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The Marriage-And-Family Script

Aaron Renn is out with a new edition of his must-read e-mail newsletter, The Masculinist, which concerns problems related to men in the Christian church. Subscribe to it (it’s free) and read the archives here.  [1]

In the new issue, he has further reflections on the idea of singleness. N.B., Renn is an Evangelical Christian who lives in New York City and works for a think tank. That’s where he’s coming from. He writes:

After last month’s Masc #21 [2], a pastor wrote to me asking how the church should respond to the “demographic crisis” it faces, namely the significant imbalance of female to male attendees in church. That makes it impossible for all Christian women to find Christian husbands and in this person’s view incentivizes some poor male behaviors such an unwillingness to commit.

This is a very fair question. At the macro level, the demographic crisis is real.  It’s a problem. The most critical component of any solution is getting more men into church. That’s one of the things I would like to help accomplish with this newsletter. As I detailed in Masc #3 [3], the church has long been actively hostile to men, so it’s no surprise men are staying away. And as my series on attraction is showing (stay tuned for the final installment, probably next month), the church is also giving men false information about relationships. Given the primal nature of our relations with the opposite sex, once Christian men discover that they’ve been fed falsehoods on this topic – which given the ever-increasing number of places you can find basic truth on the subject, including even from Jordan Peterson, will happen for a significant number of people at some point – this will severely discredit the faith for them.

change_me

At the micro-level, my focus in that piece was on big city churches. In those, there are vast numbers of singles, few of which appear to be aggressively seeking marriage. In other environments, such as some smaller city or suburban churches, the demographic problem can rear its head. There are places where the majority of people in church are married, and the singles can feel left out in the cold. Some of these singles, men and women, are less attractive, are socially awkward, etc. which adds complications. (I mentioned before a story about an Orthodox Jewish woman in Brooklyn who served as a matchmaker for awkward singles in that community, and how we really don’t have much like that going on).

So in some places I do think there is a legitimate demographic problem.  So what do you do about it?

More:

At the church level, we have to bring in more men. At the individual level we have to recognize the odds and act accordingly. Last month I told guys that they need to be aware that every year that goes by the supply of high quality marriage prospects goes down.  I do think men need to step up and pursue marriage and commit, and think they should give serious thought to doing it sooner rather than later.  For women, it’s even worse. It’s a game of musical chairs where several folks may not get a seat. The stone cold reality is that this environment is a big incentive to move fast to secure your place.

The problem is that the contemporary life scripts being sold by society explicitly discourage acting fast, and pooh-pooh the consequences of failing to land the plane to marriage and children. These scripts tell young women to pursue education, career, romantic excitement/sex, and personal cultivation first (e.g., travelling the world), then find a nice guy to settle down with later. I’ll mention again this passage from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s New York Times #1 best selling book Lean In: “When looking for a life partner, my advice to women is date [translation: have sex with] all of them: the bad boys, the cool boys, the commitment-phobic boys, the crazy boys. But do not marry them. The things that make the bad boys sexy do not make them good husbands. When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner.” In other words, spend time playing the field, then after having your fun, look for a real marriage candidate.

Renn talks about more details in this life script, including the idea that your life will be happier and more vivid if you don’t have children. More:

Some people who follow these scripts often don’t discover the reality until it’s too late. It reminds me of Proverbs 7 about the man seeking the adulteress that says he was “a young man lacking sense” who “hastens to the snare” because “he does not know it will cost him his life.” Only in this case it applies to women as well.

Back to our church demographics question. I wonder how many of these singles have been aggressively looking for marriage since say college? Some probably had, but from what I see around me plenty didn’t and instead were following this cultural life script.

The Washington Post writer gets it correct in this respect: people make choices. This is a free country and people can do anything they want. I fully support the right of both women and men in contemporary America to make their own. But are they making informed choices? Are church leaders handing out realtalk on life, marriage, and kids, or just a baptized version of the secular life script? Are pastors and those in spiritual leadership warning the people under their care about the possible future consequences of these scripts? When people do follow those scripts and the bad consequences come, are they willing to deliver bitter truths to people who don’t want to hear them, or will they instead only call on others to change to mitigate those consequences?

