Skip to comments.No Trial for Marriage
Posted on 08/31/2012 2:41:10 PM PDT by eagleye85
An increasing number of couples in the United States are choosing to cohabit as a prequel to or replacement for marriage. This can have some dire consequences for the romantic couple or any children involved, argued Mike McManus at a recent Family Research Council event. McManus is the Co-Chair of Marriage Savers. He and his wife of over forty years recently co-authored Living Together: Myths, Risks and Answers.
So, as I see it the central issue of America actually is the disintegration of marriage, argued McManus. Divorces have tripled, the marriage rates down 54%, cohabitation is up seventeen-fold, and so only 46% of teens are living with their married parents.
Children living in homes where the parents are cohabiting have higher rates of juvenile delinquency and physical abuse, he said.
McManus outlined four myths that couples living together face. First, they oftentimes believe that their time together is a trial marriage. McManus called this instead a trial divorce.
Actually, couples who cohabit are in a trial divorce because theres a 90% chance theyre either gonna break up before theres a wedding or afterward in divorce, he said.
The second myth was that the couple couldnt afford to live apart. Each person could simply live with another member of the same gender, he argued.
McManus also argued that its a myth that cohabitation is a persons private business because, he said, the government picks up the tab for children born out of wedlock. As I recently noted in Marital Have-Nots? the New York Times reported that Less than 10 percent of the births to college-educated women occur outside marriage, while for women with high school degrees or less the figure is nearly 60 percent. Class is driving this issue, argued Jason DeParle in the article for the New York Times.
McManus added more detail, saying that its almost the same percentage of married and unmarried couples who live with their children: 46% of couples who are married are living with children as minors and 41% of unmarried couples who are cohabiting have children.
Fourthly, McManus argued that its a myth that the cohabiting couple is in a committed relationship. No, the only committed relationship is marriage, he argued. He suggested that communities come together with a community marriage policy to decrease cohabiting rates and boost marriage rates. It is helpful to have couples take a premarital inventory and to encourage couples living together to practice chasteness prior to the wedding, he suggested. (Chaste behavior, he said, involved no greater intimacy than french kissing prior to the wedding.) A large percentage of the unmarried participants submitted to this request, he said.
Sometimes I think we're going thave to hit rock bottom--- social disintegration with all its attendant miseries --- before we can revive the marriage culture.
I hope not. I hate to thank of how rocky that rock-bottom will actually be for our poor children and grandchildren.
I disagree. I think socioeconomic class is a result of this issue. If you finish high school, get a job and hold it, marry, and then have children, you are likely to come out reasonably well economically, even go on to higher education if you did not do so immediately.
Saying that illegitimacy is "caused" by "class" is the same as saying it is "caused" by race: the rationalization denies that the individual has the ability to judge costs and make rational decisions.
The “baby boomers”, the “ME Generation”, the free love, burn your bra’s and draft card generation have successfully produced the most selfish, self indulgent, non-committal society in the world. Marriage takes work and compromise. These are not compatible elements to marriage.
Did “The Dark Knight Rises” teach these people nothing? One cannot fly and succeed if one clings to the safety rope!
being single and childless by choice is pretty darned conservative don’t want to be married or have kids not for me seriously how many of you who will bash me been dissappointed?
Well, you can call it “conservative” if you wish, it is your life!
My sister got married when she was 16. No, she was not pregnant. Her husband was 20. She finished high school, he got a good job and has been there for over 35 years. She had her first child at 18 and her second at 22. She has a good job. They are solidly middle class, enjoy great vacations, have investments, own a home and should have a nice retirement. They have been married 40 years. The American Dream worked for them even though they married very young.
No writer that I know, and I am absolutely no exception, has the right to speak as an authority for all men. No matter what I say about honor and pride, some guy somewhere is going to spend his last dime on a dominatrix or propose to a coke whore. Theres no getting around it. Its a fact. We can quibble and pretend dominated males are exceptions, but there are legions of guys out there who will put up with any abuse that a woman sends their way. That being said, I would like to address this column to those not pining for the submissives chair or anxiously awaiting a girl on a white horse wholl allow them to pay off her car note and college loan without saying thank you.
