Dr. Helen Smth

Promoting Marriage

Recently, conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat ruminated on the possibilities of promoting marriage to young people through social policy and social shaming. The article was mostly geared to low-income and working-class demographics, given that this group is less likely to marry than middle and upper classes. (But such an initiative would effect other demographics as well, of course). Douthat states:

1) the kind of family stability America enjoyed 50 years ago had massive social and personal benefits, 2) that the socioeconomic benefits of family stability have, if anything, increased as marriage has gone into decline, and 3) that policymakers should therefore look for ways to make it easier for stable, two-parent homes to be formed and then endure.

I don’t dispute that marriage does have benefits. However, marriage isn’t just a ceremony and a cake; it is a financial contract. As I would assume Douthat would agree, one should not enter into a financial contract without considering both the benefits and the risks. Sadly, the risks of marriage are dire.

Divorces are disastrous. The divorce industry enriches the courts, law enforcement, and lawyers, while often greatly favoring the female spouse.  Yet, efforts to make alimony more fair are often met with bipartisan opposition, such as in Florida when “Tea Party” Governor Rick Scott vetoed just such a bill.

If there are children in the divorce, the risks become even more dire. Child support enforcement is notorious for placing unfair burdens on one spouse while failing to hold the parent with primary custody responsible for their end of the bargain. Failure to meet child support obligations often result in the noncustodial parent being thrown in debtor’s prison. Last but not least, divorce has dire effects on children and often result in the child being raised in a single parent home, associated with its own risks.

With the advent of no-fault divorce (an innovation in family law that has long enjoyed bipartisan support) spouses can initiate divorce for any reason, or no reason. While it will be nearly impossible to roll back no-fault divorce, spouses should not be incentivized to blow up marriages with the promise of cash and prizes. Reforms are needed in family courts.

Now, let’s look at the other side: the great incentives for young people to stay single: Sexual intercourse is easy to obtain, especially if one is attractive and/or willing to visit a sex worker. A deluge of sexual excitement can be had instantly on the internet. There is a wealth of non-sexual free and low-cost entertainments one can immerse themselves in.

There is little shame in being a single person these days, and being a single parent is not met with as much shaming as it used to. Employed single people are regarded as a valuable resource by many employers. And if one doesn’t have a job, or only has a minimum income, that is supplemented by a large social safety net, which is often enough for people with no life aspirations. Given the colossal risks associated with marriage, and the comparable benefits of singlehood, is it any surprise young people are increasingly choosing the latter?

The proponents of marriage do recognize the incentives of singlehood. In response, they have ramped up attempts to shame young people (especially men) who stay single. And propose social engineering schemes to promote marriage, a la Douthat. Yet they are conspicuous in their silence on the problems with divorce and family law. Their silence may be out of ignorance or apathy, or perhaps they support the family court system as – is.  But until the proponents of marriage turn the corner on this, their efforts should be regarded as halfhearted at best.

P.S.- not all marriage proponents are like that.

About Mark Trueblood

Mark Trueblood believes wholeheartedly that men and women of all backgrounds can work together to create positive change.

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  • East1956

    In my opinion simply looking at the risks that men face in marriage is to miss some other key factors that have played a significant role in changing our society.
    If we go back to 1970, the average man could support his family and provide an average home for them on his wage. Housing cost approximately 36% of a man’s income. Women on average earned 52% of what men earned. 35 years later, it took 72% of a man’s wage to provide shelter for his family.
    What someone earns expressed in a particular currency at any one time compared with another is fairly meaningless. What is critical is the individuals purchasing power. If we use the cost of average housing as a benchmark, and then consider what proportion of a persons income it takes to purchase housing over period of years, we can then start to understand what has happened in society.
    The painful reality for feminists is that since 1970, benchmarked against housing, women’s purchasing power has barely changed (in fact it has fallen). The other painful reality is that men’s purchasing power has fallen to the level of women in 1970.
    The causes for this are several fold; Thatcherite de-industrialisation; increase competition from 3rd world countries; the downward shift in tax burden from rich to poor; the cessation of local authority social housing building programmes, the inability of the housing associations to deliver sufficient social housing; the failure to build enough private homes; the failure to invest in education to create a skilled industrial working class. All these factors combined to lower incomes while exacerbating scarcity in the private housing market. The only people who benefited were those who already owned houses.
    The loss of manufacturing and the promotion of the service sector together with the encouragement for women to enter the workforce simply created over-supply predictably lowering real wage costs.
    Once UK Plc got into this cycle, with the skids greased by feminist legal changes, it was a downward spiral in which the strains of trying to maintain marriage proved too much. Feminist promotion of the notion that women readily could discard men was prevalent, supported by public funded women’s law centres, was the fashion, facilitated by a skewed welfare system.
    The problem in reversing this is that it requires politicians to want to change. But as women vote more frequently than men, and that feminists are influential in the way that women vote, then change is unlikely.
    But that places all politicians in a quandry. If men are beginning to avoid any attempt at a committed relationship with women, then it is likely that their earnings will not exceed those of women over their life times. If this occurs then tax revenues will fall to such a level that politicians commitments to women will be unsustainable, because women consume more of the public purse than they contribute to it. They will initially attempt to reduce services to men, but as these are already fairly minimal there’s not much to reduce unless they are willing to countenance major violent social break down.
    Currently in my opinion we are at the SNAFU stage – its bad but reversible if women want it to change. However we are probably only a few years away from the FUBAR stage when reversing the situation will be impossible.
    Perhaps the way forward is a campaign to get the men’s vote out at every election, and to challenge politicians to explain how they intend to sustain the economy if men disengage .

