In Defense Of Marriage

OlderAndWiser u
You must listen! I want to warn you!
You must listen! I want to warn you!

This site provides a venue for frequent discussions about the merits of marriage. Most of those who write are young to middle-aged men, and it appears that most have been married but are now divorced. They preach that marriage is evil, it has no benefit for men, it exists solely for the benefit of women, and it otherwise is a source of ills and afflictions that any idiot should want to avoid. They also claim, quite zealously, that marriage is an outdated institution and that forward thinking men should certainly see that which is "obvious."

Mighty damned happy . . . at least for now!
Mighty damned happy . . . at least for now!

First, let's define the concept. "Marriage" does not refer exclusively to the relationship between people who obtained a marriage license at a courthouse. For this discussion, I will define "marriage" as an agreement between a man and a woman (if you object to my definition and want to talk about same-sex marriages, feel free to write your own myTake on that subject.) The two agree to enter into a long term relationship which they anticipate will generally include living together, sharing financial obligations and benefits, sharing a marital bed, having children (if they are of child bearing age,) and inheritance rights. (Not every marriage includes all of those elements, but most marriages contain most of those elements.)

In Defense Of Marriage

Marriage may come about as a result of a government-issued marriage license, a ceremony and blessing by a religious organization, or by mutual agreement in areas which recognize common law marriage. Marriages may be arranged solely by the parties themselves, by parents, by contract, or by religious organizations.

In Defense Of Marriage

The existence of marriage relationships predates recorded history. The earliest physical evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting one woman and one man dates from around 2,350 B.C. in Mesopotamia. Marriage, in various forms, exists in every society and culture on the planet. Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and other religions also recognize marriage as a sacred institution.

Early marriages were often polygamous for the benefit of the man only, but by around the ninth century, the Catholic church's insistence on monogamy prevailed and it became the standard in Western cultures. The rules for marriage have changed over the years; e.g., the minimum age required to marry, the requirements to establish a valid marriage, and the subjugation of a wife to her husband have certainly been dramatically transformed. Otherwise, the concept of husband and wife has not changed much over the centuries.

Hey, Wilma, would you get up and get me a beer out of the fridge?
Hey, Wilma, would you get up and get me a beer out of the fridge?

With several millennia of marriage as a worldwide practice, it is probably premature to say that marriage has outlived its usefulness. Its detractors point to rising divorce rates in support of their claim, but they ignore the actual data:

In Defense Of Marriage

"Divorce in America has been falling fast in recent years, and it just hit a record low in 2019. For every 1,000 marriages in the last year, only 14.9 ended in divorce, according to the newly released American Community Survey data from the Census Bureau. This is the lowest rate we have seen in 50 years. It is even slightly lower than 1970, when 15 marriages ended in divorce per 1,000 marriages.

A lower divorce rate means longer marriages. According to the new Census data, the median duration of current marriages in the U.S. has increased almost one year in the recent decade, from 19 years in 2010 to 19.8 years in 2019."

Nonetheless, when a marriage fails, the pain can be protracted and consuming.

Why do couples divorce? They don't divorce because they awaken one day and "realize" that marriage is a failed institution. They divorce for specific reasons, usually relating to financial matters, lack of sexual satisfaction, infidelity, substance abuse and addiction, domestic violence, or unremitting arguments and squabbles. However, many marriages that survive for decades have faced these same problems, overcome them, and remained intact. I invite you to comment with your opinions about why marriages fail, but I present here my observations


1. Many couples marry because they are "in love" and they believe that getting married is what you are supposed to do when you are in love. Marriage requires more than love to survive. Good long term relationships require love, lust, trust, and respect; good marriages require all of that plus a mutual commitment to make the marriage successful.

A bit too young, dont you think?
A bit too young, don't you think?

2. Many couples marry too soon. Regardless of how well you think you know someone, or how strongly you think you love them, you do not know them very well after four months, or six months. It is impossible to know, with certainty, whether someone will be a good partner for you for the rest of your life after you have been dating for even two years. Of course, if you are going to get married at any point in your life, there will always be some degree of uncertainty, but how can you possibly decide if someone is right for you after only six months?

