The Marriage Chronicles pt. III Do guys really want to get married?

Posted: July 28, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,
Ive made a terrible mistake

I've made a terrible mistake

I mean, I’m certain a lot of men are rethinking the whole proposition after the whole Nas/Kelis fiasco. Or at least using it as an excuse as to why they wouldn’t get married. Despite the fact, almost none of ya are ever even going to make $55k a month, much less have to fork over that amount. But I think where their relationship went sour speaks a lot to the reasons men may have a pretty good rationale for not getting married

1. Marriage isn’t really that fun Sure, it’s a great environment to raise kids, and may help with your promotion prospects:

Now, a new crop of studies has shown married men earn an average of 10 percent to 40 percent more than those who never have married, yet have similar education and work experience. “My husband’s income tripled after I began encouraging him to focus on his accomplishments and see that he was worth more money,” said Joanne Watson, who authored the book “How to Help Your Husband Make More Money So You Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom.” Two main reasons are thought to drive the phenomenon, according to Hyunbae Chun and Injae Lee of the Department of Economics at New York University, who published a study called “Why Do Married Men Earn More: Productivity or Marriage Selection.” First is the “productivity hypothesis”: Having a partner to support, encourage and motivate makes the other partner more productive. Second is the “selection hypothesis”: Women tend to marry men with characteristics that make them more successful in the workplace. They avoid men who don’t. Analyzing 1999 survey data of about 2,700 men, Chun and Lee found married men earned an average of 12.4 percent more per hour than unmarried men. After adjusting for age, work, experience, education and other factors, the researchers concluded the productivity theory — having a supportive partner — is the reason behind married men’s financial success.

But is it really fun? Like fun fun? I mean, I know it should be. You ‘posed to enjoy spending time with your woman, doing things you both love, exploring the world and each other and shit. But from what I’ve seen, a lot of times, it gets old. I see guys who are married having to leave the house to have fun. They go play golf with the boys, or hit the cub, or go on sex tours of Brazil. The thrill can get lost pretty easily if you’re not careful. I mean, at th end of the day, why was Steve McNair sneaking around in an jump-off condo with a 20 year old? The thrill. And face it, how many married guys do you know that are basically dead men walking? A lot, probably. And I think that’s the number one fear: misery.

2. It’s not that good of a deal for us I mean, let’s face it: Marriage is your thing. There’s no section in Barnes & Nobles with titles like Modern Groom and Husband Quarterly. This is you all’s thing. Was anyone in GI Joe married? No. Destro had the Baroness as a jump-off/sometime girlfriend and that seemed to work great for him. But women start planning their weddings at 4 years old. And there’s a reason for that. Women want to be saved. They want the stability of marriage, the security and predictabilty of one man. Men don’t need that. And what we used to need in terms of support for our manly operations now comes from machines: Need a hot meal? Microwave. Need laundry done? Stack washer and dryer. Need sexual release? Online porn. I know, I know. What about being madly in love with someone and needing them more than life itself? Well, yeah, that’s the dream about marriage you’ve been sold by Hollywood and greasy R&B singers with wack suits.

Im looking your way, Ginuwine

I'm looking your way, Ginuwine

Most people don’t get married because they’re madly in love. They get married because it’s the right time, or they want to have children, or they’ve been with someone so long, there’s no real alternative. I mean, the concept of romantic love as a justification for marriage is all of about 70 odd years old. Before that, it was how many camels can my family get for auctioning off the daughter with the child-bearing hips. So for the woman’s security, we kind of give up a lot: Freedom, independent decision making, new pussy, the car of our choice (you know you want that bitch ass Lexus SUV that couldn’t climb a rock if your life depended on it and we want a monster truck with a foghorn).

3. The Breakups are expensive You know what Kim Kardashian got after two years with Reggie Bush? A handshake and a “best of luck in your future endeavors.” You know what Heather Mills got after two years with Paul McCartney? $49 mil. I didn’t even bring kelis into this because, hey, Nas fucked up with his choice of lawyer. Given the divorce rate stats and the general rapeage that occurs in a divorce settlement, why even go into it? If you were trying to convince a private equity company to invest money into a marriage given the stats, you’d be put out of the offices on your ass Jazzy Jeff style. As far as kids, a lot of couples and ex-couples have kids in relationships which aren’t marriages, but work well in the sense that the father’s very involved in the kid’s day to day life.And these days, it ain’t like that there’s that much shame in being an unwed mother.

4. There’s not that much joy in being man of the house anymore Back int he day, you got home from a hard day at work and there was your lovely wife waiting with a martini in one hand and a pot roast in the other. She dutifully listened to your dullard tales of office politics and how your day went. The kids had been cleaned up for supper and were happy to show you what they learned in school today.

