Greg Leake emails: Hi Luke,
My friends, I didn’t get married until I was 45 years old. (Knew each other for a decade before we finally tied the knot.) Now we’ve had many happy years together, with, of course, the usual ups and downs. She’s one of the best things that ever happened to me.
A lot of your Torah Talk was kind of inside Jewish baseball, but this love stuff transcends all of our religious directions and has a huge commonality. You guys (Luke and Rabbi Rabbs) don’t realize that you are in the second-best place to be relative to marriage.
1. Happily married to a woman that you really have a strong basis for compatibility with.
2. Single as you are (with more money).
After that it’s all downhill.
3. Married to a woman that you’re not compatible with.
Number 3 is an invitation to hell, my friends. Nothing you are presently experiencing in your lonely moments or socially awkward moments compares to the hell of being legally bound with obligations and responsibilities to a woman with whom you do not share a basis for compatibility. Frankly, and very respectfully, in your Orthodox Jewish position you have eliminated most of the single women in the world. That doesn’t help, but it doesn’t rule out good possibilities either. Frankly, this compatibility is a lot more intrinsic than whether you share the same theological views. In your world, shared theological views are a necessity, but they do not spell out psychological and physical compatibility.
In my case, we never had any kids. That might have been a slightly troublesome thought early on, but now we’ve come to see the nature of the contemporary world as one that makes justifying bringing children into it very hard. I think if you consider having a son or daughter who has only had to deal with half of the problems that you have, you could see it’s not something you would wish on someone else. And then today really, as one in the financial world, I would say it takes an astronomical amount of money raise a child and be prepared to meet emergencies and contingencies and still retire at the other end.
I will say that after people began to approach middle age many of the likely candidates for marriage have abandoned their romance with people who play guitars and sing songs down at the beach and are looking for a man with a certain amount of monetary potential. And my view is that the biggest obstacle for you at this juncture lies in that area.
Briefly on another subject.. Luke’s idea in respect to the civil rights movement. Before the civil rights movement, there were already powerful groups of thinkers and followers galvanized around black intellectuals like James Baldwin. These movements were already pressing for equality in intellectual, artistic, and some business circles. Some libertarians believed that had we simply removed all segregationist laws and policies and then let nature take its course, we would have accomplished equality sooner. Some businesses and universities would have been in the vanguard, of course, and some states would have lagged behind others. However, it is possible that we could have overcome all racial discrimination sooner than we have and with none of the hostility that was engendered by forcing and dislocating people of both races against their will. So in fact there do exist ideas that suggest we may have been able to handle the civil rights issues in a better way.