Men Are More Disinclined to Marry Than Ever – A Reflection on a Serious Problem

A 2012 report on men and marriage by the Pew Research Center shows statistically what many of us have noticed anecdotally: men are finding marriage less desirable than in the past and are now marrying later, if at all.

In today’s post I want to present some excerpts from a hard-hitting article that appeared at Lifesite News in 2013, commenting on the Pew study. The full article can be read here: Men Giving Up on Marriage.

As usual, I present the text from the original article in bold, black italics, while my own poor commentary is in plain red text.

Fewer young men in the US want to get married than ever. … The number of young adult men saying that having a successful marriage is one of the most important things dropped from 35 percent to 29 percent [since 1997].

The latest census data showed “barely half” of all adults in the United States are currently married, a “record low.” Since 1960, the number of married adults has decreased from 72 percent to 51 [percent] today and the number of new marriages in the U.S. declined by five percent between 2009 and 2010.

Moreover, the median age at first marriage continues to rise, with women getting married the first time at 26.5 years and men at 28.7 [years]. The declines in marriage are “most dramatic” among young adults. Just 20 percent of those aged 18 to 29 are married, compared with 59 percent in 1960.

In my mere 26 years of priesthood, I have seen the number of weddings I perform each year decrease from 35 to 5, and the average age of engaged couples increase from 24 to 31. These are startling changes, and they largely match those experienced by other priests with whom I have discussed the matter.

29 percent of young adult men desiring marriage is an amazingly low figure. The article notes that the things that once motivated men to marry in the past are largely in eclipse now. Men once enjoyed the esteem they garnered by marrying, and were motivated by the challenge of being breadwinners. Getting married was once a proper and approved way of attaining status, and legitimately enjoying sexual intimacy. It was part of the passage to manhood.

But today, many (if not most) women don’t need (or don’t think they need) men to provide for them economically. It’s goodbye to any notion of the esteem of being a provider.

Further, in an age of promiscuity, most men don’t need marriage to open the door to sexual encounters. Only a few “old-fashioned” Catholic priests and traditionalist Catholics raise any eyebrows at men’s “playing the field.” And women as a group (with certain notable exceptions) seem less insistent on expecting men to connect sexual intimacy and marriage.

Add to this the financial bondage introduced by the racket that college education has become. Many young people graduate from college with six-figure debt. And when undergraduate degrees no longer open doors, advanced degrees became necessary, bringing on even more debt.

And finally, add one more thing: pornography. It is more available than ever before. And though it is theoretically more privately accessible than previously, I would point out that there is nothing private about the Internet; Internet service providers know every site you have ever visited.

Sadly, many young men honestly admit that they prefer pornography to real women. Pornography doesn’t talk back or have preferences or moods. Real relationships are complex and require navigation and negotiation. Pornography, it would seem, is a narcissistic paradise. Click through to your current preference; it’s all about you and what you want. And at the end, the object of your fantasy disappears and does not have issues or attitudes with which you must deal.

The overall image is of a cauldron, filled with a witch’s brew or a satanic stew. That men and women marry at all today is increasingly miraculous. I always make a point of congratulating and thanking engaged couples that get to my rectory door for beating the odds and having the gumption to swim upstream.

Pew’s findings have caught the attention of one US writer who maintains that feminism, deeply entrenched in every segment of the culture, has created an environment in which young men find it more beneficial to simply opt out of [marriage] entirely

Suzanne Venker [in her] article, “The War on Men,” … points out that for the first time in U.S. history, the number of women in the workforce has surpassed the number of men, while more women than men are acquiring university degrees. …

With feminism pushing them out of their traditional role of breadwinner, protector, and provider—and divorce laws increasingly creating a dangerously precarious financial prospect for the men cut loose from marriage—men are simply no longer finding any benefit in it. …

“When I ask [men] why, the answer is always the same: women aren’t women anymore.” Feminism, which teaches women to think of men as the enemy, has made women “angry” and “defensive, though often unknowingly.” 

“Men are tired,” Venker wrote. “Tired of being told there’s something fundamentally wrong with them. Tired of being told that if women aren’t happy, it’s men’s fault.”

Most men I know perceive that they are often considered by the wider culture as deficient, even depraved. The “men are stupid” commercials and sitcoms abound. Men are often presented as buffoons, who need women and children to “set them straight” on the simplest of things.

Schools, dominated by feminist ideology, have made a pathology of the normal behavior of boys, which includes competition and roughhousing. They seek to feminize boys, going even so far as to encourage medication for them. Most of these boys merely have the spit and vinegar that was once considered normal, needing to be curbed somewhat rather than suppressed with drugs.

It is little wonder that fewer young men make it to college and are falling behind young women in almost every category. Being told (even indirectly) on a regular basis that you are fundamentally flawed has a significant effect over time.

The article says that feminism has emboldened many women to direct suspicious anger toward men and generally presume that they have bad or evil motives. But it has also caused a lot of men to draw back from the healthy confidence that once bolstered them to go out and seek a wife and to take a leadership role in the community, the Church, and the family.

