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Friday, December 7. 2012
Is this a general cultural phenomenon, or class-related? I understand that Julia feels married to the government, but don't most people feel the need for a loyal human partner and helpmeet anyway? Marriage may be fraught with challenges, but I cannot even imagine trying to run my complex life single-handedly. Even four hands often do not seem like enough. Speaking just practically, romance and friendship aside.
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As a 29 year old male with a long term girl friend (well, 1 year seems relatively long term to me), I can give you my opinion. Religious and social effects aside, marriage is a legal contract. If we stay together, if means nothing. However, if anything should ever go wrong (and it does 50% of the time), that contract will come back to haunt you for the rest of your life. I saw this first hand when my parents got divorced after 16 years. My father lost custody of his kids and his house, but he had to pay the credit card debt and lost 18% of his military retirement. I just don't see the benefit of signing that thing.
Hey, it's your life, do what you want, but I'll still point out: this "if something goes wrong" passive-voice bullshit is just that: bullshit. Choose a woman of good character and really believe your vows, and "something" won't "go wrong" unless you let it. Understand that commitment and love are a CHOICE.
I'm a 32 year old woman, married for 11 years; it gets better all the time. We know we'll be together through thick and thin, in good times and in bad, for richer or for poorer. That has immeasurable value in this ridiculous world we live in.
I'm a geezer, but I worked with guys in their 20s who had long term relationships with their girlfriends. They had no intention of getting married, because, as Sanders noted, there's no benefit and a lot of danger to marriage.
No benefit? This I find startling. There are huge benefits to marriage:
1) You have a true commitment to your spouse. You don't havea true commitment to a girlfriend. To me, not getting married after dating someone for several years is like saying, "You aren't good enough. Someone better might come along." Without a committed relationship (marriage), you can walk away at any time...does this really say that you love this woman if you fear this happening? If you aren't willing to be married, maybe you should move on and find someone else.
2) It protects your loved one and/or child in case the worst happens. Have you ever been through the death of a family member? I have. It is devastating for someone who is not married to the deceased. They have no rights to inherit or keep anything without it being expressly said so...such as a designated beneficiary on life insurance or an IRA. Possessions? The law will side with the 'family' every single time. Your loved one will lose...and it could everything: a house, money, possessions.
3) Health insurance and other benefits of your employment. Can't put that girlfriend on your health plan. What if she is unable to get her own benefits or loses a job? Boy, you love her a ton to leave her out in the cold if the worst should happen.
Here is a great site that lists a lot more of the benefits of marriage:
There is a ton of stuff about this on the internet, and a lot of it concludes that marriage is largely dead in the United States because of government policies disfavoring marriage and favoring singleness (including feminism/out of wedlock births). Plus a lot of men now realize that for them the risks of marriage are a lot higher than the rewards. If there is a divorce (which statistics show is initiated by the woman in a large majority of cases), the man stands to lose his property, savings, one-half of all future earnings and retirement, and his kids (whereas women are almost never required to pay anything to the husband). And face the threat of imprisonment if you don't pay the alimony or child support, even if you don't have the money.
Contrast this with the man who acts totally irresponsibly, sleeps with as many women as he can, and has a commitment to none of them, or risk to pay them anything so long as he properly uses "protection," as they say. Which many women in our culture seem perfectly fine with these days.
Once upon a time marriage meant something in terms of lifetime commitment, "saving" yourself for marriage, etc. But that all ended a long time ago for most folks except for those who might be committed traditional Christians. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free, as the saying goes.
For myself, I am quick to say I have been happily married to the same woman for 28 years. But then we both had a very different concept of marriage when we got married than is true today.
"You'll avoid enough to more than make up for anything you'd ever miss, by not getting married."
a lot of those singles will be lonely old people when their looks are gone. Their stretched out faded tattoos won't be all that winsome either
Sounds like a guy would need an air-tight pre-nup to take the plunge, with all the horror stories out there, and the willing women I've only heard about.
Skipping right through the boilerplate stuff about how bad marriage is for males, we get to how irrelevant marriage has become due to big government. The answer is partly in the body of the post. Who needs family when you have Uncle Sam? Family used to be a good idea when people needed it for support and protection and the next generation of earners and workers. Now, in this post atomic family era, the more the government takes on the role of mommy and daddy, the less need there is for families. The resulting empty lives, loneliness and isolation of people one from another is well illustrated in the book, 1984. Hello, welcome to 1984. No, just kidding, everything is fine. DOH
Great postings, all. I would add the religious dimension - I don't think one can have a good marriage without a great deal of humility and loving care for the Other- which are 'learned' religious qualities and out of style these days. Only a healthy religious life on the part of both Husband & Wife can - is "overcome" the right word? - overcome all the very real problems with marriage listed above.
Used to be society-at-large would assist with your marriage, but today, Big Government would rather you NOT have any competing "mediating institutions" to depend upon. You are much easier to manipulate without a strong marriage and large family to depend upon.
Makes me cry for what young people (and, I guess, not so young people) are missing out on. A good marriage is a little piece of Heaven shown to us in the 'now'.
The Good Book says it better than I can:
4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
5 The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.
6 Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.
7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.
8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.
9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Health insurance and other benefits of your employment. Can't put that girlfriend on your health plan.
That might be Obamacare.
As a 49 year old man, who has never been married, I can attest to the desire to marry over the years, but just could not get past the real dangers. I have three friends right now, my age, that are going through divorces.. all three induced by the wife.
All three are about to lose, bigtime. One can show his wife has a history of light drug abuse and drinks. (dUI's) He still did not get custody of their two boys. Had to give her the house and 1/2 of his retirement despite the fact that her family is wealthy and her and her boys both have million dollar trusts to draw from.... just not him. I could go on, but the system is stacked against men.
To those of you married and happy, I am happy for you. I regret not having the courage to risk it all like you have. Note: I work in a profession with an abnormally high divorce rate, so I see a lot of it, men and women divorcing at a high rate at work.
Feminism sees marriage as a basically partriarchical construct to ensure male domination. They were basically against it. So they sought to re-structure society so that the government would substitute for men. And, by and large, they succeeded.