Problem: Decline of Marriage

Consider this a working-thesis, open to critique and suggestions.

I believe the decline of marriage in the west is an important issue to start discussing, as it will become (or should become) a prominent societal issue in the near future. By that I mean that cultural elites, and even leftist groups, will have to discuss the issue.

As pretty much everyone knows, the marriage rate for new marriages is declining. Not only are fewer marrying, but those who are marrying do so later in life. I won’t go into detail here, but from the studies I have seen, over the last generation, the average age of first marriage has increased by at least 5-7 years.

The increase in the age of first marriage is more dramatic in major metropolitan areas. In my experience, and completely anecdotal, I know of fewer than five guys from college who married before reaching 29/30 mark. However, in other states I have lived in, it is common to marry well before the age of 25.

Why Is Marriage Declining?

I cannot pretend to have all of the answers, but I can speculate, especially as to the male perspective. Men are the gatekeepers of marriage, after all.

Men, while absolutely being capable of irrational decision making, tend to be analytical and naturally look at choices through the lens of cost-benefit analysis. The benefit to them must outweigh the costs (or risks).

First, let’s start off with some very basic benefits of marriage:

  • 12,600 standard deduction from the IRS, and other benefits from the state re taxes (as opposed to a 9,300 head of household benefit)
  • procreation (leaving a legacy and affecting the future)
  • stability of relationship (relative stability, minimizing chaos and costs)
  • parental visitation rights in case of divorce or separation

The two biggest primary benefits I see are rights created in case of divorce (or death), and tax benefits.

The costs, however, are:

  • increase of costs for insurance, medical, etc. (unless both work)
  • emotional impact of divorce (you can’t quantify it, but it’s massive)
  • limitation of sexual partners.
  • Financial impact of divorce: alimony, debt, child support, etc.

IMHO, Marriage is declining because a generation or two of people have applied a cost-benefit analysis in deciding to (not) marry, and determined the costs are too high. Relationships in general have been turned down because the perception of what the costs will be, which would explain the hook up culture.

I don’t believe that the desire to marry is lost, though. Quite frankly, I have the feeling that many MGTOW men desire marriage, but find it to be too risky. It’s not the institution of marriage that they reject, but how state institutions have treated marriage. Even many hound-dogged men I know have settled down or desire to … at some point.

From everything I have read, witnessed, and viewed, the millennial generation and gen z also have an absolute fear of relationships, fear of rejection, fear of losing financial assets, and fear of repeating history. These are the generations that were raised in “divorce culture,” and are the victims of divorced households. Their personal experience leaves them jaded, and affects their cost-benefit analysis.

If I am somewhat correct, our materialistic, consumer-driven culture prioritizes things and assets (objects) to the extent that Hipster Dave fears the loss of his one speed bike to the loss of Carla the do-gooder.

I believe a significant cause of the lack of marriages is the reality and/or perception that the social framework for divorce is flawed and unjust. People enter into relationships “knowing” they won’t last. With marriage, that failure is costly.

Despite the fear so many have, I strongly believe people, at least some, will still willingly enter into relationships that won’t pan out. I could be completely wrong on that though- the hookup culture provides a way to have emotionless sex.

Avoiding Problems

Perhaps we can alleviate fears by instituting reforms.

  • Prenups are great if they are done correctly and the state/s you marry in and live in treat them with respect.
  • Forming contracts and trusts outside of formal marriage licenses.
  • Instituting laws that repeal no-fault divorce, or allow for a “covenant” system, where specific reasons must be listed, and fault being penalized.

I’m happy to hear of any critiques and suggestions as to formal solutions.

9 thoughts on “Problem: Decline of Marriage

  1. “Men are the gatekeepers of marriage, after all.”

    I’m not sure if this is true or false. I do have some conjectures as to why marriage is declining that might disagree with this.

    Marriage is necessarily declining because marriage is being delayed. Since people are not magically living significantly longer, by delaying marriage, a smaller percentage of the population will be married at any given time. This is just simple math.

    So… who is responsible for delaying marriage? The delay in marriage started in the 60s and 70s and has continued the trend almost uninterrupted ever since. I think it is beyond a doubt that the delay in marriage corresponds to the sexual revolution and women refusing to settle down. The change in average marriage age has increased by 8 years (!!) over the last 60 years.

    For the most part, however, the average age difference between men and women has remained constant. So women are the cause of the delay (and thus the decline), but it is men who stubbornly refuse to marry closer to their age. Women may be able to delay marriage, but they still have to marry older men.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “For the most part, however, the average age difference between men and women has remained constant. So women are the cause of the delay (and thus the decline), but it is men who stubbornly refuse to marry closer to their age. Women may be able to delay marriage, but they still have to marry older men.”