A feminist culture in effect shames these desires as being “patriarchal.”

This is a situation that should not be celebrated by feminists, Venker says. “It’s the women who lose. Not only are they saddled with the consequences of sex … The fact is, women need men’s linear career goals … in order to live the balanced life they seek.”

Yes, in the end it’s usually the biology that kicks in. Truth be told, men and women are meant to be complementary not competitive. Our very body bespeaks a difference that requires the opposite sex to complement it. The design of women’s bodies speaks to bearing children and nurturing them.

A woman who wants to have and raise children well needs time and flexibility. The 9-to-5 career world does not facilitate that. Thus her husband complements her need by taking up the linear and less-flexible career world, leaving her freer to nurture the children.

This used to be obvious to us. But ideology is often disinterested in the obvious. It may be true that we were once too restrictive, limiting certain jobs and careers to men. But for most women, the freedom to work has become the duty to work, even in the childbearing years. It’s a raw deal for everyone: women, men, and especially children.

The bottom line is, it’s never good for anyone, or for civilization as a whole, when huge numbers opt out of or find no access to our most fundamental building block: the traditional family. We must save traditional marriage if we stand any chance of saving our dying civilization.

For further reading, consider Men and Marriage by George Guilder and Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap by Greg Krehbiel.

68 Replies to “Men Are More Disinclined to Marry Than Ever – A Reflection on a Serious Problem”

  1. In terms of a diabolical plot designed for the destruction of mankind, the devil could not have come up with a better plan than feminism. It is working brilliantly.

    1. Maybe it is simply that the devil who set up ‘traditional marriage’ to so benefit men failed to anticipate that the world would change and that women would someday have the option to not have to be married to survive and care for their children, should they decide to have children. Traditional marriage benefitted men at the expense of women since women basically were serfs to the man to their children. Men were never expected to be serfs to their wife or children but were always lord of the manner and therefore exempt from the difficult day to day grind of raising children while waiting on another adult. There was always truth to the idea that man worked from sunup til sundown, but woman’s work was never done and no one, including the church, questioned this division of labor. Times change. Want marriage to survive, make it a partnership rather than a master/serf relationship with both adults caring for and nurturing any children and both having the opportunity to be happy. The reality is that women are abandoning marriage simply because it is not in their best interest, even in many cases when there are children, since they have been forced to accept the reality that the ‘husband’ is another drain on their time and energy often with little reward. Many men do want to be relevant and an active part of the marriage and child rearing, and these men are happy and successful in marriage, or a long term partnership sans marriage, as are their wives, since they avoid all the socialtal freight in marriage and make the relationship a true partnership. Bottom line is that the church and men in general are being forced to deal with the fact that fewer women are impaling themselves on the altar of marriage since they know that it is not an institution that allows them to be fully realized and valued human beings and are opting not to lives the unhappy lives of so many women they have grown up around. But then, men should be happy since the statistics show fewer men are being ‘trapped’ into marriage. Odd that men have been the ones trapped in marriage and are happier than the women who trapped them. Men also are less likely to be trapped into providing for children so they are free to go out and enjoy their lives sans all the horrors that traditional marriage has been inflicting on them. Seems men should be happier. The church has less kids coming along to support it and further it and the church patriarchy has less control over women so it is logical they will see the decrease in traditional marriage as threatening, but they will simply have to work to find a way to be more relevant in modern society. I have no idea how the church will be able to adapt so that they have something to replace the dominance status they gave men to draw men and now have to become more relevant in women’s modern day to day lives if they are to draw women into the church. For now, they seem to be committed to decrying the facts of modern life and returning society to more ‘traditional’ norms rather than adapting to the new realities and finding ways to make the church meaningful to the new families and individuals in today’s society. Accepting and dealing positively with the new realities of society and women being more than serfs will determine if the church will survive. Should be interesting to see if the church can see and treat women as people equal in importance to men and attract them to true Christian values rather than use their authority as the ‘church’ to keep women shackled and less than. If not, the church will continue to shrink in size and relevance. Their choice.

  2. I have read Gilder’s book some time ago so my memory of it is fuzzy.
    His main point is that marriage for men is a great socializer. Married are more responsible, make more money, and are less likely than unmarried men to be alcoholics, drug abusers, mentally ill, and spend much less time being incarcerated for illegal activities. Similar remarks have been made by the late famed social scientist James Q. Wilson and the late San Francisco columnist Charles McCabe.

    1. P.S. George Gilder would probably be considered a conservative. He writes on a broad range of issues like the above mentioned, economics,(“Wealth and Poverty”) and technology (“Microcosm”).

        1. Yeah right on:(

          How does the Church support folks that are young, middle aged and older adults who want to find a mate?

          Left up to chance…that’s what 🙁

          What’s happening now is a direct result in leaving everything up to chance:(

          1. I see, so blame the church? for what? not offering arranged marriages or a dating service??

        2. Exactly. There is a large bias in the data as only men who are married count in the data. There might be a higher incidence of happiness by belonging to a religious group.

