Comments about ‘Men may be more reluctant to marry, despite benefits they gain’

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Published: Thursday, May 15 2014 5:45 a.m. MDT

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John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

It should surprise no one that the younger generation of men is reluctant to marry. How could it be otherwise with the constant barrage from the left-wing?

The left-wing will stop at nothing in its efforts to destroy traditional marriage. This includes a relentless campaign in the media which denigrates traditional marriage.

The left has an open and stated agenda of promoting wanton sexuality and drug use. Too many younger men have fully accepted this pernicious promotion.

I issue my strongest possible condemnation of those leftists who are seeking to destroy all that made America great. Their disregard for the Constitution is nothing short of shameful

North Salt Lake, UT

They needed a research study to determine this?

Pssst: Does anyone really want to know why men don't want to get married nowadays? You could ask any single guy, and he'll tell you in one word: Divorce.

There is not a man in America who has not seen a brother, father, uncle, cousin, or friend go through the Kafkaesque wringer of modern divorce, where courts routinely dismiss male concerns and needs and treat men solely as paychecks with pants.

Where a refusal of a father's court-ordered visitation by a mother is dismissed as a mere inconvenience, but a failure by a father to pay child support results in garnishment of wages or jail time.

I've been happily married for over a quarter-century, but if I were single again I'd think twice before getting married again. The benefits, however real they are, simply do not justify the risks anymore. For most men being single isn't that bad, especially given the alternatives.

As comedian Ron White once said, "The next time I think about getting married, I'll just go out and find a woman I hate and buy her a house."

Herriman, UT

Many men are afraid to marry or remarry because in today's society they are not allowed to be men. Women more and more expect to call all the shots in a relationship. So many guys I know treat their wives with kindness and respect but you see how their wives treat them and you wonder "Why be married?" I am fortunate enough to be married to the kindest woman I have ever met. Remarried for almost 2years and I know how good I have it. I dated 8 women after my divorce 12years ago and was remarried for 3 months 6 years ago. I vowed that mutual kindness and respect would be at the top of the list. When I hear women complain about the lack of good men I smile. We are here. They just want a doormat.

Salt Lake City, UT

@John Charity Spring
"The left-wing will stop at nothing in its efforts to destroy traditional marriage. "

There's a difference between wanting gay people to have marriages too and wanting to destroy traditional marriage.

"The left has an open and stated agenda of promoting wanton sexuality and drug use."

Actually no, we just encourage people to be safe if they engage in sex, and think that the war on drugs hasn't helped with anything. That doesn't mean "hey everybody do drugs".

"I issue my strongest possible condemnation of those leftists who are seeking to destroy all that made America great."

I wonder if my health insurance covers injuries related to excessive eye-rolling...

Cedar Hills, UT

There ARE real benefits to men from marriage. Those benefits are offset, however, by the threat of divorce as FelisConcolor points out.

Approx. 40% of first marriages fail (60+% of second marriages fail) and according to my neighbor who works in family law here in Utah, almost 90% of those divorces in Utah are initiated by women. Consider what that means for a moment. A man doesn't have to be doing anything wrong and can still be effectively reduced to indentured servitude for a decade or more simply because his wife may desire greener pastures.

When it's almost a 50/50 coin toss to end up in indentured servitude and lose half or more of one's assets, marriage has become a significant risk. It is no wonder that men endorse the concept of marriage but are averse to the modern legal risks involved.

Victor, ID

While I agree with everything said and can see the advantage of being married in my own life, we should look at the root causes of why men aren't marrying. I think it boils down to a variety of disincentives. They range from easy access to sex outside of marriage, rising pornography access, and serious repercussions should the marriage ever end.

I've read and seen fathers kept from children, baseless accusations thrown out as a typical divorce ploy, no accountability to meet visitation, and a variety of other issues that men are powerless to address. Helen Smith's book, "Men on Strike" shows a variety of those disincentives.

I think the answer is to better portray the advantages of marriage as seen in this article and to address the institutional disincentives men have to participate in society. It does our society no good to make marriage worse for 1/2 the population.

Murray, UT

@John Charity Spring

If only we all had the clarity you seem to possess.

Sandy, UT

I really think men are more weary now because they've had years to see what goes on around them. Many of them have had sad experiences with divorces or bad marriages, either growing up, dealing with personally, or just looking around them. Also, many of them recognize that most women are primarily interested, either consciously or subconsciously, in a meal ticket so they can play house and live a life of ease, not fully aware that successful marriages actually require 100% effort from both participants, and a solid awareness of reality. It's fun to talk about the higher, more ethereal facets of life, when casual observation reveals that most marriages fail due to basic physical and/or financial stresses.

American Fork, UT

Aside from the spectre of divorce and the obscene and unnecessary burden of raising children, men are probably more acutely aware of the benefits they will lose in marriage. Don't get me wrong, but if marriage isn't for you, don't get married.

Invisible Hand
Provo, UT

@Shane333: Just because divorce is initiated by the woman doesn't mean the man did nothing wrong. He may be perfectly happy with his domestic abuse or porn addiction but it's a deal killer for her, so she has to initiate the divorce.

This whole discussion feels a little one-sided. Where are the perspectives of women? I also take issue with the happiness statistics because people will assert that marriage makes men happier or healthier, but maybe they have their causes and effects switched. Maybe happy, healthy, well adjusted men are just more likely to marry. If that's the case then we need to be concerned with why men seem to be less happy, healthy, and well adjusted rather than focusing so much on marriage. Marriage will follow and add to a happy life, but I don't think it will cause happiness.

