If we seriously want men to marry and become fathers, let’s repeal no-fault divorce

I saw a very good article at the Heritage Foundation web site about the importance of fathers for children. The author Virginia Allen listed out some of the benefits that fathers provide to children:

Studies have found that children raised without a father are:

  • At a higher risk of having behavioral problems.
  • Four times more likely to live in poverty.
  • More likely to be incarcerated in their lifetime.
  • Twice as likely to never graduate high school.
  • At a seven times higher risk of teen pregnancy.
  • More vulnerable to abuse and neglect.
  • More likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
  • Twice as likely to be obese.

From education to personal health to career success, children who lack a father find themselves at a disadvantage to their peers raised in a two-parent household.

I was looking for a good analysis of why there’s been a decline of marriage and fatherhood, and I found an article by Joe Carter on The Gospel Coalition, of all places. By looking at marriage rates and historical events that changed the marriage rate, he was able to identify the cause of the decline of marriage – and fatherhood.

Marriage and divorce rates per capita
Marriage and divorce rates per capita

I’ll spare you the statistical analysis, which is excellent, and give you the conclusion – although you can guess it from the graph above:

Now that we’ve explored the data, what year should we use as the marker for the beginning of the decline of marriage in the United States? I would argue for 1985, the last year that the marriage rate topped 10 percent.

[…]What changed in 1985 that could have led to the decline in marriage? There are likely numerous factors—which we’ll examine in future articles—but one stands out in particular: By 1985, all states (except for New York) had enacted no-fault divorce legislation.

The most helpful book I know of about no-fault divorce is “Taken Into Custody”, by Dr. Stephen Baskerville. He wrote a column  for Crisis magazine that summarizes some of his ideas.


Feminists were drafting no-fault divorce laws in the 1940s, which the National Association of Women Lawyers now describes as “the greatest project NAWL has ever undertaken.”

The result effectively abolished marriage as a legal contract. Today it is not possible to form a binding agreement to create a family.

The new laws did not stop at removing the requirement of citing grounds for a divorce, to allow divorce by mutual consent, as deceptively advertised at the time. Instead they created unilateral and involuntary divorce, so that one spouse may dissolve a marriage without any agreement or fault by the other.

Here’s what divorce does to the spouse who is the victim of the unilateral “no-fault” divorce:

Though marriage is a civil matter, the logic quickly extended into the criminal, including a presumption of guilt against the involuntarily divorced spouse (“defendant”). Yet formal due process protections of criminal proceedings did not apply, so forcibly divorced spouses became quasi-criminals not for recognized criminal acts but for failing or refusing to cooperate with the divorce by continuing to claim the protections and prerogatives of family life: living in the common home, possessing the common property, or—most vexing of all—parenting the common children.

Following from this are the horrendous civil liberties violations and flagrant invasions of family and individual privacy that are now routine in family courts. A personalized criminal code is legislated by the judge around the forcibly divorced spouse, controlling their association with their children, movements, and finances. Unauthorized contact with their children can be punished with arrest. Involuntarily divorced parents are arrested for running into their children in public, making unauthorized telephone calls, and sending unauthorized birthday cards.

In my conversations with men, no-fault divorce laws, and anti-male divorce courts are the main reasons given for why they do not pursue marriage and fatherhood. Men do not want to be coerced in a marriage with the threat of divorce by an unhappy wife. Men do not want to be subject to the government in so many areas of their lives if the wife does carry out the threat. They especially don’t want to be separated from their children. One my secular male friends told me that he would not marry unless the woman had evidence in her past of hating radical feminism and no-fault divorce. This was the main criteria. He actually was able to find a woman who was a men’s rights activist who hated divorce. But that was the only way he would marry.

Statistically speaking, the wife is more likely to initiate divorce than the husband. Women initiate 70% of divorces, the majority of those just because she is “unhappy”. I think this is because women get into marriage based on their feelings, and they think that it is the husband’s job to make them feel good. They see their happiness as the primary goal of the marriage, and see a marriage that does not make them happy as a marriage that needs to be ended. Their view of commitment really means “I’ll commit so long as it makes me feel good”. None of this is particularly appealing to men, who take marriage vows to mean what they say, and think that the commitment isn’t conditional on being happy. (Note: if your husband doesn’t have this view of marriage, then why did you choose him out of all the other men in the world?)

Are we going to repeal no-fault divorce, then?

My experiences speaking with divorced Christian women is that they married primarily based on first impressions and emotional responses. No-fault divorce was seen as a boon to women who had married the wrong men by following their hearts. It’s an interesting question to ask whether women really would want no-fault repealed. It would mean that they would have to get serious about who they marry. They would have to think about what a man does in a marriage. They would have to think about what men want out of a marriage. And they would have to say no to their feelings, both in choosing a man, and in keeping the man after the wedding.

I’ve been told by women that the rapid giving of sex is a way to get attention from a man without having to be respectful of him. Are women willing to stop using sex as a tool to attract the wrong men, and start developing their skills as wives and mothers in order to attract the right men? Are women willing to stop seeing relationships as “fun and thrills”, and get serious about pursuing men who have marriage and children as the goal? Are wives willing to give a man what he needs in the marriage: sex, respect and obedience? Are they willing to give up the threat of divorce in the home and learn to argue rationally and compromise?

If women aren’t willing to demand the repeal of no-fault divorce laws and get serious about men and marriage, then what’s the point of complaining that men don’t want to marry and become fathers? If you’re not willing to fix the root cause of the problem, then don’t complain about the problem.

15 thoughts on “If we seriously want men to marry and become fathers, let’s repeal no-fault divorce”

  1. So Bro. WK, what’s your thoughts of a plan on how the common people can help “repeal no-fault” divorce in the United States?