In Defense Of Marriage

3. Many couples have fantasy expectations for marriage. If you find the right partner, they assume, you will never argue, fight, or have substantial disagreements. I know very few couples who NEVER argue or fight, and for those few marriages, I always assume that one of the partners is extremely submissive to the other partner's wishes. I don't recommend being that submissive. You should ASSUME that you will have disagreements and fights in your marriage, and the test of your relationship is not whether they happen, but how you handle them when they do arise.

4. If you have these erroneous expectations, then the existence of conflict is interpreted as evidence that you have made a poor choice for your partner, and you should not have married them.

In Defense Of Marriage

5. Some couples get married and soon switch to auto-pilot mode. However, a marriage does not sustain itself. It requires the efforts and attention of both partners. Simply drifting along and reacting to whatever happens is NOT a good strategy for any relationship.

. . . and Gods gift to warthogs is NOT marriage material!
. . . and God's gift to warthogs is NOT marriage material!

6. Some people are simply not well suited for marriage but they still get married, quite often as a result of family or peer pressure.

What was once treasured is now trash!
What was once treasured is now trash!

7. Some people have a throwaway mentality. In the 1950's and 1960's, if an appliance stopped working, you repaired it yourself or you took it to a repair shop. Occasionally, something would be deemed to be beyond repair, but that was the exception, not the rule. In 2021, if an appliance or electronic equipment stops working properly, you usually just replace it. And some things get replaced even if they are working properly, like cell phones, laptops, tablets, and PCs.

When one of these problems arises, people head for court to get divorced. And then they tell their family, friends, and whoever else will listen, that marriage is a failed institution.

Why do they say "marriage is a failed institution?" Because it is easier to blame the "institution" than to blame themselves, and a large part of contemporary culture seems to encourage people to do whatever they want without accepting the consequences of their actions, and many of us always look for someone, or something else, to blame.

In Defense Of Marriage

Did the institution of marriage "make" people get married? No.

Did the institution of marriage "make" people get married too soon or too young? No.

Did the institution of marriage "make" people get married to the wrong partner? No.

Did the institution of marriage "make" people argue and blame rather than discuss and resolve issues? No.

Did the institution of marriage "make" people neglect their marriage? No.

Did the institution of marriage "make" people have a throwaway mentality? No.

Did the institution of marriage "make" people drive to the courthouse to file their divorce? No.

Marriage did not fail all of these people. No, these people failed themselves . . . and they failed their partners. And if they blame "the institution of marriage" instead of accepting responsibility for their failures, what are the odds that they will be motivated to learn from their mistakes? If they don't address their mistakes, then perhaps they should remain single so maybe it's okay for them to be in this blame mindset, but that doesn't mean that you must believe it when the butthurt and lonely proclaim that marriage is dead.

In Defense Of Marriage
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34Guy Opinion

Most Helpful Girl

  • Anonymous

    For the most part, at least in Western society, people choose to get married. You enter into a relationship with someone and continue on because you see something within them that you haven't seen in anyone else and you want to see those qualities for the rest of your life. So when I hear people say, "its always the woman's fault," or 'I should have known," or advising others, especially men to other men, not to get married, I think okay, if I worked at a job and it was terrible, I don't advise people never to work again because another job 'might' be terrible.

    No one ever wants to admit that the demise of a marriage was partially their fault. It's simply easier to blame the other person or the institution of marriage. I've been surrounded my whole life by love marriages throughout the decades and it hasn't been an easy romp for all involved but some of the reasons people break up now, are the same reasons these couples have put in the time, effort, and work to make sure they don't become a statistic because they invest in their relationships. If one does not want to get married, don't get married of course. It's not for you. No one says you have to but also take responsibility for your life and your actions and learn that not every woman and not every man is the same. You can have one hell marriage, get divorced and find the love of your life the next year, but closing the door and your eyes to that potential is on you if you get all consumed by bitterness.

    Like 3 People
    Is this still revelant?
    • @OlderAndWiser. Would you agree that marriage is a traditional institution?

    • t-8900

      thats all well and good but lets remove alimony from the marriage then. Also still the breadwinner could lose up to 50% of their belongings. That's a lot to gamble on.

    • Show All

Most Helpful Guy

  • Massageman

    Very nice, very true. When does the book come out? :- )

    Too bad that satan is giving people a convenient out- it's the "inistitution's" fault, it's the "ancestors' fault", it's the "company's " fault, blah, blah - everyone's fault except theirs!

