Nuances of marriage data: it’s really not that hard to get married

From what I’ve seen, there is a lot of taking the fact that women are generally only attracted to the top 20% of men out of context. I also don’t agree with much of the hopelessness discussion from the comments on Jack’s post.

In a vacuum, women may only be attracted to the top 20% of men (specifically visually on OK Cupid). However, it’s not the case that women are only attracted to just these 20% of men. I definitely fall into the bottom 80% for not being conventionally physically attractive, but as we talked about in Meet Cutes – are they common I am attractive in certain niche circumstances like when I’ve been in a teaching or leadership position.

Now if we look at the never married data from reddit and Dalrock we see a few things.

Overall, it used to be in the US, as with most cultures, that 95% of women got married in the past. As the data show, that is trending toward maybe 15-20%. Maybe a bit higher. However, what is also not mentioned is the fact that marriage is being replaced with mainly serial cohabitation for many which is basically the same thing for the non-Christians.

Analysis

Approximately 80-85% of women still make it to marriage. The percentage is slightly less for men since men generally have a better time getting remarried after divorce than women to non-married. So let’s say it’s about 80%.

Of this 80%, approximately 20% of those are sexless marriages and approximately 40% of first marriages end in divorce. It’s hard to say how many of those sexless marriages ultimately end up in divorce, but I’d say it’s probably most of them. Given how pro-feminism the US and rest of the West is growing (pretty much all media, culture, and functional egalitarian and “complementarism” in the Church), I’m actually surprised the 60% of first marriages are permanent which is approximately half of the population: 80% * 60% = 48%.

70% of the population is now overweight or obese, which also means that with 80% of the population getting married maybe about 25% are normal and underweight while 55% are overweight or obese. This would leave approximately 5% of the underweight and normal weight population not getting married, and 15% of the overweight and obese not getting married. This is approximately correct from my obesity analysis.

As Novaseeker frequently says: Just look at the people at Walmart who have gotten married to see that looks don’t really matter much in just getting married. Usually those who are overweight or obese tend to have other things going for them like being funny or charismatic, but even then 55 out of the 70% of the population that is overweight or obese is still getting married which is about a (55/70 = ~68%) or 70% marriage rate. Yes, ~70% of people that are overweight or obese still get married.

This leads to a few conclusions:

  • It’s not that hard to get married: just don’t be in the bottom 20%. It’s pretty easy to get out of the bottom 20% as not being overweight or obese is most of the way there already. If you’re actively working on other physical appearance (being muscular, good diet, grooming, style) and on personality (not being conversationally awkward, learning to be the head, leading conversations, etc.) then you’re definitely not in the bottom 20%.
  • If you want a permanent and non-sexless marriage: just don’t be in the bottom 50%. Half of the battle is learning how to be a good leader since the vast majority of relationships are steeped in feminism and inverted roles already. Most divorces are initiated by wives (losing respect and not wanting to have sex with their husbands). If you keep up a good physical appearance and are actively engaged in your mission for God and strive to obey God’s marriage roles and responsibilities (be the head!) then you’re already there.
  • Yes, maybe you don’t have some meet-cute type of thing where you did nothing and your wife was attracted to you like the top 20%, but you don’t need to have that. No man needs to be in the top 20% to reach the previous bullet point threshold, although it opens up your options more so that you can be more selective in who you marry. Top 20% if a good threshold to aim for though in general.

To elaborate on what being better than 50% is in reality,  the average American man is 5’9″ and 200 lbs which is 29.5 BMI (25-29.9 BMI is overweight and obesity is > 30 BMI). He’s also steeped in culture and likes to make “wife is the boss” and “she’ll get mad if I do that” jokes. You’re telling me that most men can’t be better than that? Yeah, no.

Both women and men continue to fall for the apex fallacy. You don’t need to be top 20% to get married and have a permanent and non-sexless marriage. It’s much easier when you know you only have to be top 50% and even just to get married not the bottom 20%.

The issue for many is the calibration of attractiveness. Many/some men and women don’t want to marry someone who is overweight or obese or has other issues with certain things. This can price them out of the pool of candidates that would go on dates and/or marry them. That is their prerogative though. The more selective you are, the harder it will be to find someone who meets that criteria.

I know we’ve discussed on this blog about all of the different criteria, but at the end of the day it’s just risk profiles. Each man can determine how much risk they want to take on to be married.

If one thinks that they’re too far down the totem pole for whatever reasons and nothing is every going to convince them to marry, or they just don’t want to worry, then do as the Bible says: stay single and serve God wholeheartedly.

