Don't Marry Essay. Why Marriage Has Become a Raw Deal for Men
Written By: Lee Raconteur
Don't Marry Essay
By: Lee Raconteur
This writing seeks to educate men about the realities of what he may be getting himself into when he marries. An informed decision is less likely to be one that is later regretted. The intent is not to dissuade men from marrying, but to encourage them in communicating frankly their concerns and expectations of marriage with their potential spouses. The aim of this writing is to also enlighten women with some of the reasons why increasing numbers of successful eligible unmarried men, who otherwise prefer monogamous long-term relationships, are turning their backs on marriage.
Society automatically paints a stereotype on men who hesitate, delay, or elect not to marry. They are labelled as:
The cost of proclaiming your undying love
** Disclaimer: For the purposes of this essay, I will be generalizing about the potential circumstances and gender roles that can plague men in today's modern marriage. What is the exception and what it the rule is open to debate. Certainly not all (or perhaps even most?) marriages end up as described. However, the aim is to simply educate men of some of the potential outcomes that exist for today's marriage and divorce.
This just portends the things to come. Immediately after buying a ring, the man may be rewarded with demands of financing all or part of a lavish wedding.... (Depending on the size of his bank account.) The costs of today's weddings exceed that of a house down payment. (Or in certain parts of the country, the house itself) If a man enters a marriage having saved up a down payment for his dream home, it can suddenly be snatched from right from under him. Many men may object to spending this sum of money on a one-day party. (Or spending a year of their life planning it, when they could use the same time to further their career or education) However, what a man wants is really not of any concern. Non-negotiable. A wedding is no longer for the bride and groom. As today's Bridezilla gleefully reminds you, "This is MY day". (Which ostensibly, gives her carte blanche to become selfish, irresponsible, and childlike) Are all women like this? Not at all. Could this be your future wife? Possibly. A man who balks at spending his entire life savings (or going into debt for) a ring & wedding & exotic 5-star honeymoon can be labeled a selfish cheapskate or not a "real man". (Meanwhile, what exactly constitutes a "real woman"?) In fact, if a woman leaves a man for suggesting they try to keep their costs under control, she would have full support from everyone around her. "She can do better than that"...."Clearly, he doesn't love her"..... etc. This is a sign of good self-esteem, and that she won't settle for anything less. Yet, in the same breath of this sense of entitlement, women proudly proclaim how equal & independent they are. However, can you imagine if a man demanded equal treatment? For example, demanding the woman buy him a boat, and a 2 week bear hunt in Siberia as a condition of marriage? This would be viewed as absurd, yet women do it every day. Marriage is a partnership, right? Please read on, my friend.
The injustices can go from bad to worse when children enter the picture. If the man can afford to carry the entire financial burden, the woman can elect to stop working. (Regardless of how the man may feel about the decision) The day the woman stops working is the day all of her past financial baggage unequivocally gets thrown onto the man's head. If the woman has racked up credit card debts, these are now his payments. If the woman has not bothered to pay off her student loans, these also become the man's responsibility. (Stomach-churning irony = the man is stuck paying for her degree, and she's not even working anymore!!) And can the man object? Can he say, "No, you made your mess, and it should not be my job to clean it up. You knew you wanted kids even before you met me, and you should have planned ahead." No, the payments can't be deferred until she is once again able to continue repaying them herself (Besides, that day may never come) Not if he wants to retain a clean credit rating to get a loan for their dream home. If he even suggested that she return to work to pay off her own debts, he would be chastised as bad father, endangering the welfare of his newborn. So, the responsible husband now compensates for the mother's freewheeling irresponsible past, and pays off all her debts. In yet another sick twist of irony, the husband may be paying off credit cards used to finance vacations and xmas gifts shared with previous boyfriends, etc. Buyer beware! This is the reward for today's man who works hard, makes sacrifices, plans ahead, and invests wisely. Again, this doesn't always happen. But by getting married, the man is certainly susceptible to being railroaded into this situation, because it is completely acceptable within today's accepted gender roles. Are all women like this? No. Could this be your future wife? Possibly.
Marriage can mean career slavery
If she stops working, she may never work again.
What motivation does the modern wife have to return to work? Very little. For several years now, the man's salary has been enough to live on. (Otherwise, she would have been working) Unless tight finances dictate that she must return to work, the husband really has little say in this matter. The wife can hide behind many different excuses in order not to work, despite having little to do from 7am-3pm:
"I'm busy with the housework"
"I can't find a job"
"It doesn't pay for me to work"
It should be duly noted that some working wives view their salary as "personal spending money", and still expect the man to pay all or most of the bills. (What's mine is mine, and what's yours is ours.) Are all women like this? No. Could this be your future wife? Possibly.