          For those curious, I recommend “The Geography of Bliss” by Eric Weiner. In it, the author uses a beguiling mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is. In my opinion, there are intreesting and life-changing insights.

          Clearly fewer and fewer men believe that the relationship will be worth the risk. However even after divorce and two children, I admit to being a dreamer and believe I can find someone with whom I can share a deep and lasting love. I just find it impossible not to keep trying.

    2. It’s hard to say that marriage is what makes men more successful or if only the most successful men earn the privilege of getting married.

        1. Try to do that today with children and see what happens. That was 20 years ago.

  3. Unfortunately, I think this thinking is gaining traction in our society:

    “Love is love; marriage is a contract”.

    Who needs the contract?

    You are right, Msgr., our civilization may be dying. We know God is the only constant.

  4. If a husband and father has been a good role model, and his wife seems happy in her vocation, that attitude may transfer to the daughters. So if your daughters choose to get married and bear children, that is evidence that they perceived their mother as being happy.
    Of course, this criterion is not available to check during the child-bearing and child-rearing years of your wife; but if you (the husband) have tended toward selfishness in your allocation of family time vs. “going out with the boys” (drinking, sports or whatever), your wife is less likely to be content. In foreign countries, the easiest to check is Japan, where the generation of women maturing after WW II have mostly rejected the lifestyles of their mothers, and choose to marry late (think 30s or later) or not at all. Consequently, the population of Japan is aging rapidly and may already be declining in total from year to year.

  5. It’s fun to blame feminism, but feminism is an effect, not a cause. Divorce rates began rising in the 1880s, with a brief respite in the 1930s. As divorce rates rose, along with a glorification of the “Playboy” lifestyle, women needed to support families with jobs – especially as the economy began requiring more than one income to run a household to the same standard. Feminism was the result.

    Divorce laws have been decried, but women are still, often, left holding the bag for the household income. Read about Steve Jobs’s girlfriend attempting to get support from the billionaire Silicon Valley leader! Women often face court battles and legal costs to get any support at all. It’s not fun, and at some point many women decided it was better off simply to shoulder the burden on their own – but that required equal pay and equal access to jobs. Hence, feminism.

    Men having been blaming women since Eden. Isn’t it time for everyone to take some responsibility?

    1. I agree with you entirely. The blame game also *destroys marriages*, and should be avoided like the plague that it is.

      There are some pretty vile feminists that give feminism a bad name, but how can it be bad to give women equal rights? The very word “feminist” wouldn’t exist if women hadn’t been marginalized in the first place.

      Love flourishes when marriage is about having the *freedom* to love the other. The only way there can be freedom is if young men and women find pleasure in being good, rather than seeking pleasure as an end in itself. THAT is the problem. Our society is divorced from the understanding that “there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your brother.”

      At Fatima, Mary stated that “many ‘marriages’ are not of God.” What good will it do if we make this conversation about marriage rates rather than about a new call to conversion.

      Why are so many Catholic traditionalists freaking out about Pope Francis being realistic in recognizing that “many ‘marriages’ are not of God”? It’s almost as if they would rather build high walls around those failed ‘marriages’, and lock the Church doors to those that failed, for lack of proper intent and/or formation. The victims of failed “marriage” need the medicine of understanding. They need hope for reconciliation. They need counsel so they can possibly succeed and become fully functioning members of the body. As our holy father points out, they need a bridge to help them along on their earthly pilgrimage.

      From the secular standpoint, governments should understand that healthy, flourishing families are good for society, and give BIG financial incentives for married breadwinners who are supporting children. No taxes on families with children earning less than 150k would be a game changer.

      1. As I remember it, feminists justify their push for equal rights by demonizing men – they blame the patriarchal social order for holding women back and down. Even the Bible, maybe especially the Bible, is discredited by feminists who claim it is a book written by patriarchal societies to legitimize the patriarchal viewpoint by claiming God created human life this way.
        So sorry, much of what feminism says is based on undermining God’s revelation. And that’s diabolical. Just because it’s sugar coated innocent claim to be about “equal rights” doesn’t change the real effect it has on society.

    2. This so laughably simplistic and biased, it could only gave been written by a …feminist.

      1. As a rule, comments ought to explore issues rather than attack people. Perhaps you could say why you think Anne is wrong, but without the scorn?

    3. And feminism has been blaming men for everything, is it not time for feminists to take som responsibility?

    4. Quote by Anna: “Men have been blaming women since the garden of Eden”

      Actually, Adam stated three facts when he was asked to explain what happened. It was the woman who blamed someone else besides herself. First, what Adam said:

      Genesis 3:12
      And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

      (1) “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me” – fact
      (2) “she gave me of the tree” – fact
      (3) “and I did eat” – fact.

      Look what Eve said, though:

      Genesis 3:13
      And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

      So, who was actually blaming someone else? The woman. So typically female of you to try and even twist God’s word to make it look like the woman was right.

      Besides, GOD HIMSELF told Adam that the world was now cursed because Adam listened to his stupid WIFE (so much for that “wife is always right” bull crap, huh?)

