Tag Archives: Marriage

New study: nearly half of millenials reject monogamy

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

Study reported on by The Stream:

A new report found nearly half of American millennials don’t want monogamous relationships.

YouGov revealed the research on monogamy and cheating, showing couples under 30 are significantly less monogamous than older generations.

Only 51 percent of people under 30 reported desiring a “completely monogamous” relationship, compared to 58 percent from the 30-44 age bracket, 63 percent from the 45-64 age bracket, and 70 percent from the 65 plus age bracket polled.

[…]Reports also show that men and women are cheating at almost equal rates.

It’s not just adultery that millenials don’t care about any more, it’s premarital sex. An article from the Washington Post found that both men and women no longer desire their romantic partners to be chaste:

Dating has changed hugely over the past generations, and so have cultural ideas about what men and women value most in a mate.

This idea is perfectly illustrated by a chart that economist Max Roser, who created the blog Our World in Data, recently put out on Twitter. The chart is made with data from a study published in the Journal of Family Issues in 2013, in which three researchers compared how heterosexual men and women ranked the importance of 18 traits in wives and husbands, first in 1939, and then again in 2008.

[…]For both men and women, the importance of chastity nose-dived, from #10 in 1939 to #18 in 2008. Emotional stability and maturity, a pleasing disposition, good health, and refinement and neatness also declined for both sexes.

For women, a similar religious background and a desire for home and children became less important in their mates, while men placed less value on ambition and industriousness in their wives.

It goes without saying that adultery is more like to reduce marriage stability. And studies also show that marriage stability is severely impacted by the number of premarital sex partners.  That’s why chastity matters: it’s a predictor of marital stability. If a person can control themselves before marriage when they don’t get any sex, it’s easier to control themselves when that need is being supplied safely and generously. Also, chastity just reinforces the idea that sex is something that is done within a lifelong commitment, not something that is done outside of a commitment for fun and thrills. I don’t that the millenial approach of premarital unchastity and post-marital non-monogamy is going to help them keep their marriages together.

But young people today aren’t interested in looking at studies to figure out how to do marriage right so that it will last. They make their decisions with their feelings. They value what the culture tells them to value, rather than picking a mate who has the skills and abilities to make the marriage last.

How well is picking mates based on emotions rather than demonstrated ability working out? The marriage rates are plummeting:

Gallup poll:

Contrary to what we would expect, given normal demographic patterns of adolescents’ movement into early adulthood and family formation, the data show that significantly more millennials are currently single/never married than was true for those in older generations, and considerably more are in domestic partnerships. Specifically, more than half of all millennials (59%) have never married, and 9% are in domestic partnerships. Gallup has noted a trend toward fewer young adults being married in recent years.

In the 2014 Gallup Daily tracking data, just 27% of millennials were married. According to historical U.S. Census Bureau data, 36% of Generation Xers, 48% of baby boomers and 65% of traditionalists were married when they were the age that millennials are now. For millennials currently aged 18 to 30, just 20% are married, compared with nearly 60% of 18- to 30-year-olds in 1962, according to the U.S. Census. When Gen Xers were the same age, 32% were married; for baby boomers, it was more than 40%.

Millennials are clearly delaying marriage longer than any generation before them, in spite of evidence suggesting that many millennials intend to marry at some point. For example, a 2013 Gallup poll found that 86% of single/never married Americans aged 18 to 34 (roughly equivalent to the millennial generation) wanted to get married someday.


Marriage rates across different generations of Americans
Marriage rates across different generations of Americans

Who can keep a relationship going when the top criterion is ability to entertain rather than ability to commit self-sacrificially? I hear lots of Christian women say they want to get married “some day”, but there they are in their mid 30s, unemployed, penniless, with empty resumes, backpacking through Europe. The words “some day” sound good to their parents and pastors, but the actions are all about hedonism and thrill-seeking – just what the culture told them to do, in order to have a meaningful life.

Is there a cost to the younger generation turning their backs on traditional marriage, including the norms of chastity, fidelity and permanence?

I saw an article on the Public Discourse that talked about the fiscal costs of abandoning traditional marriage.

