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No, marriage isn’t a death sentence for men
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No, marriage isn’t a death sentence for men

For most men who marry today, it looks like a good deal: more money, more sex, better health, a longer life, and much more happiness.

Marriage is a terrible deal for men.

This is the message we’re getting from the red-pill right, right-leaning online influencers who cater to men, especially teenagers and men who have had bad luck or no luck with the opposite sex when it comes to love or marriage.

The statistics need not leave us hopeless about marriage. In fact, they can be a guide to what works for those whose marriages go the distance.

Take Andrew Tate, the biggest voice from the red-pill right. “The problem is, there is zero advantage to marriage in the Western world for a man,” said Tate. “There is zero statistical advantage. If you use your mind, if you use your head instead of your heart, and you look at the advantages to getting married, there are absolutely none.”

Pearl Davis, another right-wing influencer, takes it farther: “Modern marriage is a death sentence to men,” she says.

In fact, the opposite is true. Not only do men who get and stay married live longer, but they have more sex, a lot more money, and happier lives than their unmarried fellow men.

More money

Married men generally earn between 10% and 20% more than otherwise comparable single men. In fact, a study of identical twins from Minnesota found that the married twins in its sample made18% to 26% more than their identical twins who were not married.

Married men earn more, save more, and generally have the security of a second income. Consequently, the typical fifty-something stably married man has more than 10 times the assets of his unmarried peer — about $399,000 compared to less than $35,000. So the uber-rich Tate — who makes much of his Bugatti and luxurious lifestyle — is the exception. In general, married men are a lot more prosperous than their single peers.

More sex

Married men have more sex than their unmarried peers. They are also more likely to say they are satisfied with their sex life. According to one study, 51% of married men said they were extremely satisfied with their sex lives, compared to 39% of cohabiting men and 36% of single men.

Men don’t just enjoy a better sex life when married; they are also more likely to experience better physical and emotional health.

Better health, greater happiness

Men who get and stay married live almost 10 years longer than their unmarried peers. A Harvard study in 2013 found that married men live significantly longer — includingmen diagnosed with cancer.

Young married men are happier and less depressed than unmarried men. Of men ages 20-39, only 6% report being unhappy, but 17% of unmarried men of the same age do.

What’s more: 43% of young married men report they are “very happy” with life, compared to 20% of single men and 24% of cohabiting men.

Those who call marriage a “death sentence” are not looking at the facts. In fact, a recent Gallup study indicates deaths of despair — which are concentrated among men — are especially high in regions where unmarried Americans dominate.

How to reduce the risks of divorce

But still: What about the risk of divorce — an issue that Tate and Davis spotlight in their attacks on marriage? Don’t one in two marriages end in divorce, making marriage a bad bet?

No, divorce is down since 1980.

Today, about 40% of marriages are projected to end in divorce, and most divorces are initiated by women. These stats are better than they used to be, but they also suggest that marriage is still riskier than many would like.

But even here the statistics need not leave us hopeless about marriage. In fact, they can be a guide to what works for those whose marriages go the distance. The stats also tell us how to avoid divorce.

In fact, the stats suggest four steps to reduce men’s risk of divorce.

1) Having a job: Wives are especially likely to get and stay married to men who are reliable providers. One Harvard study found that a husband’s unemployment boosted a couple’s risk of divorce by 33%; by contrast, a wife’s job loss had no effect on the stability of their marriage. The lesson here is that men who get and stay employed full-time are much less likely to land in divorce court.

2) Regular date nights: The National Marriage Project 2022 “State of Our Unions” report finds that couples who have regular date nights are nearly twice as likely to report they are very happy in their marriages compared to those who don’t make time to keep the spark alive. Couple quality time is also linked to markedly lower risks of divorce. So men who wish to keep their marriages strong and the risk of divorce low would be wise to set aside regular opportunities for romance.

3) Joint checking accounts: A recent Indiana University study showed that newly married couples who started out with joint checking accounts had a higher quality of relationship two years later than those newly marrieds who didn’t. Other research indicates that separate accounts increase your odds of divorce by 20%. Taking a “we-before-me” approach to money seems to increase your odds of going the distance.

4) Community: Regular church attendance also reduces your risk of divorce by between 30% and 50%. That’s because husbands and wives who surround themselves with people who take marriage and family seriously do better. In fact, the most happily married people in America today share a common faith. If you can, connecting with a local church seems to offer significant returns in the quality and stability of your marriage.

Marriage is not a death sentence. For most men who marry today, it looks like a good deal: more money, more sex, better health, a longer life, and much more happiness. And with these four steps, men who are worried about divorce can play their part in securing not only their own happiness but that of their spouses and any children, too.

This is why men should ignore the red-pill right and get married.

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Brad Wilcox

Brad Wilcox

Brad Wilcox, professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and senior fellow of the Institute for Family Studies, is the author of “Get Married: Why Americans Must Defy the Elites, Forge Strong Families, and Save Civilization.”