    My wife is a counselor and says its just SO. HARD. to believe that [when she does couples counseling] that the wife and the husband are both referring to the same marriage, since their stories are so divergent.

    Thank for the great post.

    Like 3 People
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • Brainsbeforebeauty

    Great take!! Preach it! When I say I was with my hubby 20 years people think that means it was a perfect relationship... And heck no cuz there's no such thing... But we were committed to the relationship, each other and the family we created together..

    Like 9 People
  • coachTanthony

    Very good read and well thought out. I am pro marriage but also promote LIFE TIME PARTNERSHIPS as an alternative. I think pre-marriage counseling should be a thing much like many other things we have to do before making a serious commitment to something. Many go to counseling once the relationship goes off the rails and not enough couples go for preventative measures.

    You can't drive a car until you get lessons. You can't become an attorney until you are fully educated on the subject. You can't get a gun permit without going through classes and taking a test.

    I think the same should go for marriage. Many just wing it with no playbook or direction which leads to more and more divorces which get easier to file by the day. Just my thoughts

    LikeDisagree 23 People
  • Darklydarkened

    Marrige is a deal made by men with society to exchange ''possession'' of women. That was what it was. It's a by product of settled agricultural societies, it was a way to secure women position in male dominant societies and unlike most modern people think, the traditional values were made to protect women.

    Ancient peoples lived in smaller communes, and everybody had a defined role in society. Marrige is designed to provide a man with a suitable mate, and also making sure he is responsible of her safety and upkeep, also the marrige celebrations made sure that the entire society are aware of who belongs to whom.

    I still don't see any spesific benefit in marrige in our current day for men. In eastern cultures, many men get freedom of regular sex and they usually are motivated to marry just for that. But western societies are individualistic these days so people do not feel the need of having their own family to be reckoned as a civilian, or a full citizen.

    That's the main reason people do not find meaning in it. It's not like people are keen on having kids immedaitely anymore, nor they live in small villages, never leaving their birthplace and tending their soil, nor they keep big families that are organised like small tribes

    As it is, marrige provides a lot of securities for women whilst putting men in jeopardy. So why bother?

    Like 2 People
    • There are many, many happily married men who would disagree with you, but marriage is not the answer for may people.

    • There are many many miserable married men who'd disagree with those who disagree with me.

      What people feel about is irrelevant. There people who feel quite wholesome by being wipped by someone who has tight leather clothes too, so what?

      It's not how people feel, it's about why they fell that way.

    • The problem with unhappy married people is not the institution of marriage; the problem is the people.

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  • KrakenAttackin

    Divorce rates have fallen because marriage rates have plummeted. Until women stop seeing men as disposable units of production, the marriage rates will continue to decline.

    Let's put a fine point on it:. The moment a man says "I do" his odds of suicide TRIPLES.

    LikeDisagree 8 People
    • Ellie-V

      I agree with you. I just don’t know what the issue is. Men see women as disposable all the time and have proven so. When the energy is returned to you, what’s the big deal?

    • Actually:

      "The suicide rate among divorced adults is more than three times that of married adults, while the suicide rate among singles is 1.5 to 2 times the rate among those who are married. In other words, marriage is a protective factor for suicide risk."

    • @Ellie-V Ellie, women have the full power of the state behind them. 80% of the time it is the woman who files divorce (disposes of the husband) and immediately utilizes the armed power of government to forcibly extract as much in resources from her former husband as she can. In some states if you were married for 10 years and divorce the man has to lay the women alimony FOR LIFE.

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  • bamesjond0069

    Lots of good points and i don't disagree much, however i think you gloss over key criticisms in a dismissive way:

    "The rules for marriage have changed over the years; e. g., the minimum age required to marry, the requirements to establish a valid marriage, and the subjugation of a wife to her husband have certainly been DRAMATICALLY TRANSFORMED. Otherwise, the concept of husband and wife has NOT CHANGED MUCH over the centuries."

    So I ask has marriage dramatically transformed or not changed much? In my opinion it has dramatically transformed from something that was highly beneficial to men and offered a key benefit to women to something that is highly beneficial to women with no benefit to men. Seeing as its primarily women with the marriage desire, why should a man bother?