I’m not sure where you can find the entire new issue of The Masculinist, but again, the archives are here.  [1]

This makes me think. We hear a lot about how unfriendly churches are to singles, how they feel that the message they get is that they are somehow second-class citizens in a gathering geared towards families. Many of us recognize that churches need to do a better job of caring for singles, and that singleness can be a state of holiness to which some Christians are called. I wonder, though, in light of Renn’s writing, if there’s not greater wisdom in churches being communities that prod their members toward marriage — this, in contradiction to the broader cultural script.

The New York Times wrote last month: [4]

The millennial generation’s breezy approach to sexual intimacy helped give rise to apps like Tinder and made phrases like “hooking up” and “friends with benefits” part of the lexicon.

But when it comes to serious lifelong relationships, new research suggests, millennials proceed with caution.

Helen Fisher, an anthropologist who studies romance and a consultant to the dating site Match.com, has come up with the phrase “fast sex, slow love” to describe the juxtaposition of casual sexual liaisons and long-simmering committed relationships.

Young adults are not only marrying and having children later in life than previous generations, but taking more time to get to know each other before they tie the knot. Indeed, some spend the better part of a decade as friends or romantic partners before marrying, according to new research by eHarmony, another online dating site.

More:

Julianne Simson, 24, and her boyfriend, Ian Donnelly, 25, are typical. They have been dating since they were in high school and have lived together in New York City since graduating from college, but are in no rush to get married.

Ms. Simson said she feels “too young” to be married. “I’m still figuring out so many things,” she said. “I’ll get married when my life is more in order.”

Here’s the thing: that’s not how real life works. If you’re like most people, you will never feel that your life is in sufficient order to get married, or have kids. I didn’t marry until I was 29, though I had been seeking marriage since not long after college. I was “ready to marry” in the sense that I was sick of being single, and wanted to get started on building a family, but did I somehow feel that I was “ready” for marriage in the same sense that one is “ready” for a long vacation (e.g., everything packed, passport updated, etc)? Of course not! It’s scary to take that leap of faith into marriage. Similarly when we had our first child.

You can only learn about marriage and child-raising by doing them. True, you can read books, you can follow a cultural script, you can benefit from the wisdom of elders; these are helpful. But there’s nothing like hands-on experience. You will make plenty of mistakes. You will look back and think, “I wish we had done that” and “how stupid we were to have done this.” That’s part of the journey. It always has been.

The Millennials have this thing — so did a lot of us Gen Xers — of wanting safety and assurance before committing. This is not their fault, necessarily. In a culture that gives us wide-open choices, and doesn’t nudge anyone toward making any particular choice, the pressure on one to make the right choice can feel overwhelming. We are formed from a young age by the broader culture to leave outs for ourself if the going gets rough. That, said Zygmunt Bauman, is the core characteristic of living in liquid modernity: living to keep your options open at all times. This is living life as a tourist, not a pilgrim.

Christianity has to proclaim to its people that life is a pilgrimage, not a vacation. A pilgrimage is a collective undertaking, one that has a particular destination, and that stops at meaningful points along the way. For most Christians, that will include marriage and family. But we live in an anti-familist culture — that is, one whose habits and values work against forming stable marriages and families. This is one area in which the church can’t afford to be anything other than countercultural.

My friend Mollie Hemingway, who writes for The Federalist, is a happily married mom. She works hard to introduce her single friends to each other, and to encourage them to seek marriage. She’s right to do that. When I was in DC recently, someone told me that the culture of the city is such that it’s easy to find yourself in your 40s, still living in a group house, and living pretty much like you did when you were in your 20s and first came to town. Is it really the case that DC people — the most educated and ambitious elites in the country — don’t yet have their lives “together” enough to get married? Please.

Thoughts?

 

184 Comments (Open | Close)

184 Comments To "The Marriage-And-Family Script"

#1 Comment By Gina On June 14, 2018 @ 11:04 am

When I was 18, I left a very tight traditional culture where marriages are “approved” (if not arranged) by parents and elders. I moved to Texas and was horrified to realize that I would be responsible for finding, vetting, approving and marrying my future husband alone. I did not think of this as a freedom; it was a terrifying burden. Dating and falling in love proved pretty easy and fun, but actually making the choice of a husband for life was a massive responsibility I felt entirely unqualified to do. I had to summon enormous amounts of faith and prudence to take the plunge, even though I adored the man I eventually married.