The fundamental question is, Should a man nowadays get married at all?
My take on the issue is that the appropriateness of marriage has to be determined on a case by case basis but that presumption, in this day and age, should always be against marriage. To put it more simply, the tie cannot go to the runner. Men, when in doubt, walk away. If you have serious reservations about a woman and you marry her, a number of things may happen. One of them is good. Your negative intuition could turn out to be wrong and youll end up having a wonderful, blissful life with your bride. Unfortunately, lots of bad things could happen as well:
1. Your intuition was right and she divorces you. She thereby acquires half, if not
all, of your assets and possessions. The state is thoroughly biased against men and seems to have no threshold for its love of male suffering. This is a very real and tragic possibility.
2. Your intuition is right and shes unreliable. You experience strange men calling the house and hanging up should you be the one to reach the phone first.
3. Your intuition is right as your experiment with paying for her college education ends in her befriending evil radical feminists who call the house and scream rapist at you as a greeting. They then follow up this pleasantry with asking if their play kitty is home.
4. Your intuition is right and she spends money like a gay party boy on Fire Island leading you slowly but gaily into Chapter 7.
5. Your wonderful children get aborted as she decides theyd take up too much time during the day.
6. You spend all your free time with her at the mall or, far worse, with her family and friends.
Well, you see my point. Its bad scenario a-go-go. So, in the spirit of the boss from the film Casino: Why take a chance?
Thats easy for me to dismissively say, but then theres tons of dopes like this writer who are smart enough to know better but then get married anyway. When I got engaged at Christmas time, Eric Ericson emailed me and said something to the effect of, Have you lost your mind?
As it turned out, I had not. I sanely and soberly weighed the pros versus the cons and determined that this particular woman was unlike all the others I had met and that she gave me the best chance of fulfilling my dream of fathering a couple of little critters and having a faithful, intelligent person as a partner. Yet, even with such a rational determinations made in advance, the situation changed and in April I found myself in the midst of an ugly soap opera on which I turned out to be only a temporary, non-recurring character. I was written out of the series before summer hit. For the future, Ive decided, that unless its near-perfect, there is no way Ill get engaged again.
My decision is not respected by many of the women I know who attempt to use what I call shame-based therapy as a means of coercing guys like me into finding a wife. I am at the point where I can vigorously beat back their attempts to manipulate me, but I thought Id share my responses with the reader in the hopes that my words can be of benefit in case they encounter similar harassment.
First, I say that the situation had changed with men and women. It used to be that when a man got married, he got a deal. A woman would remain faithful to him or, at the very least, cook and clean for him. Youd get something in exchange for what you brought to the table. Today, men get very little in comparison with the past. I have met no end of women who ask in advance if I cook because they themselves do not. When I tell them that I cook every day, they are quite impressed (although I leave out my belief that pre-made salads, brats, and pizza are the height of fine dining).
Promiscuity is another issue. The promiscuity of the modern female makes marriage a very dubious proposition indeed. Who the heck wants to marry a girl thats had more sleeping partners than a bed at the Motel 6? Not me, thats for sure. Id rather die a cold and lonely death than marry a skank; Paul Craig Roberts produced a magnificent column on this phenomenon a few years ago. Ive never understood the argument that all their experiences make them good in bed, either. If theyre attractive, how good do they have to be? If you ask me, no amount of tricks shes learned can make up for huge Tyrone that her ex-boyfriend had tattooed upon her back (and he was smart enough not to marry her).
