Are there any good men out there?

by Elizabeth on February 23, 2011 · 5 comments

Chart of Relationships

Recently there was an article released by the Wall Street Journal called Where Have the Good Men Gone?

“Not so long ago, the average American man in his 20s had achieved most of the milestones of adulthood: a high-school diploma, financial independence, marriage and children. Today, most men in their 20s hang out in a novel sort of limbo, a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance.”

Society, the media and marketers are encouraging this lifestyle. The limbo period she talks about is made possible because 20-somethings have the path paved for doing nothing, enjoying life and figuring it all out…without the traditional family plan.

What is up with these men? And, what are women up to? It seems like women may be going the opposite direction as more are attending college, graduate school and climbing up the corporate ladder. Why can’t both of the sexes be successful, happy and well-off?

In 1970, just 16% of Americans ages 25 to 29 had never been married; today that’s true of an astonishing 55% of the age group.

People are waiting longer to get married…couples are waiting longer to have kids….if they have them at all.

What do you think are the implications of this new way of living on society? Do you think the institute of marriage is going to be disregarded someday in the future all together?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Alyssa February 27, 2011 at 2:06 pm

These statistics are rather depressing for all the young ladies out there looking for a responsible gentleman. It seems that many couples are choosing cohabitation instead of marriage. Is there fear of making a mistake by marrying the wrong one? Yes, marriage requires a great commitment, but it also results in a invaluable relationship that is exremely special. I hope that our society finds the value in marriage once again.

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Elizabeth February 27, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I hope our society values marriage again as well. It is one of the most valuable gifts we are given…and it’s sad to see people just throwing it by the wayside.

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Bob March 23, 2011 at 7:35 am

“What is up with these men?”

Is that a serious question? Well, let’s see what’s up with these men.

Perhaps, they grew up as children of divorce. A divorce that was nasty, long and bitter. Perhaps they found that their fathers, who were forced to leave the home, never tried to communicate with their sons. Only to found out years later that their mothers fended off such communication because she was bitter and angry at her ex.

Maybe today’s young men have seen what a rotten deal marriage is for men. A man today risks at least half of everything he has worked for over the years on the goodwill of the woman he marries. She can have him thrown out of the house merely by telling police that she’s afraid of him. In a divorce, a soon to-be ex-wife can falsely claim that her husband abuses or molests their children and be believed with no evidence to support such a claim. In fact, many divorce lawyers specifically instruct their female clients to do just that.

Finally, what exactly do today’s women bring to a marriage? A sense of entitlement? Feminist beliefs when convenient and old-fashioned values when not?

Unfortunately, marriage today is simply a risk not worth taking for men. Men are tired of being little more than wallets with legs. Until good women, if there is such a thing, stand up and get rid of the laws that make marriage a no-win situation for men, this problem will continue.

Remember, if you reward something, you get more of it. If you punish something, you get less of it. Scornful women yelling at men to “Man-up!!” will not change that essential fact.

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Elizabeth March 23, 2011 at 8:56 am

Thanks for your comment Bob. Due to the high divorce rates in our society, it has impacted both men and women when they consider marriage. It’s no longer uncommon for the woman to be the one who isn’t ready to get married. The reference in the article was just about men-but it’s true for both sides.
I believe that marriage is a true partnership. Men shouldn’t be expected to do everything for their wife and family-it needs to be a balance. Of course balance in all areas of life is hard to achieve, but it’s certainly something to strive for. Men and women also have different roles in a relationship because they are…different. This doesn’t mean the man always works and the woman stays home…it just means they have different ways of contributing to the marriage.
Marriage aids to a sense of of stability in our lives and the lives of our children. Of course, it unfortunately doesn’t always work out….but we can’t let fear take away marriage totally. Marriage is something that is incomparable to anything else-there isn’t anything that can replace it with the same benefit.

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Bob March 26, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Elizabeth, I failed to address your original post, so I will do so now.

“Society, the media and marketers are encouraging this lifestyle.” No, not really. What encourages this lifestyle is the fact that men are realizing that the traditional path through life of a wife and children is fraught with danger. As I mentioned in my original post above, men are taking a huge risk financially if they get married today.

The so-called “limbo” period referred to by the crayon scrawler Kay Hymowitz is self-refuted in the same sentence with the reference to 20-something men “enjoying life”. The fact that these men are “enjoying life” while avoiding marriage should give you and indeed all women serious pause. Why is an unmarried man who is “enjoying life” so horrifying to women? I’d love to hear your answer. My answer can be found within my previous post where I mentioned that men today are treated as little more than wallets with legs.

You asked what is up with these men. I answered that in my previous post.

Now, in your reply to my post, you mention that the high divorce rates in our society have impacted both men and women when each considers marriage. What you didn’t mention is that women initiate two-thirds of all divorces. (“These Boots Are Made for Walking: Why Most Divorce Filers Are Women” by Margaret Brinig of Notre Dame University and Douglas Allen of the University of Iowa, released in 2000) It isn’t the stereotypical older guy trading in wife number 1 for a younger model.

Later on, you say, “…it unfortunately doesn’t always work out….but we can’t let fear take away marriage totally.” Yes. Unfortunate the way it is unfortunate that a skydiver whose parachute fails to open will be brutally splattered all over the ground upon impact. It’s not a question of fear. Fear is a sometimes useful but usually irrational emotion. It has nothing to do with fear and everything to do with risk tolerance. What sane person would do something with a better than 50% chance of failure and a 66% chance of failure coming by surprise with the stakes being his finances, his future and his well-being. Against this substantial risk is precious little reward. The fact is, women simply do not run the same risks as men do with marriage.

To sum up, you appear to believe that men are simply fearful of marriage. My theory is that men have performed a cost-benefit analysis on marriage and concluded that marriage does not bring anywhere close to the level of reward required by the assumption of such high levels of risk.

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