Article updated: January 5, 2021
Marriage is on the decline, and it's a scary thought. Imagine dating a man for years, cohabitating, and giving the relationship your all without him ever having to "put a ring on it." No matrimony, no wedding dress, and no big celebration with family and friends. What about the thought of having children without marriage?
It’s fine if you don't believe in marriage, but the rest of us do. Most women look forward to tying the knot with the man of their dreams, but what will happen if millions of men refuse to get married? This is what's currently happening in America and many other parts of the world.
Historically Low Marriage Rates in America
U.S. News reported that marriage rates reached a historic low in 2018, with only 6.5 people out of 1,000 getting married — the lowest level in 118 years.
Marriage rates reached a historic low in 2018, with only 6.5 people out of 1,000 getting married.
Philip Cohen, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland, says, "Women's independence and gender equality is a huge factor in the long-term decline in marriage."
There has also been a rise in men's rights groups such as Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) and the Manosphere, where men in droves complain about men's unfair treatment in relationships and family courts. They're tired of being brow-beaten by women and the gender bias laws against men. For this reason, millions of men don't want to get married and are opting out of marriage altogether.
Men Avoid Marriage Because It’s Too Risky and Too Costly
Men are not marrying because, for many men, the rewards for getting married are far less than they used to be, while the cost and dangers of it are far higher.
Ultimately, men know they could lose a lot, from losing their freedom to being financially exploited to losing custody of their children. It's common knowledge that the courts favor women over men. They’re renowned for favoring women regarding the division of assets, child support, and alimony even if they aren't married.
Men lose money.
For example, an Ontario businessman was ordered to pay more than $50,000 a month to his ex-girlfriend despite neither owning a house nor having children together. Under Ontario law, an unmarried couple is considered common-law spouses if they have cohabitated — lived together in a conjugal relationship — for at least three years.
Men lose their children.
In the U.K., Liz Jones, a columnist at the Daily Mail, reported how she stole her ex-boyfriend's sperm to try to get pregnant but failed. And how one of her friends lied to a new boyfriend that she was on the Pill. He’s now in a new relationship and has to pay support for a child he never sees.
Entrapment pregnancy, a.k.a. forced fatherhood, is a common problem in the United States too. Many men feel paying support for a child they didn’t agree to have is unfair, but the courts see it as doing what’s right for the child. A woman receiving child support can also claim government assistance (welfare, free health insurance, etc.) while the man gets nothing.
In the event of a married couple divorcing, men only get custody of their children 10% of the time but are always responsible for paying child support and alimony. Many men complain that courts send the message that fathers are not essential to raising children beyond the point of paying child support.
In a society that strives for equality, maybe these gender laws are outdated? Women make up 50% of the labor force, so why do we claim unfair gender divides regarding marriage and family disputes? If the risks involved in entering marriage were equally distributed, perhaps more men will feel like they have less to lose?
It's such a minefield, and change might not happen fast. Still, if we want to see men viewing marriage in a positive light again so we can continue to have strong family units, it will take a long-term focused effort from women, men, and the government. Being aware of the issues men face, empathizing, and trying to see it from their perspective is a great place to start.