Double thunk

Over at Dalrock’s Double Think and Cane’s Recoiling from Resounding Resentment, there’s been some debate on the topic of what it means that women are divorcing less in early marriage.

There’s two things I want to address with this post.

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First,

Dalrock has covered this before but average age of first marriage has skyrocketed. It dipped down after the wars in the ’40s and ’50s because there were many less men because many had been killed. Thus, men were a commodity and they were scooped up. Likewise, divorce laws and other such nonsense were not passed yet.

However, since the ’60s and ’70s and the sexual revolution the age of first marriage has skyrocketed as feminism became more ingrained in society. You’ll note that by 1980 that the average age of marriage for women climbed to a previous norm of 22 years, and in the next 10 years went to 24 years of age, by 2000 was at 25 years of age, and by 2014 will likely be 27 years old.

Note that average age means that half of the population is OLDER than this when they are married. So half of the women getting married are older than 27 which is very close to the proverbial “wall.” There’s only so far that women can put off marriage because of fertility, and we’re already seeing the crunch on that.

  • One factor of the decrease in divorice from 1990 to 2010 is likely due to women hitting the wall and wanting babies.

Women who married and divorced when younger often believe they can trade up whereas those reaching into their 30s tend to be looking for more security, commitment, and children.

  • Likewise, with the rise in cohabitation the women who would “divorce” often will not make it to marriage.

We see a similar trend here with cohabitation rates increasing drastically since the 1970s. The divorce rates skyrocketed because many of the women who were married in 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s divorced their husbands. And now in the 2010 there are about 5-6 million more women who would’ve been married but instead cohabited which decreases the proportional amount of divorces by that much.

Thus, I would posit the “peaked” rates of divorce were because of non-commitment minded women wanting to get out of their marriage and ostensibly trade up because they were relatively younger and hadn’t felt the impact of the wall yet. This artificially drove the statistics up (aside from cash and prizes of no-fault divorce and child support).

I would also assert that the increase in number of cohabitations is driving the amount of divorces down because the less commitment minded women don’t make it to marriage or they put up with a man who doesn’t want marriage. Additionally, a later age of marriage and the more commitment mind of women with baby rabies. There are likely a few other factors, but I think this is the major one.

You can see how this plays out below by comparing the graphs above to this one.

divorceandcohab

What I do not believe is that men have significantly changed over the past 20 years except for becoming more feminized and more unattractive in general.

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Second, the problem most Christian men are having is that they equate “loving wives” as only doing good to them or some garbage like that.

Lest they forget Jesus often corrects or rebukes the disciples when they are off course. He allows them to go their own way even after saying it was the case. For example, Jesus prophesies Peter’s denial and then allows Peter to go off and do it. He allows Peter to make those mistakes because He knew it would be a good lesson and potentially lead to repentance.

Jesus continues to ‘lead’ at all points in the Scriptures but He doesn’t take responsibility when the disciples make mistakes. 1 Cor 5 and 1 Tim 1 talks about handing those who would disobey to Scriptures over to Satan. It doesn’t say to take responsibility for them since we cannot control other Christians. Matthew 18 says to basically disavow Christians who aren’t willing to repent of living in sin.

In essence,

  1. Husbands are to be the ‘head’ / love / treat as co-heirs / etc. You do this because God wants you to, not because the wife will or won’t.
  2. Wives are to submit / respect / helpmeet / etc. You do this because God wants you to, not because the husband will or won’t.

It is a clear cut example that a wife does not take responsibility for what her husband does, especially if it’s wrong. However, the very fact that we are having this conversation means that feminist thinking is ingrained in us so much that we are assuming that a husband has responsibility for his wife’s sin or mistakes because he is her ‘authority’ in marriage.

This is simply not the case. God and Jesus does not take responsibility for Christians when they go and sin. However, they are waiting with loving arms to welcome us back after we repent. BUT, the Father often does not clean up the mess we made when we went off and sinned. We often have to make restitution ourselves.

Matthew 5:23 Therefore if you are presenting your [s]offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your [t]offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your [u]offering.

Similarly, the problem is that many people are trying to do a 1 size fits all solution to the problem which doesn’t work. You’re going to handle a wife differently who:

  1. Is submissive,
  2. Says she wants to be submissive but isn’t,
  3. Is openly rebellious

Each situation requires different responses from the leader…. and love looks differently in each of these situations.

We, as Christians, need to understand that there are consequences for our actions. This is just a fact of life in the real world. It is something that God instituted with free will. However, we tend to want to insulate ourselves from actions and consequences when we really love or care about someone. But this is the worst thing you can do when you really love someone — see spoiled rich kids.

The problem is that feminist rot has so ingrained itself into mens’ and husbands’ heads that they believe they need to respond to a wife’s rebellion with positive reinforcement.