Another huge factor to me is the obesity epidemic. While I acknowledge that its not really an epidemic by most definitions, weight increases seem to heavily affect married women. Im 34 years old now, and Ive met countless females who ballooned to MGM proportions after getting hitched. To me, this is deplorable. I knew one who showed me a picture of her when she was 22. She was better looking than most movie stars. Her body was hard and trim and her face was pure allure, but by age 28 she had gained 65 pounds and wore pants that William Perry could have fit into. Id look at her husband sorrowfully when she talked of having children. The act of conception with her would have required the courage of St. George. No mere oral dose of Viagra would do. It would require hypodermic injections to get old Bumpty into Humpity form.
My last argument is also my most recently derived one. If its at work where Im getting harassed about my lack of romance (read: susceptibility), and it usually is, I tell them: I have plenty of masters here. Why do I need one at home? No more accurate words could be spoken. Im ordered to do things all day long at work. When I get home, I want to relax. Im not going to waste time doing unnecessary chores or shopping for things I do not need. The homage we domestically have to pay to our wives is outrageous. Why are they my boss? Heres what I say now, Lets take an IQ test and if you win, then you can tell me what to do. Ive had no takers yet, as Im not giving out a big enough point spread.
In summation, with women, unless theyre without flaw, my advice is to ride the train for as long as you can, but let some other sucker pay for its maintenance and servicing, and always make sure you get off of the route before it reaches matrimonial terminal.
I wish I knew what you were saying. Punctuation is your friend.
Bachelors know more about women than married men. If they didnt theyd be married, too. H.L. Mencken.
A great sage predicted Id take some serious abuse for what I wrote about marriage the other day. He was right, but for the benefit of our readers, Im going to provide public refutation to some of the arguments and whines that were thrown my way en masseif nothing else, their vaginations actually strengthened my overall position.
Burn the Heretic!
As I have noted in a previous article, Supine or Fall, whenever a man stands up for himself on gender issues, he is immediately accused by women of being unmanly. Why? Its because we stood up to them, and thats not right. Thats not manly. Were supposed to let them walk on us. These women, and those lickspittle male orcs who hobble in their wake, would be wise to remember that the western world now embraces equality between the sexes (at least officially), and that no one should be de facto superior to anyone else. Walking on men, in theory, is not allowed.
Furthermore, its a mans duty to define and defend himself, and I can think of no occasion when this is more true than in making personal life choices. Marriage can be life joy or it can be life sentence, but theres no room to make allowances for political correctness when thinking deeply about such eventualities. Why would any women be aghast at our pontificating over it? Should we not stop to smell a flower before picking it? I say stop and smell, inspect its structural base, and chemically analyze the ground around it before making a purchase. Perhaps some women became irate at me because they secretly realize that marriage does not offer men the advantages it once did, so their awareness causes them to go after heretics like myself who threaten to make this knowledge public.
Ill recall the case of Darren Blacksmith here. Darren wrote a just say no to marriage piece and got kerosene poured all over him. His offense was such that he quit the business. Luckily, this would never be my response. Im incorrigible. Harassing me only produces more words. Itll take more than a few china dolls to deter me from tackling this subject, and if I keep hearing from them, Part III will be even better than Part II!
As much as I hate the word nuance, with its outraged tobacco-addicted, post-modernist French professor connotations, I think that the nuance of my argument was lost on some of my critics. Emotions run so scarlet on marriage that many a female reader did not understand the point that I was trying to make. Marriage certainly can be a very good thing and it is, on the aggregate, beneficial for society, but in this day and age, PRESUMPTION must be against it. Our default position should beits not a good move. That does not mean it isnt a good move for everybody in every situation. There are over three billion women on this planet, and many of them could make excellent wives, but you should be vigilant, and nowhere is this more true than in the über-spoiled United States . Men have too much to lose if things dont work out. Think of my friend Robert and the trauma that he went through. Western independent females, as a rule, do not make the best wives. Theyre too me oriented for that line of work. One must be very careful indeed. Sit and observe closely before making any decisions.
Whos Fault Is This Predicament?
