"By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher," said Socrates about 2400 years ago. Socrates, it seems became a philospher out of necessity after being kicked out by his wife for being useless and not contributing to the household. Interestingly he never mentioned the role of a good husband in any of his philosophical discourses.
So am I happy or a philosopher?
I have to admit I am happy most of the time these days so there is little need for me to ponder too deeply about anything. But then again I am not the one having to attend to a crying baby all day. It is quite often that I come home from a not so fulfilling day at work to find that my wife had an even tougher day. The look of exasperation on her face is my cue to shut up and try to help out. Sometimes I forget and have to pay dearly for it.
I am lucky. My wife has made sacrifices to stay home with our baby. She is willing to take a couple of years off from work to be with him. We're lucky we can afford it. Paying a stranger to look after our child, especially this early in his life doesn't seem like a good idea. Eventually we will have to but not now. Only when he is able to speak and report back to us on daily events will we be comfortable leaving him at a nursery or daycare. Right now we don't even have a maid to help out. My frugal wife says we can't afford one. She'd rather keep the money and do the housework herself while she is at home.
My boy is 10 weeks old now and is still a little colicky, hence the extra work it takes for my wife to placate him. It will pass by 12 to 16 weeks from what I have read. It has something to do with his nervous system finally getting adjusted to his surroundings and his stomach getting mature enough to handle the wind in his gut. So I guess we have a few more weeks of crying to look forward too.
Now going back to Socrates- if he had gotten a job and helped his wife out at home, he wouldn't have been kicked out of the house and be forced to roam the city, making everyone question authority. The world would have lost out on his most important contribution, which is his dialectic method of inquiry, known as the Socratic Method. Read up on it and you will realise that the scientific method of today as well as political philosophy, ethics or moral philosophy all stem from his dialectical questioning. Eventually, all he got for his troubles was finally being found guilty of corrupting the minds of the youth and sentenced to death by drinking a mixture containing poison hemlock. What a way to go!
I say it's better to make the wife happy so that you in turn can be happy too. No need for the poison hemlock. It doesn't take much. All you need to make her happy sometimes is to lend an ear and let her unload her grievances or maybe help her carry the baby around for a while and change a few diapers...because if the wife is unhappy there is no way in hell you will be happy. The sooner you learn this the better your life will be.