Even more unfair double standards that favor wives
When a woman cheats, the first thing people ask is what he did (or didn't do) to drive her into the arms of another man.
When a woman cheats, sometimes the reaction can be, "Oh, poor thing, I guess her husband wasn't delivering in the bedroom".
Also, if a man happens to leave his wife for a younger woman, it is automatically assumed that he is a shallow sex maniac whose only motivation was to be with a younger woman. If his wife was lazy, or a reckless spendthrift, or verbally or physically abusive, or became grossly overweight, or was an incompetent mother, those realities are totally ignored. Ostensibly, the only reason a man leaves his wife is to be with a younger, more attractive woman. (Never mind if she is a better match for him) Because apparently, that's the only factor that motivates these Neanderthals.
What is astounding is the hypocrisy of the reaction towards prenups. Women can conveniently assert that a man is unromantic if he suggests a prenup. After all, how can a man pollute true love with signing of legal paperwork! However, what is a marriage contract? Women do not seem to balk at signing this legal paperwork, which entitles her to at least half the money a man earns, and obligates him to support her if the event of a breakup. Why aren't men allowed to note how unromantic this contract is? The distraction of bridal magazines, selection of dinner napkins, churches, wedding dresses, receptions, wedding showers, and honeymoons have clouded the legal reality of what men are getting themselves into. Marriage is as much an unromantic legal contract as a prenuptial agreement is.
Ironically, prenups were devised as a way to protect women. Nuptial agreements were popularized in the 19th century, mostly to protect heiresses from marrying men who were "out for their money." Until the Married Women's Property Act of 1848, a woman's property, upon marriage, was transferred to her husband. (Correct, )
"Stupid, Irresponsible" Men
To top it off, some women have gotten so pampered that they not only quit their jobs the day they find out they are pregnant, but they hire as many nannys as their husband can afford. Yes, some wives stay at home, and hire someone else to raise the kids and clean up, while they drink lattes and go shopping all day with other pampered "stay-at-home" mothers. This is not all women, but certainly the odds increase if the man can afford it. Does it pay to work hard and get ahead anymore, if this is how your hard earned money is squandered?
Are all women like this? No. Could this be your future wife? Possibly. The concept of the pampered wife is relatively new. America was primarily an agricultural economy even up into the 1920's. American wives contributed to the well being of the household by helping on the farm. A man needed a wife as an equal partner. It was not until the 1950's that the first generation of American wives began to emerge as dead weight. Perhaps this coincides with the spiking of the divorce rate in America. Perhaps men have become tired of giving so much, while getting so little in exchange.
Upon divorce, all assets accumulated during a marriage are subject to division. Even if the woman has not worked in years, and instead, has spent the last few years shopping and lunching from 7am-3pm, she is entitled to half of everything the man worked for during the course of the marriage. Is this fair? How many people would ever accept a job offer that stipulated that in the event of resignation, you would have to return 50% of every dime you were ever paid? No one in his or her right mind. Yet, men unknowingly agree to the exact same insanity when they sign their marriage contract!
"Assets accumulated prior to a marriage are exempt from a divorce." Yes, in theory. However, real life dictates otherwise. If funds from an account are commingled, it can become marital property. If even a dime from an account is spent towards the marriage, it can be considered marital property. Buy your child a lollypop from your own account, and a good lawyer will take 1/2 of it for your ex-wife when you divorce. If a woman moves into a home the man owned prior to the marriage, it is not safe from divorce. If she so much as hangs up a sheet of wallpaper, the home is now classified as marital property, and is subject to equal division. (Worse actually, the man can be ejected from the home) Is this fair?
Note: "equal division" is also somewhat a misnomer. Often, she can get upwards of 70% of assets, while the man gets the majority of the debts!! This, of course, is his reward for working so hard all these years. He can afford it, she can't b/c she was not working.
If you pamper your wife, it can be used against you
After having children, many women demand to quit working and stay home. Before kids, many of these women may have been in careers they hated, working long hours, and enduring long commutes. It is the man's generosity and dedication to his own career that allows her to walk away from her hers. During a marriage, a man with a stay-at-home wife might work himself to the bone in order to support her. He will pay the mortgage, property tax, grocery bill, phone bill, cable bill, and electric bill. He also pays for her car, the gas money, clothes, and vacations.
