What’s stopping young adults from getting married?

Before we get to the study, I wanted to share something that a Christian male friend shared with me about yesterday’s post on the crazy feminist mommy porn author.

He writes:

I saw your post about the woman who “fell in love” with her fantasy character she created. I’m a victim of this.

My ex-wife is a succeeding indie author. She jets off and hangs with NYT best-selling authors, rubs elbows with a lot of fantasy romance and erotica authors. She reads, oh, roughly 200 +/- smut books per year.

This area is the flip side of the porn coin, and it’s not getting the attention it should. If I told my story and part of the reason for the marriage destruction, it would be an “easy sell” to those who understand that women who fantasize about these fictional characters (even the images on the covers) are doing the exact thing men are doing when they fantasize over airbrushed skin images and other skin porn.

Many will argue it’s not the same thing, but that is preposterous. Husbands are competing with fantasy novel cover art and fantasy characters. It’s every bit the same as wives competing with unreal images or even real ones where they compete with younger, more fit, kinkier, etc., etc.

Men get cheated on all the time. Through this stuff. My ex developed an online romance through it all. Exchanged erotic pictures, emails, texts, Skype, on and on and on.

I discovered travel plans, fake email accounts, it was awful.

This is the third time that I have been sent divorce stories like this by conservative, Christian male apologists on Facebook.

The first time, the wife hit a certain age then just went nuts and started working out a ton and trying to look younger and younger. Then as she got success as a personal trainer and attention for all the photos she posted, she just divorced her husband outright to focus on her business and more glamorous photos. And they had children. The second time, the wife just went nuts into new age beliefs and yoga and divorced her husband, and they had children too. So we are talking real destructive craziness here.

This is why I put so much emphasis on building up a woman first by leading her to learn apologetics, conservative politics and economics, and so on. If she is not willing to learn and grow in things that are good for her and that help her to be a better wife and mother, then you know that her heart is not in the difficult realities of married life and the roles of wife and mother. She will be one of these women who wants to be happy and thinks that happiness means getting rid of family obligations and responsibilities to her man and her kids. Men should ensure that their prospective mates reject the Disney princess perception that relationships should be all about them and their needs – living happily ever after with no hard work or effort. Helping a woman to think logically and argue using evidence is one way to insulate her from the foolish, emotion-driven culture that threatens marriage.

Anyway, with that said, here is the new article from Family Studies.

Here’s the introduction:

In interviews we conducted with working-class young adults, my wife and I were surprised by the strength of their desires to have a long-lasting marriage and stable family life. But many of them were far from realizing those aspirations. Why?  The wide-ranging challenges that frustrate their aspirations, which we must understand in order to find effective solutions, fall into four rough categories: family-of-origin, philosophical, psychological, and financial.

[…]Conflicted about marriage. This crisis of trust, in turn, informs young adults’ conflicted thinking about marriage. As Amber and I described in a previous post, their experiences of family fragmentation sharpen their desire to get and stay married, on the one hand, but on the other hand it also shakes their confidence in the durability of marriage. As a result, many young adults find themselves in tenuous cohabiting relationships, wanting to say “I do” eventually but too uncertain to do so now.

[…]The fixed love mindset. As Amber discussed here, the philosophy of love that young adults inherit from cultural scripts, like Hollywood chick flicks, works against their own aspirations for committed, permanent love. Instead of a “growth mindset” about love that focuses on working through possible differences, these stories about love transmit a “fixed mindset” that focuses on immediate and perpetual compatibility—the absence of which probably indicates that a couple is no longer meant for each other. Young adults with a fixed mindset about love tend to say things like “love is effortless,” or, as one separated spouse put it, “I love him, but I’m not in love with him. I love him as a friend, as the father, but I don’t feel that connection as I used to.”

[…]Extreme individualism. Despite the common challenges that confront working-class young adults, the idea that “my relationship is no one else’s business” prevents them from thinking about marriage and family life as a public issue that demands our common efforts.