I’m amazed at how glib people can be choosing their life partners, and how they assume it’s a choice best made completely independent of outside evaluation. It can work,of course; we’ve been together 15 years and are very happy—-just another perspective!

#2 Comment By sara On June 14, 2018 @ 12:56 pm

@ mrscracker says: June 14, 2018 at 10:18 am
“It may vary from state to state, but my understanding is that you can have a medical directive naming pretty much anyone in charge of making decisions should you be incapable of that. Spouse, family member, friend, etc.”

Absolutely it varies from state to state and in most states you can cover most situations through legal documents. My point was that most of us simply do not take the time and initiative to do that. If someone has a traumatic illness or injury or dies and you don’t have all those legal documents taken care of, you can be in a mess of trouble.

#3 Comment By sara On June 14, 2018 @ 1:05 pm

@ Isidore the Farmer says: June 13, 2018 at 11:01 pm
1.) #MeToo is a subtle admission that consent given in a ceremony in front of God and Man has its benefits, whereas a free for all of free love is littered with horror stories. Of course, instead of going back to using marriage to grant consent, universities and other institutions are building new and hilariously stupid consent frameworks.

Consider for a moment, Isidore, how many of the men who have gone down under the #MeToo wave were *MARRIED* during the time period that they were sexually harassing and assaulting women who were not their wives. They apparently didn’t get your memo.

#4 Comment By sara On June 14, 2018 @ 1:16 pm

@ Jack says: June 14, 2018 at 11:00 am
“Of course that’s what women want, but they only want that in a man they’re actually attracted to and the men that women are actually attracted to are men who exhibit some form of dominance.”

Gretchen is right. I’m over 60 and have seen lots of marriages and divorces. Men who exhibit the sort of dominance recommended in those incel screeds may get dates but they don’t get married and often want it exactly that way. The incel script is, in the main, a way to avoid taking responsibility for life choices.

#5 Comment By Gretchen On June 14, 2018 @ 1:19 pm

Jack: What total BS! Women who come from abusive backgrounds may tolerate abuse. The rest of us show a guy who thinks he should be boss the door.

#6 Comment By ginger On June 14, 2018 @ 2:07 pm

“It informs us of the worst & most lurid examples, & leaves us ignorant of what’s best & working for the culture.”

Well, then forget the lurid details and simply look at the rates:

[5]

When 35-45% of women in a society experience domestic violence, it’s worth considering whether their marriage and relationship models are really what’s best for them and is truly “working” for the culture.

That said, it’s not like we are doing a bang-up job here in the US when it comes to domestic violence, either. But at least women here have some resources for help in these situations, and at least we don’t, as a culture, largely believe it is perfectly fine to beat wives.

In India, domestic violence is still mostly a taboo subject. Which might work well for keeping divorce rates super low but doesn’t work out so well for the individual women getting beaten, raped, and psychologically abused by their husbands. You can’t tell me that’s a great environment for kids to be raised in, either.

#7 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 14, 2018 @ 2:39 pm

What an odd prejudice! For most of history common folk married people they knew locally, and had known, at least in passing, since childhood.

What a curious way to fixate on a rather natural reaction. I’ve read that people raised on Kibbutzim have similar reactions… when you’ve been raised in a collective environment with someone, you look elsewhere for a marriage partner. Of course that included, ‘when you’ve been taking group showers with someone from the age of five.’

Human culture has actually been quite diverse, and many have some set of rules that promote exogamy… marrying outside the clan, tribe, village, etc.

#8 Comment By Gretchen On June 14, 2018 @ 2:46 pm

JonF: People used to marry people from their own village because those were the only people available. Cousin marriage was also common, although it is frowned upon for genetic reasons. That’s why genetic diseases are more common in communities that intermarry for generations, such as Ashkenazi Jews and the Amish. This would have happened in tiny villages with no out-marriage. In fact, there is some evidence that animals, and possibly people, can sense when a potential partner is genetically similar to them and avoid mating with them. There is an effect in plant breeding called hybrid vigor where it’s common when crossing two different strains of a plant, where the offspring are stronger and healthier than either parent. I don’t see why this effect wouldn’t be true of people too.

#9 Comment By mrscracker On June 14, 2018 @ 2:47 pm

JonF:
“For most of history common folk married people they knew locally, and had known, at least in passing, since childhood.”
*************
That’s what I’ve always understood, too. You didn’t have cars, trains or airplanes. And poor folk didn’t generally didn’t have the means to travel much.