      It has remained constant since we have been recording it accurately- There is some evidence the gap used to be greater before the 1900s. Placing both sexes together in public schools probably had a major impact on that gap being closed, especially when you consider the culture of the 1950s, when we were at our peak marriage rates.

      Women do delay marriage by pursuing college and career, which is sad. Men are forced into a period of years where they are not marriageable, and by the time women decided they need to get married, the men have a larger selection to choose from: particularly younger women. I dont see men refusing to marry women closer to their age as a problem.

      That is the saddest part of all: peak beauty and fertility is sacrificed. I know of several who, around the age of 25, just let themselves go, and become bitter and unhappy. There is a cold rigidness in them as well that is very unappealing.

      The male equivalent would be accumulating massive amounts of wealth, and giving it all away before getting married.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “That is the saddest part of all: peak beauty and fertility is sacrificed”

        I agree. My wife and I met at 14, were best friends at 17, started dating at 19 and married at 21. What a treasure it has been to experience so much life with her and I get to be with her for every new stage of life. But how empty and disappointing it would have been to miss out on her 20s (and our two biological children from that decade).

        I don’t have any big desire to go back and experience our 20s again. That was a wonderful phase of our lives and we have fond memories of it, but I love my life now. Nevertheless, it is sad for those men (married or not) that wish they could be with a beautiful woman in her 20s, just to know what it was like. It isn’t that you need to experience that forever, but to never have experienced it is a real loss. What you describe is a gift that every woman should want to give her future husband.

        Unfortunately, I doubt my children will have the same chances I had.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. . . . but to never have experienced it is a real loss.

        That’s more profound than you realize. Maybe men understand this subconsciously, and fear, or despise, the idea of giving that experience up. I would feel used – receiving a devalued gift (that sounds messed up, but how else to describe it?)

        -What you describe is a gift that every woman should want to give her future husband

        Yes.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “Maybe men understand this subconsciously, and fear, or despise, the idea of giving that experience up.”

        Yes. My brother married his wife at age 20 and to this day successfully pokes fun at me because he got *one* extra year of youth with his bride. When I was 18, my greatest fear was that I wouldn’t find quickly find a bride. At 21, I married late relative to my peers. Almost everyone was (supposedly) a virgin when they married and some didn’t even kiss until they got engaged or married. Divorce is exceptionally rare.

        I never realized how weird and unusual this is for most people until I got into the working world and much later started spending time on blogs. I started hanging out in the manosphere and blogging because I wanted, if there was a way, to make or promote for other men the kind of experience I had.

        Regarding formal solutions. Men in the manosphere should become pastors and join or start Anabaptist (or similar) churches. We recognize the problems in our churches, but I can think of few other ways to solve it. Alternatively, men should become fathers and have lots of properly trained children.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Id like for men to become qualified well before they start churches and become pastors. I believe I wrote a post awhile back on seminary training. But men need to become involved in churches, and churches need to go after the young men, first and foremost. Train and equip the ranks- in the word, in expository preaching, etc. Actually implement discipleship, rather than splitting people up by your peer group.

        Having solid and equipped men in a structured environment prevents heresy from infiltrating.

        Ill post on this topic in the future, but I see a big danger with our trajectory towards independent denominational churches (IFB and the darbyites are a danger).

        As per a brief overview of anabaptism, my thoughts:

        Believers baptism: agree. Same with Communion.
        Restricted communion: kinda agree. I have seen groups of believers restrict other genuine believers because they are too exclusive, to the point I would argue that they are in sin to refuse. The groups I am referring to wish to know everything about a private life to hold power over them, and to manipulate them. There is a point where the individual must accept the consequences for taking communion in bad faith, without the assembly being “in danger.”

        Disagree on the degree of separation. It is taken way too far sometimes, where the light of the gospel is hidden from the world. Darby brethren are a classic example of this. Their members have nearly 0 interaction with anyone outside of their community.

        Non-resistance: disagree. There is a distinction between defending against persecution, and defense against random crime, acts of war, etc. In our form of government, the individual is a part of the state, and has a say in how it is governed.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I focus on this problem, because in the context of the church, there is a major disparity between the number of single women and single men. Yet most of the single men remain single, do to perceived and actual knowledge that the girls, however desperate, are not interested in them.

      They still maintain these insanely unreasonable standards: theologian, wealthy, tall, fit, great family, wears pastels.

      However, upon reflection of my experiences in “singles” ministries, and observing people, I question the true disparity between male and female attendance, and ask what the motives are for women remaining in church: are they for social-peer groups?

      Liked by 2 people

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