It says:

In 1965, liberal Harvard political scientist Daniel Patrick Moynihan was astonished to find that about 25 percent of African-American children were born out of wedlock. Moynihan was deeply worried about this finding because he knew exactly what being born out of wedlock means for a child. Decades of social science confirm what common sense has always taught us: that children born out of wedlock are disadvantaged in every way. They are more likely to be physically and mentally ill, more likely to be poor and unhappy, more likely to have trouble in school and with education generally, more likely to be abused sexually, more likely themselves to abuse others sexually, more likely to abuse alcohol or other drugs, and more likely to engage in criminal activity and to have a disdain for authority.

This, in turn, invariably increases the size and scope of the power of the state. The state must expand to replace fathers who have abandoned their families by providing for single mothers. It must increase its public-health efforts to provide for children whose single parents cannot pay for private healthcare and to treat victims of violence committed by those who have been raised in an environment that has failed to equip them for a robust and peaceful social life. It must create and maintain adoption agencies to care for children whose parents are unfit or absent. It must commit more funds to police departments to address crime that results from families breaking apart (or failing to form in the first place), and hence failing to instill virtue in children. It must commit funds to the creation of prisons where criminals are to be kept. The list goes on and on.

The economic costs of abandoning social conservatism, then, run quite high—in addition to all of the unquantifiable social costs of broken families, deaths, broken relationships, and ruined lives. It is no surprise that leftists, committed to consolidating power in the state, have sought to undermine the family: they realize—better than many fiscal conservatives do—that a flourishing marriage culture is required for free markets and limited governments to exist.

So, there really is a cost to the embrace of moral relativism. When morality goes, expensive things happen, and government grows to pick up the costs. The bigger the government grows, the taxes are required to pay for it, leaving you with less of your own money – less of your own freedom to live how you want to live.

Why is it so hard for a working man to provide for a family these days?

Welfare spending
Welfare spending

Here’s my argument which answers the question:

  1. Feminism was behind no-fault divorce.
  2. Making it easier to divorce means that more divorces will occur.
  3. Marital instability causes women to vote for bigger government.
  4. Unmarried women vote mostly for Democrats.

*Please note that I am talking about unmarried (never married, divorced) women throughout this post.

Here’s the evidence for each point.

1. Feminism was behind no-fault divorce, according to this feminist, pro-no-fault-divorce writer.


Households of 2010 don’t look quite like they did in 1969, when no-fault divorce actually was a controversial topic and these counter-arguments held some weight. The working dad/stay-at-home mom model of the middle class has been replaced by two-parent earner households and a growing number of working mom/stay-at-home dad arrangements. In working poor and impoverished families, the one-parent provider model was never the norm. No-fault divorce seemed scary when it had never before existed, but the truth is that its introduction was long overdue. Feminist groups at the time supported no-fault divorce, as it provided women an escape hatch from desperately unhappy marriages in a society where they were already disadvantaged on almost every level, regardless of their marital status. Imagine an abusive marriage in 1968, when the court-savvy abuser could actually force the victim to stay in the relationship forever. Imagine that now, and you know why domestic violence attorneys are in full support of introducing no-fault divorce to New York. And the judges aren’t the only problem.

Note that the author of this piece thinks that it is not women’s fault that they choose men who they then want to divorce. It’s not the woman’s fault that she is unhappy with the man she courted with and then chose and then made vows to – women need a no-fault escape hatch, and children do fine without fathers.

2. Easier divorces means more divorces.


This paper analyzes a panel of 18 European countries spanning from 1950 to 2003 to examine the extent to which the legal reforms leading to “easier divorce” that took place during the second half of the 20th century have contributed to the increase in divorce rates across Europe. We use a quasi-experimental set-up and exploit the different timing of the reforms in divorce laws across countries. We account for unobserved country-specific factors by introducing country fixed effects, and we include country-specific trends to control for timevarying factors at the country level that may be correlated with divorce rates and divorce laws, such as changing social norms or slow moving demographic trends. We find that the different reforms that “made divorce easier” were followed by significant increases in divorce rates. The effect of no-fault legislation was strong and permanent, while unilateral reforms only had a temporary effect on divorce rates. Overall, we estimate that the legal reforms account for about 20 percent of the increase in divorce rates in Europe between 1960 and 2002.