    You explain lots of things people are doing wrong... and i agree with everything you said... but maybe a bullet point list of benefits for men would be enlightening since i can't even think of one thing. Especially of legal marriage, which props for saying its different but that is 99% what people are talking about. Sure i would make a commitment to have a family with a girl but all the bells and whistles and paperwork etc? No thanks. Now does that make me married? Ehhh. I dont think most people would agree.

    Like 1 Person
    • When I wrote " the concept of husband and wife has NOT CHANGED MUCH over the centuries" I should have clarified that I was referring to the way that a husband and wife interact with each other within a marriage.

    • Thats where I disagree. The man was always the head of the household and this was upheld by legal means. Ie wife was improperly behaving at a bar drunk, a husband could legally force her home. Try that today and the police will promptly arrest you if they become involved. Women only need to accept the man as HoH as much as they want and at any time for any reason can decline. This is what i see is the biggest problem for marriages. Men are not HoH anymore and if they are its simply an illusion as legally the woman holds more legal powers than the men and can take control of the man more than he can take control of her. Making him not Hoh.

  • Lliam

    Outstanding MyTake, OlderAndWiser.

    For a dumb ass, I somehow managed to do it right.

    First, I always liked the female gender. I never entertained the notion that men were superior on anything but size and strength. I have no problem with sexually active women, either. They're entitled to celebrate their sexuality.

    I had several girlfriends in my life, beginning when I was 16. I had no intention of getting married or having kids at an early age because I sensed that I wasn't intellectually or emotionally mature enough to sustain that kind of commitment. But our relationships were monogamous while we were together. I always had a sense of what I thought of as chivalry.

    It wasn't until I reached my mid-30s that I started considering the idea of finding a life partner and settling down. At that point, I went through a couple more girlfriends but didn't get married because I didn't feel secure enough that a life with those women would last. It was just a feeling I had that there wasn't enough mutual trust between us.

    I finally met a woman when I was 40. She was different. She was two years younger than me and had never. been married, either. I sensed that was for the same reasons I had never been married. We both took the idea of marriage very seriously. like a commitment that was irrevocable, a solemn vow, a pledge of honor.

    We dated exclusively for a year before I was certain that I could trust her. Plus, we had common values and got along better than with anyone else I had ever known. Our conversations were fun and interesting and just flowed. I proposed a year after we met. We got married a year after that.

    While we were still dating, she asked if I would be willing to accompany her to a couple's counselor. It seemed like an odd request but I agreed. Come to find out, it helped us to learn a lot about each other and I learned stuff about myself that I hadn't even been aware of. Her request made me even more certain that she was cautious about committing to marriage.

    So, we got married. We had some squabbles and even fights, especially at first. It's not easy for two people to learn how to live together. But neither of us considered walking away. We talked and worked things out. because we cared about each other.

    Over the years, she signed us up (with my agreement) for more couples counseling, not because our marriage was in trouble, but to strengthen our relationship and make it even more healthy. I have to say that counseling is very beneficial. I've learned an incredible amount and we've both become very good at communicating.

    We've now been happily married now for 25 years.
    1) I waited until I felt I was ready to settle down.
    2) We both waited to meet the right person.
    3) I respect women and I have the greatest love and respect for my wife. She loves and respects me equally.
    4) We both consider marriage to be a solemn vow that isn't entered into lightly.
    5) We trust each other completely.
    6) We are best friends and equal partners in life.
    7) We are both 100% committed to keeping our relationship happy and healthy. We accomplish that by actively working at it.

    Like 2 People
  • Aiko_E_Lara

    Sure there are successful marriage there and no one is saying men don't get benefits on marriage but the risk is still way higher than the benefit and it doesn't make much difference to be in a relationship without the government involved in your life. Showing examples of successful marriage is like cherry picked and a survivorship bias.

    Like 4 People
    • That is a common attitude that has been successfully promoted by the media.