I guess soldiers, sailors, peddlers, & such got around more but most folk, barring wars or famine, stayed close to home.

Over time you might end up marrying your cousins, but not always the close kind.

#10 Comment By kgasmart On June 14, 2018 @ 3:55 pm

Your fantasy that rape and sexual assault didn’t exist before the sexual revolution is just ridiculous as is your assumption that the sexual revolution has increased the incidence of the same. Sexual crimes in the US peaked in 1991 and are now down roughly 85%.

Then can we stop talking about the “rape crisis” on campus; can we stop talking about sexual assault as some growing epidemic, if in fact that’s statistically not the case?

#11 Comment By Franklin Evans On June 14, 2018 @ 3:55 pm

LouisM:

The church could bring the second coming of Jesus Christ and men still wont get married. Why?
1) Because feminists and womens rights activists have made failure to pay alimony and/or child support a felony or misdemeanor.

So, in your opinion, what should (if any) the consequences to the failure to support one’s children be? Since you highlight the complementary part in your second point, I assume that this question is about those men who are well able to afford alimony and/or child support.

2) Because Family Court often will not reduce alimony or child support if the spouse’s income has changed.

I have to make some assumptions about this one as well. It would seem from the tone of your post that you mean the ex-spouse with child custody has gotten an increase in her salary; it would be as logical if you mean that the ex-spouse responsible for alimony or child support has gotten a decrease in his salary. This is a problem. I won’t denigrate it with argument, but I will point out that no Family Court to my knowledge has ever increased alimony or child support if that ex-spouse’s income has increased.

Your point seems to be that a man has sole choice in this matter, and if he chooses to give not one penny to support his children, you seem to not only justify you it, you require it.

#12 Comment By C. L. H. Daniels On June 14, 2018 @ 4:16 pm

My first serious girlfriend pulled that trick on me, telling me she hated a certain kind of guy, and then leaving me for that kind of guy and marrying him. Pay attention to actions, not words.

Yeah, that’s been my experience too. Our culture is bizarrely out of touch with how things actually work in the real world. In the movies and on TV the nice, sensitive guy always gets the girl, but just try that in your actual life and see how fast you get dumped/rejected. The Big Bang Theory sitcom, in which the short, bespectacled and submissive Leonard eventually marries a 10/10 blonde bombshell across the hall, is pure, borderline delusional, fantasy.

I used to think that stuff was real when I was young. Everything in the culture is telling men that being nice and sensitive is the way to be, and that’s such a load of crap. I’ve been around long enough and seen enough to know that is manifestly not how the world works. Just like Ampersand Again said, don’t pay attention to what women say they want, pay attention to what they do, which is inevitably go for the dominant guys who aren’t particularly sensitive, but sure are masculine by all the traditional markers.

#13 Comment By Gretchen On June 14, 2018 @ 6:32 pm

CLH Daniels: I know a lot of women, and not a single one has married a dominant insensitive guy. Well, there was one, who grew up in an abusive household. She divorced him after he beat the crap out of her for the nth time. Otherwise, not a single one. Maybe draw your conclusions on what actual women say, rather than what you imagine is going on in your ex-girlfriend’s relationship. I rather doubt that she is giving you detailed updates.

#14 Comment By Gretchen On June 14, 2018 @ 6:35 pm

Ginger: thanks for the statistics. Many people conclude that a low divorce rate means successful marriages. Often it just means women can’t get away from a bad marriage due to divorce being unavailable or economic vulnerability.

#15 Comment By MrsCole On June 14, 2018 @ 6:47 pm

@Mr. Daniels: “The Big Bang Theory sitcom, in which the short, bespectacled and submissive Leonard eventually marries a 10/10 blonde bombshell across the hall, is pure, borderline delusional, fantasy.”

Well, duh. It’s a sitcom. The reality is that people tend to pair off with mates who are roughly equal to themselves in both attractiveness and intelligence. Is that really such an awful thing?

The confusing thing is why so many average guys are so bitter about it. You’d be so much better off if you rearranged your criteria so that morals, sanity, loyalty, personality, prudence, kindness, and good manners ranked higher on your checklist than appearance.

