Why is it so hard to get married these days?

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

A long, long time ago when I was in my “read one or two books about everything important” phase, I remember coming to marriage and picking out two books to read on that. The first was the Judith Wallerstein study on “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce”, which talked about children’s experience of divorce over the 25-year period following their parent’s decision to divorce. The second was F. Carolyn Graglia’s book “Domestic Tranquility”.

I found an essay about the latter book that seems to be either the introduction or chapter one. I just thought I would share it here to clear up why people are not getting married as much as they used to.

Let’s see how it happened:

Since the late 1960s, feminists have very successfully waged war against the traditional family, in which husbands are the principal breadwinners and wives are primarily homemakers. This war’s immediate purpose has been to undermine the homemaker’s position within both her family and society in order to drive her into the work force. Its long-term goal is to create a society in which women behave as much like men as possible, devoting as much time and energy to the pursuit of a career as men do, so that women will eventually hold equal political and economic power with men. This book examines feminism’s successful onslaught against the traditional family, considers the possible ramifications of that success, and defends a woman’s choice to be a homemaker. Feminists have used a variety of methods to achieve their goal. They have promoted a sexual revolution that encouraged women to mimic male sexual promiscuity. They have supported the enactment of no-fault divorce laws that have undermined housewives’ social and economic security. And they obtained the application of affirmative action requirements to women as a class, gaining educational and job preferences for women and undermining the ability of men who are victimized by this discrimination to function as family breadwinners.

Sexual promiscuity, no-fault divorce laws and affirmative action laws that discriminate against male providers, were the goals of radical feminists. There may have been some men who went along with these things, but the main force behind it was radical feminism.

We continue:

Certainly, feminism is not alone responsible for our families’ sufferings. As Charles Murray details in Losing Ground,[1] President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs, for example, have often hurt families, particularly black families, and these programs were supported by a large constituency beyond the women’s movement. What distinguishes the women’s movement, however, is the fact that, despite the pro-family motives it sometimes ascribes to itself, it has actively sought the traditional family’s destruction. In its avowed aims and the programs it promotes, the movement has adopted Kate Millett’s goal, set forth in her Sexual Politics, in which she endorses Friedrich Engels’s conclusion that “the family, as that term is presently understood, must go”; “a kind fate,” she remarks, in “view of the institution’s history.[2] This goal has never changed: feminists view traditional nuclear families as inconsistent with feminism’s commitment to women’s independence and sexual freedom.[3]

To counter radical feminism, women should be reading books that offer a serious, scholarly defense to feminism (e.g. – Christina Hoff Sommers, Carrie Lukas, F. Carolyn Graglia, etc.). You can tell whether a woman is a feminist based on how brittle she is with the idea that women have certain roles like wife and mother. Another good indicator is whether she is comfortable with the idea that relationships require each person to have certain responsibilities and obligations to the other that override their desire for happiness. Everyone in a relationship has responsibilities and obligations to the other person. For example, with few exceptions, a man ought to get up and go to work to support his family, just as the woman, with few exceptions, should try to keep fit and be available for her husband sexually. Feelings and desires should not override responsibilities and obligations in a relationship.

More:

Emerging as a revitalized movement in the 1960s, feminism reflected women’s social discontent, which had arisen in response to the decline of the male breadwinner ethic and to the perception — heralded in Philip Wylie’s 1940s castigation of the evil “mom”[4] — that Western society does not value highly the roles of wife and mother. Women’s dissatisfactions, nevertheless, have often been aggravated rather than alleviated by the feminist reaction. To mitigate their discontent, feminists argued, women should pattern their lives after men’s, engaging in casual sexual intercourse on the same terms as sexually predatory males and making the same career commitments as men. In pursuit of these objectives, feminists have fought unceasingly for the ready availability of legal abortion and consistently derogated both motherhood and the worth of fulltime homemakers.

[…]Contemporary feminism has been remarkably successful in bringing about the institutionalization in our society of the two beliefs underlying its offensive: denial of the social worth of traditional homemakers and rejection of traditional sexual morality. The consequences have been pernicious and enduring. General societal assent to these beliefs has profoundly distorted men’s perceptions of their relationships with and obligations to women, women’s perceptions of their own needs, and the way in which women make decisions about their lives.

Read the rest, it’s a good introduction to the book.

So how have men responded to the sexual revolution and no-fault divorce? Well, most non-Christian men are going to take the free sex that’s being offered to them, and back away from a life-long commitment to protect and provide. Even a number of “Christian” men are now finding it easy to work premarital sex into their relationships, something that would have been unthinkable to Bible-believers of earlier generations. Also, a woman who has a lot of premarital sexual experience is a red flag to most men – they worry that she will not be able to be faithful to them since she is already accustomed to recreational sex rather than married sex within a covenant. Premarital sex generally makes women less trusting, less vulnerable and less capable at being feminine in order to love a man. Research shows that the more premarital sex partners a woman has, the more unstable her marriage becomes. This is also true for men, but the effect is slightly less for men. It’s definitely something that has to be worked through, because it’s a risk factor for relationship instability.

