Marriage rates in the United States and the UK are at an all-time low.
According to Peter Lloyd in a series in London’s Daily Mail, Britain’s marriage rate is at its lowest level since 1895: “The state of matrimony is not just ailing. It is dying out faster than a mobile phone battery. For an army of women, Mr. Right is simply not there, no matter how hard they look for him.”
In an op/ed for Fox News, May 1, 2015, Suzanne Venker writes that things are no better this side of the Atlantic. According to Pew Research Center, the share of American adults who’ve never been married is at an historic high—and men are more likely than women to have never made it down the aisle (23% vs. 17% in 2012).
Venker asks “What gives? Why are men here and abroad avoiding the altar in spades?,” and offers two reasons:
1. Because they can: Men used to marry to have sex and a family. They married for love, too, but they had to marry the girl before taking her to bed, or at least work really, really hard to wear her down. Those days are gone.
When more women make themselves sexually available, the pool of marriageable men diminishes. “In a world where women do not say no, the man is never forced to settle down and make serious choices,” writes George Gilder, author of “Men and Marriage.”
Scoff if you wish. Call me a fuddy-duddy. But how’s that new plan working out?
2. Because there’s nothing in it for them: What exactly does marriage offer men today? “Men know there’s a good chance they’ll lose their friends, their respect, their space, their sex life, their money and — if it all goes wrong — their family,” says Helen Smith, Ph.D., author of “Men on Strike.” “They don’t want to enter into a legal contract with someone who could effectively take half their savings, pension and property when the honeymoon period is over.Men aren’t wimping out by staying unmarried or being commitment phobes. They’re being smart.”
Unlike women, men lose all power after they say “I do.” Their masculinity dies, too.
What’s left of it, that is. In the span of just a few decades, America has demoted men from respected providers and protectors of the family to superfluous buffoons. Today’s sitcoms and commercials routinely paint a portrait of the idiot husband whose wife is smarter and more capable than he. (This is one of my pet peeves. ~Eowyn)
There was a time when wives respected their husbands. There was a time when wives took care of their husbands as they expected their husbands to take care of them.
Or perhaps therein lies the rub. If women no longer expect or even want men to “take care of” them — since women can do everything men can do and better, thank you very much, feminism — perhaps the flipside is the assumption that women don’t need to take care of husbands, either. And if no one’s taking care of anyone, why the hell marry?
For women, the reason is obvious: kids. Eventually most women decide they want children, no matter how long they put it off to focus on their careers. So they often nab the best guy they can find, usually the one with whom they’re currently sleeping, and convince him to get married.
If the man refuses, we call him, as Smith notes, a “commitment phobe.” But is that fair? Perhaps these men know all too well that women initiate the vast majority of divorces — anywhere from 65-90 percent, depending on demographics. And when they do, they take the kids with them and hang hubby out to dry with the help of a court system that’s heavily stacked in their favor. In the past, Mom got the kids because she was home with them doing the thankless, unpaid, mountainous work associated with that role. Today, neither parent is home, so there’s no reason the default custodial parent should be Mom.
So remind me, why would a man marry today?
No, really. What’s in it for him?
To the above two reasons for the declining marriage rate, I’ll add a third:
3. Government welfare: Women, especially those low on education and skills, don’t need men to support them and their kids any more. They have the Welfare State — government as their husbands who provide for them without expecting or demanding anything in return.
The traditional man-woma) family has been the bedrock of societies and human civilization itself. With the corrosion of the family, people become more and more atomized and isolated. That, in turn, empowers the state even more.
See DCG’s post, “Feminists are insufferable: Let’s stop idealizing the home-cooked family dinner“.
Let’s hear from you!