#16 Comment By Gretchen On June 14, 2018 @ 6:49 pm

CLH Daniels: I do agree that the Leonard/Penny relationship is unlikely in real life, but not for the reason you give. Very smart people tend to find other smart people more interesting, so Leonard would probably get tired of Penny’s conversation. People have looks, smarts, money, social position, and personality to attract a partner. People rarely match with someone far outside their total score – they may match with someone far better looking if they have something more to offer in a different category – see Donald Trumps money to Melania’s youth and looks. But the scorecard is usually roughly even across the categories. I think I incels run into trouble thinking that women with a higher total owe them attention, even though they don’t have much to offer. And they get angry when that attention isn’t forthcoming. Anger is very, very unattractive to women. An angry man is not a good partner, as my beaten friend found.

#17 Comment By Jack On June 14, 2018 @ 6:50 pm

@Gretchen and Sara:

The enormous success of the perverse Fifty Shades of Grey appears to indicate that a lot of women secretly long for a dominant man.

I would add that this phenomenon is hardly new. The works of the Bronte sisters are about young women submitting to mysterious, uncouth, but dominant men.

#18 Comment By Ampersand Again On June 14, 2018 @ 7:34 pm

“So, in your opinion, what should (if any) the consequences to the failure to support one’s children be?”

I’m not LouisM, but I’d like to offer an opinion on this.

There shouldn’t be any consequences. Just as women have a right to a biological abortion, men should have a right to a financial abortion. Cutting all ties and giving up any claim or responsibility. Once the woman is pregnant, men are basically financial hostages, as we have zero say in what happens next, legally speaking. Oh, some will say, “If you didn’t want kids, you shouldn’t have had sex!” Well, prior to sex, either party can back out…but after sex, only women have a way to get out of a pregnancy. Men don’t. In the interests of equality, we need an exit plan of our own.

(That’s part of what’s making men seem irresponsible, IMHO. In the event of accidental pregnancies, women can cover them up and act like they never happened, while men don’t always have that option. So you have successful career women who dodged the biological bullet, while against-their-will fathers are struggling to pay child support and thus seem like they don’t have their lives together. Both parties did the same thing, but one was able to escape the consequences.)

#19 Comment By mrscracker On June 14, 2018 @ 8:07 pm

Gretchen,
I’ve also read that women may be able to sense when a man is genetically similar to them but I’ve also read that hormonal contraception may change that and influence them to choose partners more like them.

Of course, my grandparents didn’t have that excuse.
🙂

#20 Comment By Isidore the Farmer On June 14, 2018 @ 10:44 pm

“Consider for a moment, Isidore, how many of the men who have gone down under the #MeToo wave were *MARRIED* during the time period that they were sexually harassing and assaulting women who were not their wives. They apparently didn’t get your memo.”

Yes? And I should note that their wives are not accusing them of rape, while their mistresses are. That is sort of the whole point sara. You know who didn’t accuse Cosby of rape? His wife. The one woman on planet Earth that granted consent to him publicly, in front of God and Man.

#21 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 14, 2018 @ 11:55 pm

Consider for a moment, Isidore, how many of the men who have gone down under the #MeToo wave were *MARRIED* during the time period that they were sexually harassing and assaulting women who were not their wives. They apparently didn’t get your memo.

You really know how to miss a point. The status of being married does not immunize a sexual predator against temptation or predation. But, marriage creates an approximate rebuttable presumption. If you are married there is a rebuttable presumption of consent. With someone you have not married, there is a rebuttable presumption of non-consent. If “we don’t need no piece of paper from the city hall,” then there is no rebuttable presumption at all, and we’re all adrift in a sea of inconvenient possibilities.

If the men you mention were acting outside of their marriage vows, then those marriage vows help to define that their actions are wrong, although a clear lack of consent by the victim is the most significant factor.

#22 Comment By JonF On June 15, 2018 @ 8:11 am

Re: So, in your opinion, what should (if any) the consequences to the failure to support one’s children be?

Franklin,
IMO it should not be a matter of criminal law, but only of civil law, the same as any other unpaid debt. Garnishments and asset seizures, just as if you fail to pay your credit card tab– sure. But not jail time. Overall I am opposed to the tendency over the last generation to sneak a sort of debtor’s prison back onto the law books, in this and other areas.

