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. 

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 that 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, columnist and radio host known as The Feminist Fixer. She helps free women from feminism so they can find lasting love with men. Suzanne's newest book, WOMEN WHO WIN at Love: How to Build a Relationship That Lasts, will be published October 2019.

Reader Interactions


  1. CitymanMichael says

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

  2. Michele says

    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.

    • Eric says

      Yes, women who play with bad boys have problems. But responsible men understand the economics of child support, and women- yes, women- initiate 80% + of divorces-

  3. Fran says

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

    • D says

      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!

      • Suzanne Venker says

        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.

    • Christina says

      It reflects the lack of commitment to marriage. Marriage is now an option, a sort of ride in Disneyland, which isn’t seen as a long term commitment.

  4. Ellie says

    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!

  5. john says

    For the last six years, the prevalence of U.S. children growing up in single-parent families has held steady at 35%. In 2016 — the most recent full year of data on record — this rate translated to more than 24 million kids having just one parent at home.
    Kids are less likely to experience poverty when they grow up with both parents at home. For example: In 2016, 32% of single-parent families with children were living in poverty versus just 7% of two-parent families. The literature documenting the detrimental effects of growing up poor is sweeping and strong. Some of the many challenges identified include: academic deficits, reduced access to safe communities and quality enrichment activities, and a heightened risk of physical, behavioral and emotional issues.
    The absence of the father is the single most important cause of crime.1) In fact, boys who are fatherless from birth are three times as likely to go to jail as peers from intact families, while boys whose fathers do not leave until they are 10 to 14 years old are two times as likely to go to jail as their peers from intact families.2) According to Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, children without a father are more than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime and are three times more likely to go to jail by the time they reach age 30 than are children raised in intact families.3) Adolescents who had a positive relationship with their fathers are less likely to be arrested, belong to a gang, damage property, steal, or run away compared to their peers with less positive relationships with their fathers.4) Along with the increased probability of family poverty and heightened risk of delinquency, a father’s absence is associated with a host of other social problems. The three most prominent effects are lower intellectual development, higher levels of illegitimate parenting in the teenage years, and higher levels of welfare dependency.5) According to a 1990 report from the Department of Justice, more often than not, missing and “throwaway” children come from single-parent families, families with step parents, and cohabiting-adult families.
    The early experience of intense maternal affection is the basis for the development of a conscience and moral compassion for others.6) According to Chuck Smith, a Kansas State University child development expert, “as a child grows and matures, the mother—whether biological or a stepmother—plays an important role in her child’s development, character and attitudes.”7) If a child’s emotional attachment to their mother is disrupted during the first few years, permanent harm can be done to the child’s capacity for emotional attachment to others. The child will be less able to trust others and throughout his or her life will stay more distant emotionally from others. Having many different caretakers during the first few years can lead to a loss of this sense of attachment for life and to antisocial behavior.8) Separation from the mother, especially between six months and three years of age, can lead to long-lasting negative effects on behavior and emotional development. Severe maternal deprivation is a critical ingredient of juvenile delinquency. As John Bowlby, the father of attachment research, puts it, “Theft, like rheumatic fever, is a disease of childhood, and, as in rheumatic fever, attacks in later life are frequently in the nature of recurrences.”9) A child’s emotional attachment to their mother is powerful in other ways. For example, even after a period of juvenile delinquency, a young man’s ability to become emotionally attached to his wife can make it possible for him to turn away from crime.10) This capacity is rooted in the very early attachment to his mother. We also know that a weak marital attachment resulting in separation or divorce accompanies a continuing life of crime.11)
    Many family conditions can weaken a mother’s attachment to her young child. Perhaps the mother herself struggles with emotional detachment.12) The mother could be so lacking in family and emotional support that she cannot fill the emotional needs of the child. She could return to work, or be forced to return to work, too soon after the birth of her child. Or, while she is at work, there could be a change in the personnel responsible for the child’s day care. The more prevalent these conditions, the less likely a child will be securely attached to their mother and the more likely they will be hostile and aggressive.13)

  6. Mary D. says

    The most important investment you will ever make is digging deep into yourself, and finding out who you really are, and what your mission and purpose in life are. Having found that, you embody and live it.

    That is the journey of life. You will be living in yourself all your life. Getting the HQ in shape makes sense.

    You may choose to reproduce. In that case, your choice of spouse, and investment in same, may actually join with the one previously stated.

    As with any other investment, you want .to commit totally, or not at all.

  7. george says

    Women wanted equality with men. OK, here is what it’s like to be a male parent…

    Women wanted equality with men. OK, here’s what it’s like to be male parent.
    My child arrived just the other day
    He came to the world in the usual way
    But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
    He learned to walk while I was away
    And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
    He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, Dad
    You know I’m gonna be like you”

    And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man in the moon
    When you comin’ home, Dad
    I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
    You know we’ll have a good time then

    [Verse 2]
    My son turned ten just the other day
    He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
    Can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today
    I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s okay”
    And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
    And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
    You know I’m gonna be like him”

    And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man on the moon
    When you comin’ home, Dad
    I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
    You know we’ll have a good time then

  8. Mark says

    Family is a very important investment. It takes a lot of energy. Seeing a grown child have their own kids is ecstatic in a way that cannot be described.

  9. Mindy says

    The below article says it better than I could.

