I’m in love with all of the knowledge and insights packed in psychologist Meg Jay’s book “The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter—and how to make the most of them now.” It is for this reason that I decided to break down her guidebook into parts, dissecting each chapter into tidbits that will help us on our quest to pursue femininity. As a psychologist who has all too often listened to confused and underemployed thirtysomethings who wasted their early years, Jay offers helpful advice for young men and women swimming in the sea of youth. The book encourages young adults to remember that their twenties do indeed matter and have an effect on the rest of their lives.
I found some of the best takeaways from her book in her chapters in love, marriage and relationships. She encourages young men and women to take their dating lives seriously while they are in their twenties, rather than play the field and engage in casual sex. Jay argues that romantic relationships are important because they offer people the opportunities to pick and create their own families.
“There is something scary about picking your family,” Jay writes. “It’s not romantic. It means you aren’t just waiting for your soulmate to arrive. It means you know you are making decision that will affect the rest of your life…Twentysomethings who aren’t at least a little scared about their relationships are often the ones who are being the least thoughtful.”
Jay implores her readers to be thoughtful in several relationship arenas: Selecting a mate carefully, refusing to move in together (unless you are already engaged), choosing to marry young and deciding to have children early. As a single young woman is who currently dating, I was particularly interested in her advice on mate selection. She encourages young singles to think less about their deal breakers and more about selecting a spouse based on personality traits. Eliminate potential suitors only on extreme differences in values, goals or personality.
“One match maker to consider is personality,” she writes. “Some research tells us that, especially in young couples, the more similar two people’s personalities are, the more likely they are to be satisfied with their relationship. Yet personality is how dating, and even married, couples tend to be least alike.”
You don’t need to take an official test to determine your personality traits. Instead, decide where your personality falls on the Big Five personality test, which identifies five factors that describe how people interact with the world. Neuroticism, which is the tendency to be anxious, critical and moody, is “more predictive of relationship unhappiness and dissolution than is personality dissimilarity.”
In the book, Jay provides an example of a patient named Eli, a young man who is high on Openness and Extraversion, and low on Conscientiousness and Neuroticism. Eli is a poor match for his girlfriend, a withdrawn and responsible person who is low on Openness and Extraversion, but high on Conscientiousness and Neuroticism. This couple needs to break up because their personalities are too different for the relationship to work.
So what if the guy you like isn’t very romantic or likes watching listening to sports talk instead of NPR? Forget the trivial details and choose a spouse with a personality that is similar to yours. Here’s solid advice from Jay: “The more similar people are, the more they are able to understand each other…Two people who are similar are going to have the same reactions to a rainy day, a new car, a long vacation, an anniversary, a Sunday morning, and a big party.”
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Author: Lilac Blue
Lilac Blue is writes about femininity, love and family in a world that has been drastically altered by industrialization, secularism, misandry and misogyny.