    I currently don’t know what needs to be done on the political level but on the collective “societal level” men can band together and resist the injustice of the wicked State.

    The only real lasting change I see happening is when the MEN step up and say “NOT PUTTING UP WITH IT ANYMORE” and resisting falling into the “traps” you’ve laid out.

    Now women may or may not come in to “help” the men; but from experience all I can say is it takes the MAN to make the INITIATIVE before other people are “inspired enough” to want to join in and help the efforts.

    We’ve diagnosed the problem enough: how do we DO BATTLE to fight back is where we’re at now.

    ACTION followed up with COUNSEL is where I see us going if we’re going to make an actual difference here.


    1. I don’t think there is anything on the political level to do, it will have to start with men refusing to marry under these laws, unless they are in a state where there is covenant marriage, or something strong to prevent a frivolous divorce.

      I’m a Christian man, and a virgin, and I am very cautious about marriage because I don’t see that women do much preparation to understand marriage. They all want to get married, and some of them may do it. But there isn’t a lot of reading going on to understand marriage from a man’s point of view, with respect to his needs (e.g. – respect, sobriety, chastity, etc.) and with respect to policy. When I see young women in college getting drunk and being promiscuous, then claiming to want marriage, it’s very obvious that they don’t want marriage as God designed it, but just some sort of commitment from a hunky bad boy that won’t infringe on their freedom to do whatever they fell like doing in the moment. That is not marriage, but they think marriage will give them what they want and require nothing of them.

      I think women today under the influence of feminism know less about what men want from marriage and wives than at any other time in the history of this nation. And that is just sad.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Not all of us! Haha there are antifeminist women like myself out there with Christian values. I have been with my husband for 10 years and I am happily married with two kids. I work from home and homeschool.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree with you! You should look into also, the incentives given for divorce with the rise of welfare. Women literally divorced their husbands to claim welfare benefits. as described by Ronald Reagan in “A Time for Choosing.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ‘Their view of commitment really means “I’ll commit so long as it makes me feel good”.’

    Absolutely true. Of course, that’s not commitment, but selfishness. This perspective of marriage seems pervasive in women, but is probably also present in many men, although to a lesser degree.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it’s fair to say that at this point it’s up to women to convince men that they are a good match for marriage roles. The burden of proof should be on them. In the last few dates I’ve been on, I was the one asking all the questions, and got no questions in return. It’s not clear to me that women today really understand how to present themselves to a man, except for showing skin and premarital sex. In the last generation, women knew how to make a case to a man that she was indispensable for his needs and his plans. It’s gone now.


      1. Women across the board have developed such an attitude of entitlement that it has become almost hardwired into their DNA. In any mixed-sex discussions, even
        — especially — within Christian circles, you’ll hear ear-splitting shrieks of outrage from the women at the mere suggestion that they have to take even minimal level of responsibility for some aspect of their relationship with a man. I don’t think it’s extreme to say that the vast majority of women today are hopelessly confused about, if not outright ignorant of, their God-given purpose in life.


  4. In this day and age there are very few incentives for a man to marry. I have many friends and aqusintences with daughters in their late twenties and early thirties, and almost none of them are married or even in LTR. But it’s not because the young men don’t want to get married, it’s because the young women don’t! They are too busy with their “careers” and riding the carousel. By the time they hit their mid to late thirties they are all like “where did the good men go?”


  5. Part of the reason I enjoy being single so much is that I never have to worry about divorce, alimony, asset division or child support. No woman has the power to upend my life on a whim, which I find extremely comforting. All the money I’ve saved over my lifetime is working hard for me and giving me the life I always wanted. I’ll not risk that for ‘love’, which I don’t really believe in anyways. The other reason I enjoy being single is that I never have arguments, disagreements and never have to kowtow to another’s demands. I have a truly peaceful and happy life and marriage puts all that at risk, so marriage is a non starter for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think the burden of proof should be on the woman to present herself to a man and address the problems that have been introduced in women’s character and in the law from feminism. Dalrock has written on this in his posts critical of the courtship model of dating.

      I think courtship is fine, but it can’t be with a woman who is ignorant of how feminism has affected her character and the laws. It should be the woman’s responsibility to read about how feminism has degraded the value of marriage for men, and then present her case why a marriage to her would be good value for a man.

      And obviously I feel that men should do the same as they have always done: present themselves as good providers, protectors and leaders on moral and spiritual things.

      I have gone on dates where women didn’t know anything about the effects of feminism on women and on the marriage value proposition to men. You cannot get into a marriage enterprise with a woman who knows nothing about men and marriage. Especially now, in an age of feminism. It’s amazing to me how it is men who are doing all the reading about relationships, marriage and children, while women think that they can be passive and just expect the man to do things that make the relationship feel good to her. I don’t want that. I refuse to get involved in that.


  6. It should be the woman’s responsibility to read about how feminism has degraded the value of marriage for men, and then present her case why a marriage to her would be good value for a man.

    Chameleons that they are, no woman’s explanation of why she’s a NAWALT and thus marriage-worthy is worth the breath in which it is expressed. They are experts at saying what they think men want to hear, but drop the mask once they’ve hooked their chump of choice, for whom it’s too late. Billions of men continue to find this out the hard, costly, painful way.


    1. I’m telling you this straight. They don’t even know how to fake it any more. In the last few years, I’ve noticed that young, unmarried women just put the rebellion out there, and they don’t even know that they are supposed to do anything different. They don’t ask you questions about yourself, or your goals, or your past decision-making. Because they don’t expect you to be in a position of leadership! There is no effort to be helpful or supportive or caring at all. I think this is why premarital sex is so common (despite it being so unsuccessful at getting a man to commit). This is the only thing they have left. They’ve forgotten the language of femininity.


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