It seems obvious, but more evidence never hurts. About 70% of divorces are initiated by women, either because they chose to marry the wrong man, or because they are unhappy with the right man.

3. Marital instability causes women to vote for bigger government for security.


Giving women the right to vote significantly changed American politics from the very beginning. Despite claims to the contrary, the gender gap is not something that has arisen since the 1970s. Suffrage coincided with immediate increases in state government expenditures and revenue, and these effects continued growing as more women took advantage of the franchise. Similar changes occurred at the federal level as female suffrage led to more liberal voting records for the state’s U.S. House and Senate delegations. In the Senate, suffrage changed voting behavior by an amount equal to almost 20 percent of the difference between Republican and Democratic senators. Suffrage also coincided with changes in the probability that prohibition would be enacted and changes in divorce laws.

[…]More work remains to be done on why women vote so differently, but our initial work provides scant evidence that it is due to self-interest arising from their employment by government. The only evidence that we found indicated that the gender gap in part arises from women’s fear that they are being left to raise children on their own (Lott and Kenny 1997). If this result is true, the continued breakdown of the family and higher divorce rates imply growing political conflicts between the sexes. 19

Bigger government must be paid for by higher taxes, of course, which makes it harder for one working man’s income to provide for a family. In fact, feminists wanted men to be displaced as sole-providers. They would prefer that women are “equal” to men, and that means making women get out and work like men. Feminists had every reason to want bigger government and higher taxes to make traditional single-earner families unfeasible financially. They did it for equality.

4. Women are in fact observed to vote for bigger government.


On Tuesday, the nation made history. It made history in electing the first African American president; it made history in building a bigger margin for the first female Speaker of the House; it made history in delivering the biggest Democratic margin since 1964; it made history in sending a record number of people to the polls and the highest percentage turnout since the 1960 election. Analysts will spend the next few months sifting through the data, trying to figure out what happened and why. Historians will likely spend the next several years and decades studying this election, as well. But one thing is immediately clear. Unmarried women played a pivotal role in making this history and in changing this nation. They delivered a stunning 70 to 29 percent margin to Barack Obama and delivered similarly strong margins in races for Congress and the U.S. Senate. Although unmarried women have voted Democratic consistently since marital status has been was tracked, this election represents the highest margin recorded and a 16-point net gain at the Presidential level from 2004.

In fact, there was a recent (2011) study showing that unmarried women do in fact vote for higher taxes and more government as a substitute for a husband’s provider role.


The last three decades have witnessed the rise of a political gender gap in the United States wherein more women than men favor the Democratic party. We trace this development to the decline in marriage, which we posit has made men richer and women poorer. Data for the United States support this argument. First, there is a strong positive correlation between state divorce prevalence and the political gender gap – higher divorce prevalence reduces support for the Democrats among men but not women. Second, longitudinal data show that following marriage (divorce), women are less (more) likely to support the Democratic party.

What follows from voting Democrat?

Since the Democrats took the House and Senate in 2006, and then the Presidency in 2008, the national debt has more than doubled from about 8 trillion to 20 trillion. A lot of that money was spent in welfare for single mothers, which only makes the women and their fatherless children more dependent on government. Children raised in unmarried home are far less likely to marry themselves, and to be independent of government. Which means that they will vote for bigger government when they start to vote, since they can’t make it through life on their own strength.

If more people vote for Democrats then we will get higher taxes to pay for all the government spending. Higher taxes means that a married man can no longer retain enough of his earnings to support a family. And that means his wife has to work, and that means that his children will learn what the government schools decide they should learn – so that all the children will be equal and think the same (pro-government) thoughts. This should not be controversial, because it is what it is. But if we want to talk about the decline of marriage honestly, then we need to be talking to single women about how they choose men, when they have sex with men, and how they vote at election time. You really can’t have it all.

Should we only blame boys for the highly-sexualized culture?

Man helping a woman with proper handgun marksmanship
Man helping a woman with proper handgun marksmanship

If you wanted to read just one article that summarizes a lot of my views on radical feminism and the Sexual Revolution, based on my experiences with young women in high school, college and the workplace, this article from The Federalist would be a good choice.

I am going to excerpt a piece of this for my post, but you really need to click through and read the whole thing.