The reason why I use “positive” reinforcement” is because it is distinctly NOT GOOD to reward people — Christians or otherwise — for bad behavior. The Scriptures say nothing about brushing people’s faults or mistakes under the rug but rather unity through repentance.

It is NOT LOVING not to mention not honest, kind, or good to take responsibility for the bad or evil things that someone else is doing. We only do this for children because we need to teach them what is right. But wives are fully grown women with competent decision making. If they choose to stray from the Scriptures they can bear the weight of responsibility and consequences of actions themselves.

Now, Jesus is not about allowing those who are wallowing in consequences of their own actions if they cry out for help. This is the reason He often references the “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” verse from Hosea.

Matthew 14:28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

But He does chastise those He loves (“You of little faith, why did you doubt?”) and allows them to at the very least experience the consequences of their actions (30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”).

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7 Responses to Double thunk

  1. Agapoula says:

    I am surprised at your average marriage rates. They are lower than I thought they would be.
    I am supportive of young marriage but here the average age of marriage for groom is 34 years old, 31 years old for bride. I have a few theories about why.

  2. Agapoula says:

    But the divorce rate is 2.27/1,000 population which is not as bad as many countries.

  3. Robyn says:

    ” … except for becoming more feminized and more unattractive in general.” I find this in itself to be a very significant change! Women are pushing forward more (just like Eve); Men are responding by being pushed (just like Adam). I think I might even say the ratio to women pushing is probably equal to the ratio of men stepping back. Of course that’s just speculation from observations of marriages that I have come in contact with.

    “You’re going to handle a wife differently who:
    1.Is submissive,
    2.Says she wants to be submissive but isn’t,
    3.Is openly rebellious”

    I am a wife but I’m neither 1, 2, or 3 in all facets of my being. Maturity is multifaceted and humans are not static; it takes takes a whole life time to grow up – for both husbands and wives. Sarah (of Abraham and Sarah) is an interesting example of how a wife can be submissive in some areas yet be openly rebellious in others.

    “Second, the problem most Christian men are having is that they equate “loving wives” as only doing good to them or some garbage like that.” AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!!! This mentality has covered the grounds of society with the fertilizer (crap) to grow millions of divas! And you know – they all sound the same, “we will make you like us.” They remind me of the Borg.

    Great post DS – lots to think about here!

  4. donalgraeme says:

    I am a wife but I’m neither 1, 2, or 3 in all facets of my being. Maturity is multifaceted and humans are not static

    I don’t think that DS was implying that women are only one during their lives. They will change their relative positions all the time. Rather, he was arguing that when a woman is acting one of those three ways, you need to adjust your response accordingly.

  5. Elspeth says:

    What Robyn said. I started out wearing a veil of submission borne of infatuation. Then I was pretty rebellious, although I have always been a reserved personality in general. Then I tried to be submissive in my own strength. I could go on but you get the picture.

    One of the few constants has been my husband’s absolute refusal to see me in sin/rebellion and just take it, retreat, or silently seethe.

    The average age of marriage in a little surprising. Not the 27 part. That’s actually not so bad. It’s that half the women who get married for the first time are older than that. Of course, a BA. MA, and possible PhD can easily eat up 10 years of your life. Then there’s the few years you want to take to try and cash in a bit on it before you “settle”.

    It’s all madness really. If there is one thing that I think the church could take away from this conversation that could revitalize Christian marriage it’s discarding the husband bad/wife good philosophy along with making it clear that love is not just hearts and flowers. Part of loving someone fully is speaking truth to them.

  6. donalgraeme says:

    @ Elspeth

    The average age of marriage in a little surprising. Not the 27 part. That’s actually not so bad. It’s that half the women who get married for the first time are older than that.

    Good catch, though inadvertent, on the average/median part. Average is not the same thing as median- half of the population falls on one side when it is the median age, not the average age. Average age is calculated differently from median age.

    I’m curious why you think 27 is not so bad. Is it because you were expecting worse? Considering what it used to be in the US for the longest time, I don’t see how it could be considered objectively good.

  7. Looking Glass says:

    @donal:

    A few things. First, the UK numbers are around 30/33 or so, and trimming higher. Same with a lot of European Countries. Compared to the rest of the OECD, we’re getting married really young. (So if you see a lot of news from around the Western World, it seems strange)

    Another thing to keep in mind: the modern versions are more of an S-curve probability function. The current median age is just the 50% likelihood of being married. And it is, at current, a trailing calculation.

    The other detail is that Women married sub-22 are still a massive divorce risk, so the actual “percent married” while at the median % chance is only around 20-25%. (I’ve seen a few different numbers on this topic, so there’s a big issue with counting methodology)

    All told, while the median still looks “okay”, the reality behind them is a heck of a lot worse. Though DS is quite right about co-habitation driving the statistical “decline” in Divorces. Which is why a big push to a return to “Common Law” marriages is probably on the horizon.

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