Cedar Hills, UT

I want to add that I am grateful for my dear wife, and can attest to the benefits that I as a man receive because of her wonderful influence. I just recognize that married men today have taken a significant leap of faith in general considering the odds that are against us and the consequences we face should any go wrong in the relationship.

Basic economics suggest that the greater the risks faced, the more hesitation the market will experience.

Cedar Hills, UT

Invisible Hand,

Why assume that every divorced man is abusive? I made no accusations of criminal actions, merely addressed the risks. We live in an age (and a state) of no fault divorce. That literally means that merely waking up on the wrong side of the bed can be justification enough for someone to divorce. That fact, combined with the consequences that men face in divorce, are more than enough to give many men pause about committing to such risks.

Invisible Hand
Provo, UT

@Shane333: I do not assume that every divorced man is abusive or that they deserve to be divorced. I was merely taking issue with your implication that because 90% of women initiate divorce that proves men are not to be blamed for it. It's a two way street, and there are many good reasons that women initiate 90% of divorces.

North Salt Lake, UT

Invisible Hand

Certainly there are men who are abusive and cruel and unworthy of their wives. But there are also plenty of women who get divorced JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN, knowing that the courts and society will save them from their poor choices.

Like my former sister-in-law, who decided my brother wasn't "righteous" enough for her and dumped him for the younger neighbor. Admittedly, my other brother initiated his divorce, but that was only after several years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his mentally-ill wife. What both cases have in common is neither wife thought she was being unreasonable or extreme.

I find in discussions about divorce there is an automatic effort to blame the man, regardless of the circumstances. Women who get divorced are seen either as innocent victims or brave heroines; men who get divorced are looked upon as wimpy failures or violent sociopaths. As long as society continues to view marriage and divorce through the outdated prism of the Victorian era, men will continue to avoid the institution in increasing numbers.

Shane333: You seem...familiar

Karen R.
Houston, TX

So far the primary reason offered here for men's reluctance to marry seems to be, "It's the woman's fault." ("But my wife is great!")

I do agree in part with the tone of powerlessness, though. Men have lost power as women have gained it. It's more equal now. But this has meant INCREASED responsibility and INCREASED risk for men, so this could factor into the reluctance.

But there are still far more dead beat dads than there are dead beat moms. And when a man fathers a child out of wedlock, it remains easier for him to walk away without suffering consequences...and go looking for another partner who will agree to sexual relationships absent a formal commitment. We women need to leverage our power better!

The generation entering adulthood now has the benefit of the results of the experiment. We've tested a lot of cultural norms over the past few generations. I hope they take heed of the economic divide between the married and the cohabitating, particularly when choosing to start a family. But it seems clear that our divorce laws are a real problem for all concerned.

Gilbert, AZ

I think we as a society have given up on marriage. We need to do what Utah is doing and fight to preserve it.

Cedar Hills, UT

Karen R.,

I would actually argue that it is the current legal system's fault. No-fault divorce isn't helping anyone except those who seek to avoid accountability.

Also, people respond to incentives. When family law is applied with bias in favor of one gender, expect that gender to take advantage. An attorney from New York explained to me once how their family law is relatively gender-blind. The result? Divorce there is almost 50/50 in regards to the gender seeking divorce. Utah has a 90/10 disparity between women/men. Now, that suggests that Utah men are either significantly worse than men in New York (extremely unlikely with that extreme of a difference) or local women are being incentivized by gender bias in family law.

FelisConcolor, thanks for the chuckle.

Salt Lake City, UT

So true "Invisible Hand"....this conversation has been quite one sided. I am a women (never divorced) and happy for it since I came from a family of divorce. My father drank and had affairs (seem the two often go together) and although not exclusively a man, it is often the man. In the past, women were basically told "men will be men" and such so just "put up and shut up". Since the more equality of women there has been more divorce because many women will not stand for this type of behavior. I feel bad for the good men that are taken through the "divorce ringer" just as I feel for women like my mom (a good women that barely got child support and had to work hard to get even that). This is very common for women who often take care of and have more support of the children than the men do. But for good men that are struggling, good luck to you and you can know that you feel like the majority of women in the divorce situation. Everyone, treat others as you would like to be treated yourself!


"I believe that men resist marriage more than women primarily because they believe marriage requires a substantial increase in their behavioral commitment"

Who in the real-world writes such gibberish? It's not male "behavioral commitment" that's the problem. Like so many other posters have said, the penalty of divorce is much more severe for a man--and the decision to divorce can be made simply if one's wife doesn't think she's haaapy enough.

The problem appears to actually be more about female "behavioral commitment." For those in the LDS community, even president Monson admitted in the April 2011 general conference that, "the vast majority of those seeking a "sealing cancellation," previously known as "temple divorce," are women..."

I too have been married for 25 years and am active LDS. But I'm not quite sure what to tell my sons. Yes, I want grand kids. But the risk of not just the emotional pain of divorce but actual financial impoverishment and separation from one's children due to a misandrist family court-- all on one spouse's whim... it's increasingly just not worth it.

Woodland Hills, UT

Most Women now days are liberal, self centered, and do not know how to contribute to a partnership. June cleaver is gone and will never be back. She was smart, fun, clever, beautiful and easy going. She actually ran the show, even though Ward thought he did. Women like her don't exist anymore, they just aren't as nice nowadays.

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