Sometime last week (I think; everything is a bit of a blur right now), I read an article on Huffington Post entitled "Reasons Straight Men Don't Want to Get Married" (deep that we have to specify *what kind of men* now, right?).
And while it could be easy to chalk the reasons up to that's how "men in the world think", honestly, I know a lot of guys who claim to love and serve the same God I do that also have some of these same resolves. (I'm going to post reasons and excerpts. Click here to read the article in its entirety):
You'll lose respect. A couple of generations ago, a man wasn't considered fully adult until he was married with kids. But today, fathers are figures of fun more than figures of respect.
Funny. When I read this, I actually thought about the fact that so many women *totally ignore* the fact that God said to respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:33) and yet, there is an epidemic of women who don't. No man wants to be respected on his job and among his family members and friends only to come home to a woman who doesn't honor his position of leader and protector of the home, who wants to berate and debate him at every turn. If you haven't read Love and Respect, as a single woman, now would be a good time to do so. Oh, and as far as fathers being figures of respect, a spiritually mature woman still see dads in that fashion. A man can be respected and fun simultaneously. Don't believe the (media) hype.
You'll lose out on sex. Married men have more sex than single men, on average - but much less than men who are cohabiting with their partners outside of marriage, especially as time goes on.
You know what's jacked up? Did you know that people who shack up have *a lot more sex* than married people do? Yep, individuals who "play house" are more sexually satisfied. That's a shame. There are oh so many reasons why sex is for the marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4)---oneness and procreation (Genesis 1:26-28 & 2:24-25) are the top ones---yet there is something that I am seeing more and more in single women and it's the fact that they are having sex *for* a relationship while single men are having a relationship *for* sex. This means that both genders are abusing both gifts and if you are doing something only so you can get something else, eventually the thrill will fade. Remember, you don't "make love" with sex. You *celebrate love* with it. And by the way, if a man knows the purpose of marriage and is properly prepared for it, he should feel like entering into a marital union will provide him with an abundance of pleasure, in every room of the house. You should too.
You'll lose friends. "Those wedding bells are breaking up that old gang of mine." That's an old song, but it's true. When married, men's ties with friends from school and work tend to fade.
At 39, even as a single woman, I know that marriage shifts relationships. Married women and especially mothers simply don't have the kind of flexibility that single women do (which is a bonus when it comes to living the single life, actually). The point I'm led to make here is simple: When you're dating a guy, pay attention to how many *married friends* he has. The more that are in his space, the easier it will be for him to make the transition from boyfriend to husband. Also, don't become "clingy chick". Just like God, Christ and the Holy Spirit are separate entities who agree as one (I John 5:8), a husband and wife can become one and still have things to do...apart (God and Christ are in heaven and the Holy Spirit is here, after all---John 14:26).
You'll lose space. We hear a lot about men retreating to their "man caves," but why do they retreat? Because they've lost the battle for the rest of the house.
There's a husband I was talking to a few months ago. He's been married almost 30 years and he was telling me that while he is going to honor his commitment, his wife's *mouth* annoys him so much that he has resolved to spend his retirement years in the man cave that he already spends a significant amount of time in. His wife and I are friends. I get where he's coming from. She doesn't really know how to communicate what she wants without whining, nagging, sulking or giving the silent treatment. Now, I'm all for men having "caves" as much as women having their own office. Space is good and needed. At times. But a man shouldn't feel like he needs to *escape* from his wife. That said, I also know a couple of men who *can't wait* to get home after work. Not for sex (well always-LOL) but to spend time with their best friend. Choose to be the kind of wife who falls into Category B.
You could lose your kids, and your money. And they may not even be your kids. Lots of men I spoke with were keenly aware of the dangers of divorce, and worried that if they were married and it went sour, the woman might take everything, including the kids.
You'll lose in court. Men often complain that the family court legal system is stacked against them, and in fact it seems to be. Women gain custody and child support the majority of the time.
You'll lose your freedom. At least, if you're charged with child support that you can't pay, you can be put in jail - and if you can't afford a lawyer, you don't have the right to have one appointed because, according to the Supreme Court, it's technically a civil matter, never mind the jail time.