For instance, Anthony knows first-hand the painful effects of divorce—his parents divorced when he was ten—and he speaks eloquently about how divorce imposed burdens on him and his other friends from divorced families. So what does he believe we can do about the rising number of children raised in fragmented families?

“I don’t think there’s a thing we can do about it,” Anthony told us. “And that’s kind of the American way—this is a free country, and free this and free that. But it’s your life, and not too many people care about other people’s lives. As long as it’s not theirs, they don’t care.” The result of that attitude, however, is loneliness and helplessness in the face of an urgent social problem.

One of the questions I sometimes discuss with my male friends is “what is the female equivalent of pornography”? It has to be something that teaches women to have unrealistic expectations of men. My answer is that it is this culture that praises irrationality, thrill-seeking, travel and emotionalism over planning, morality and hard work.  Many women today seem to really believe that men are there to provide them with fun, thrills and dreams, instead of with long-term achievements that take planning, sacrifice, problem-solving and hard work. The mommy-porn novels that so many women find attractive just feeds these marriage-destroying delusions. There is even a Christian version of the emotional craziness where women are urged to follow their hearts, and somehow, God will make their bad choices and risky plans work out.

As the story above from my friend shows, mommy porn is also an affair-creator and a marriage-killer. About 70% of divorces are initiated by women, and lesbian couples have the highest rates of relationship breakdown. Feministy women need to be taught (hopefully by their fathers) that entering into a relationship means an opportunity to commit to serve the other person self-sacrificially in order to build something that lasts – it’s not about getting your own way and feeling good. Many women today seem to enjoy choosing the wrong men in their teens and 20s, and then when the right man comes along later, they want to back away from the demands of a serious relationship with him and go on their merry way.

This is why I tell everyone to stay away from premarital sex and cohabitation – it has a huge impact on a person’s willingness to commit. Many women today seem to think that they can choose any man based on superficial criteria (he is fun and handsome and funny) and then make him commit by giving him sex. WRONG. You have to choose the right man by carefully evaluating him for marriage-related responsibilities. A man who can do husband tasks, (e.g. – providing, loving over the long-term, teaching others to defend their faith), is a man who is capable of marriage commitment. The experience of investing in the wrong men and then failing ruins a woman’s ability to trust and commit. They mentally and emotionally check out of subsequent relationships and start looking for excuses to get away from commitment. It creates an attitude of wanting to sabotage the relationship. They focus on scanning for the exits instead of on investing, communicating and problem solving.

UPDATE: The friend who wrote me had this in response to the post:

I carried her physically after her surgery, disciplined her children effectively, managed academics (got one through high school who wouldn’t have made it without me), was at her side for weeks praying for her son who nearly died in an accident, supported her in her accounting career and her writing, served all of her physical needs (yeah, THAT way!), sacrificed rural life and property for the castle she wanted . . .

You get the idea. None of it mattered. What mattered in the end was her chasing a dream.

I’m left with the castle I don’t want or need, and kids I love have been spirited off to a new life.

Sad.

11 thoughts on “What’s stopping young adults from getting married?”

  1. Women’s version of “porn sin” is in Genesis. She worships herself: The gynocentrism of demanding her environment (and those in it) adapt to her desires, despite the command of God to be lead by her husband.

    She is inherently solipsistic to the point that Paul commands women to obey their husbands and for them to LEARN about loving their husbands from older women. Women have a very limited internal guidance system; little wisdom. Women have almost no innate ability to love men, they actually have to be trained.

    Men love women but sin when they put her above God and the image God made him in (again, in Genesis). Porn isn’t even a blip on the radar compared to the sin of putting a woman’s desires above his own (as long as his desires are also God’s).

    In ministry, I’ve asked MANY Christian women what are the main, sinful struggles women deal with in their lives. They have 10 versions of “I don’t take care of my needs and get burnt out.”

