Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thoughts on the Marriage Delay and Marriage Strike

On Wednesday, March 9, Dr. Laura opened her show referring to an article about why men are delaying marriage. The reasons cited were pretty much right:

Men are trying to professionally and financially establish themselves
Men are waiting for the the right woman
Men like the level autonomy they have when unmarried
The availability of cheap easy sex
Shacking up
Not wanting to go through divorce
Less social pressure to get married

There might have been a couple of others, but they were all obvious.

Here's what I say…

Cheap easy sex is the biggest factor. Guys don't need to spend much time or money to get lots of sex from many different females, and they hear all sorts of stories of married me who are not getting enough sex. Not only is there no stigma associated with shacking up and little social pressure to marry, but men suffer no social consequences from having casual sex with many different women - as long as the men aren't married.

There is much less social pressure to get married, even from family, and most of the pressure to get married seems to be more about people wanting to party, meaning a wedding reception.
But it isn't just that there is less social pressure to get married; it is that men are not socially rewarded for getting married. Husbands are not only no longer respected, they are intensely disrespected by some wives, in our media and wider culture. We have de-incentivized marriage for men. And we also punish them for getting married, as women are much more likely to file for divorce, more likely to get paid for the divorce.

It does take longer to get financially secure than it used to, and to do so, a man may have to move multiple times. That is hardly condusive to finding a wife and courting her.

More women have more baggage and other problems, making it harder to find a good wife. When a man eliminates from consideration women who are: 1) busy still working on underdrad or graduate degrees for years to come; 2) in significant debt other than a sensible mortgage; 3) building a career she wants to keep that demands she be out of the home long hours every day or even travelling; 4) not willing to either raise her own kids or let her husband raise the kids; 5) significantly overweight; 6) dealing with (usually with drugs) some sort of serious physical or mental health issue or personality disorder that would interfere with marriage or mothering; 7) mothers to minor children... how many women are left that are 1) available and 2) compatible (goals, religion, personality, age range, mutual attraction)? Very, very few.

There IS a shorter supply of good men who are also marriage-minded, because such men are usually forged by 1) a combination of good mother figure AND father figure who are themselves in a good marriage; 2) participation in nonfeminized programs and events where men socialize boys without interference or constant observation from women; 3) women who demand the men they socialize with be good. How many men are raised and exist in such a situation these days? Being raised in daycare, sharing an address with a never-married or divorced mother, not having man-oriented socialization, and being surrounded by immodest, easy females is not a recipe to make good, marriage-minded men.

There are plenty of reasons men are delaying or opting out of marriage. But what are the reasons for them TO get married? We're told it is better for children and that for the men, it means better health, longer life, more money, and more sex. Well as you may know, correlation doesn't determine causation. Maybe it is the healthier, wealthier men who are more likely to attract a wife? Half of the money a husband earns is his wife's, so a man would have to make twice as much as he would if he was single for him to truly make more money. Also, maybe the kind of people who make good parents are also the kind more likely to marry. As far as sex, some men are willing to trade more frequent sex with the same woman to less frequent no-strings-attached sex with a variety of women. And, of course, some men don't want more sex than they are already getting.

Being brutally honest, the reasons I got married are 1) I wanted to raise children in the best environment possible; 2) I like sex a lot; 3) the Bible makes it clear that sex is for marriage; 4) I found a woman I believed to be a rare, wife-material woman compatible with me. A lot of guys don't care about #1 and #3. If I didn't care about those two things, I wouldn't have gotten married. But even a guy who does care about them has to care enough about them to seek #4, and she has to actually exist.

Essentially, many of the men who do marry get married because the woman they are "with" wants to get married, and too often, it isn't the marriage she wanted, but the wedding - the jewelry, the wedding dress, and the parties. If the guy marries that kind of female because he thinks it will make the situation better or make her happy, things will likely fall apart before they finally toss out that last bit of wedding cake stashed in the freezer.

Finally, the rise in narcissism, whether or not it has made the woman unthinkable as a wife, may have instilled in a man a lack of tolerance for being told by her or her mother what to do and how he's frequently wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Well as you may know, correlation doesn't determine causation.

    I think you've got it right there, Ken. There's no real causal link between marriage and greater health/wealth. Quite the opposite, in fact. I personally would be a lot healthier and wealthier if I were single.

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