    • Hg_CNO_2

      Way to cut through the shit to get at what matters. My props to you.

    • latebloomer

      Yeah, I just don’t see that happening. Men will slide further and it’ll be seen as a feminist victory. Men are both more rich and more poor than women, and the number of poor will just increase The average will simply shift down, we’ll see propaganda that the pay gap has finally been removed, but the glass ceiling will stay intact since there still won’t be equal representation among executives. STEM will still dominate in men (women are actually less likely to seek a degree in a STEM field than a few years ago).

      One reason drug and alcohol use is more prevalent among men is because of self-medicating behaviors caused by poor coping skills. Instead of helping men, we just see them prosecuted and fined. Violent social breakdown won’t be met with compassion and introspection, it’ll be met with intolerance.

    • Sasha

      Elizabeth Warren outlined this neatly in ‘The Coming Collapse of the Middle-Class’.

    • Mark Trueblood

      Great analysis. Only thing I have to add is that a lot of the economic expansion was made possible by Western gov’ts being willing to take on enormous amounts of debt, several consumer credit bubbles, relatively cheap petrochemicals, and historical factors like the US being the last major industrial power left standing after WWII.

    • MGTOW-man

      “Perhaps the way forward is a campaign to get the men’s vote out at every election,”

      —But, most men can’t stop watching sports and doing all sorts of other things besides what they should be doing: preserving rights for men and boys. Plus, if men were to vote more, about 1/2 vote for the outwardly feminist side even though if men were deer, the feminists have them in their rifle sights. Doesn’t make sense to me either, but there are men out there who will vote for feminists who brag about stripping men and boys of rights and more ( !@#$%^*=goofy). The other half of voting men tend to vote more conservatively but do so for chivalrous-traditional reasons thus hurting men and boys that way too.

      You are on the right track though. We need to get men to vote more but we also need to change men away from being stagnated and unwitting feminist-enablers. If we could change the way they think they become “real” men, it would change just about everything else…for the way they behave in recent times reflects what they erroneously believe to be manhood attainment. Being a “man” (so they think) IS what is driving males to make some of the most stupid mistakes in human history.

      Convince them manhood is not about women/kids, and we win! ..and you know what, manhood REALLY isn’t about women and kids…no more than womanhood is limited to men and kids. So we, if we could change their minds about manhood, we really wouldn’t be brainwashing them with lies.

  • http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com Robert St. Estephe

    It is a great irony that in our severely dumbed-down culture, with its shallow propaganda of fake bilateral opposition, and its addiction to entertainment and immediate bodily gratification, that we get a supposed pro-family and a devoted anti-family ideologues supporting with equal enthusiasm a literal reign of terror (with the constant threat of violence at the hands of taxpayer paid armed enforcers who are “just following orders” a la 3rd Reich: see Nuremberg trials).

    The divorce industry is terroristic, albeit layered with compartmentalized excuses and multiple stopping points (with which the victim will be looted and bullied by supercilious, overrated ethically bereft “professionals” — in law, law enforcement, social work, psychology, psychiatry).