Honey, heres your shit!

Honey, here's your shit!

But what all happened is that with women competing in the workforce, price escalation for just about everything has gone through the roof. Two-earner families outbid single earners for housing, cars, private schools, etc. So now you basically need two incomes to lead a middle class existence. Which means the role of “man of the house” is split. It’s like Kim Jong Il and Osama Bin Ladin being co-presidents of the Music Appreciation Club. You’re tired from working. Your wife’s tired from working. You’r both stressed out. The little camera in the bear caught the nanny going through your shit. Your kids are ugly and stupid and don’t particularly like you.

5. No new pussy. I think this is really the hardest one. And it’s so difficult for women to understand. Because for most women, sex with someone they know and have had sex with is much better than sex with a stranger. Their partner knows the stroke they like, how to hit the spot, they don’t have to worry about STD’s or being considered a slut, or their body image issues. For men, it’s totally opposite. New pussy is better than old pussy just because it’s new. So by getting married, we are contractually agreeing to give up one of the things that makes live worth living. Now as you get older, it becomes less important, and you learn to focus and sacrifice for someone else because they’re sacrificing something for you. Also, women get hornier as they get older, so what they lack in thrill value, perhaps they make up for in quantity. The problem is women also get significantly less attractive with age. While black women tend to o much better than other races, there can still be a significant downturn. Especially with the exercise habits and natural baby weight some women put on, they just get kinda gross.

But as much as these factors may play into a culture wide shit away from men seeking marriage, I think there’s still hope for middle class black folks especially because we want ourselves and our kids to succeed and one of the best ways to do that is to get hitched up. It does take sacrificing a lot, but I think if women and men talked about the sacrifices that need to get made by the parties ahead of time and planned for them, marriages would be off to a much better start. How are we going to split money. Just a joint account, or joint account plus spending money for both of us? If so, is that divided by income? What happens if one of us gets fat? What happens if one of us loses our sex drive or ability? Who’s responsible for what housey things? Talk it out, people, make it work. Shalom!

READ THE CNN ARTICLE HERE

Comments
  1. Reina says:

    *ignoring #5*

    With the changing of the times, I’m just as concerned about losing my assets through divorce as men. And if being man of the house means your woman is waiting for you with slippers in hand for when you return home, I suggest you stay single and train a dog.

    • ladya says:

      *ignoring #5*

      Seriously, I won’t even begin to touch that.

    • Why ignore #5. infidelity and money are the biggest dealbreakers in a marriage. We’ve seen time and time again what happens in those situations and to ignore the underlying root cause, or to just wish it away I think is pretty irresponsible

      As far as my martini, if my wife’s at home all day while I’m slaving away for the family, is it really too much to ask to have a cold martini waiting for me when I get back. If i were a house husband and I knew my wife liked peartinis, I’d be kind of a bad husband if I refused to take 5 minutes out to do something nice for her and whip one up, don’t you think?

  2. ladya says:

    Further validates the truth that black men do not understand nor value the benefits of marriage. The state of the black community is evidence of this, and the boycott of marriage is yet more. Study after study has shown that men actually end up benefiting from marriage *more* than women, but some how black men missed the memo on this. So the point that this is a woman thing, somewhat implies that men are doing women a favor by getting married. False.

    http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/benefits_of_marriage_and_commitment/index.php
    http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-164523306.html
    http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB5018/index1.html

    I think across the board, the lack of understanding of why marriage is important, (and not just for the propagation of the human species within a secure environment) is a huge factor in why black folks are just not getting married. Partly because they have few examples of positive marriages themselves. We’ve got so much work to do.

    • Thanks for the links. Interesting stuff, and I think people should read it. I guess what I’m trying to get at and maybe people misunderstood, is that I have notice the trend away from marriage and the nuclear family, and while women I think are somewhat naturally programmed for marriage, men seem to be disincentivized to look at marriage. I’m just exploring some of the reasons why as a way of having an honest conversation about the reasons I see men being reticent to marry and what can be done to change those perceptions of marriage. I think the articles you mentioned are good, but I’m not sure they really can appeal to men in emotional way that really says “hey, your life will be better and more fulfilling as a married man”

      • e. says:

        aw man, if men are so simple that new pussy, feeling like “the man” and fear of losing all your money should you get divorced are the biggest reasons men won’t consider getting married we’re in worse shape than I thought. it’s already enough that black people married at lower rates than every other race period, but that we’re not getting married for foolish reasons. if your marriage is not “fun,” that’s on you. if you ignore all the benefits of marriage – like your health – and only focus on the sacrifices that you’ll have to make, that’s on you.

        men are disincentivized to marry now, but when ya’ll are old (and fat and “significantly less attractive”) and need someone to take care of you, you’ll regret all this gallivanting you’re doing now.

        while i get that this is what some men think of when they think of marriage, it truly just disappoints me more than anything.