If you ask any man today about what is holding him up from getting married, the first thing he will tell you is no-fault divorce laws. Whereas women may shy away from marriage because they are worried about being unhappy or losing their freedom, men have a much, much more pressing danger in mind – the danger of having your entire life savings wiped out in an instant. And that’s not to mention the prospect of only being able to see your kids for a few hours every month if you don’t get joint custody – which is the vast majority of cases (about 90%).

14 thoughts on “Why is it so hard to get married these days?”

  1. “…relationships require each person to have certain responsibilities and obligations to the other that override their desire for happiness…”

    I’ll have to blog more about this when I get time, but there are some real misconceptions about marriage and happiness. Marriage is happiness, fulfilling those roles will make you happy. The system God designed was created to bring us the most satisfaction, happiness, joy, for both men and women.

    Marriage is constantly presented in such a negative light, a life of drudgery, sacrifice. Women “throw their lives away,” and men just get “divorce raped.” There are many reasons why marriage is on the decline, but one of them is how negatively we perceive it.

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    1. Yes. I can tell you that the idea of losing my freedom because I have more responsibilities and obligations excites me. I want to be more self-sacrificial and less selfish, and I think marriage would definitely do that. I want to become more mature. The trouble is that when I talk to young people, they often have the attitude that nothing is going to change. That marriage is meant to fulfill their desires. That they can be married and retain their autonomy and focus on fun. That’s what makes divorce. And I see this attitude in men and women equally. They don’t want to do things that they don’t feel like doing, but that’s exactly what makes young people grow up. It excites me to “live out” the gospel ideal of self-denial and self-sacrifice to love someone else, but I don’t see a lot of my generation excited by it. We seem to all be shying away from the normal self-denial and self-sacrifice in marriage, which, like you say, is what gives us lasting happiness in the long-run anyway. I can see it, but most people in my generation seem to want to run away from it.

      To me, love means thinking of myself less, and thinking of others more. I want to do that. But it’s not safe to marry a woman who doesn’t have the same view of love. I have found that women who have had premarital sex sometimes have this idea that they can just give a man that and he will stop asking for femininity, help, support, understanding, respect, etc. In that respect, premarital sex is dangerous because it actually trains a woman to think that her part of the relationship is to exchange sex for attention and acceptance. And then it’s becoming increasingly the case that once she gets the man to marry, she turns off the sex, because she has never learned to really love a man, and was just using that to get attention, etc. from him rather than to build him up. Men, if they were clever, would not let a woman skip over the femininity activities during the dating and courting. That’s the time when you can really see if a woman is as excited about self-denial, self-sacrifice and focusing on others as you are.

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      1. I am an atheist. I understand all the arguments, both scientific and philosophical. I am married. I am faithful. I dedicate my time to helping others as much as I can. Why would any just God consider me a sinner?

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        1. Surely you don’t claim to be perfect. All of us have done something wrong. Take the 10 Commandments, for example. Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen anything – even something small? Have you ever coveted something that belongs to someone else? Have you ever held something in higher esteem than you hold God? Have you ever lusted? Jesus said that anyone who lusts has committed adultery in his heart. If you have done any of these (and most of us have done several if not all of them), you’ve broken God’s commands and you are guilty.

          God’s standard isn’t that you be better than most. God’s standard is perfect obedience. And once you have broken one command, you have sinned. You can’t go back in time and un-sin and no amount of good works can erase that sin.

          When you do good things, you are only doing what you are supposed to do. You can’t erase evil by doing good to make up for it any more than a serial killer can make up for the lives they took by doing community service or paying money to families of the victims.

          It would be a slap in the face of grieving family members for the person who killed their loved one to think they should be forgiven and go on their merry way because they did a few good things afterwards. And it’s a slap in God’s face to think that your good works can make up for breaking God’s laws. To think that if we do good things (which we ought to do anyway), we can make up for doing evil is not only false, but prideful.

          So, can you see how a holy God would consider you a sinner when you consider that perfection is the standard?

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        2. Well, an omniscient would know that you have lied in your self-congrat post and lack humility besides. ‘You understand all the arguments’, pfft.

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  2. In your post you say a woman must try to stay thin and be sexually available. You might want to change your word to being healthy instead of thin cause it makes sound like men want women who look like tokthpicks. Every woman has a different body shape and hust because a woman has curves doesn’t mean she’s not healthy and just because a woman is thin means she is healthy.

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  3. “A long, long time ago when I was in my “read one or two books about everything important” phase”

    I’d love to see the complete reading list!

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  4. Well for us good single men that would’ve been married if it wasn’t for so many women today that are very high maintenance, very independent, very selfish, very spoiled, and very greedy. And the ones that have their Careers now which makes them so very Money hungry since many of these women are making a very high Salary now which makes it very difficult for many of us men that really wanted to get married since many of us Don’t make the kind of salary that most of them now are making.

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    1. I make more money than most women, and it doesn’t change anything. They want to earn their money so that they can have an independent stream of income to buy fancier things without oversight. Believe me I am seeing this everywhere. They work so that they don’t have to care what their husband says about their spending. There are some exceptions, though.

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      1. The real sad thing for us men that are still single today, we definitely would’ve been married by now had we met the right Good woman the way our family members were very Fortunate years ago since the times were completely different than today which made it very Easy for them at that time since many of them are still together today as i speak. Many of us good men were just born at a very bad time since the women of today have really Changed over the years. And many of us are certainly Not single by choice.

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