    • For what reason then? Perhaps it's true? It's not always the case that just because media said so, it's always a lie. Maybe marriage would really be a thing if the government and the family court would really treat men and women equally and people wouldn't mind marriage but in reality, that's not really the case. Even statistics shows that the divorce rate is really high and yes 50% is already considered high due to the risk outweighing the benefits and filed by women most of the time. I get that it can be men's fault but what about if it's really her fault? If you just wanna generalize people who don't want to get married are "selfish, not willing to take responsibility, potential cheater or whatever" tell me, how is it even impossible to be loyal and responsible without marriage? If it's selfish, what would be their selfish reason to say marriage is a "must" in their relationship?

    • Your argument is that marriage is bad because we must plan for it to fail and then it would be bad. It's not an indictment of marriage but an indictment of divorce laws, right?

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  • Slartybartfast

    "Early marriages were often polygamous for the benefit of the man only,"

    In order for one man to have 8 wives seven out of every 8 men must die. In other words, the ONLY societies with entrenched polygamy are so terrible that the majority of men die before puberty.

    Like 1 Person
    • I should like to add, that 1/3 women used to die in childbirth, back when proper marital age was correlated to her first menstrual bloods. 1/3 Girls be dying at the age of puberty ( ~13) through no choice of their own (Because a husband was entitled to sex and she was accepted to expect her genetic fate).

    • So if a guy doesn't marry, his only choice is to die?

  • TwistedTube

    Amazing take, I also felt that all of this was something that needed to be adressed. another thing that I believe personally, is that people take marriage too lightly these days. they don't see it as a promise you can't break anymore. they see it as an unbreakable promise until it starts to weigh on them.

    I'm kind of an extremist in this thoughtline, and many people will not agree with me or even heavily be against this opinion of mine; I believe that when you're married, that's it. there should never be a divorce at all. no matter what happens in the marriage. everything that happens in the marriage is something that I see as a consequence of you deciding to marry that specific person; which is the reason why you should not just marry whoever you love. it's the reason why you should be together with someone for a long long time before you marry, and its the reason why you should have experienced the deep low and the sky high in your relationship before you start marrying someone.
    you DO NOT "just know" when someone is marriage material for you.

    I believe marriage is an absolutely beautiful thing that exists in this world. it saddens me to see that so many people seem to want to besmirch it, and are almost fighting to abolish it. I sincerely hope that we can overcome these negative ideas about marriage, for a future without marriage is a dystopia to me.

    Like 1 Person
  • MzAsh

    Well done! I’m glad there is at least a few other people on here who seem to understand that marriage is a facet of relationship building. And relationship building takes maturity, skills, and competency. These things are what a lot of people lack to make marriage work. They either just aren’t aware of that or they are and don’t want to admit it.

    LikeDisagree 6 People
  • cth96190

    For a man, any form of relationship with a female is all liability and no benefit.
    Women, as a collective, have made themselves too legally and financially dangerous to be around.

    LikeDisagree 12 People
    • I would disagree, there are numerous benefits for the Male to be in a relationship with the Female. Please try not to generalize, all women are not the same.

    • cth96190

      What are the benefits?
      I cannot think of any.

    • @NEOTUNIA2U "all women are not the same." However, they *can be* that way if they wish. And the fact that they can be that way, at any time, is like the proverbial Sword of Damocles hanging over any marriage:

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  • msc545

    Very interesting mytake. However, as you stated in this about halfway up, "Nonetheless, when a marriage fails, the pain can be protracted and consuming.

    Why do couples divorce? They don't divorce because they awaken one day and "realize" that marriage is a failed institution. They divorce for specific reasons, usually relating to financial matters, lack of sexual satisfaction, infidelity, substance abuse and addiction, domestic violence, or unremitting arguments and squabbles. However, many marriages that survive for decades have faced these same problems, overcome them, and remained intact."

    Let's talk about the marriages that do not survive. By and large, men and their children are the recipients of the horrible damage inflicted by Family Law courts in the name of "equity":

    Women initiate divorces about 90% of the time in the US.

    Women get legal and physical custody of children about 85% of the time in the US.

    Men usually pay about 40 to 60% of their gross salaries in child support in the US

    Women achieve full custody of children and impose supervised visitation on men by use of the "nuclear option" - an allegation of sexual abuse of the children by the father that is almost always accepted as true by most courts for purposes of child custody. "Abuse" is also sometimes used in place of "sexual abuse".

    Property settlements and orders almost always favor women, who, having achieved custody of the children are almost always awarded the family home and a disproportionate share of the community property.