#23 Comment By JonF On June 15, 2018 @ 8:12 am

Re: In the movies and on TV the nice, sensitive guy always gets the girl, but just try that in your actual life and see how fast you get dumped/rejected.

I can think of a variety of guys fitting that description who are in fact happily married, with kids. When people have the type of trouble you talk about it is because they were going after the wrong woman. I don’t fault anyone for that mistake (unless they keep making the same one over and again). Once upon a time I even made a huge mistake in this area, and got burned by it. Human desire can tell the biggest lies within us and no one is entirely safe. However it’s ridiculous to expand a single case of bad romance to vast statements about the perfidy of all femalekind.

#24 Comment By mrscracker On June 15, 2018 @ 11:26 am

ginger,
Thank you for your comments & the link re. women & violence in India.

I think most folks would agree that life for women in developing countries can be hard, but have you looked at the CDC data concerning violence experienced by American women?

I think we have our own set of problems here to deal with & the numbers re. violence aren’t too dissimilar from developing countries.

The situations & circumstances may differ but we have nothing to brag about on that score. And even less to brag about re. marriage & divorce I think.

#25 Comment By mrscracker On June 15, 2018 @ 11:39 am

C. L. H. Daniels says:
“..don’t pay attention to what women say they want, pay attention to what they do, which is inevitably go for the dominant guys who aren’t particularly sensitive, but sure are masculine by all the traditional markers.”
******************

That makes sense I think biologically, too.
If you have children or are expecting a child, you don’t want a man who’s going to get all emotional in a crisis. You want someone who will put himself between the danger & your offspring.

If both spouses are alike then I figure one’s redundant.

#26 Comment By sara On June 15, 2018 @ 7:09 pm

@ Jack says: June 14, 2018 at 6:50 pm
“@Gretchen and Sara:
The enormous success of the perverse Fifty Shades of Grey appears to indicate that a lot of women secretly long for a dominant man.”

And all the evidence would suggest that every single man of every single age wants a barely legal age beauty. What someone “finds attractive” when looking through photos or on a movie screen is NOT necessarily what they want to live with!

#27 Comment By Ampersand Again On June 15, 2018 @ 7:21 pm

“Maybe draw your conclusions on what actual women say, rather than what you imagine is going on in your ex-girlfriend’s relationship. I rather doubt that she is giving you detailed updates.”

If that’s directed at me, yes, I actually am getting detailed updates from her, though I don’t want them. They’re still married. And most of the women I know have married dominant, insensitive guys.

#28 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 15, 2018 @ 8:27 pm

And all the evidence would suggest that every single man of every single age wants a barely legal age beauty. What someone “finds attractive” when looking through photos or on a movie screen is NOT necessarily what they want to live with!

That is one of the most realistic assessments I’ve seen on this line of controversy. It does seem that many women get a hormonal rush from a tall, broad-chested man with bulging biceps, and the kind of activity depicted in “50 shades of gray” can produce a similar hormonal titillation. And vice versa for certain female features stimulating men.

Some men, and some women, marry for the hormonal rush. Some, perhaps, marry entirely for more rational reasons. And a whole lot of people, I suspect, mix and match various impulses and considerations, especially since the Ideal Mate has never been born. We all have to make do with what’s available.

However it’s ridiculous to expand a single case of bad romance to vast statements about the perfidy of all femalekind.

Consider how that played out in the creation of the Arabian Nights.

#29 Comment By Franklin Evans On June 15, 2018 @ 9:43 pm

Jon: the “deadbeat dad” penalties of prison time are a recent, ahem, innovation. Some states have been more rigorous in pursuing civil action in such cases, and those states are less likely to have a prison sentence in the mix.

Ampersand Again: while I was hoping for a response from Louis, I wouldn’t post here if I also wanted to limit the participation of others.

Your response has two parts, for which I see no separation in your phrasing. I’ll gladly accept correction for a bad assumption, but here it is: suggesting parity between the years-long commitment necessary to raise children in a world where men have substantially greater earning potential, to the “ability” of women to have abortions is, in a word, offensive. Your attempt to logically connect them is beyond apples and oranges.

Please answer this, if you can and wish: what is the difference between a woman who has gotten an abortion with a man who in that instance has no child for whom he might honor legal and moral obligations; and a woman who has borne the child with a man who has decided he wants nothing to do with either of them?