As a slap in the face, the man can be punished for working hard enough to allow his wife the have the luxury of staying home with the kids. As noted above, after the children are in school, the wife may enjoy a life of leisure that is afforded to her by her man's hard work. In event of divorce, he can be legally obligated to support her for years to come. Because she stopped working and led a life of leisure, the ex-husband is now responsible for supporting her!! History has a tendency of rewriting itself. Originally, a woman may have had a career that she may have hated, and was begging to leave. (In fact, that partially may have been her motivation to have kids in the first place.) But now, in her eyes (or her lawyer's eyes), she "gave up" her career for the man and his kids. His gift now becomes her sacrifice! Or, the story goes that he was threatened by her having her own career, and forced her to quit and stay home with the children. (How many men do you personally know that are upset at having a wife that earns a good living?) Many of these misleading stereotypes still run rampant in our society, and are routinely used to the woman's advantage during a divorce. As a result of her not working, regardless of whether she was minding the home or not, she remains a liability.
Generous, caring men who spoil their wives should certainly think twice about how this generosity can later be used against them. The phrase used in divorce court is "She has become accustomed to a certain lifestyle". A husband's reward for spoiling his wife today is the legal obligation to spoil her indefinitely. Buy her a luxury car today, and you may be obligated to buy her luxury cars after she leaves for you for another man! Yet...imagine a husband that became accustomed to eating a home cooked dinner prepared by his wife. Now imagine the courts obligate the ex-wife to continue cooking for him and his new girlfriend each night, despite being divorced! Inconceivable, but it happens the other way around every day!
The ultimate insult, however, comes when the man loses half of his life's assets even when she has decided to leave him. Yes, a wife can kick a man out of his own home, and have the courts force him to continue paying the bills, while she is sleeping with her new boyfriend in the very house the husband worked to buy! She can spend her alimony check on gifts for her new boyfriend! Are all women like this? No. Does the legal system support a woman who does feel entitled to this? Yes.
The risks are clear, but what exactly are men getting out of marriage? Many times, the reasons men get married are unfounded.
All the "classic" reasons why a man gets married are a myth.
"I won't die alone"
Men are led to believe that not marrying implies a destiny of a solitary monk in a cave. However, life is not so black and white. Not marrying does not mean you can't continue to date or have meaningful relationships throughout your life. There are plenty of single people in all age brackets. In fact, a bad marriage can be the loneliest of institutions, b/c most of your emotional outlet and companionship is concentrated into one person. Again, my aim is to educate young men in their 20's and 30's to the alternatives that exist in life. They should be aware that marriage is a choice, and is not the only path life has to offer.. An informed decision is less likely to be one that is later regretted.
"I'll get regular sex"
"I'll have someone to cook/clean for me"
"It's the proper religious thing to do"
"I have to be married to have kids"
Having a lifelong, faithful relationship has nothing to do with being "married".
You do need to be married in order to throw a extravagant 3 hour party, and share the same last name, however.
Men need to stop and ask, "Why exactly am I getting married? What exactly does marriage mean to me in today's world?"
Marriage was borne as a way for families to merge land/property, so maybe people should view it as just that. The rest of the hype is just bogus modern TV fantasy polluting the minds of today's impressionable youth, and a way to keep the $70 billion-per-year U.S. wedding industry chugging along. Perhaps the only criteria should really be "Am I excited to merge my finances with him/her?" Because, when all the fluff and hype are boiled away, that may be the only remaining reality. (Don't believe me? Spend a day in divorce courts, and you'll see exactly what is real and tangible about marriage. You'll also see women who signed the marriage contract under romantic pretenses who are now expert laymen attorneys who can cite case law. Boquet throwing ex-brides now embroiled in warfare to get everything that's comin' to them!) The rest are myths, lies, bold unsubstantiated promises, and maybes.....For better or worse.
The national divorce rate is 50%. (It's higher in some parts of the country, like CA) However, I ask you, consider of the number of people who are in a bad marriage, but elect to stay. (Men who don't want to lose 50%, ....women who know they can't support themselves alone, etc) Next, think of how many more couples stay together just for the sake of the kids. Of these, "forced marriages, consider how many of these marriages involve infidelity. A shot in the dark, but I estimate the percentage of happy & monogamous marriages to be under 5%. Are these odds you would take in a business venture? Or even a raffle ticket? Most of the risk-averse population would not. Yet they seek this exception to the rule everyday at the altar.
There is no conclusion. The author is just as confused as you are. Brothers, choose wisely ?