  3. @ladya

    Those aren’t really good reasons to get married.

    So you live longer…are you happier…you may make more, but I’m sure you spend more as well…etc.

    Also as much as women want to get married, many aren’t prepared for what that means as 75% of divorces are initiated by women and many men don’t even see it coming.

    As far as #5 – hell – if more women were honest with themselves they’d like new dick – or old good dick – they just don’t want to admit that – all that slut shaming that goes on, particularly in the black community.

    Women and men are also socialized differently when it comes to marriage. Women look at it as a beginning and men look at it as an end…hard to reconcile those two perceptions of marriage.

    Easy access to sex pretty much killed marriage for all but the upper classes. Couple the ridiculous costs of having a middle class existence and I cna see why folk would shy away.

    The upper classes get married b/c it’s a merger of money and power and yes there is still a major stigma associated with having kids out of wedlock for that group – but hell those men keep mistresses so they are not a good example.

    I think if people realized that the real courting happened once you said “I Do” and not before then folk would be able to enjoy each other more.

    • ladya says:

      Maybe *some* of those (alone) are not reasons to get married, but they definitely do lend to the point that marriage does indeed benefit men. Somehow young black bougies are running around with the idea that women are the only benefactors of the institution. Men *and* women are purporting this fallacious belief, and honestly some of the acrobatics that chicks these days call themselves going through just to land and keep a man who doesn’t/won’t return the favor- is a testament that ladies feel they must *prove* marriage worthy of the man’s time.

      The black community has to do a better job of reinforcing why the institution is important to our sustenance as a ppl.

      And if you check out all of the links, and the studies therein, there are indeed mentions of happiness and satisfaction with life lended to married men, over single men.

  4. Anna says:

    I’m not too upset about the overall decline in marriage because I don’t believe that every person is meant to get married. Despite the benefits to men (every article I’ve read about marriage concluded that married men are happier and healthier while the same is true for single women), marriage as an institution has been quite stifling to women over the years. Take a good look at that woman’s face as she holds out the coat and hat. Kind of looks like she’s smiling while trying to chew glass.

  5. 100K says:

    I’ll touch this later.

  6. every article I’ve read about marriage concluded that married men are happier and healthier while the same is true for single women

    Maybe I should clarify what I meant – the reason I mentioned the 75% statistic is that it’s women who are the ones who aren’t happy in marriage and the ones who lose the most when married.

    Men tend to gain a housekeeper when they say “I Do” and the amount of housework they do drops dramatically. Also a wife tends to make sure that said husband goes to doctor’s visits and men don’t lose anywhere near the free time as women do when they get married.

    They still have time to hang with the boys, women not so much.

    I would also argue that “happy” in a marriage is based on a lot of things such as age/education/class/income and religious affiliation something many of these “happiness” studies don’t account for.

    But in all this talk about men – we seem to forget (like Anna said) single women are much happier and healthier than married women.

    • ladya says:

      Precisely, so why are we (collective) behaving as though men do women a favor by settling down?

      This was the reason why I said what I said, and was henceforth confused by your response: “those aren’t good reasons to get married”. lLove/Happiness/longevity/prosperity? If those aren’t, what are?

      The point of those articles isn’t to prove why women should/shouldn’t get married, but to shine some light on the dark corner that is *the male benefit* of marriage (since that’s what this post is essentially about, and it’s not like we don’t already have enough external motivators out there for women). This is a key point in convos like this, because let most young black folks tell it- women gain all, men lose all. I don’t think this is the only factor desiccating the black marriage- but it’s certainly a contributor. We’re doing ourselves a disservice to not examine certain ideologies a little closer.

      I have other theories- but those are issues of a different ilk.

      • Brown Sugar says:

        When I said “those aren’t good reasons to get married,” i was referring to a certain class of men.

        For average joe man all of that is probably true and that is the bulk of black men.

        But for example my multi-millionaire 70 year old Uncle who keeps a different woman on his arm…after his divorce…marriage had no upside and he didn’t remarry.

        So i agree and disagree all at the same time:-)

  7. 100K says:

    I think some women are more in love with the idea of marriage and snagging a man away from the “competition”. They tend to forget the goal of the marriage vows are to “love honor and obey” especially in this day and age of “independent women”

    Me personally, I agree with the author of this post. I do have commitment/trust issues that need to be dealt with (parents failed marriage)

    Truth is, men get no benefits from marriage.