If you see no difference, I can see no reason to respect your opinions on this point.

#30 Comment By Mark VA On June 16, 2018 @ 12:30 am

AnnaH:

Since it was me who mentioned Spinsterhood in a mocking way, I feel I should respond: Mea culpa, my comment could be construed as blind and cruel, I should have been more thoughtful;

May I make amends with an apropos excerpt from Moniuszko’s “Haunted Manor”, “Spinners Chorus”:

[6]

Alas, even they are singing about their “most important concern”. Say no more.

#31 Comment By Rick On June 16, 2018 @ 9:50 am

“The Millennials have this thing — so did a lot of us Gen Xers — of wanting safety and assurance before committing. This is not their fault, necessarily.“

I couldn’t disagree more.

The reasons for wanting safety between those two cohorts are vastly different but completely reasonable to want.

X-ers were the latch key kids who did nearly all of their raising by themselves in a narcissism fueled hedonistic world of boomer me, me, me, me, me with divorce rates sky high, drug addictions, and a rapidly/hypocritically changing economic system.

Millennials had it great by comparison, but had their own issues of suburban loneliness, defunded educational opportunities, a collapsed economy, the housing bubble, a doubled down plutocracy still growing in power.

Of course they’re waiting. It’s prudent to do so. They aren’t Pollyanna about it. Neither were our grandparents.

I didn’t marry until I was 47. When I did marry it was for life. And I didn’t do it just for loooovve <3.

I did it because at that point I knew it would be with the person who could deal with my BS and me hers — although she deals with waaayyyyy more than I do.

I could not have made that decision in my 20’s or 30’s.

Remember many of us X-ers didn’t grow up emotionally until we left our chaotic boomer led households.

For Millennials they were lied to their entire lives. About everything. In some ways they’re even more justified in being cautious.

I never had any illusions about the system we live in. Millennials were raised to believe in it.

I mean hell when my step father abandoned us (with a note he left me, a 13 year old) my mom would leave a $20 on the table for a dominos pizza and she’d bolt out to hook up, drink and even do cocaine for a while.

I basically didn’t see her for a year. I skipped 140 days of school. She had no idea. And I wasn’t atypical at the time.

My junior high school and my friends were like the Lord of the Flies. It was nuts.

We raised ourselves. We did the best we could but we had zero guidance by anyone.

My grandparents are the only reason I’m still around. They took me in at age 14.

So being more pragmatic and cautious is a good thing Rod, and marrying hoping it will just all work out is just folly in my opinion.

#32 Comment By Rick On June 16, 2018 @ 9:56 am

I should clarify that the wisdom necessary to understand marriage as a long-term process can only come when one has allowed themselves to trust that and are emotionally grounded enough to move forward in that direction.

For many of us X-ers and Millennials that comes later in life. With good reason.

#33 Comment By Gretchen On June 16, 2018 @ 9:42 pm

Hm. Just had a conversation with my daughter saying that one reason she chose her boyfriend is that he treats her so well, and that he considers her a partner. 50 Shades of Gray is fiction. The fact that horror movies and murder mysteries are popular doesn’t mean people want to live in them.

#34 Comment By LouisM On June 17, 2018 @ 6:39 pm

You will never get men to engage in marriage in large numbers again. There isn’t a member of the male sex that does not know of a story where:
1) the mother has alienated her children against their father.

2) the mother has made a false charge of harassment or abuse in order to gain a better divorce and child custody settlement

3) the man is living in a studio apartment while his ex-wife is dating a man, having sleepovers with him in their bed and in their house with their kids in the bedroom next door. The woman gets alimony, child support, custody, furniture, the car, 50% of his pension or retirement savings, 50% of his savings and everything he owns. Divorce Court and Family Court are notoriously biased against men and fathers.

4) If a man loses his job or has financial difficulties then in many states he will have to file for bankruptcy before Family Court will lower Child Support Payments.

5) Women can divorce for merely being unhappy and many women treat alimony and child support as a form of self employment so they don’t have to work. There are women who time the birth of their children so they can smoothly transition from welfare with aid for dependent children to Social Security without having to ever work a day in their life.

6) On this Father’s day look up the statistics on Fathers who commit suicide because they lost custody and visitation because of their ex-wife filing for divorce.

The Church cannot solve these problems because the reason men will not marry is due to civil laws penalizing men.