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16 Responses to Nuances of marriage data: it’s really not that hard to get married

  1. Frank K says:

    The chart is interesting, but it is sort of looking in a rear view mirror. What will be interesting will be to see the next chart 20 years from now. Then we will know how many of today’s women in their early 20’s will eventually marry, as their expectations, values and mores are different from today’s 40 year olds. I wouldn’t be surprised to find 20 years from now maybe only 50% of today’s 20 somethings will eventually marry, as the change in attitudes and expectations seems to be accelerating. Will the carousel riding period extend or not, and will more women ride it? So many variables. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

  2. Frank K says:

    An interesting trend I have observed recently is that more and more people are having secular marriages. And those who do increasingly do not have a justice of the peace perform the ceremony. Instead they have a friend, who completes a quickie course on performing weddings, be the celebrant, It’s usually part of either a themed wedding, and if not that it is a very contrived ceremony where vows of fidelity and permanence are not exchanged. I suppose the lack of said vows might make it easier to annul those marriages later on,

  3. Frank K says:

    I will admit that as a young man the first thing I noticed about a girl was how attractive she was. After that the various deal breakers would rear their ugly heads: she was obnoxious, she was militant feminist, she wasn’t affectionate, etc. and suddenly her good looks didn’t matter any more. I also learned that college was a terrible place to meet women, as few were wife material.

  4. donalgraeme says:

    It is true that if you “really” want to get married, you can get married. But what isn’t mentioned, or is perhaps glossed over (which I think you do here) is the sacrifices made to get to that point. The question then becomes what sacrifices have to be made, and whether they are “worth it” or otherwise stated, not foolish. And that is entirely without considering whether it would be a good marriage or not.

    Ultimately, there is a difference between Marrying… and Marrying Well. If you want to marry, and every other consideration be damned, you can usually do it, as you point out. But here is the thing- I don’t think we, as Christians, should be taking foolish risks. I am pretty sure scripture warns us about this, especially when it comes to women. So in the end we need to figure out what risk is foolish, and what isn’t.

  5. fuzziewuzziebear says:

    Donal, you’re alive!!! Good to see.

    The last numbers that I have for the percentage of adults that are married goes back to 2016. At that point, it was approaching fifty percent and down from seventy percent in 1960. I don’t know where it is now, but it has probably slipped slipped below fifty and will continue. That is the problem with looking at statistics based on past performance.
    I think we all can get married, but who will we marry? Since what I see is that this is all female led and driven, men have a choice of disloyal candidates who will abandon the marriage at the first speed bump. When I was online dating, I never got close enough to ask about n-count, but three women admitted they had been married five times.
    I truly wish that I could have more encouraging things to say. What makes it worse is that men are powerless because this is all female driven. The boys have their hearts in the right place.

  6. Derek Ramsey says:

    Between this…

    “Ultimately, there is a difference between Marrying… and Marrying Well.”

    …and this…

    “I think we all can get married, but who will we marry? Since what I see is that this is all female led and driven, men have a choice of disloyal candidates who will abandon the marriage at the first speed bump.”

    …you might get the (false) impression that this is universal for all men.

    A man must find a woman and marry early, probably before age 25 and definitely by age 33. By 25, nine in ten women have lost their virginity. Practically speaking, you should probably marry between 18 and 22, because most quality women will be married or defiled by 25. The pool of quality women (irrespective of attractiveness) declines rapidly with age.

    On the dual scales of youth and natural attractiveness, the youngest and the most attractive have all the advantages. Not everyone is naturally attractive, but everyone is young at some point. The trick is realizing this and being prepared before it is too late. Beyond that,

    “…men are powerless because this is all female driven…”

    …and no general advice can alter this fact. Men absolutely have the chance to marry, but whether they marry well is not guaranteed.

  7. @ Frank

    I had an article a year or so ago that speculated maybe 25-30 percent at most. I doubt it will get much higher.

    We also have to remember that a lot of the non-marry-ers will also be cohabiting instead so they will be pairing off to some extent.

  8. Anonymous Reader says:

    Typo
    Approximately 80-85% women still make it marriage.

    Make it “to” marriage? Manage to get married? Needs a little fix.

    DS: Thx fixed

  9. @ Donal

    Ultimately, there is a difference between Marrying… and Marrying Well. If you want to marry, and every other consideration be damned, you can usually do it, as you point out. But here is the thing- I don’t think we, as Christians, should be taking foolish risks. I am pretty sure scripture warns us about this, especially when it comes to women. So in the end we need to figure out what risk is foolish, and what isn’t.