      Genesis 3:17
      And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

      Do you know what Adam ate the fruit? So the sorry woman wouldn’t die alone. He wasn’t deceived into thinking he could become a god like Eve was. He wasn’t trying to usurp God’s authority. And that WAS what Eve was trying to do, which is why the Bible says she was in the transgression (that’s right, the first sin actually belongs to the woman)…

      1st Timothy 2:12-15
      12. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
      13. For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
      14. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

      And it doesn’t escape notice that the woman did this stupid deed the instant she got away from the man and tried to take matters into her own hands.

      Here’s something else the Bible says about women:

      Ecclesiates 7:26-28
      26. and I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
      27. Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account:
      28. which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.

      Did you catch that? Out of thousand men only one decent one can be found, but out of a thousand women NONE can be found that are decent.

      And here’s my favorite verses from the Bible about women. It tells what’s going to happen to women in the future and how they’re going to be so appreciative of men again, that they say they will make their own food and make their own clothes, but they just want the man’s NAME to hide their shame. And this is when Jesus is on the earth in the millenium, as made evident by verse 2 (Jesus is called the branch of the Lord), so I imagine by that point he’s pointed out just how foul women have been and how much men have covered for them, just like Adam ate the fruit so sorry Eve wouldn’t die alone:

      Isaiah 4:1-2
      1. And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.
      2. In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.

      Ooooh, that’s got to burn.

    1. Hardly an original idea … but if this logic held, men would be happy. They’re not. They’re setting up whole websites to complain.

      In effect, this has meant lots of sex and serial relationships for alpha males. Others? Not so much. When there was one-on-one lifetime (or close to lifetime) pairing, it meant pretty much everyone got a mate, no matter how humble the man’s station in life. Meanwhile, women get a 3-year gig with an alpha male, and better have a job to support themselves (and their children) when he bails.

      I think the effect of pornography has been underestimated. To continue your metaphor, they’re living on imaginary milk, in imaginary cups.

      1. “Meanwhile, women get a 3-year gig with an alpha male, and better have a job to support themselves (and their children) when he bails.”

        Women “get”? As in, one arrives in the mail? No, women CHOOSE these guys believing they can change him and make his “change his ways”.

        Playboys with options don’t always make for good family men.

        Also, the milk and cups may be imaginary, but there is no threat of divorce and being financially devastated. Also, with porn, it may be pseudo-intimacy but at least it’s not throttled and handed out like a dog treat for good behavior like it often is in marriage.

        Men have wised up. Marriage is no longer a good deal – it’s not even safe at all. Marriage and raising kids is a commitment that takes work, not a “free pass into happy land”. Women still believe this lie. And when things get a bit difficult, they bail and blow up the marriage. So, men are saying “Yeah, we’ll pass.”

        I was married once. Never again.

      2. So actually more news (fox/Msnbc) sites are reporting that men are actually happier then women this is no secret as there are only panels of women asking people like Oprah and Steve Harvey, where are all the good men, why isn’t he pouring a ring on it. Feminists talk about this as well because they can not deny that women have a bio clock with age specific women in their 40s.Women are much more socially inclined than men.
        Where you do see men complaining are the ones that took your advice, married and were dragged through the mud through the bias court systems that can only be appealed in many cases by a state supreme court which rarely deals with such issues.
        Pornography as explained above gives such benefits to satisfy the biological reproductive drive of men. More so, men do not need to risk marriage in order to have sex.
        I can go all day but you are trying to explain men by a non compromising point of view for women.

  6. “complementary, not competitive”
    That’s a great line.

    Seems to me that materialism leads to competition with our neighbors for bigger houses, better cars, more extravagant weddings and vacations, etc. To keep up, both spouses work outside the home. Then they compete with one another over whose career is most important, and over who has done the most laundry or dishes this week…

    Many couples who say they’d prefer mother to be at home decide they “need” a second income just to afford a decent home in a good school district, because all the other dual income couples have driven up prices.

  7. Thank you for the post, Msgr Pope.

    My husband and I have been sharing thoughts on the evils of feminism for a long time. Its rise has been aided by sandy soil upon which many of our families’ domestic churches have been built. This causes a “free will” to be easily swayed by foggy teachings and excuse seeking hearts.

    Feminism is of this world. It’s a power base way of thinking and not spiritual. We, as Church, need to get past it. The Church hasn’t marginalized women. We need to work harder at living the Faith, not being embarrassed by it. The great beauty of womanhood can be known by reading and studying the first three chapters of Genesis (at least one can begin there). Males and females have roles in God’s Salvation Plan. God gifted us with a Hierarchical Church through which we are guided to know, love and serve Him. That’s the truth, and women just have to ask the Holy Spirit to soften their hearts and open their minds to the beauty of it. As male or female we must work to embrace our role as “man” and strive to reflect the awesome image of the Trinitarian Union (Gen 2:26-27). A work for all lovers of God is to make fertile soil for the vocation of marriage and religious life.