    Think about that. It’s a sin within a sin within a sin. Their “needs” are actually just wants and so it’s a lie, they openly question whether to submit to their husband and that’s disobedience to God, and they refuse to admit their sin or repent of it.

    Women’s inability to understand the damage of their actions or the plain instruction of the bible explains the depth of their sin.

    The church loves to confront men on their darker nature, as long as it serves women.

    Women are destroying their families (and the men they divorce) while the church yawns and refuses to confront women’s toxic nature. I’m not just talking about divorce, I’m talking about the hostile environment that most Christian husbands face in their own home.

    When Christian husbands talk honestly, they’re afraid of getting divorced because their wives will destroy everything in their wake, including their children.

    Hint to the ladies: MANY Christian men are warning younger men to avoid marriage like their lives depend on it, because it does.

    And we’re asking why young men viewing the smoking craters of marriage misery and divorce don’t want to take their brother’s place in line?

    Marriage has become an irresponsible act in the face of reality.

    Men know the church will not support them.

    Why are men refusing to marry?

    It’s a matter of survival.

    P.S. I’ve been married over for 20 years.

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    1. I know you are talking about a subset of women – young, unmarried women under the influence of feminism, not all women. And I am also talking about a subset of women – young, unmarried women who are liberal and who have been influenced by feminism.

      This is what I understood you to be saying from your comment:
      1) There is a tendency to want to force the world to adapt to her desires, rather than be prudent and working within constraints.
      2) There may be resistance to learning from older women.
      3) Men need to be careful not to let their affection for a woman cause them to neglect serving God first and foremost.
      4) Not only is there the threat of no-fault divorce for men to worry about, there is the general problem male leadership being undermined in the home.
      5) Men are learning to avoid marriage because of the threat of divorce to their life plans, by seeing divorce and by learning about it from older men.

      I definitely do not see these things in married women of a certain level of maturity. But I do see some or all of these things in a subset of young, unmarried women who have been influenced by feminism to a significant degree.

      I also think that when you talk about male leadership you mean the leadership of godly men – men who the woman tests for spiritual leadership and authenticity. You don’t mean any man, you mean ones who have been proven to be authentic Bible-believing Christians through their actions.

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      1. (Apologies for the length)
        I believe all women have a darker nature, as do all men.

        I’ve met a handful of women in my many years that were willing to submit to their husband’s leadership (Christian) because they wanted to obey God’s commands…a handful.

        1 Peter 3:1 is not a command for women to obey their husbands if their husbands are strong Christian leaders; it is an instruction to obey their husbands, even if they’re husbands are not believers (as an act of ministry).

        Try preaching that in church today.

        The majority of Christian husbands I’ve known were not only miserable because they handed their wives the legal gun of divorce, they lived in fear of her using that gun to blow up their marriages and their children’s lives.

        What’s sad is that so many in the church refuse to speak out about what has been happening and continue to blame men for the increasing rebelliousness of women.

        The reason a bank locks up the valuables in a vault isn’t because they hate their customers. They’re not accusing all of their customers of being thieves, not worthy to do business with. It’s because it is prudent. All humans can be tempted into doing the wrong thing if the temptation is too high and the consequences are low.

        So it is with women. Christian or not, when the government, the church and society look the other way when you destroy a man’s life, take his house, legally kidnap his kids and put him in jail if he has the unfortunate experience of falling behind on CS payments because of a lost job, the prudent thing for a man to do is protect what liberty God gave him.

        Yes, all women are sinful and tempted as are all men.
        Ask a group of men for a list of sins and you’ll get 2 pages, ask a group of women for a list of sins and you’ll get 3 variations of “I don’t cherish myself enough.” Ask me how I know.

        I would never tell my daughter to put herself in a compromising position with a Christian man as long as she is certain that he’s “mature” in Christ. That’s advice inviting folly. Only God knows how dark the human heart is and he is not impressed with the “purity” of mature Christian women or the “leadership” character of mature Christian men.