    I agree.

    I think most men should aim for the top 20% in most of the categories as possible as a generality. If you’re average looks or below average looks this can be overcome with excellence in other areas.

    I think practically the top 50% is that threshold as long as a man stays the same as he has prepared for before marriage: being the head, not getting lazy, or letting his wife run him over. That and he avoids crazy (BPD).

    I’m open to see some other ranges or targets.

  10. @ Derek

    A man must find a woman and marry early, probably before age 25 and definitely by age 33. By 25, nine in ten women have lost their virginity. Practically speaking, you should probably marry between 18 and 22, because most quality women will be married or defiled by 25. The pool of quality women (irrespective of attractiveness) declines rapidly with age.

    I agree that this is the ideal scenario.

    Age 20-24 for women seems to be the optimal range in the Church at present with the Southern Baptist study. About 40% were virgins at marriage. The range for males is 20-28 or so.

    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/review-of-vetting-virgins-and-new-info-on-virginity-pledges/

    Outside of optimal, it can easily still happen, but the more and more you have to make sure that she is a committed Christian who actively seeks her own sanctification (and follows your leading and teaching).

  11. JPF says:

    OP: It’s not that hard to get married: just don’t be in the bottom 20%.

    This is a very incomplete conclusion/answer. Incomplete enough, that I would assess it as wrong; no disrespect intended.
    Most men do not have “get married” as a goal in life, even though I myself probably used those words.
    Our goal instead was to marry someone who would be a good wife, or someone who would fulfill certain marital desires. Merely marrying “anyone” is unacceptable to almost all men.
    A woman who is deliberately physically unattractive obviously either has no idea what a typical man desires or, more likely, has significant disrespect for her husband. Fat women are therefore not acceptable. For some men, women who cut their hair, wear men’s clothing, have tattoos or dye their hair green are similarly not acceptable.

    Most men want a young wife. The chart about shows about 23% of women marry by age 23. Women who wait until after that are choosing to not give their best to their marriage — such a woman obviously assigns a low value to marriage. Are we supposed to view the women who assign a low value to marriage, and thus deliberately wait until they have low value to offer, as success stories?

    Granted, for some men a young wife is not a #1 priority. It was for me when I was younger, but since I aged two decades while searching for an acceptable wife, my desires for children decreased. With that decrease, the priority for a young wife also decreased.

    But given the above considerations, I would say that the chances of getting married to a woman that has a reasonable respect for marriage is about 23%. Not 80%.

    I think Derek’s following comment is far more complete, and therefore far more accurate:
    A man must find a woman and marry early, probably before age 25 and definitely by age 33. By 25, nine in ten women have lost their virginity. Practically speaking, you should probably marry between 18 and 22, because most quality women will be married or defiled by 25. The pool of quality women (irrespective of attractiveness) declines rapidly with age.

    In this case, we should ask how many men marry a woman at or under Derek’s listed age of 25. According to the chart, the answer is about 29%. So men have a roughly 29% chance of marrying a woman who is at least slightly worthy of marriage.
    Are there women below age 25 who are unworthy of marriage, despite being a virgin? Sure.
    Are there women over age 25 who are worthy of marriage, despite being old? Sure.
    But I think 29% is a reasonable estimate, overall.

    And to be fair, DS did comment on Derek’s position in the comments above.

    Many/some men and women don’t want to marry someone who is overweight or obese or has other issues with certain things. This can price them out of the pool of candidates that would go on dates and/or marry them. That is their prerogative though. The more selective you are, the harder it will be to find someone who meets that criteria.

    This is a good point.
    Also a good point, is to consider how many men and women meet what any reasonable society would consider the bare minimum requirements. Is a man being stupid/unreasonable to ask for a bride who is not currently married to someone else? Is a man being stupid to ask for a bride who assigns at least a moderate value to marriage?

    Suggested bare minimums (not including religious requirements):
    For men: have a job or be in the process of getting one; not be fat; view marriage as having high value; not look like a woman or act like a woman
    For women: be ready or be in the process of getting ready to do the house chores; not be fat; view marriage as having high value; not look like a man or act like a man

    For young men I have known, I would estimate about 90% meet the bare minimum.
    For young women I have known, I would estimate about 30% meet the bare minimum.

    Each person’s particular preferences / requirements would reduce the above amounts accordingly.