    1. The reality is that women have to support families. They wish to do so without poverty. That is why they are working. While the movies like to show us high-powered women attorneys in business suits showing lots of cleavage, the reality is much more likely to be low-level insurance actuaries and office managers.

      Even if a woman is married to a breadwinner, in today’s society they would be foolish to depend on that. All it takes is one cute co-worker at the office during a rough marital patch (and all marriages have them) to suddenly throw a mother on her own resources. And she better have them.

      Again, pornography has greatly shaped mens’ ideas of what “good sex” looks like, and what their expectations ought to be. Hard to compete with pictures. Hard to compete with imagination.

      1. Anna:

        I agree with you. I don’t have all the answers but I think the scenario you just described falls on the shoulders of men but, equally upon women. As women, we’ve made ourselves into insecure, attention seeking, conservatively dressed prostitutes who have no regard or respect for ourselves or our sisters. As a group, we have more power over men then we realize; the power to say no when a man wants to objectify us by advancing sex before marriage, by entertaining men with rings on their fingers, by encouraging his gaze by the way we present ourselves in our dress or our behavior. If women cease to be instantly available, men will inevitably have to change their attitudes towards us and will be more open to the marriage bed. We have to acknowledge our failure in all of this and acknowledge that we ourselves must do a 360 and we must insist that our daughters do the same.



        1. 360 degrees is a complete rotation back to where you started. Did you mean a 180, which means you are going the opposite of where you were previously headed?

      2. “The reality is that women have to support families. ”

        Sounds like there is no choice, it is a must. So hey guy, whoever you are, you won’t be good enough. Not a good start any future relationship. I have met families with multiple children and a mom who stayed at home to care for the children. It was a choice and required some sacrifices, but it could be done.

        As a not-too-far-from-retirement guy, I have met plenty of women who don’t need a man. That’s ok. I welcome a friend and companionship. All those independent women may enjoy their independence. I’m not interested in storming the castle walls to win their heart, only to find their heart isn’t worth winning.

        As C. S. Lewis once observed “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

        1. And if the man bails, and you are alone, yes, there is no choice, and you have to support a family. That becomes the expression of your “love.” And you make the best of it.

          It’s nice to consider how it all might be in an alternative universe. But if these are the facts on the ground, then theories about how all of it might be different don’t matter.

          (That said, Doug, you sound like a nice guy!)

          1. If a women picks a man to father their child and that man bails, that women is just as fault.

  8. Many war efforts ushered women into the workplace, where they labored while the men where away fighting wars. These necessary events, by no fault of women or men (that another conversation we could have), caused us not to view the ultimate “nurturing” of the family, as our responsibility. Then, men either didn’t come home because they lost their lives during the war effort or disability prevented them from taking back up, their responsibility as providers so women started thinking, who needs a man who is unable to protect and soon not able or wanting to be a provider. Then, the idea of equality reasonably reared it’s ugly head because women were now charged with being nurturer and provider. As a result, the manifestation of Genesis 3:15 rooted itself in society. The only remedy is for society to have the guts to recognize we’ve taken a wrong turn and get back on the narrow road. That means women, we have to be counter cultural and be okay with saying we want to stay home and nurture the family and men, you, have to be willing to take up whatever job, however many, to support your family. This will get us back to a civilized and Godly society and back to calling marriage what it should be, a covenant, not a contract.



  9. Not so fast! Feminism can be understood to have started before the Civil War in America, and feminists were preaching financial independence prior to 1890.

    This is not the fault of men or of women, as “groups” (if indeed it makes sense to picture it so very simply). It’s a matter of the work requirements of industrial capitalism. . . there is a need by industry to equalize and make interchangeable people (and their needs) as much as possible.

    But honestly, feminists should recognize some blame for their past mistakes.

  10. Pornography is a manifestation of many things in society. First and nothing new, realize that most men, are very visual so the constant barrage of nudity in society, billboards, magazines, commercial advertisement, girls knowingly or not dressing like prostitutes, divorced women who don’t understand that the next husband or man, husband or boyfriend, rarely looks at that girl child as his own but looks on her as an opportunity. We engage in distasteful conversation in front of men that we’d normally have just around our girlfriends and men do the same. Conversation that were reserved for “the boys”, they engage, without hesitation, in the company of women and we say nothing or even go so far as to reciprocate with more elicit and vulgar language. This is all a kind of lead up to pornography, an assault on the minds of men. Society calls anyone who would find the aforementioned activities offensive as a person who is unsociable, too uptight, snooty, childish, growth stunted, etc. Meanwhile, we are teaching men how to behave, in full view, sight and sound, in our presence. We expect men to not be interested in pornography when we’re overloading their brains with it, every day, every hour, every minute and yet we expect them to be thinking about something else. No, sorry, most men can not stand up against the kind of assault. So, women, let us change society by returning the private bedroom stuff, to the bedroom. Don’t just passively say it, insist upon it and watch the minds of men change.

    Change nudity standards in advertising – petition Federal Trade Commission.