    Courts do not enforce men's visitation orders, so women are generally free to simply deny men visitation, then complain in court that men do not see their children, which leads to reduced visitation nd increased child support.

    I can go on and on, but I think you probably know all of the rest of what I would write, and it is late and I am tired.

    I will close with this: given that all i have said is true based on my own experiences and those of many other men, any man who gets married or who has children with a woman is a self-destructive, deluded fool. We all used to believe in marriage once, until we did it and found out the truth.

    LikeDisagree 5 People
    • Your statistics on the consequences of divorce sound like they were taken down as notes at a MGTOW rally instead of being pulled from actual data compilations. In the state of Florida, custody of children is divided almost equally between both parents if dad wants more than the usual amount, and child support awards are typically in the range of $150-250 per month for one child. If you have any sources that back up the statistics you supplied, I'd like to see them; I suspect that they are quite dated. This reminds me of the people who talk about the rising divorce rate when it is actually at a 50-year low.

    • Florida, for now, is still reasonably governed. Come 3,000 miles west to the Left Coast, and sadly msc545 is spot on.

    • @Curmudgeon So why do people think California is the great utopia?

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  • Adam1978

    I still stand my point that you should avoid government involvement in your relationship. If you need a peace of paper to commit to build a relationship there is something wrong with you. You can have a agreement with your partner and do everything in a traditional marriage without a government paper.

    LikeDisagree 4 People
  • Curmudgeon

    This may have once been the case, but in the culture today, it sadly no longer is. We want marriages to thrive again, we have to detoxify the current culture:
    Like 2 People
  • Goatmeal

    Thought most of this was very good, really liked the historical background and that this wasn't just confined to a US context.

    Disagree somewhat with the personal responsibility bit at the end. There is some truth to it, sure, but I think some of these bitter divorcees are really expressing frustration with a) nature, and what mating is really like for men, and b) modern Western society, and how it treats men.

    Expressing frustration obviously doesn't solve the problem, but it at least draws attention to it.

    I think society pushes this idea that everyone can pair off and be relatively happy etc. But that is simply not the case for many men. Hypergamy is real. A significant number of men will simply never be picked. Our culture should be honest about this instead of telling those men that they are "privileged". Add to that the routine discrimination against men in cases involving child custody. There are issues, and the frustration with marriage didn't come out of thin air or because all of these men are lazy and irresponsible.

    Like 1 Person
  • UncleJessieRabbit

    Don't get me wrong here, marriage is good on paper but collectively modern society and governments failed marriage as an institution.

    Like 5 People
    • Bingo!

    • Not bingo.

      Please explain how government failed marriage.

      Please explain how society failed marriage.

      I am asking because a marital relationship is something that is developed and worked by husband and wife; you don't have the government telling you that you MUST live together or you must have a joint checking account or anything else like that. It is what you make it and when it fails, it fails because you failed, not government or society.

      Blaming government or society is just playing the blame game to which I referred in the post.

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  • HSSC12

    I think it’s apparent the government should stay out of the “marriage game” completely. It’s not fair to hetero or homosexuals. That’s personal choice out of mutual love. The only thing the government ever “loved" out of me is still my tax money.

    Like 2 People
  • Snakeyes7

    I can see where you are going with this but I disagree with the use of the divorce stat.

    It’s possible that this could be because less people are getting married overall especially within the last decade.

    Like 1 Person
    • Yes, the number is not automatically lower because fewer people are getting married. The number is a rate, so it is adjusted for the population size. The number is lower because people are waiting later to get married, they are more mature and more aware of what they want, so their marriages are more likely to survive.

    • Snakeyes7

      Ah ok thank you.

  • genericname85

    marriage isn't evil. it is an institution made to protect women from men just leaving them so they are stuck with their children alone, which historically meant, they'll probably die, if they don't live in a tibal or more modern societal arrangement.

    though with todays emancipation, marriage really has no benefit for anyone involved anymore. it just feeds an expensive, predatory industry that sells overpriced services and goods for no reason.

    Like 2 People
  • Kas19

    Agreed. Relationships/marriage is a commitment. I think couples should grow together, and I'm not just talking about age. Marriage is overhyped for many reasons.

    Like 4 People
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