Is it the fault of free marketeers like myself clamoring for government to get more of its vile fingers into our private lives? Hell no! Ask the individuals who keep voting for political figures who brag about increasing taxes and adding to the burden with which government sabotages our lives. Many of those who automatically look to the state to provide solutions are the same ones who complain about the decline of marriage today. If they didnt elect redistributionist judges and politicians, men would not fear marriage the way we do. It shouldnt be, if you cant marry a man, marry the government. Lets change it to solve problems amongst yourselves. I think thats an ideal solution. If the divorce courts end their war on men, then we will once again become more friendly regarding matrimonial vows. Until then, its best to harken back to the wisdom of Benjamin Disraeli: Every woman should marryand no man.
An Elite Club:
Women of the sistahood view marriage as being an elite club and want nothing more than full-time membership. They, whether they deny it or not, admire their friends who are married, and this admiration can sometimes even be transferred onto their friends husbands. Women who are married, even if its to users who care nothing about them, are higher on the social plane than women who are single. This is implicit acknowledgment of the sweet deal many women receive through marriage. Personally, I do not begrudge them their social hierarchies and care little about affairs apart from my own, but these same women then try to fit guys like me into their social parameters, which is absurd.
Male Diversity Verboten:
This attempt to coerce men into accepting their worldview is quite disturbing but also rather comical. Ironically, it indirectly benefits fellows like me as the fact that Ive been married before makes me seem far more legitimate than most of my friends. I am a man who could be amenable to their terms and line of reasoning, or non-reasoning as the case may be. After all, I made the vow once and bought rings twice, so I must be on their wavelength. Am I not? Not.[i] Yet, my friends, like the infamous Dianabol, are knocked out of the box repeatedly because theyve never been married before. Why should he be part of the caste of untouchables? Theyd say because hes a 40 year old perpetual bachelor. Therefore, he must be a loser. I even heard a girl say this very thing about him the other day. She assumed that since he was never married before that there must be something wrong with him. Why did she not assume that there may be something very right about him? Dianabol is a prince of man. He exercises five days a week and drinks for four on the weekends. He works constantly, makes serious coin, and has an apartment that looks like it came out of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.[ii] Dianabols a profoundly educated man with a high thrill-seeking personality who strikes the great majority of girls as being the epitome of fun, but his uncomplicated (legally speaking only) past precludes him from some of their considerations. Guess what? Its their loss.
Whats In It For Me?
I found out yesterday that Im not supposed to be asking this question about marriage. It appears that many women believe our default position should be why ask why on the topic (rather than why me). One girl even called me selfish for putting forth the proposition! Shouldnt I be selfish about my own interests? Maybe Im not supposed to have any interests. Perhaps my having interests is really a plot to dehumanize women. It seems that the message sent is, you will marry a chick the size of Toronto and youll like it! Ah, no. I think Ill pass. I dont want her, you can have her, Toronto s too big, and socialistic, for me.
Contrary to what many a woman may say, I believe that Whats in it for me? is the central question one should ask before signing ones life away. If you derive no benefit, then run, dont walk. Again, of course, theres the nuance thing, as its situational. My life certainly is worth signing away in a fight against Hitler or Pol Pot, but I refuse to fall down upon my sword in a scrape for Calphalon pots or Lancome makeup.
Well, youve heard what I have to say about the matter, but never forget the triumphant words of Zsa Zsa Gabor before making your own decision, A man is incomplete until he is married. Then he is finished.
[i] Of course, I say that now but got engaged a second time at Christmas. I suppose if the right youthful Laotian national comes along next year, I may have to eat my above words. Im just letting you know in advance due to a history of snap decisions on my part.
[ii] His ex-girlfriend decorated it!
Society no longer shuns or admonished divorce, cohabitation unwed, hookups, even adultery etc. May it be employers, family, the media, social circles, we don't see these behaviors as indicators of an “off balance” person. The social pressure or any negative stigma isn't there.
So what happens? Hedonism, what “feels good.”
I’ve known people who have married and had children young. It doesn’t mean they’re not going to be successful. Although there are individual exceptions, overall the key point is getting is getting married before having children.
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