    Insist on advertisers not using nudity as a prime tools to sell every single product

    Remove nude magazines from checkout space in stores…letter writing campaign to stores

    Innocence in Advertising: letter writing campaigns to magazines or exercise restraint in not purchasing magazines that re overly pornographic.

    Change ourselves – dress appropriately. There’s a way to cover yourself up and be appealing at the same time.



  11. Scary.

    The main problem is that our public schools refuse to teach that marriage is good for our society. It’s all about teaching sex ed, ad nauseum. And frankly, there are a lot of kids unfortunately who aren’t seeing role models for marriage at home or learning about it directly from their parents. I know that this is really the symptom and not the cause (public schools just reflect what we as a society are doing), but imo, it is the easiest way we could start to combat this problem.

    Teach it from an economic perspective! It’s an economic fact that men and women who get married end up wealthier, that their children do better.

    In fact, take a look at the wealthy and you will see that they haven’t changed their marriage patterns at all, but it’s fine for the elite to tell everyone else that we don’t need that anymore. Do as I say, not as I do.

  12. College and graduate school debt is a toxic poison that alters the normal trajectory of love, marriage and babies. Living under a future of upwards of ten or fifteen years of payments, which double when both young husbands and wives both have debt, mean putting off starting a family, buying a starter home, or even thinking of getting by with one income. That means both will be working and will choose to be childless for quite awhile. And then they are told to be responsible and start a college fund for the newborn, buy a home in a decent school district, and shop around for good daycare.

  13. Thanks for all the comments. I am traveling and so cannot participate a lot. But thsnks for reading

  14. I am a 32-year old, single man. I am a practicing Catholic, I accept all Church teachings including the ban on contraception and the ban on artificial conception. I am a virgin. I have a Ph.D., I work two jobs, and the only debt that I have is my mortgage. What am I likely to get if I marry a woman my age or a little younger? I’m likely to get a woman who has already lost her virginity, and since she has had previous sexual partners, she won’t be able to pair-bond properly with me in marriage. Raised in our ghastly culture, she’ll probably be a feminist at least to a small degree, i.e. she won’t be willing to accept the Biblical idea of a submissive wife (and Monsignor Pope, I thought that your recent post that discussed wifely submission was great!), and instead of letting me focus on my roles as leader and provider, she’ll expect me to do all sorts of tasks that traditionally belong to the feminine sex. After I’ve helped and supported her during the hard years of raising little children, just when my children are becoming old enough that I could start enjoying their company on an adult level, she’ll decide to divorce me, kick me out of my house and out of my children’s lives, and suck my paycheck for 10 or 15 years, just because she wants to go back to the partying/hook-up lifestyle on which she wasted her twenties. Why would I choose a path (marriage) that’s likely to go like that when I could remain single and enjoy my very fulfilling career as a high school teacher and adjunct professor? The only possible route to marriage is to find a practicing Catholic who accepts all Church teachings (and what are the statistics on 20-30 year-old women who practice their Catholicism, go to Church weekly, and reject contraception?) and has held herself to the same standard of sexual behavior as I have, i.e. virginity until marriage. That’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack, though. And then how about narrowing the pool further by trying to find a woman who has common interests with me, etc.? No wonder that I’m currently on a Catholic dating site and communicating with a woman who lives on the other side of the continent.

    1. My heart breaks for you, sir. Honestly.

      I was a virgin when I met my wife, she was not. I understand. I was 25.

      If my wife would repent, honestly, and I could see it and others could see it and it was likely authentic, I would attempt, even after these 26 years, to work to heal our brokenness.

      But, there is absolutely no interest, within the Catholic Church, to even cursorily discuss such a possibility.

      So, it is not only your personal circumstances that break my heart but the circumstances of the Catholic Church, especially the clergy.

      You are in a very tough spot.

    2. Good comment, Ionathas.

      For a virginal Catholic male, it can be hard to find a single Catholic woman of marriageable age who has not already had sex with at least one partner.

      St. Jerome asked: “What necessity rests upon me to run the risk of the wife I marry proving good or bad?” Jerome’s view was that it is better not to marry than risk the possibility of marrying a woman who might ultimately prove to be a bad wife.

      It can be difficult to know whether a woman will be a good wife or not, but it is fair to say that a virgin is more likely to be a good wife than one who has had pre-marital sex.

    3. I know your post is supposed to be some hypothetical scenario but I’ve seen this happen more often than seen godly marriages happen.

    4. I sympathize with your plight. I think it’s impossible to identify unmarried, reasonably orthodox Catholic women. I had my eyes open all through my twenties, thirties and forties. Now entering my fifties, I am pretty sure that in my diocese and the handful of parishes that I attend, there were never any.

      Parishes are no help. No one ever introduced me to any singles. Never pointed them out. In their defense, I never asked to be “set up” but really, I’ve been attending mass alone, week after week and year after year. This is the plight of singles. We don’t count. We aren’t invited to join parish activities… for example, multiple K-of-C recruiters have told me “we like for our Knights to be good married family men”.