    The looting will continue and it will be supported by elected parasites. Yet the will of the people, once they get informed as to the real facts (which radically contradict the frauds of the university-sold paradigms as well as the severely abridged and censored fake messages sold by mainstream presstitutes) the public will can grow into a force that will refuse to cooperate with tyrants, opportunists, terrorists, control freaks and whores of every kind who suck the blood of the no-longer-free public they fraudulently claim to “serve” (“serve” = LOL) and refuse to continue to pay their unearned salaries.

    Sure, there are many good people in that system who are genuinely ethical and who do their best to resist the actions of the corrupt system, but they are, in the aggregate, outmatched by the mission-creep monster. The monster must be starved into submission – once workers on the plantation decide to get up the gumption to stand their ground and say: “No more,” “We are no longer your slaves” “We are the Drapetpmaniacs!”

    Want to see how corruption in bureaucratic social planning flows from the parasites “who know what is best for the public” looks like – under a different name (than the fake “conservative” one we see in Florida) and under different economic and social conditions? Well, the reign of terror is the reign of terror no matter what fake ideological label is pasted on its package.

    “The people’s guide to marriage”

    Starve the beast.! The path to honorable marriage passes through the MGTOW movement, the prerequisite to the purge of the parsites. For you must be free before you can protect your child from the parasites of the family law industry and the “gender” engineering industry.

    • Copyleft

      Agreed. Marriage is dead, and rightly so…. why should we consider that a bad thing?

  • comslave

    The answer to the marriage strike is….propaganda? Seriously?

    Just how stupid do these people think we are?

  • Wylie2

    Pretty funny to watch them wringing their hands over how to get people back to marriage. The answer is really simple: Default shared custody of children, do away with child support in about 90% of cases and do away with alimony.

    I’m 48 but work with quite a few 20 somethings. Most of them have seen their fathers raped in family court and unless those changes are made there is virtually no way to get those young men interested. I know because many of them talk about it quite a bit.

    Marriage now is nothing more than an arrangement where the person who earns the higher salary (typically the man) is made responsible for the lower earner (usually the woman) with no reciprocal obligation whatsoever. They’ve made marriage about nothing more than money and who can sign your DNR order. Might as well wait til you’re about 80. Maybe 85.

    • Chad_Nine

      I wonder, when feminists predicted the backlash , if they thought it might come from their own children?

      • Cacography

        I highly doubt it. I’ve never heard of a feminist* admitting that there are any flaws in feminism. How could anyone born into the better world they were making possibly find flaws in something flawless?

        *I don’t consider Christina Hoff Sommers to be a feminist, regardless of what she calls herself, because the vast majority of feminists don’t consider her to be a feminist, either.

  • Seele

    I have bucket of popcorn, waiting to see feminists nailing Douthat to a tree, claiming he’s promoting enslavement and rape of women.

    • latebloomer

      It’s actually pretty funny. The largest proponents of marriage (when even mainstream feminist still see women as oppressed through marriage) are…. women. It’s because women identify as oppressed as a class, but still have cognitive bias where they think they’re in complete control of their lives.

      I’ve actually heard it said that women are more afraid of commitment to men, than men are to women, and I believe it’s true. In reality, men take commitment more seriously. Women leave the pace of the relationship to men, but dictate to men what the pace of the relationship will be through passive aggressive and unassertive behavior. It begins with an almost neurotic unwillingness to be the initiator in a relationship. And disinterest through the early dating phase, in which the man must entertain the woman. It’s because of an unwillingness to assert control of their own relationships and ultimately commit that leads women to feel out of control of their relationships.

  • JinnBottle

    Douthat (pronoun. “Do That”? “Doubt Hat”??) is like a mother clutching hopelessly onto the corpse of a baby after a miscarriage. Marriage is dead. And Douthat’s arguments are pathetic.

    • Hg_CNO_2


      Or how about this?

      A loved one, turned zombie, who is kept in the barn, a la the Walking Dead.

      It is my contention that this is why these genres are so popular, particularly among women, in our time. in our entertainment media. Sexed up vampire romances and turbo-charged zombies which cannibalize the living: they remind us of UNDEAD self-defeating ideologies like feminism.

      Dark fantasies ought to teach us something about ourselves. Instead they have become things unto themselves and self-fulfilling prophesies. How sad….

    • Kimski

      FYI: It’s pronounced ‘Douche Hat’.

      • JinnBottle

        Kimski – don’t do suchlike again. At “Douche Hat” I sprayed my computer screen. Have mercy, man, I haven’t got enough teeth left to hold the spittle.

