Different Opinions About Why Is Marriage Needed?

Opinions about why marriage is needed today*:

  1. The best way to prevent divorce is to not get married.
  2. Instead of making divorce harder, marriage should be harder. The problem starts with unions which were bad from the start.
  3. I’m glad the conversation of “why marry” is taking place, but I think there is something crucial missing in pieces like this. The percentage of people getting married doesn’t address the percentage of people who are committed as partners, but have chosen not to have a wedding. Is anyone measuring that? The individuals interviewed at the beginning of the podcast list reasons as to why they got married, but those could be the same reasons individuals list who are in committed, long-term relationships. I, personally, have been with my significant other for 6 years. His children live with us half of the time. A wedding wouldn’t change our level of commitment to each other, so what’s the point of spending time/money/energy on that? To prove something to society? To our families/friends? To our employers?
  4. I’d like to know “why be with one person forever?” I’m curious about the monogamy piece of marriage and why society thinks we should commit ourselves to one person for the rest of our lives. Given how often people cheat, why do we force monogamy on people? We all change and grow and to expect another person to do that with you, over decades, is selfish and irrational. What is so honorable about someone loving only one other person their entire life? If that was a job application, you’d question their experience, their ability to try new things and new challenges. You might be concerned about complacency and a lack of perspective. I think we hold people to expectations that can’t (and maybe shouldn’t) be met, and then wonder why they fail.
  5. Given some peoples’ circumstances, there is no reason for anyone or their significant other should marry. If the two of you have kids together that would be different.
  6. Proving something to society is always a frivolous reason to get married.
  7. The real reason to get married is to provide a two-parent household in which to rear kids. This is because at its essence, marriage makes it (or, is supposed to make it) prohibitively costly for one of the parents to leave. Not talking just about monetary costs here. Even if one of the parents cheat, it’s still usually worse for the kids’ long-term outcomes if the nuclear family breaks up, so the cost of breaking it up needs to be kept high.
  8. The plainest reason to support monogamy is that when you don’t, what you mostly get is polygamy. That means you end up with a lot of single guys competing over much fewer single women. Guys respond to this by getting machoistic and violent, and it makes the whole society less stable. That’s a big part of why polygamy is mostly only found in backward parts of the world.
  9. What’s selfish and irrational is putting your own individualism ahead of your children’s long-term well being. By doing so, you not only harm your children’s long-term outcomes, but you also create a host of negative externalities that everyone else has to suffer with and/or pay for.
  10. Choosing monogamy is fine. Choosing polygamy when everyone involved hasn’t voiced their opinion on it is not.
  11. I agree that some people, maybe even most people, are not advanced enough to be monogamous. It takes a lot more than shagging to be monogamous, you actually have to care about your partner on a day-to-day basis. If that is too much for someone, why make them marry?
  12. When it comes down to it, unless you are being physically threatened, you are choosing to marry. If you don’t want to marry, don’t. I got married for financial reasons, and I see no reason to get divorced. We both have agreed to get divorced if we want to look around, not vice versa.
  13. Staying married “for the kids” is hideous. It’s just about the worst thing you can do for children, to stay in a loveless relationship for them. I have a friend doing this, and she has 12 years before the last one goes to college and she can think about getting divorced. The children are being harmed by the parents staying together, but all she can think about is how inconvenient it would be to be divorced. Those benefits and privileges are there to make it easier for couples to rear kids together.
  14. Isn’t it discrimination against people who can’t have kids, if they get benefits that couples without kids don’t receive?
  15. I disagree that couples with children should not receive special consideration. It’s no more than maternity leave discriminates against women who aren’t pregnant, or than a pension plan discriminates against people who aren’t retired.
  16. What’s so special about couples with kids? When those couples stay together it has been shown, year after year, study after study, to have a huge positive impact on those kids’ long-term outcomes. Or, more specifically, when those couples break apart it has been shown to have a huge negative impact on those kids’ long-term outcomes. If providing couples with tax breaks, special legal privileges, and other goods like that helps them keep their costs of parenting manageable and reduce the stress that might drive them apart, then we should provide these things to couples who have or are soon going to have kids.