      So where does that leave you at 32? The lazy cop-out you’ve no doubt heard, is the online dating sites aimed at Catholics. Of course, the people giving that advice don’t know anything about online dating. They don’t know the futility of it, and they don’t know that many people simply don’t believe in “getting to know someone” that way. Or that Catholic online dating is no better than regular secular online dating.

      I guess you can hold fast to your standards, and in another twenty years you can write a message just like this? Or you can change something. What? Beats me.

    5. I’m a 31-year-old male virgin as well. I’m an atheist, but I still don’t believe in sex until marriage. Unfortunately, in the age of feminism and misandry, good old fashioned women are hard, if not impossible, to find these days and after spending more than a decade of fruitlessly searching for the one in a sea of misandrists and feminazis, I have decided to give up and accept the fact that I will never get married. In fact, I’m planning to visit the legal brothel in Nevada this year with the intention of losing my virginity. Although my decision to give the gift of my virginity to a prostitute might seem immoral, the thought of dying a virgin or never experiencing the pleasures of woman was just too much for me to bear.

      1. Travis, please don’t do it!

        I realize that you’re an atheist and probably not concerned about sin, but you will regret having sex with a prostitute. The experience will leave you feeling unsatisfied and probably a bit dirty too.

        Besides, there are many great men who died virgins and were not ashamed of it: Isaac Newton, Anton Bruckner, Immanuel Kant, Rene Descartes, and Gregory the Great, to name just five.

  15. My sister in law divorced my brother in law and walked away with her boyfriend. She got half his pension, a house and alimony for 10 years plus the child support. He’s just about broke now. Of course men are disinclined to marry.

    1. That is exactly what happened to one of my sons and 2 of my male cousins. I believe it is the person willing to stoop the lowest who usually comes out on top financially, not necessarily always the man or the woman.

    2. I forgot to mention the suicide of the brother of a friend of mine when he realized that he could never meet the crushing demands a divorce court imposed on him. His ex also basically arranged things so he was alienated from his children.

  16. I am 61 years old, divorced, not annulled and I no longer attend Mass, except with my children and grandchildren, nor do I participate in the sacraments.

    However, I absolutely consider myself much, much more Catholic than 99% of rank and file Catholics and certainly of the clergy, who are nearly uniformly a terrible, scandalous disgrace.

    Were my wife to die, I would never marry in the Catholic Church again, although I would consider a civil ceremony. However, I would have a pre-nuptual agreement that would be solid or there would be no civil marriage.

    That is a hard, fast and depressing reality.

    I will likely, be a coward when facing death, if I have warning, and see a Catholic priest and, sadly, do confession. I am guessing that I will lack the faith to trust that God would, certainly, forgive anything I could even imagine doing that is wrong, much less do, as I think He should, without hesitation, even if I reject Him, specifically, due to the never ending abuses I am subjected to by the Catholic Church and its operatives, who support adultery and all the sins and crimes necessary for it.

    Go ahead father Pope, delete my comment. I am not going to discuss it anyway. I simply wanted to put it “on paper”.

    All of this is very heartbreaking and, potentially, scandalous, even my comments, but things are that bad in the Catholic Church. They are much worse than I ever imagined things could be, even well into my married life.

    To those I may hurt, including you, Father Pope, I am sorry. Fortunately, in a way, since this post is late, I doubt many will read it.

    For the record, I lost everything but my clothes and the car I was forced to leave our home in. I had no custody rights even though my wife was an adulterer and I remain faithful to the vows. My darling discarded countless irreplaceable things simply out of spite and I had to fight her twice to defend our marriage from nullity.

  17. It is not about “marriage.” it is about the sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
    What the Church needs to do to day at every level from the parish up, Holy Father, and using the media, is to proclaim what sacramental matrimony is. I believe that many men are looking for this kind of relationship which Archbishop Sheen has described as “Three to Get Married.”

  18. Father Pope,

    I’m 58, Single , never married (not that I didn’t want it).

    It occurs to me that there has been so much talk, talk and more talk about Marrieds, Marriage , Children etc…

    After a person is 21…out of college and beyond…

    Kindly explain to me where the Church is?

    Mostly nowhere….

    Yes there are huge problems in folks not getting married but…

    “Marrieds” are already there….Singles are the people that can get married.

    The Church really hasn’t done ANY work here…

    There are problems….

    This is what happens when the Church acts towards us as we are invisible….

    We need a Ministry for Singles!

    Bring Singles together AND be there for those who never marry!

    Thank you for listening:)

  19. As a college-educated at-home wife & mother of 30+ years, I have to admit that I strongly encourage our three adult daughters & our daughter-in-law NOT to follow the path I took. I wish with all my heart that I’d continued working while raising our children. It’s impossible for me to return to my previous occupation because of all the changes & restrictions that are now on it. My husband & I cannot afford health insurance (he’s been the only employee at his place of business for more than 35 yrs.) & have no retirement savings because we never had the money to set aside. If I’d continued working, we’d be much better off. I loved being an at-home mom, & it also allowed me to care for elderly family members before they died. There were many advantages to it, including homeschooling at times. But, we are paying a very high price for it now & I deeply regret it.