I'm going to address losing kids, money, court and freedom together and summarize it in a Scripture and then a quote from Sibusiso Victor Masondo: "'For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,' says the Lord of hosts. 'Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.'" (Malachi 2:16-NKJV) The God of love hates divorce. That's a pretty deep statement. A big part of the reason is because it's a violent act because indeed, trying to separate two people who are meant to become one is like gluing two pieces of paper together and they pulling them apart again. Men have every right to be scared of divorce. It's mean and painful and anything but God's intention for covenant. Oh, as far as the quote, my Baba (my mom's husband) says "Satan is not so much in the business of breaking marriages apart, but putting the wrong two people together to begin with." If that ain't a warning call and reason to seek divine wisdom (James 1:5) and wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5, 20:8 & 24:6), I don't know what is, chile. Oh, and as far as child support, men need to pay it but there are *a lot* of women I know who should be *super thankful* to the contradictory court system when it comes to the fact that they don't have to cough up receipts for how they are spending that money. If they did, many would be in a jail cell too. Bottom line, wait for God's best if you've never been married. Seek to reconcile if at all possible if you are divorced (I Corinthians 7:10-11). And if your ex is already remarried, make sure to spend some time on this verse: "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." (Matthew 5:23-24-NKJV) Remember that in order to be forgiven, you must forgive (Matthew 6:14-15) and true repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10) is about making an amends---making wrongs right. Ignoring that fact makes it no less true. Or expected by God.
Single life is better than ever. While the value of marriage to men has declined, the quality of single life has improved. Single men were once looked on with suspicion, passed over for promotion for important jobs, which usually valued "stable family men," and often subjected to social opprobrium. It was hard to have a love life that wasn't aimed at marriage, and premarital sex was risky and frowned upon. Now, no one looks askance at the single lifestyle, dating is easy, and employers probably prefer employees with no conflicting family responsibilities. Plus, video games, cable TV, and the Internet provide entertainment that didn't used to be available. Is this good for society? Probably not, as falling birth rates and increasing single-motherhood demonstrate. But people respond to incentives. If you want more men to marry, it needs to be a more attractive proposition.
Don't get a sistah wrong. The more I heal, the more I see just how much of a *gift and blessing* single living really and truly is. I mean, it's no coincidence that we're ALL born into the world single *first* (something that some people tend to forget) and that the Word tells us that God does things decently and *in order* (I Corinthians 14:40). That said, I'm not sure how "awesome" single life would be for men if women weren't so accommodating to their "build a wife without marrying a woman" projects. You know, using one woman for sex, another woman to cook, another woman for emotional support, another woman to date...blah, blah, blah. God doesn't lie (Titus 1:2) and one of the things that he declared is that it's not good (*not good*) for men to be alone (Genesis 2:18); that they need the help *of a woman* (their one life partner-I Corinthians 7:2). Therefore, a man thinking that he's better off using several women rather than committing to one is deception at its finest (Matthew 24:4). Yet, men wouldn't be able to get all of the privileges/benefits/advantages of having a wife without marrying her if (hint, hint)...women didn't let them. *Don't let them*.
After reading the article, I must say that I think what I found to be the saddest part of it is that the word "lose" was used throughout the entire piece. That although Proverbs 18:22 says that a wife brings a man *favor*, so many single men feel like they are missing out by being married. I get it, though. Marriage is a spiritual matter which requires spiritual discernment (I Corinthians 2:13-15). A natural man won't get it. A natural woman won't either.
For the record, I did read another article on how men benefit from marriage: They earn more money, they become more sociable and responsible and also their health improves.
It's so easy to say that the men interviewed for the piece are scared or lazy or cowards, but personally, I took it as a "take heed". In order to desire something that is godly, you definitely need spiritual maturity (Hebrews 5:12-14) but you also need people praying for you *and*, in this case, women who will set a standard that will raise the bar.
Bottom line: a lot of men are not getting married simply because they don't have to. There are enough single women who are willing to compromise to where a commitment is not required.
That wouldn't be (just) the man's fault. Or issue. Or problem.
We play a part in that too.