Let’s build on that foundation and ask why porn is driving expectations for young women.

As with the prevalence of porn among boys, the answer to this question has two parts. The victimization half of the answer is that we’ve deliberately avoided giving girls any other kinds of expectations. Think about it for a moment: Why should it be so hard to tell a guy “no,” as girls reported in the survey? Why should she think it’s mean?

Feminists would have you believe that all girls are shrinking violets who never learned how to lean in, but the far better answer is that these girls don’t really know of any good reason to say no. “I don’t want to” is a reason, but it’s the kind of reason one must weigh against others’ desires in any kind of voluntary relationship.

Chastity, which is the view that relationships work better when sex is confined to exclusive, permanent marital commitments, is out of favor in our society, thanks to feminism. In place of chastity, feminism encourages young people to have recreational sex outside of marriage.

What happened next?

If sex is just meaningless fun without any moral or spiritual dimension, and if youth is just a time for sexual adventures without any thought to actually forging a lasting relationship—as we are all taught these days—then surely it would indeed be mean to arbitrarily withhold that meaningless fun from someone she is fond of.

In a sexually amoral context, having sex with him so he’ll watch a movie with her is a decision with no more gravitas than watching “American Ninja Warrior” with him so he’ll watch “The Bachelorette” with her. Without bringing chastity back into the conversation, there’s no meaningful objection. The only expectation is that the boy and girl work out their different wants together, and they have already done so.

In the past, sexual expectations were founded in marriage and family—that sex is part of a permanent and exclusive partnership rooted in a mutual commitment to one another’s well-being and the promise of future children to whom that commitment is extended. Those are the expectations girls were taught, and they generally navigated relationships according to them. They provided a foundation to undergird their refusals.

Unfortunately, feminists found such expectations restrictive and demeaning, and over a generation successfully uprooted them only to replace them with… nothing of substance. It’s only natural that media depictions of sex—porn included—would fill that void and create new expectations.

[…]We cannot meaningfully condemn this situation unless we venture back into the world of sexual morality. After all, if our only concerns are for the desires of those involved, nothing proves the girls’ desire for emotional connection without providing sexual gratification is any better than the boys’ desire for sexual gratification without providing emotional connection.If this is the extent of our concern, then our response should not be the horror we feel in the pit of our collective stomach, but rather pride that these two different groups were able to negotiate terms by which both sides can get something they want. It would be like the end of a children’s program where everyone learned to compromise and work together.

If girls in general want a deal with terms more favorable to them, there’s always collective bargaining with the boys. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to see how the results would substantially differ from traditional sexual morality. After all, most girls would need to withhold sexual access until granted a commitment more meaningful than “I promise not to sleep with anyone else until I want to be done sleeping with you.” Accordingly, the “scabs” (to borrow union terminology) who give away access for less would have to be treated with less respect than those who maintain the bargaining position.

Meanwhile, the other side’s interests would need to be taken into account or they would have no incentive to come to the table. The popular boys are already getting what they want, and the rest are already going their own way. Providing sex couldn’t be held off for decades while education and career take a front seat.

Plus the long-term commitments boys offer as they become men could not be so one-sided that the woman could unilaterally dissolve these at any time and simultaneously claim a man’s home, children, and future income. In other words, any mutually beneficial bargain would have to restore chastity, slut-shaming, and early marriage while ending no-fault divorce. What collective bargaining will never achieve is the feminist pipe dream that boys be dutifully subject to feminine whim. They have no incentive for that.

And this part further down is really good too:

Is it really safe to assume these girls have hooked up with a completely random and evenly distributed sample of boys their age?

It would be more accurate to say that the boys who are popular with the girls are generally like this. After all, it seems rates of teen girls’ sexual activity are actually somewhat higher than those of their male peers—a gap particularly pronounced among whites. The disparity is probably even greater since other studies have shown that men are prone to exaggerating their sexual activity while women are prone to minimizing it.

All of this suggests that a larger pool of girls is competing for the attentions of a smaller pool of boys. Many anecdotal accounts reinforce this, suggesting a version of the 80/20 rule is at work in hookup culture (i.e., that 80 percent of the girls are sleeping with 20 percent of the guys). That particular proportion is almost certainly an exaggeration, but the disparity is there.