        But that is exactly what we tell young Christian men and it’s nothing short of immoral.

        To gamble your life because you think you have great insight and think your partner can out-mature their sinful nature is irresponsible.

        “I also think that when you talk about male leadership you mean the leadership of godly men – men who the woman tests for spiritual leadership and authenticity.”

        I am talking about Christian men and women but the biblical principles apply to all men and women, albeit unlikely as it would make no sense to follow instructions from a God you don’t believe in.

        As for “the men who the woman tests for spiritual leadership and authenticity” I’d have to disagree, if only for the implication of your language. Women can’t “test” men for anything, and that’s a large part of the problem.

        I’ve been speaking to Christian men for 3 decades and have rarely heard them speak of the “mature” women you describe. I’ve been in ministry with pastors, missionaries, youth leaders and music ministers and have rarely been told of the example of a “mature” Christian woman. I’ve observed Christian wives at every level of many different churches and have rarely experienced that “mature” Christian woman.

        I sincerely hope you’re right and my 30 years of experience is just a bad dream…but I’m not willing to gamble the lives of any more young men on that wager.

        God bless you and may God have mercy on the men I know, trapped between the untenable and miserable.

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        1. How do you know that thing about women thinking that their biggest sin is too much self-denial? I have heard that is used as a justification in a lot of these “go off and find myself in Europe or a career” divorce stories.

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  2. “How do you know that thing about women thinking that their biggest sin is too much self-denial? I have heard that is used as a justification in a lot of these “go off and find myself in Europe or a career” divorce stories.”

    Eve’s original sin is still a big hit today. Eve’s daughters will use it to justify anything and that’s the point. Women will not take responsibility for their sin. Likewise, men will continually attempt to pass off their sin as anything but what it normally is, the elevation of Eve and the material above God’s commands.

    I’ve talked to women in different cities and different states. The “biggest sins” question was met with a hesitant response that was mind-numbingly universal. I believe they were sincere, if only delusional.

    Christ doesn’t eliminate our base nature, he allows us a temporary escape from it based on our obedience to his word. Christian women who are “mature” are mature until they decide not to be. At some point, when everyone in the church, society and their group of friends shrugs their shoulders at the hideous sin of self-elevation above her husband, the temptation is overwhelmingly effective.

    However, there IS an option for men and that is to honor God by using their intellect and discernment.

    Too many men believe the soothsayers telling them to ignore their lying eyes and marry that “mature” Christian girl who just happens to have a government husband waiting in the wings in case she’s unhappy.

    Women are all too human and that’s quite a large temptation to expect her to turn down. Add that to the fact that she is convinced that she is a prized princess to her future husband instead of a helper acting in submission to him.

    Bottom line, if I talk to someone who is congenitally dishonest about their flaws, I’m not entering into a business contract with them that will threaten my liberty and the lives of my children.

    I understand the government husband temptation is overwhelming, especially to the average emotionally driven woman.

    I also understand that “love” has nothing to do with asking a man to put his head in the marriage guillotine because you think you have the inside scoop on the benevolence of the executioner.

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  3. I figure that couples who watch porn or read romance novels are lacking something in the realtionship. I believe this lack within relationships whether christian or not stems from lack of knowing how a relationship is suppose to function. The media only plays a small part other aspects that influence couples are their families & religious beliefs if they have any. As a non-christian myself I see to often the idea if you follow god and obey him he will send you mr. right or mrs. right. It ridiculous there is no such thing as mr/mrs right or perfect. Human beings have flaws thats what makes us human.

    Porn and romance novels provide a fantasy of something we’re looking for for men it may be a more active sex life or trying something new in the bedroom and what i have seen when it comed to the church and their attitudes toward sex i have read to many blogs and forums by christians about how even though their married they feel dirty about sex or not sure what is permitted in the bedroom. Now for women and romance for some its the idea of adventures but i can only speak on what i have read which are paranormal romances the male characters are protective of their mates and even though the female characters are modern and independent the male wants her to be submissive but he never takes away from her independence or makes her feel inferior in anyway. They become co-dependent and work together to make their relationship work.