  12. elspeth says:

    For men: have a job or be in the process of getting one; not be fat; view marriage as having high value; not look like a woman or act like a woman

    For young men I have known, I would estimate about 90% meet the bare minimum

    My husband would put that number at 50% as a generous figure…

  13. @ JPF

    “OP: It’s not that hard to get married: just don’t be in the bottom 20%.”

    This is a very incomplete conclusion/answer. Incomplete enough, that I would assess it as wrong; no disrespect intended.

    That’s why I didn’t stop there with the analysis. I’d never recommend anyone just get out of the bottom 20%.

    Most men want a young wife. The chart about shows about 23% of women marry by age 23. Women who wait until after that are choosing to not give their best to their marriage — such a woman obviously assigns a low value to marriage. Are we supposed to view the women who assign a low value to marriage, and thus deliberately wait until they have low value to offer, as success stories?

    Granted, for some men a young wife is not a #1 priority. It was for me when I was younger, but since I aged two decades while searching for an acceptable wife, my desires for children decreased. With that decrease, the priority for a young wife also decreased.

    But given the above considerations, I would say that the chances of getting married to a woman that has a reasonable respect for marriage is about 23%. Not 80%.

    I agree and disagree some given the current cultural climate which has been absorbed into “Christianity.”

    Life scripts like high school, college, stable job and perhaps saving up for a car and house before marriage put most men and women into their mid-late 20s before they “seriously consider marriage.” Even Christian parents tell their kids not to marry early.

    I think that if you’re 20 and you want to be married by 25 (and your wife to be 20-23) then you probably have to be in the top 20-30% or just randomly lucky to meet a woman that likes you in college Christian groups (e.g. Cru, Navigators, etc.) that is mature enough to marry. I know several couples like that where the man was definitely not in the top 20% but maybe they were at the right place and right time and attractive enough.

    If you want to marry well, I think it can still be done in the top 50%.

    Suggested bare minimums (not including religious requirements):

    For men: have a job or be in the process of getting one; not be fat; view marriage as having high value; not look like a woman or act like a woman

    For women: be ready or be in the process of getting ready to do the house chores; not be fat; view marriage as having high value; not look like a man or act like a man
    For young men I have known, I would estimate about 90% meet the bare minimum.

    For young women I have known, I would estimate about 30% meet the bare minimum.

    Based on the stats, I think you’re overestimating men substantially but the women category is about right. I’d probably say it’s closer to 50% of men. Maybe a bit more or a bit less. I think some of the perception is skewed by our social circles. A lot of men just don’t care and are doing enough to get by.

    edit: it seems Elspeth’s husband agrees.

  14. JPF says:

    Even Christian parents tell their kids not to marry early.

    Unfortunately you are very correct. Which is why we need a label like “churchian”. Although to be fair, even a Christian who is genuinely trying to be submissive to God in all areas will never have it all correct. The massive and deliberate divergence from Scriptural norms is still disheartening, despite this admission.

    And I should admit that my assessment of “young men” comes from my own experiences, from 20 years ago, at church. And yes, all of the young men in the church college group were training for a career or in a career already; none were fat. None wore dresses or tried to act effeminate. Not all had the strongly masculine frame necessary to attract a woman.
    I can’t comment on what you see at your church today. Although when I volunteered with a college church group a few years ago, I saw much the same as in my own younger experiences — except that about 10% of the men were now overweight/obese.

    Good work on your book. I’ve read about 50-75% of it. Glad to see an effort to help / mentor the young men coming up.

  15. @ JPF

    And I should admit that my assessment of “young men” comes from my own experiences, from 20 years ago, at church. And yes, all of the young men in the church college group were training for a career or in a career already; none were fat. None wore dresses or tried to act effeminate. Not all had the strongly masculine frame necessary to attract a woman.
    I can’t comment on what you see at your church today. Although when I volunteered with a college church group a few years ago, I saw much the same as in my own younger experiences — except that about 10% of the men were now overweight/obese.

    Generally, from what I’ve seen the rates of overweight and obesity range from about 20-50% in young people depending on youth group. Both men and women.

    Good work on your book. I’ve read about 50-75% of it. Glad to see an effort to help / mentor the young men coming up.

    Thank you.

  16. Frank K says:

    “Generally, from what I’ve seen the rates of overweight and obesity range from about 20-50% in young people depending on youth group. Both men and women.”

    It also varies based on geography, I live in the Mountain West region, and when I travel to other areas it becomes clear that the fatpocalypse is much worse elsewhere, especially in the south.

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