Most likely, the sexually inactive majority of boys aren’t receiving sex acts in exchange for their attention, just as the sexually inactive girls aren’t providing any. Plenty of boys are left out in the cold who would happily adopt a measure of chastity and provide emotional intimacy if it meant access to romantic relationships. The girls are simply choosing not to enter relationships with those boys. So why are the girls going for the boys who make the demands they reportedly despise?

I just don’t see how you can do better than that. This is a very conservative view, because it respects traditional morality, but it is not one that is championed by most “conservatives”, who want to just blame men for refusing to put out after feminism has re-made the culture.

In the old days, many men expected women to give them something physically if they spent money on dinner and movie. In the present day, fake man-blaming “conservatives” expect men to put out marriage for women who have done nothing at all to prepare themselves for it. In a world where chastity has been replaced by radical feminist hook-ups, and marriage has been replaced by no-fault divorce, there is no incentive for men to engage. Trying to get them to engage by attacking their manhood is just plain stupid, but unfortunately, most “man up” pastors and “conservatives” ARE just plain stupid.

Do atheists have a lower divorce rate than Christians?

Map of marriage rate by state
Map of marriage rate by state

Here is an article from USA Today that comments on the notion that atheists have a lower divorce rate than Christians.


It’s been proclaimed from pulpits and blogs for years — Christians divorce as much as everyone else in America.

But some scholars and family activists are questioning the oft-cited statistics, saying Christians who attend church regularly are more likely to remain wed.

“It’s a useful myth,” said Bradley Wright, a University of Connecticut sociologist who recently wrote “Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites … and Other Lies You’ve Been Told.”

“Because if a pastor wants to preach about how Christians should take their marriages more seriously, he or she can trot out this statistic to get them to listen to him or her.”

The various findings on religion and divorce hinge on what kind of Christians are being discussed.

Wright combed through the General Social Survey, a vast demographic study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, and found that Christians, like adherents of other religions, have a divorce rate of about 42%. The rate among religiously unaffiliated Americans is 50%.

When Wright examined the statistics on evangelicals, he found worship attendance has a big influence on the numbers. Six in 10 evangelicals who never attend had been divorced or separated, compared to just 38% of weekly attendees.

[…]Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, agrees there’s been some confusion.

“You do hear, both in Christian and non-Christian circles, that Christians are no different from anyone else when it comes to divorce and that is not true if you are focusing on Christians who are regular church attendees,” he said.

Wilcox’s analysis of the National Survey of Families and Households has found that Americans who attend religious services several times a month were about 35% less likely to divorce than those with no religious affiliation.

Nominal conservative Protestants, on the other hand, were 20% more likely to divorce than the religiously unaffiliated.

“There’s something about being a nominal ‘Christian’ that is linked to a lot of negative outcomes when it comes to family life,” Wilcox said.

Here’s a quote from an Oklahoma State University study that confirms the Wright and Wilcox conclusions:

History of Divorce and Religious Involvement

Those who say they are more religious are less likely, not more, to have already experienced divorce. Likewise, those who report more frequent attendance at religious services were significantly less likely to have been divorced. This pattern of findings held using various analytic techniques that test which variables differentiate persons who have been divorced from persons who have not been divorced, while controlling for other variables that might affect the interpretation of the data, such as age, age of first marriage, income, and gender. When both the global rating of religiousness and the item assessing fiequency of attendance at religious services are entered into the same analysis, the attendance item remains significantly associated with divorce history but the global religiousness item does not. This suggests that a key aspect of how religious faith affects marital relationships may be through involvement with a community of faith.

So, please do bookmark this information for the next time you hear an atheist make this argument. Obviously, you can’t expect people who are not serious about their religion to be bound by the moral duties imposed by that religion. People who attend church regularly are probably more serious about their religion, and also probably more informed about what their holy book says. If their holy book is the Bible, then there are few options for divorce.

An article from Focus on the Family by Amy Tracy explains when divorce is allowed according to the Bible.

God is very clear, however, that He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). He also says, “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:6). According to the New Testament, there are two justifications for divorce: infidelity (Matthew 5:32) and desertion (1 Corinthians 7:15).

