The Most Important Investment You’ll Ever Make Is Not Your Career

Happy FamilyI have a 19-year-old daughter in college who, like most young women her age, enjoys an abundance of support and guidance with respect to her professional endeavors—as she should. What she will not receive is any encouragement or direction for what will someday collide with those professional endeavors and, more importantly, what will have the single greatest effect on her happiness and well-being: marriage and family.

The assumption is that women can, and should, map out their lives the way men map out theirs—as though the sexes are exactly the same.

In the age of equality, we pretend.

We pretend women don’t care about love and commitment and can move in and out of meaningless sexual relationships with no repercussions at all.

We pretend a career will be a woman’s greatest accomplishment, that it will give her life purpose in a way nothing else can.

We pretend a woman’s response to having a baby won’t be fierce and intense and unique to her as a woman.

We pretend all of this, even though the truth—that women are gloriously and demonstrably different from men—is clear as day. And this difference becomes glaringly obvious when women turn 30.

“Thirty is a milestone,” writes Karla, a second-year medical student. “You only have five years left to have kids before you take serious genetic risks. Men have the advantage; they don’t even have to think of this. A lot of these men will be in their residencies before they even think of marriage. They can afford to fool around. I can’t afford to spend a year in a relationship with a man I don’t intend to marry. I don’t have the time.”

Moreover, once women do marry and have children their priorities shift immediately. Her first instinct is to provide for her child emotionally and physically, to be there for her baby to take care of him. A man’s first instinct is to protect his child and to provide for him—which is why, in his case, work remains paramount.

As time marches on, women become even more invested in their families, often to the point where they can’t remember (or even care about) what their lives looked like prior to having children. In fact the older they get, the more they realize that family is the #1 most important thing in life. Their careers are a side dish.

Jordan Peterson made this exact point last week:

JP: “I think we do an awful lot of lying to women in our society.”

Interviewer: “What kind of lies do you mean, Jordan?”

JP: “That career is the most important thing in life…I think we lie to 18- and 19-year old women, especially in universities, by telling them that career is going to be the fundamental purpose to their life. And for most people that’s simply not the case. Nor should it be.”

Some adults do this “lying” in benign fashion—many mothers who failed at love and subsequently told their daughters to forget about marriage and to focus solely on career instead—and some do it willfully.

The folks who do it willfully are feminists. Why? Because their #1 goal is to destroy the family.

Feminists don’t want women to be keepers of the hearth and home, and they don’t want men to be providers and protectors. That messes up their plan to create an androgynous society, one in which the sexes are interchangeable. 

And while they’ll never achieve their goal, they do considerable damage in the meantime. Alexandra Soloman, a psychologist who teaches a course at Northwestern University called Marriage 101, says her students have absorbed the idea that love is secondary to academic and professional success.

“Over and over,” she writes, “my undergraduates tell me they try hard not to fall in love during college, imagining that would mess up their plans.”

These same women, many of them, will come to regret putting work ahead of love and relationships. The number of women I’ve heard from over the years who regret making work the central focus of their lives is too great to count. They’ve wound up in their thirties with no husband in sight and with a career that has been less exciting than they’d imagined.

All they want now is a family.

So when are we going to stop pretending? When will we tell women the truth? When are we going to tell them that life’s deepest meaning isn’t found in our accomplishments but in our relationships? When are we going to tell them that a happy marriage and home life is the single greatest investment they will ever make? That nothing even comes close?

Now. Let’s tell them now.

Suzanne Venker

Suzanne Venker is an author, speaker and cultural critic known as “The Feminist Fixer.” She has authored several books to help women win with men in life and in love. Her most recent, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage, was published in February 2017.

Reader Interactions


  1. Yep, all the studies show that as soon as children come along, men work more and women work less. It should be obvious.

  2. A number of women who bought into he’ll take care of me, regardless of their education, are often left holding the 2 kids. Taking time off to have baby(s) doesn’t mean you should also abandon your earning potential. Raising your own is always the best but may not work out. Lucky are those who have family to babysit but…and daycare is expensive. What to do? Don’t rely totally on someone else and shape your life thusly.

  3. What do you think about the tradition of women taking their husband’s last name? It’s disappearing in my country, even between conservatives.

    • It is personal preference. I did not take my husbands name and we have been happily and successfully married for over thirty years. Instead of trying to go backwards like this author seems to promote we need to completely rethink. Women and men can work collaboratively to create a wonderful home and to also use their talents outside the home if they choose. Women have dreams of serving their country, finding a cure for cancer, leading corporations, inventing new products and, yes, becoming President of the U.S. We can be parents and contribute to the world in many ways. We will find a new way as we do not want to go back to the old ways. Enjoy the day!

      • It’s not about going back. That’s just fear talking. It’s about being real about what matters and about what works for most people.

  4. Hi Suzanne

    I totaly agree with you. I’m not a native english speaker but I hope my english make sense.

    I think I’m lucky, married my college boyfriend for 10 years, and I have a decent job, two elementary school age girls.
    In my country women usually marry around 31 to 32, so mine was pretty early.

    We married two years after graduated from school so I was 26, till today my husband still appraciates me marring him at my best age.
    He is doing well but also very supportive to my career, that is why I could have both family and a good job.
    I have a circle of girl friends we all made the same choice, marry our boyfriends when we were young(or when we met young), then work hard on our career after that.

    We are all very happy now, we could have all.

    I think women definately can have both, family and career.
    However if they want to have both, it’s better to marry a good guy when they are young, and get his support as they will also support him.

    Then years later, they can choose if they still want more success on career, or stay home taking care of kids.
    As long as there is a good guy, a good provider with her, there is nothing to worry about.

    So I agree young girls may put more priority on finding a good partner, instead of sleeping around, or chasing too hard on their career, which is a total waste of time.
    I also agree there are different preferences each person, however there are some certain way to help women to have more they want.

    I will read your books, and tell my daughters someday when they will start to date. 🙂

    Thank you and have a great day!

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