We Should Look Forward to Marriage

We Should Look Forward to Marriage

Last update on May 30, 2013.

“The conflict between career ambition and relationships lies at the heart of many of our current cultural debates...Ambition drives people forward; relationships and community, by imposing limits, hold people back.” - Emily Esfehani Smith

A recent article in The Atlantic by cultural critic Emily Esfehani Smith titled “Relationships Are More Important Than Ambition” caught my attention. Many millennials I know are busy concentrating on their careers; they’re so caught up in the pulse of work, social media, and the world around them that they they’ve lost sight of the things that make life most meaningful: relationships.

It’s true that having a career that is enjoyable and rewarding can bring immense personal satisfaction. Perfecting skills and seeing your talents unfold leaves you feeling great. Yet at the end of the day, we all long for something more. We want the presence of someone to love and cherish.

And so the question beckons: what do we—driven millennials—do when our career ambition collides with our desire for marriage, relationships and settling down?

I’m an ambitious 22-year-old in the conservative political realm. On top of a full-time job, I blog, maintain some semblance of a social life, and enjoy quality family time. I keep myself busy and have my priorities in check. I know what I’m looking for in a potential husband and life partner. And yet, like so many other young professionals, balancing my career with the desire to settle down in the future is a real challenge. Yes, we still dream of finding Prince Charming (whoever he is), getting married, and having kids. We’d also like to land our ideal jobs.

Added to that tension of family and career goals is the disenchantment I and so many others feel with today’s dating culture. Both men and women are guilty of making the hook-up culture the new norm, although radical feminism has greatly propelled it. But why should I compromise my value system for a one night stand with a stranger? The frustrations of today’s dating scene have a tendency to push many marriage minded millennials toward their career and away from serious consideration of marriage.

So where do we go to find a balance between family aspirations and vocational goals? Where do we go to find encouragement that we can hope for more than just hooking up?

Whenever I grow dispirited, I look to my family. My parents recently celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary. My paternal grandparents were married 55 years, while my maternal grandparents were married 53 years. Our predecessors show us that lifelong marriage is not only possible, but it can be a beautiful thing. While it might be difficult to find “the one” in today’s world, our generation shouldn’t give up on marriage.

It’s almost certain that millennials are going to be presented with many career opportunities, but fewer opportunities to get married. So my encouragement would be that whenever opportunity knocks, open the door. Don’t simply get caught up in a career. Rather, open the door to marriage whenever it presents itself.

Gabriella Hoffman

Gabby Hoffman is a young conservative blogger and activist based in Washington, D.C. She's a fisherman, and first generation American. You can follow her on twitter @Gabby_Hoffman.


  1. buckybone

    buckybone on 05/30/2013 5:45 p.m. #

    The problem with this approach comes for someone like me (23 year old male, junior in college due to a failed Navy enlistment), who never sees that chance until it's already past.

  2. Jennifer Breckinridge

    Jennifer Breckinridge on 05/30/2013 7:03 p.m. #

    Not wearing horizontal stripes might help you find a partner.

  3. neil raina

    neil raina on 05/30/2013 7:53 p.m. #

    @Jennifer ...that was a pretty unnecessary comment.

  4. Mitch

    Mitch on 05/30/2013 8:18 p.m. #

    I love the stripes!

  5. Margie

    Margie on 05/31/2013 12:35 a.m. #

    I'm 58, married 31 years, have a great career and family, and frankly, your life sounds a lot like mine was back then (except for the blogging). There was a lot of hooking-up back then too. There were a lot of under-motivated young men then too. Many women I knew were career-driven with no time for relationships. I knew I didn't want that kind of a life. In spite of wearing horizontal stripes (I still remember the dress), I got married at 26.

  6. Jennifer Breckinridge

    Jennifer Breckinridge on 05/31/2013 2:29 a.m. #

    It was a poor attempt at making light. I tried to remove it but can't.

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