  8. Brown Sugar says:

    Truth is, men get no benefits from marriage.

    Really?

    So all that about being happier, wealthier, and healthier – less housework – is just made up?

    • J Pierpont says:

      If he’s already happy, wealthy enough, and healthy, then it’s a hard sell.

      • Brown Sugar says:

        Yes…

        Which is why I pointed out you have to look at the class of the man (or woman) involved when we start talking benefits of marriage.

        For those who are financially well off, outside of kids, there is no need to get married…unless of course you’re running or political office.

      • J Pierpont says:

        @Brown Sugar I would think that the floor starts a lot lower than a million. A hundred thousand, perhaps? And isn’t that the guy women are looking for – the ambitious, social-climbing, financially stable, high-achiever?

        I know that some of my female friends have a lot of their self-worth tied into their ability to maintain a relationship. Beautiful, intelligent, talented women whose self-worth is tied to how well they get along with some knucklehead. I don’t get it. Anyway, they feel like failures if their relationship ends, regardless of the circumstances. Some of those same women feel that if they don’t have kids (with marriage as a prerequisite), then they are somehow not fully a Woman. On the other hand, a man can be The Man by making a lot of money, running in certain circles, having sex with attractive women, etc. None of that requires exchanging vows. An increased feeling of self-worth, I would argue, is the greatest advantage one could hope to gain by entering into any kind of relationship. For women that requires marriage, for men it doesn’t.

  9. @J Pierpoint

    I was just using my Uncle as an example.

    But I figure a good six depending on where u live is enough to make a man (or woman) give aside-eye to marriage.

    Mind you much of these remarks reply or secular folk.

    Religious folk marriage (regardless o wealth) is a covenant with God..so…I can see why they would marry.

    • In my experience with folks I know in the income brackets of which you speak, there actually is some financial pressure to marry at some point because of the career thing. If you’re looking to make partner or managing director or whatever other kind of big boss-ish title, I think folks recognize that being married is usually considered a good look by whoever’s doing the promoting. That said, this usually doesn’t happen in the 20’s. It’s more like, say, 5-6 years post grad school. If anything, I think it’s guys in the lower middle class or who are less ambitious who are less likely to see the benefits and less likely to have peers that are married. That said, is it healthy that people want to get married in part for career success? I dunno.

      • Yeah…I was thinking that when I wrote that…but say if you’re making that kind of dough outside of corporate America it will be less of an issue.

        People marry for career advancement and then have mistresses.

  10. is it just me or is anyone scared to get married? i think just like men are often expected to be afraid of marriage, most women are expected to embrace it. but as much as i have planned out my wedding, i’m also terrified at what that means. that means that i can never make another decision for myself and by myself again. everything i do has to consider the other person. and when i have kids…it’s really a wrap. i happen to enjoy companionship but i also love independence. and it is a little daunting to think that if i want to do something i may be limited; not by society, money, or even the man, but by my husband or my kids. i think marriage is necessary but i kinda feel why some guys are hesitant, even though we may feel it for different reasons.

    and let me say, i have every intention of getting married in the next 5 years, even though i’m scared as all hell. 🙂

  11. B. Collins says:

    “Truth is, men get no benefits from marriage.” Truth is, we have to be married to you guys, so I’d say there’s no benefit for us either.

    Kick rocks, marriage, call me male-minded or whatever, but I have no intention of getting married and being bored til death do us part. And in my opinion, there’s no time limit on how long I’ll wait to find the person that I might decide to run off to city hall with. Women get very caught up in weddings-its a show for all her friends and family and women everywhere if she can get it broadcast. Being in my late twenties, I’m surrounded by conversations about “getting the ring, girl” and “If he doesn’t ask me by this time next year, I’m moving on.” I don’t get it, nor do I understand the rush. If you have to give someone an ultimatum or if you care more about the ring than the groom, well hello, there’s your problem. I suppose there was once a part of me that looked at wedding gowns admiringly and maybe I made my own engagement ring online, but the powers that be stepped in and reminded me all the reasons why I wasn’t with the right one and now I don’t care about that stuff anymore. For me, if I even get married, it’s going to be with the right guy (and I mean, not a shadow of doubt) and at the right time-i.e. whenever it’s supposed to happen, not in my twenties or thirties bc society says that’s when. We’re gonna have a blast and I’m excited for that aspect-cause I won’t settle for less than.

    And as for #5, I’d like to say that as a woman who is totally okay with her sexuality, it is imperative that the guy I settle down with makes me scream at 90, the same way he did at 30…otherwise, there’ll be no benefits for ANYONE.

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