So divorce is not something a Bible believing Christian can do for frivolous reasons, unless he wants to be in rebellion against God.

The future of marriage in the church

In my own case, I learned about chastity and sobriety and courting outside the church, and in my case that means that I am still a virgin, that I don’t drink more than a beer a year, and that when I like a girl, I court her. I do think that people in the church are generally more moral than people outside the church, but that’s more because of convention rather than conviction. I don’t think it’s going to last, in other words. Church is not the place where reasons and evidence are given that help people to resist peer pressure when they enter hostile environments, like the university. And often, parents are too busy working to understand the issues and communicate them to their children.

I’ve never been in a church where they explained the hormones that are released during sex that cause you to bond to the person you’re having sex with. You would have to look in books or listen to lectures in order to understand the problem with having sex with someone you are not committed to – how it causes you to hold back your emotions for fear of a break-up. The church doesn’t have much to say about the social effects of single motherhood by choice or the effects of gay parenting on children. Nor do they have any positive vision to offer men about how they can serve God by marrying carefully.

Christians who participate in a church community will adopt some of these values, especially if they stay clear of popular culture, the university, etc. Especially if they don’t work in a very secular environment, like a high-tech company or in Hollywood. But unless Christian communities get serious about grounding their values in evidence, I wouldn’t expect this situation to go on, and you can already see young people falling away from church in record numbers when they get to university as a result of this refusal to engage. We’re doing well now, but we should move to secure our gains.

New study: children of divorced parents are less likely to be religious

A family praying and reading the Bible
A family praying and reading the Bible

This is from the leftist Washington Post, of all places.


Two widely recognized trends in American society might have something to do with each other.

Divorce rates climbed to the highest levels ever in the 1980s, when about half of all marriages ended in divorce.

And in the present day, Americans are rapidly becoming less religious. Since 1972, the share of Americans who say they do not adhere to any particular religion has increased from 5 percent of the population to 25 percent.

Could those two trends be related? A new study from the Public Religion Research Institute says yes. The children of divorced parents have grown up to be adults of no religion.

People whose parents divorced when they were children are significantly more likely to grow up not to be religious as adults, the study found. Thirty-five percent of the children of divorced parents told pollsters they are now nonreligious, compared with 23 percent of people whose parents were married when they were children.

[…]Cox said his team found that even children of divorced parents who are religious are less religious than their peers. Thirty-one percent of them go to services every week, compared with 43 percent of religious people whose parents were married when they were growing up.

This part about Protestant pastors wimping out of thorny issues is very interesting:

Andrew Root, a professor at Luther Seminary who has written a book about the spiritual consequences of divorce for children, was not surprised to hear about the study’s findings.

“Everything in a divorce gets divided. Literally everything. Parents’ friends get divided. Relatives get divided. Everyone takes sides,” Root said. “Even religion takes sides. The church gets divided. Dad leaves Mom’s faith, or vice versa. Negotiating those worlds becomes difficult.”

Root said churches are not doing enough to speak directly to the concerns of children in those situations, so the kids lose faith in the ability of the church to help them. He said that when the divorce rate climbed in the 1980s, many members of the clergy, especially mainline Protestant pastors, stopped speaking out against divorce so as not to alienate struggling congregants. But by going silent on the subject, they didn’t offer any comfort to the kids.

As adults, Root said, those same people do not believe the church will respond to their adult problems. “They’re now thinking, ‘I’m dealing with depression.’ Or, ‘I’m dealing with my own marital troubles.’ The church must not have anything to say to me, because when I was 8 and dealing with divorce, my Sunday-school teacher didn’t even say, ‘Man, Amanda, that must be really complicated for you’,” Root said.

I get e-mails all the time from people who are suffering from the effects of the Sexual Revolution, which was put in place by selfish adults so they could do whatever they wanted. Children suffered a lot from this. Obviously, the painful of experience of their parents divorcing hurt their view of God. But divorce also hurts a child’s ability to know what a man loving a woman in a stable commitment looks like, and what a woman loving a man in a stable commitment looks like. I mean – what does love between sexes look like when the “in love” feeling has worn off, and all that remains is the commitment to build something together? I think that a lot is riding on the stability of the relationship between the child’s mother and father.