  17. A huge majority of straight married couples have kids within a few years of marrying. When the man is sterile or the wife is barren, they usually try to adopt within a few years of finding out. Most gay couples don’t enter into civil unions even where they are able, very few report sexual fidelity, very few stay together longer than 3 years, and only half of 1 percent of gay couples adopt. (By the way, gay male couples have a much higher rate of domestic abuse than straight couples.) I do not mean to be offensive; I am just explaining why special benefits associate with marriage ought to target traditional couples aiming to raise kids. I’m getting my facts about gay couples from the following sources–feel free to check them:
    • 2003-2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census
    • M. Pollak, “Male Homosexuality,” in Western Sexuality: Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times, ed. P. Aries and A. Bejin, translated by Anthony Forster (New York, NY: B. Blackwell, 1985)
    • Michael W. Wiederman, “Extramarital Sex: Prevalence and Correlates in a National Survey,” Journal of Sex Research 34 (1997)
    • A. P. Bell and M. S. Weinberg, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978)
    • Dan Black, et al., “Demographics of the Gay and Lesbian Population in the United States: Evidence from Available Systematic Data Sources,” Demography 37 (May 2000)
  18. If marriage means nothing to you, as it means nothing to me and my spouse, why do you care about signing another piece of paper?
  19. What we really need is to get rid of the concept of marriage, and allow partnerships of two people, regardless of relationship, to confer the benefits of marriage. The rights of children are different, and parenting must be not linked at all to marriage.
  20. It all comes down to one thing: “If you like it then you should have put a ring on it.” Fellows, if you want to lock down the a great girl, you have to get serious about her. You may be having fan picking up college girls at bars, but those girls don’t want to get with overweight 50 year olds.
  21. I am a proud Roman Catholic and my religion teaches that you marry and stay married. Now people still get divorced but many don’t because of their faith, whatever it is you choose to believe in. Doesn’t faith add into the equation on why people get married, divorced or stay together? I think it must somewhere. I married my husband because I loved him, but if I thought of my marriage as a disposable item, I might not still be married, but because of our faith we worked on our problems and are still married, and better off in the long run. Oh, and we do have children to think about too. Marriage isn’t just between me and my husband, but it’s also a sacred right between us and God. Doesn’t that make a difference in the data?
  22. The marriage rate in the US is down. Several studies in the US seem to show that men in general are opting out. The rate of women who say they want to get married is rising. At the same time the rate of men wanting to get married is decreasing. Men are reacting to the real economic reality. If they get married and have children then you can get divorced. Women far more often initiate divorce. When they get divorced women can get 1/2 his stuff, his children, and he has to pay going forward.
  23. Men have adapted. They are not going to college as much, they are taking lower paying jobs and working less. They are choosing to cohabitate and have children out of wedlock. The podcast says lower income people are not marrying. By living together and making less than his partner, a man can have all the benefits of marriage without the pitfalls. Studies also show that men who cohabitate get more sex, their partners gain less weight, they keep and associate with more of their friends, and get to keep more of their stuff in the home, rather than be relegated to the basement or garage.
  24. Today colleges are 55% women, 45% men and the gap is growing. The workforce is about the same with more women entering than men. Why are men choosing not to go? One there is no reason. The idea that if I get a degree, work hard, earn money, then I will be able to support my family is gone. There is very little guarantee. In fact, economically it can work against you. Add to that the fact that colleges are very feminist and almost anti men and the fact that the rules in the workplace have changed. Men are opting out. Yes the workplace is a more comfortable environment for women. No one asked men if they liked that environment. Surveys show that about 56 % of men don’t really care about the changes. About 26% don’t like them. The rest have no opinion. However no one is counting the % not entering or leaving the workforce. How do they feel. It’s like saying Lincoln was a beloved president if you don’t count the states that seceded.
  25. The reasons for working and marrying are disappearing. Men are opting out. All they need is enough money to buy the things they want and support themselves.
  26. What about partnership? Only 63% of men say they are happy in their marriage. Married men are happier than single men. But cohabiting men are happier than all.