    I made no choice to be childless. Like so many other women of my generation, born in the Sixties when the fashionable wisdom was that women should postpone marriage and motherhood to forge careers, I left it too late to have a family. I always assumed it would happen at some stage, but I never gave it the focus it needed. My life is a poorer place for not having children, and I am less of a woman for not being a mother. There is a vast realm of experience and growth I will never know. As a 20-something woman with the world at her feet, I chose to interpret feminism’s gift as the right to education and a career. Were I offering advice now to the young woman I was then, I would say: ‘If you want to marry and have children in your 20s, that is just as valid a choice as building a career. Don’t be afraid to make up your own mind.’

    I never envisioned life without a family. I had three significant relationships in my 20s and 30s, each of which I assumed would lead to marriage and children. My first relationship, with a fellow university student, ended after five years. We were 25, and he wasn’t ready to settle down, so we parted.
    At 27, I started seeing the man who was to become my second major boyfriend. We had been together for 18 months when I found out he had been seeing someone else, so I was left with no choice but to end it. I became involved with a man I was sure would be The One when I was 30. Right partner, right life-stage; what could go wrong? Three years down the line, he announced that he had fallen in love with someone else, and that it was over between us. And so, at the age of 33, I suddenly became single.
    The years that followed were some of the most difficult of my life, as close friends married and started families. I watched their lives changing as they swelled with happy pregnancies and welcomed beautiful babies into the world.

    I was deeply envious, and hated myself for feeling that way. As they entered a mature and exciting new chapter as parents, I seemed to be flailing around in dating hell, impatient with expectation but nowhere close to finding the man with whom I could settle down and start a family of my own. By contrast, my career as a journalist was flourishing. I was busy, and relished the variety and challenge of my work. And still, somehow, as the years passed and 40 loomed ever larger, I remained hopeful that I would be a mother one day. Then a long-lost boyfriend invited me to California for a holiday when I was 38. We had been friends for many years after a brief relationship a decade earlier, and, to our mutual surprise, we rekindled things when we met again. He proposed, and at the age of 39 I resigned from my job in Scotland and moved to San Diego to be with him. It was all so whirlwind. Within three months I was pregnant; we were surprised, thrilled, and terrified in roughly equal measure. We told the world our happy news, and as the weeks passed and I became aware of subtle changes in my body, it seemed like a miracle that this was happening to me. In the 12th week of my pregnancy, I miscarried. It was an unthinkable tragedy, and tests could determine no reason why I had lost our baby.
    A year later I fell pregnant again, but miscarried at 11 weeks. I had been nervous throughout that pregnancy, and its failure was a grim confirmation of my worst fears. Both miscarriages were ‘unexplained’, both devastating, and a year later, pushed to the limit by what we had been through, my partner and I separated. So I came back home at 41, alone and realising that my hope of becoming a mother had probably died with that second thwarted pregnancy. A period of depression ensued, in part a response to my loss, but also to what looked like an empty and cruel future.

    And so began a personal battle to forge a life in which children would not figure, where I would stand alone in that unfashionable but increasing minority of women who do not have a family. It seems I am part of a growing phenomenon. The proportion of women without children has almost doubled since the Nineties, and it’s the same story in most other developed nations, including America. Finances play a part in the falling birth rate: many couples now decide against a family, or have only one child, because of the costs involved.

    Focusing on a career is the key reason most women don’t have children, but a sociological shift away from the traditional role of mother is another. In the past, motherhood was inevitable: now it has become a lifestyle choice — and one increasing numbers of women decide against, particularly, statistics reveal, if they are educated. The higher a woman’s income, the less likely she is to have children.

    Birthrate is the demographic future.

  10. Dan says

    Tim Allen noted that women have so many choices: work, not work, marry, not marry, have children, not have children, party, and the many permutations thereof.

    Men have two choices: work, or being homeless/in jail.

    Men much over 35 lose interest in marriage, statistically. Seeing their friends bled out in court doesn’t do much for their ideas about marriage. American women are no longer socialized to be good wives, or even wives. Most are demanding, neotenously bitchy, entitled princesses who see a husband as a slave who also pays the bills. Sorry, but it’s true.

    Your advice to women, to get married to a good guy at an age between say 25 and 35, and to stay away from the bad boys, is advice any intelligent gramma, or mom, would have offered until the 1970’s. And it was great advice. Pregnancy and child birth are major stresses, like running a marathon. It’s easier to deal with stress when you are younger. Your further advice to choose well- and then totally commit to the relationship- is outstanding. A woman who has dumped 1-2 former husbands is clearly dysfunctional for any kind of committed relationship. OK, you say, what if they were drunks, or drug users. Uhhhh, yeah, choosing addicts for committed relationships is not smart.

    Feminists will hate you. Ti-Grace Atkinson said “Feminism is the theory, lesbianism is the practice”. There you have it. They hate straight women, they hate married women even more, and they hate mothers. Just listen to them talk. Let them hate you. Hate will corrode their bodies, over time. Hatred is a very inefficient parasite, it kills the host, eventually.

    You give good advice. You ask intelligent questions. if we had a media that wasn’t one vast arena of dysfunction, they would be asking the same questions. Russian propaganda specialists, Josef Goebbels, and other professional liars, look like amateurs, compared to our media now.

    The first thing stress management courses say to do, is to stop watching TV news. It is designed to upset you. Then they say to wean yourself from the TV. Get outside. Go for a walk. Talk to people, real people, who aren’t eating mass media junk food images. This advice is particularly important for women. WOmen’s programs are trash.

    Suzanne, you are like that small group of adventurers in the third Lord of the Rings movie, who face a massive field of opponents, and still kept on. The ring of feminism must be thrown into the lava, if we are to survive as a nation. You may feel like Frodo at times. Keep on keepin on.

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