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  4. Interesting discussion. I have long held that the vast, vast majority of romance novels, particularly contemporary ones, are simply nothing but pornography for women, and the same goes for the sort of “movies” you see on Hallmark and so forth. (IMO, both are loathesome products and loathesome wastes of finite time, too.) Of course, some men have become equally…I don’t even know, but they’re complaining about the end of “Casablanca” and how pathetic Rick is for letting Ilsa “get away”. With her husband, you know. The nerve! *headdesk*

    I do wish there were older women from whom I could seek reliable advice. There are a couple of older ladies at church who are beginning to gain my trust, and two of my aunts, but alas, that’s really about it, especially since my paternal grandmother passed away over two decades ago. Unfortunately, most of the older women who ought to be training up younger ones have been marinating in feminism (often unknowingly) for decades, bridling against their “subjugation” and practicing “mutual submission”. I’ve actually—and as a childless woman, it’s probably stupid and bound to fail—considered trying to start something with the older ladies in our church, maybe a class at church where we can teach them about marriage, homemaking, caring for & teach the kids, and so forth. But stepping into a responsibility like that is pretty scary, especially, again, as someone who can’t have kids, so what do I know? Might be a worthwhile endeavour, though.

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  5. If a man read the male equivalent of what women consider “romance” novels, we would consider him a pervert.

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  6. A few stats will explain why people aren’t getting married.

    1900 median age of marriage:
    Men: 26
    Women: 22

    While the men’s age has fluctuated up and down over the last century, but seems to be associated with the economy and the rise of the industrial age. IMHO, men have chosen to get established in their job/career, and once they do they turn to marriage.

    The median age for women has remained steady in the 21-22 range from 1900 till the mid 1980s when it started to escalate.

    2010 median age of marriage:
    men: 29
    women: 27

    This stat is misleading. It’s only when you break down the numbers by college and non-college degrees do you get the actual picture.

    2010 median age of marriage no college degree:
    men: 28
    women: 24

    The age women without a college degree marry (24) is not drastically higher than the 1900 age of 22. Neither is 28 that far from mens 1900’s age of 26.

    2010 median age of marriage college degree:
    men: 30
    women: 28

    This is where the big difference lies. It seems to me that BOTH college educated men and women are following the same pattern men did in 1900: establish yourself in your job/career, then start looking to get married.

    How does this affect modern marriage?

    Men have historically chosen to marry women on the same level of the social/economic ladder or ones below them. So college educated men both college and non-college educated women. The potential-spouse-pool for college educated men is significantly larger than the number of college educated men.

    Women have historically desired to marry men on the same ladder level or ABOVE them. So, the potential-spouse-pool for college educated women is essentially college educated men. But since (1) more women get college degrees than men and (2) some percentage of men with college degrees are marrying non-degreed women, the potential-spouse-pool for college educated women is significantly smaller than the number of college educated women.

    What of non-college educate men? College educated women would consider them beneath them on life’s ladder and thus discount them as a potential spouse. Some percentage of non-college educated women (their natural mates) are marrying college educated men. Consequently the potential-spouse-pool for the non-college educated man is smaller than their numbers.

    The inverse is true for non-college educated women. Their potential-spouse-pool is larger than their numbers.

    The winners in today’s marriage market would seem to be college educated men and non-college educated men, as their potential-spouse-pools are larger than their numbers.

    The losers? college educated women and non-college educated men, as their potential-spouse-pools are smaller than their numbers.

    I think this easily explains the “where have all the good men gone” and “why won’t men grow up” mantras. The mantras aren’t true, but there is enough of an imbalance in the potential-spouse-pools to make it seem like they are true. The percentage of college educated women and non-college educated men who can’t find spouses is now large enough that it is noticeable.

    Click to access FP-12-07.pdf

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