  27. You often hear the statistic married people get more sex, or are happier compared to singles. They usually leave out cohabiting couples, or group them in with singles that pull down the data. So people who have higher degrees marry. Did they get the higher degree because they wanted to marry? The divorce rate is down. Well of course. People who used to think they needed to get married to have a family and kids are choosing not to. People who earn less don’t marry? Did men earn less on purpose and avoid marriage on purpose?
  28. Of course marriage on average is not worth it for men. That’s why the decline. But, if you do get married, take the risk, and it works, there is no question you are happy and live longer.
  29. And yeah, monogamy, who needs it. It’s not the 1950s anymore, am I right? We’ve practically evolved into a new species by now! Our basic impulses and instincts have completely changed. Besides, kids certainly don’t seem to do any better or worse whether they have one parent or three, or even six in quick succession. But there I go talking about the kids again when it’s the “free-thinking, animal-loving” adults whose precious feelings and identities we need to be guarding. Allowing polyamory definitely would never lead to mostly polygyny in practice, but even if it did who cares? Polygyny doesn’t have any negative externalities that anyone knows about or could point to.
  30. Marriage is the pledge of a man and a woman to love each other exclusively, for the rest of their lives, with an openness to children. It is so beautiful and important a commitment, to them and to their children and to society, that it is a sacrament in the Church. It is the only form of love that is in keeping with the dignity of the human person. Within such a commitment the two become one flesh, and their children are walking and talking embodiments of the love between the two spouses. It is very beautiful. Up until the 20th century, a VAST majority of the world’s population were basically peasants. Yet, most men eventually married and had kids. If wives were property, how could all those men afford it? If your goal is simply to reduce reproduction among anyone below a certain age or income level regardless of moral implications, then I suppose that’s an approach to try.
  31. I like the “multi-directional attack”, but the one you’ve outlined is like shooting yourself in the foot while trying to walk forward. I don’t know what you mean by “structural improvements,” but abstinence movements encourage people to keep childrearing within the confines of marriage where it belongs, while condoms and abortion lower the costs of sex (and the natural outcome of sex) outside of marriage. The multi-directional attack I was thinking of instead would include: abstinence movements, religious movements, re-stigmatizing illegitimacy, re-stigmatizing bachelorhood and spinsterhood, re-stigmatizing both male and female promiscuity, and basically doing other things to increase the costs of sex outside of marriage.
  32. I personally view marriage as a contractual commitment which, unfortunately, requires death to sever. That is entirely too extreme and is the crux of the unease that inevitably arises as the marriage progresses past the 1st decade or so. I suggest that the marriage contract be revised to include an expiration term with an option to renew. The term may be negotiable to best fit the couple’s circumstances and goals. It should be written to include many of the contentious pieces of divorce so as to clearly define the obligations and SLA’s. Term renewals can be an opportunity to revise obligations. I know this may sound funny, but I really don’t mean it to be humorous in any way. It may be a little less romantic than eloping after 6 weeks of courtship, but it may be a solution to the headaches and mental anguish that is the inevitable state of long term commitments.
  33. Wikipedia’s history of marriage article tells us that marriage has been around since before recorded history, which seems plausible. I think that marriage was probably invented by a coordinated effort between women and beta-men, since alpha men are really the only ones who benefit in the long term from a society without marriage. Your statements about marriage and family being relics of the past don’t seem to account for what happens once children are created. Who raises them?
  34. Single moms have proven inadequate; their children consistently fall behind those of married couples in every regard. Children raised in batches by professional childcare workers don’t do well either (look at the experiences of the kibbutzim in Israel). (If I remember right, this was the system in Brave New World.). Evolution has endowed us humans with a great system, rigorously tested and perfected for hundreds of thousands of years. It is bizarre how so many people seem eager to abandon it.
* These opinions are culled from both registered Twoology users, and a diverse selection from other places. We choose not to identify comments by name because the intention here is to provide you with vastly opinions for your careful consideration. If you’d like to leave a Comment, please do!
As always, Twoology’s ‘heartiest’ recommendation is to continue practicing your Relationship ABC’s (Always Be Courting — each other) if you want live, lust, love and like each other, happier ever after.

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