick up the check for another guy aka paternity fraud. Also I would have added in the possibility of guys ordering filet mignon and being served hamburger, yet forced to pay the full price for the filet mignon. Or simply being told chef didn’t feel like cooking, and to just drink water for the next six months. Or perhaps being very obviously served someone else’s leftovers. Or catching some dreaded disease in there from the lack of basic sanitation when dealing with various “uncooked meats.”
In short, I agree that when marriage goes wrong, it goes very wrong indeed. Which is why the only bolded statement in the Primer says…
Unless you are completely confident in your choice of wife and ability t0 maintain your relationship, I advise you not to get married at all. (Chapter 29)
…all that being said, there is a serious flaw in the “Marriage as Restaurant” metaphor. Namely, it frames the man as being a fairly passive victim of his fate. It may as well be a “Marriage as Hunger Games” metaphor, or “Marriage as a Razorblade in a Candy Apple at Halloween” metaphor. All that’s left is for the roadrunner to stick out it’s tongue at us and go “beep beep.”
What marriage is really like, is opening a restaurant with a partner. You may hope it turns out awesome, but no one gets a Michelin Star just for opening a restaurant. You earn it.
When you open a restaurant, there’s a lot to think about, because as everyone knows, quite a lot of new restaurants fail. When you start something as major as this with a partner, there’s a serious legal agreement that is entered into, and both partners bring something to the table of value. Typically that’s some combination of brains, beauty, brawn or bucks. Maybe you chef it up in the kitchen and she runs the front, but each partner has a role they need to play and if they don’t play it well, the business could simply go under. If it fails, whatever is left of the mess is divided up, but it’s not usually a net positive for either partner if that happens.
When you open a restaurant, it’s going to be a lot of work. You’re going to have good days and bad days. Someday’s it’s going to be a huge party in there and some days it’s going to seem pretty dead and you’re going to look at each and wonder why you even started a restaurant in the first place. Especially when the economy is rough and running a restaurant is harder than usual. But you keep the food fresh, the restaurant clean, the people smiling and don’t give up making a go of it… because while some restaurants fail, plenty of restaurants do pretty well and you are not without influence.
If someone else’s restaurant makes you jealous, you ask them what they do and copycat what you can. If the restaurant is struggling, blaming the hell out of each other isn’t a solution. You read up on restaurant management. If your restaurant is starting to slide downwards, you don’t just hope for the best, you seek help. If you’re in a crappy location, you pull up sticks and move.
However, you must accept that if the food you’re sending out of the kitchen is crap, the people working out front can’t save the restaurant for you. Plus the wait staff hate delivering crappy food and once they lose faith in you, it’s not long until they throw in the towel. Like it or not, the head chef is the most critical role in the restaurant.
The trouble is most guys get into the chef game like this…
When you really should be thinking about doing it like this…
So yes indeed, who you get into business with is half the battle, but the other half of the battle is you. Worst comes to worst, a top quality chef is always in demand. So keep your knives sharp.