  • latebloomer

    Wow. In the “shaming men” link, I loved the line “How in the world do they have time to play video games for hours? The answer is that they just don’t ever grow up,” as I just finished playing a game. My mental health has actually gotten a lot better in the past year as I don’t shame myself anymore over being self-critical of how I spend my time. Sure, I still don’t get dates with women, but those same women have never paid attention to me, from public school through college and my early career, regardless of how much time I spent alone on my own interests. And I don’t beat myself up anymore over the false dating market that women espouse. It’s all just misplaced jealousy that attention isn’t being paid to them. It’s hilarious.

  • scatmaster

    OT: Divorces apparently are becoming more amicable.

    Have at it, commenting is open.


  • MGTOW-man

    “There is little shame in being a single person these days, and being a single parent is not met with as much shaming as it used to. Employed single people are regarded as a valuable resource by many employers. ”

    —I would like to comment on this part even though I believe your entire article is apt and correct in helping warn people of the femi-induced dangers of marriage and cohabitation.

    Isn’t it wonderful, now, that we single/childless people aren’t as ostracized and stigmatized? Such didn’t used to be the case and not so long ago. Too, little pockets of ignorance (at least in my neck of the woods) remain.

    This last Christmas season, I was, again, approached, while in front of others listening, by an uncle who hasn’t been at many family gatherings lately (and would have already known that I do not tolerate misandry and related shaming tactics, etc, thus, give pointed and even piercing responses when poked). He asked, “When are you going to get married?” Instead of dishing out my usual way of refusing to be shamed/controlled, I just replied, “Never, and I like it that way”.

    It IS nice to be able to say that. And with respect to this context, I wouldn’t change a single thing. It has been the best thing I never did—marry and have kids. I absolutely LOVE IT!!

    As for the part about employed single people that I also copied and pasted above, I believe single/childless people are THE most discriminated on earth when considering major population groups and across the entire spectrum, especially males. Females these days get help from all angles so this may not be true for them, I don’t know.

    Take employment. Despite single/childless people’s increased ability to be at work more often due to fewer problems with family keeping them away, married or with-child(ren) employees are usually sought after more. The reasons may be varied but whatever, it ignores the irrefutable facts that people with kids cost the employers much more money, time, loss of productivity, etc when compared to single/childless people. This is likely explained by the related process of family-people getting promotions more readily…likely because “they need it more and will thus make more dedicated employees with attrition (yeah right that ignores the huge-ass elephant in the room…but to them “what elephant?”

    Same with the military. I was of course denied BAQ allowances (extra money for having a family even if those benefiting are rotten soldiers, often late or absent, unkempt, etc…you get more because you merely have a spouse/kids…and even if those spouses and kids work full-time, no matter). During my service of 8 years, I had to hard-swallow this blatantly unjust process…for a man of my rank would never complain…. But when I voluntarily left the military “club” (that is what it has been reduced to now, a democratic social CLUB), along with my other stated reasons related to not wanting to be a fraud any more by having to lie/pretend about female “equality” in what was and used to be a war machine, I let them have it relative to BAQ and how grossly unbalanced such a catawampus process is.

    Thus, I look forward to the days when single/childless people are rewarded for being the greatest asset possible when it comes to who is most employable and profitable. .

  • Mark Trueblood

    Couple interesting additions: Harvard recently released a study showing marriage highly correlated with economic mobility. Of course conservatives have been saying this for decades but now that Harvard is saying it, it will give cover for Democrats who may want to jump on the bandwagon.


    Secondly, the husband of the new Fed chair is a marriage proponent, specifically because it makes males into compliant workhorses.


    So, I would not be surprised if we see some movement to foist marriage back onto the populace.

    • Aimee McGee

      Sometime this year I hope to co-author a blog article on the implicit aspects of the marriage contract and the process of writing a legally binding relationship agreement addressing the specifics of partnership such as I want to have with my Beloved, Earl Grey, and he wants with me. We are still in early stages but have a family lawyer who is near retirement who is VERY interested in this concept helping us out.
      International recognition may be our problem, but we are looking at aspects existing in law already such as power of attorney and property inheritance law to make it legally valid. It helps that under NZ law, it is hard to prove “coercion” so pre-nuptial agreements have legal weight.
      Watch this space…

  • AnnPelham

    Here you go, a good example of chivalry-gone-wrong: http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=871831