Friday, February 23, 2007

Sing it with me! Marriage, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely...

The UK press is all in a lather because marriage figures for 2005 have hit the lowest level since 1896. It turns out that this is actually an understatement because a) that's when official figures began and b) the population of the UK has doubled since then. That means that the marriage rate is lower than it has ever been, as far as we know, and it is HALF what it was 100 years ago. That is, marriage is now thoroughly and completely out of style. No-one should be seen dead in it.

The institution has passed on. It has shuffled off this mortal coil. It wouldn't go "Voom" if you put 10,000 volts through it, it isn't pinin' for the fjords, it's a stiff, bereft of life, it rests in peace, if it weren't nailed to the perch... Oh, er, wait, ahem, excuse me...

Not surprisingly, the press is full of hand-wringing over this, there are wild claims of the loss of cultural values, and desperate grabs at unlikely reasons. My favorite is "fear of commitment". That one's hilarious. It immediately, of course, puts the onus on men because we're supposed to be the brave ones, protective of our poor, defenseless women. But the argument too often stalls right there. Pulled out of the ether, marriage in the UK (and elsewhere) must be failing because people are afraid of commitment. Yeah, that's it. No more thinking required.

If one's afraid of something, there's often a good reason. One commenter quoted a friend: "Marriage is grand, divorce is about five-hundred grand!". But it's not just the financial risk, there's an even more expensive one: in the UK, 40% of divorced fathers lose contact with their children within two years. The twits in the big house think they can do something about this by blaming and ostracizing the fathers, no mention of the mother's part. Why do we keep on with this moronic idea of the defenseless woman? They are, and always have been, very far from helpless.

I find weak arguments about the complete lack of tax breaks now for married couples. But no-one points out that divorce is highly profitable for women (not to mention lawyers) and perhaps men have caught on to this.

Relate makes the amusing suggestion that "Children of divorced parents may feel ambivalent towards marrying their partner – even if they are in a happy, stable relationship – this could be reflected by these stats." Naw, really? A generation of kids, especially the boys, see their parents break up and dad disappears and they may feel ambivalent about the institution of marriage? What lessons are they learning? There's just nothing in it for anyone any more.

The benefits of marriage for the children have been sacrificed to the freedom of the parents, or, more accurately, mothers to divorce at the first inkling that they've had enough. And when mom kicks out dad, she gets child support and the kids, what has she lost, except the man she wanted rid of anyway? Hell, she can have someone else's kids and still take hubby for that ride. On top of this, they needn't even get married to acquire all of these "benefits".

I wonder if, on average, men don't get married for the above good reasons, and blissfully, if not desperately and somewhat hopelessly assume they can live and have kids with cupcake without taking the same risks, while cupcake herself is quite well aware that the law will let her take muggins for whatever he's worth anyway.

Marriage? What, exactly, for?

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stack said...

Aren't rates generally expressed in percentages? That would mean your inference in paragraph 1 part b is incorrect.

John Doe said...

Everything I have seen refers to numbers of marriages (244,710 in 2005), not rates, and the first linked article points this out too. Percentages are used to describe changes - 10% drop in 2005 over 2004. I think my conclusion is correct. What I'd really like to see is a plot of the rates over the past 109 years.

Anonymous said...

you've nailed it exactly.

they've removed all of the incentives, and dramatically increased the risks.

only a fool, in this climate would do such a thing. and what is worse, the women are desparate to breed - and this makes them the most treacherous animal on the planet - bar none.

never never bed a woman without 2 condoms. you're better off checking the porn on the internet - it's FREE!!!

Ala said...

I am a fan of your blog but I am disappointed in your argument. The ending of marriage is about many things more than what the press claims, but you loose some of your validity when you insult all women. I almost feel that women choose not to marry because they support themselves, more women have jobs and do not need men, or their money. I do agree that men have every right to fear those bitchy gold digging women, but thats only a fraction of the problem.

John Doe said...

Ala, I am at a loss to see how I am insulting all women. I am aware that not all women are "gold diggers", but that is not even really what I am talking about.

Divorce has been made an attractive option for certain women. That does not mean that they will all take that option. To start with, a turn to a divorce implies a certain amount of dissatisfaction with the marriage. No matter how well intentioned a woman might have been at the outset, once she has children and has grown bored of her husband, idle thoughts and a little looking around might well inspire her to take a Machiavellian view of divorce. This also implies a somewhat amoral approach to life, not all women are entirely selfless under all circumstances. If the system facilitates such people, then it undermines the institution and innocents suffer.

To me the issue is not even about women needing men or their money, it is about allowing children to be used as a means to extort money from men. If that is what is happening, and I believe that it is, is it any wonder that "fear of commitment" is growing?