Wooly Thinking

I came across this story in Psychology today. The story is a few years old, but I am amazed at how deliberately misinformed, if not disingenuous, someone can be.

Is Marriage Worth the Trouble For Women? The benefits go mostly to men.

Let’s start at the very beginning:

A casual look at how marriage is represented in popular culture may lead one to conclude that ending up at the altar is the ultimate female desire.

It is. Men don’t fantasize about getting married. Women have been known to.

Wedding magazines are aimed almost exclusively at brides, not grooms.

They are. Women spend far more on magazines than do men. And nobody ever went broke telling women what they desperately wanted to hear.

Reality TV shows highlight Bridezillas, not Groomzillas, and The Bachelor, in which multiple women vie for a ring, is a ratings juggernaut.

They are. Men don’t watch reality TV. Look at the adverts; who are they aimed at?

The central attraction in the pageant of the average wedding is reserved for the bride’s dress, while the groom’s attire receives little billing.

Working as designed. Women will spend big money on fashion. Man is the only animal species where the female wears the plumage.

Pop culture queen Beyoncé herself has famously admonished men that if they like it, then they should put a ring on it.

And most girls look like Beyoncé… NOT! If did, I’m sure that you would have no shortage of suitors. This is a classic Apex Fallacy.

Proverbs 31 says “An excellent wife, who can find? Her value is greater than rubies”. Translation: Most women ain’t wife material.If he ain’t “putting a ring on it” it’s probably because you are unworthy.

Men, on the other hand, are often depicted as commitment phobic, having to be conned or whipped into marriage, or dragged to the altar against their deeply promiscuous nature, which abhors long-term monogamy.

Close but no cigar. Decades ago, women were far more chaste and feminine than they are now. They had the requisite skills that made them good wives. I would posit that feminism has caused women to behave like men, and men have rationally started behaving like boys. As women invaded colleges and the workplace en masse, taking up more and more traditional male spaces and, men have become increasingly sidelined, less educated, less affluent, less able to support a family. Women have also put off marriage into their late twenties and early thirties, denying marriage-minded men of the youth, beauty and fertility that they crave and would pay the ultimate price for.

Both women and men have inherently become both less marriage-minded, and less marriageable. But since the men are the deciders of commitment, when they balk, women, ever reluctant to admit their faults, are quick to portray them as marriage-averse. But I have seen too many women who want to be a bride, but not a wife. It’s not that we don’t want to marry; it’s that we don’t want to marry you.

The notion of a “midlife crisis,” during which men are bound to jettison their old wives for a new, younger trophy model is also a familiar cultural trope.

…while the notion of wives who get fat and bitchy, deny their husbands sex (it is estimated that 80% of ten-year-plus marriages are essentially sexless) while holding the specter of divorce-induced financial ruination over his head, remains safely ignored.

Oh, and the “trope” is generally untrue; very few men “trade in” for the very good reason that most men can’t afford it. Another Apex Fallacy, methinks. Seriously. How many of the divorces you know of follow this pattern?

Marriage, we have been led to believe, is a natural habitat for women, but a stifling cage for men. Thus goes the popular fantasy. However, in the real world of data, things shake out quite a bit differently.

We’ll see about that

First, confounding the view of marriage as the female heaven and haven is the fact that marriage actually appears to benefit men more than it does women.

Yes, marriage is good for men. And Divorce is an absolute bloody disaster. And the Divorce rate is 50%. If a man is going into a deal where there is a fifty-fifty chance of having his head taken off, there had better be some serious benefits for him. This obvious and incontrovertible fact seems to be lost on some psychologists, it seems.

Research has shown that the “marriage benefits”—the increases in health, wealth, and happiness that are often associated with the status—go disproportionately to men. Married men are better off than single men. Married women, on the other hand, are not better off than unmarried women.

Correlation, it is written, is not causation. Could it be that women are attracted to — and tend to marry — men who are healthy, wealthy and happy?

Second, in contrast to the myth that marriage is a woman’s ultimate and sacred fulfillment is the reality that roughly two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women… A recent AARP survey of 1147 men and women ages 40-79 who experienced a divorce in their 40s, 50s, or 60s, found that 66% of women said they initiated the split.

It is also true that the longer a couple have been married, the more ruination a departing wife can visit upon her husband. It is often pre-planned; in many cases the poor sap had no idea until she had him served with divorce papers.

The results revealed an intriguing pattern: As expected, women initiated roughly two thirds (69%) of the breakups in heterosexual marriages. However, the gendered trend in relationship breakups held only for marriages and not for other non-marital unions.

I have a theory on this. Women don’t generally dump men for nobody. Outside of marriage, they tend to delay dumping their boyfriends until they have another one primed and ready to go. But with marriage, there are cash-and-prizes that come with a divorce. In some cases, the husband ends up with all of the financial obligations of marriage with none of the benefits that go with it. The Government effectively becomes her new husband.

Moreover, women in marriages, but not in other relationships, reported lower levels of satisfaction.

This is bunk. Study after study has shown that married women report the highest level of happiness. If you don’t believe them, reality is only a glance away. Think of the most depressed, miserable and bitter women you know. Who are they? Feminists. Just kidding! They are usually unmarried, childless, over thirty, and without hope of having the life they desperately crave.

According to Rosenfeld, these data suggest that the tendency for women to initiate breakups is not an inherent feature of male-female relationships. Rather, it is a feature of male-female marriage.

Rubbish. It is a feature of profitability; you can’t divorce-rape a boyfriend. The real acid test for this theory would be to look at the separation rates for couples in a state of Common-Law marriage, where they are not actually married, but the State treats them as if they were. If my theory is correct, common-law wives will dump their husbands for cash-and-prizes with the same alacrity that married women do.

This finding appears to provide support for the notion that women experience the institution of marriage as oppressive, in large part because it emerged from and still carries the imprint of a system of female subjugation.

What mealy-mouthed, self-serving Psychobabble. The popularity of “Fifty Shades of grey” shows clearly that women love the ideas of submission and subjugation… as long as he has a six-pack, a helicopter, a yacht, and conspicuous good looks. Hypergamy (the female tendency for women to date/mate/marry “up”) means that women are inherently much harder to satisfy than are men.

At the end of the day, the accumulating data paint a picture of marriage as complex commerce in which women may often play a paradoxical role: They work harder for a smaller share of the benefits, which may explain why, while they may often be more eager to get into a marriage, they are often also more eager to get out.

Women get plenty of benefits from marriage, but they get those benefits later in life, when his earnings are are their highest, her looks are gone, and no other man is interested. In a word, it is security. But if she can get the same security in Divorce Court, it will be easier for her to bust out of the marriage in a manner not unlike that infamous scene in Alien.

Here in the enlightened West, women are also never satisfied: how many wives have you heard complain that their husbands do too much around the house? None! This tells us men that women’s expectations are fundamentally unreasonable.

Conclusion: Data on Marriage and Divorce is like data on Climate Change – highly subject to interpretation. This piece seems to be written from a standpoint of “marriage is a bad idea because subjugation, and women shouldn’t do it”. If that is your honest opinion, don’t get married, for your sanity, and the well-being of the poor sap you are going to divorce. For those who do want marriage, I have one simple word of advice:

Appreciate what you have. Or someone else will.

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