  20. Feminism? Here’s the flip side: I have dated, with only one exception, Christian men. So have two of my Christian friends. Guess what? They put pressure on us to have premarital sex and, when we wouldn’t “give it up,” they found someone who would.

    We aren’t teases. We come from families with parents and grandparents still married, so it’s not like we don’t know what marriage it like.

    One of classmates from Catholic school broke his engagement after he got drunk (his excuse) at an office party and had an affair with a co-worker. They had a child but aren’t married because there’s no financial incentive.

    In the ’90s, that was scandalous. That child is now a young adult, and his parents’ lifestyle is the norm. Just like co-habiting for 4-6 years with your “fiancé” has been the route for the last three weddings I attended. Good news: one couple might actually have a child – but just one, because the husband likes his electronic toys (his words).

    It’s not “feminism.” It’s sin being normalized. And perhaps something else – and I wonder if any of you have noticed the same thing: There’s a tremendous reluctance to make solid commitments of any kind, whether it’s to a spouse or a social club or a church.

    1. No, it is feminism.

      Feminism saw that men could have sex with no consequences, decided that was unfair, and so it pushed for changes that would allow women to have sex with no consequences. Birth control and abortion are the necessary components.

      Along with that goes a de-stigmatizing of sex out of marriage.

      Have you seen this video?

      1. It’s not just abundance of easy sex that’s the problem… if you take sex out of the equation completely, and what’s left?

        Women expect WAY too much out of men outside of sex while providing next to nothing in return, including sexually… despite all the feminist rhetoric about “equality”, women essentially expect the modern version of a “stepford husband” (which in and of itself is 10 times harder now that it was 50-60 years ago– and often impossible for a majority of men considering the current economic climate), plus much, much more (cue the 397 point laundry list of qualities a man has to have before he’s considered worth dating)… while they themselves generally don’t even provide 5% of what a “stepford wife” used to (right down to lifelong loyalty and devotion), let alone anything more than that.

        Truthfully, sex is the only thing keeping men interacting with modern women at all… If they take sex away, or demand more for it, you can expect even more men to retreat from not just marriage or commitment, but relationships as a whole with women all-together.

        To make an economic analogy, Men aren’t goin to work every waking second of the day for the rest of his life just so he can pay ferrari prices (in time, effort, money, sanity, etc.), over and over and over for the equivalent of a 1990 ford escort that starts with 150k miles (that were likely put on by numerous other men), that doesn’t shift into reverse, gets horrendous gas-mileage, doesn’t steer/brake reliably, and just plain can’t be counted on to be reliable over that same time-frame.

        In short: the juice isn’t worth the squeeze; women have already priced themselves out of the market for most men even if they offer sex; there’s no point in discussing buying the cow vs. getting milk for free when the cow produces no milk or only produces spoiled milk to begin with.

        Modern women simply aren’t giving men a reason to put faith in them as quality, femininely polarizing, lifelong relationship partners anymore, so men aren’t seeking more than sex from them, and even that’s often not worth the bother due to hassle and lack of fulfillment that women provide in that arena as well.

        FTR, “Christian” women are even worse than other women as they come with all the negatives of non-christian women, but because they make a minimal passing effort to be “religious”, they also pile an undeserved sense of self-righteousness on top of it.

  21. It’s George Gilder, not Guilder. He wrote Sexual Suicide sometime around 1970. It’s a prescient book.

  22. Don’t forget those of us who don’t want kids. We are not allowed to get married in the Church.

  23. A part of problem today too is the economy is set up for 2 income household, not even that in last 20 yrs can suffice and no, not talking about fancy vacations nor expensive cars. many cannot live modestly on 2 incomes with costs, inflation, taxes,etc. Distributism, a solution

  24. I think it is sad that marriage is starting to take a back seat in our lives. Divorce is also a scary thought, but I love being married and honestly think I am much better off for it despite the risks. I even married a feminist. If you just fainted, get up, it isn’t a big deal. The point of getting married was not to be a breadwinner and a perfect man, I was already a man before, it is about spending my life with someone I love.

  25. Men won’t marry because we’ve wised up to the trap that is modern marriage. I worked my way up the corporate ladder, stayed faithful to my first wife, am a dedicated father to 3 great kids, built a dream home, and am involved in church. I now have no friends other than work because my kids and I are held hostage by my angry hoarding wife. She threatens divorce whenever she doesn’t get her way, and because she’s a stay at home Mom, I’ll get completely cleaned out by child support and alimony. I’d happily kill myself to get out of this, but I love my kids. Being a “responsible” man becomes a weapon against you in the hands of an angry wife. My advice to younger men is be generous, treat everyone with respect and never get married or move in with a woman. You think you’ll beat the odds, but the house always wins, and you have to risk your entire life (kids, friends, reputation, money).

  26. The real problem is that there aren’t any good women to get married too nowadays since they have really changed from the past.

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