Why Men Aren’t Getting Married Anymore

Marriage Has Nothing To Offer For Men

Lina Bryce

According to The Pew Research Center, the data from 2012 illustrates a steady increase in the percentages of American men and women who are 25 years and older who have never been married. The same research shows that men are more likely than women to have never made it down the aisle (23% vs. 17%). The facts are clear that fewer people are getting married, the question as to why men are choosing not to in large numbers, remains a debate.

Not wanting to tie the knot is not a concept limited within U.S. borders.

According to the Office for National Statistics, marriage in Britain is at its lowest level since 1895. In 2011, there were just 286,634 ceremonies—a 41 per cent fall from 1972, when 480,285 couples were wed. Although not getting married has been a progression over the years, one of the most convincing reasons for men, specifically, is simply because they don’t need to.

Aside from the obvious economic inconveniences that are involved with an actual wedding, a recent piece titled “Why men won’t marry you“, by Suzanne Venker goes right for the jugular when she argues that it’s actually the woman’s fault that this is happening. No matter how difficult it is to hear it, there is a logic to what she is arguing, starting with the reality that men can have what they want without getting married. The free market supplies the demand sufficiently, so why get married?

Gone are the days of “saving oneself for marriage” and the old adage of “why buy the cow” comes into play. There used to be great societal pressure to wait to get married before having sex or having children. In some aspects, it has been a good thing that women aren’t scampering away to deliver babies in secrecy, or forced to give up babies or abort pregnancies. Where are the paternal rights in that scenario? However, men often declare that a marriage contract is just a piece of paper, and see no difference or added benefit to partnering up legally with a woman.

Simply put, Venker asserts that there is virtually nothing in it for men. The attitude that women don’t need a man and men don’t need a woman over the last several decades has finally manifested into reality.

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 flip side 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?

Although there is seldom a belief that marriage is about taking care of each other, it is rather more about raising a family. There is still much more advantage for women to gain in marriage than men, according to the law. The justice scale tips just a bit in our favor when it comes to divorce, children and assets.

Helen Smith, Ph.D, and author of “Men on Strike.” believes this is a large factor preventing men from walking down the aisle. “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,” she writes. “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.”

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It’s difficult to isolate a single reason as to what has contributed to the growing trend of not wanting to enter into legal marriage. Lack of religious affiliation or belief can also be a contributing factor. Religion has always been a driving force behind matrimony, as well as the reason why many couples didn’t divorce, even if it meant to remain unhappy in the marriage.

Venker also highlights the double standards between men and women in society today, and that is a discussion worth having if we are to have a healthy relationship with each other. The feminist movement, in my opinion, fails to acknowledge this. Many will look at this as a gender war, however I see the bigger issue as one that is controversial but worth noting, and that is the growing dependency on government to take care of us, instead of each other. We see this, particularly in poor demographics, where women are conditioned and even encouraged to believe that they don’t need fathers for their children because “Uncle Sam” will take care of it all. As a result, there is not one incentive for fathers of children born out-of-wedlock to stick around. The child grows up without a father and sees no different for his/her life as they grow up and have children of their own. No one is suggesting that one has to be married to make good parents, but rather to point out the systemic nature of these issues. The fact that the number of black men and women unmarried is four times that of 1960 should be telling.

Here’s another fact for you: According to the Pew Research Council, mothers and fathers carry an almost equal load when it comes to paid work, childcare and housework with men spending 58 hours per week on these activities and women spending 59 hours. Yet, the same research doesn’t account for fixing plumbing, painting the deck, or cutting the lawn as ‘work’, but cleaning, cooking and food shopping is.

Partnerships only work when each person has a mutual respect for the individual role they play in the part of their union. We aren’t equal. No two people truly are. This is not a bad thing or a disadvantage.

Come on, ladies! If you want the mutual respect, you have to give mutual respect and fairness! You want to be wed? Stop acting like men don’t count for something, for starters.


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