Money, Marriage and Divorce – Some Ideas on Why Marriage isn’t attractive anymore

A buddy and I were talking about marriage and stuff and I thought I’d share some things that were thrown out in our discussion

Social Anthropologist Edmund Leach defined marriage as  a set of legal rules that govern how goods, titles, and social status are handed down from generation to generation. There is no one definition of marriage that account for it’s manifestation cross-culturally. According to Mr Leach, the functions of marriage are as follows:

  1. Establish the legal father of a woman’s children & vise versa.
  2. Allow a monopoly on sexual access to each other.
  3. Establish rights to  each others labor.
  4. Establish rights over property.
  5. Establish inheritance.
  6. Establish a “relationship of affinity” between spouses & their relatives.

In most of the world, marriage is not based on romantic love, but on economic considerations. Actually only 300 years ago did marrying for love become popular. For those who feel that marriage is sacred, I’d like to bring up that it was only until 1536 during the Ecumenical Council of Trent that the church decided that marriage was a sacrament. “In both Jewish and Greco-Roman cultures, the law recognized marriage as a “social fact” with certain juridic consequences, but marrying was almost exclusively a family matter, which took place without the necessary involvement of either religious or civil authority. Concerning the council of Trent”

In the 24 session, the council issued decrees on marriage which affirmed the excellence of celibacy, condemned concubinage, and made the validity of marriage dependent upon the wedding taking place before a priest and two witnesses. 

The divorce laws and settlements reflect the long history of marriage being a business and not a sacred affair. Are you familiar with the whole Paul Heather Mills divorce debacle. The judge decided McCartney should pay Mills a lump sum of around $33 million, which together with existing assets of around $15 million means she will gain a divorce totaling nearly $50 million. Concerning their then four and a half-year old child, Beatrice gets £35,000 a year. Heather Mills wasn’t there when Sir Paul was breaking history. Why does she deserve all that money ?

Paul McCartney is a special case because of his celebrity and wealth. However  many everyday guys have been crippled by divorce. My brother in law went through a divorce recently and was just awful. It is unclear to me knowing that everything you worked for can be taken away because of some antiquated laws and mindsets, why any guy would want to enter into marriage ? By the way more than 2/3 of all divorces are initiated by women. Most of them are not for valid reasons like infidelity or abuse anymore.

Decades ago, family structures were such that most men went to work and most women tended the home, partly because open discrimination against women in the workplace was widely accepted and women couldn’t get a fair shake in the working world. The laws of the time reflected that reality, providing married women with various financial protections in case of divorce. At the same time, laws assumed that women were better suited to nurturing and raising children than men, so the kids usually ended up with mom. The world has changed, but the divorce courts have lagged behind

  • Permanent alimony still persists in some states meaning that men may be financially indebted to ex-wives for the rest of their lives, even if the marriage was extremely brief and both partners are employed.
  • Today men receive custody in only 10-15 percent of cases.
  • Family courts are structured in a way that makes it particularly challenging for a man to dispute paternity. Some states have statutes of limitations  on a man’s right to request a paternity test in Texas, it’s four years.

I think there are significant numbers of guys turned off to the idea of marriage. Do you feel it’s valid? What are your thoughts




  1. Men are not the only ones screwed by marriage breakdowns. That said, permanent alimony seems like a rort to me!
    In Australia now custody is automatically 50:50, then couples go from there to work it out, but I think it is still skewed in the woman’s favour a lot of the time, but that is a separate issue to marriage as many people these days have kids without being married.
    Marriage is nice and I would like to get married one day, but I’d be just as happy to live with someone.
    I think there should be no statute of limitations on paternity tests either that’s a bit wrong.


    • Hola Evie,

      I just want to assure you that I didn’t mean to say that men are the sole people screwed by marriage breakdowns. I just wanted to elucidate some points why marriage doesn’t seem as viable to as many guys as it used to in the past. I also wanted to point out how the social context at the time shaped the divorce laws, and that same context is no longer prevalent.

      With that said aside from the divorce and that kinda of deal, I don’t really think marriage as an institution works. I think out current society twists relationships into things that are harmful to the well-being of the familial unit.

      You seem too fun a person, I cannot imagine you marriage with station wagon and perhaps kids ….??


  2. Hey buddy, a very interesting and informative post on an emotional topic. As a person who is legally forbidden access to marriage in my home state, I’m not sure I even want to get married when it becomes legal. Good job!


    • That’s interesting!

      I do feel strongly that gay couples should be allowed to access to marriage. I wonder though how divorces for gay couples will be. it be interesting to get some data. meanwhile hope you are well



  3. MrMary, you already know that I don’t ever plan on getting married. That being said, if I were a cis man I’d think long and hard before ever tying the knot. Why?

    1. 70% of divorces are started by the female partner. Unfortunately, with no fault divorce laws, the reason for the divorce is not reported most of the time. You may get divorced due to actual issues like spousal abuse or an inability to provide intimacy…or you could get divorced because your spouse is tired of you as a person and wants you out of the house.

    2. Paternity fraud is not yet looked at as a serious crime, if it’s seen as criminal at all. Some countries do not allow paternity testing whatsoever, others have a limitation on time, still others will do the test but the courts will *even then* force you to pay for a child that isn’t yours…after a divorce too!

    3. Prenuptial agreements aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. A good lawyer can usually find some loophole in it, and a court could simply overrule the prenup if shown evidence that it is too harsh toward one party.

    4. Because of point #3, you stand to lose everything. If you build the house with your own 2 hands, there’s absolutely no guarantee it will be yours after the divorce. If your rich uncle dies and leaves you a car in his will, it could very well be given to your spouse in the divorce. Heck, being a good husband and providing better than average for your wife can have it’s own set of problems. The courts can rule that you’ve set a precedent of a way of life for your spouse…in other words, they are now used to a 5-bedroom house and a fully-stocked SUV even though they were living in a studio apartment and driving a 15 year old car when you got engaged. Guess what? Many courts will now force you to make payments to said spouse that allows them to keep this new lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed. (This is probably what happened in your example above.)

    5. You may be falsely reported for domestic violence. This point makes me sick on a different level than the previous 4, and for good reason. If they want, your spouse could tell the courts that you are an abusive parent/partner and use this to keep you from getting custody, visitation rights, and forcing you into counseling for anger management. It might even land you in jail, given the situation. For those who say “it doesn’t happen that much”, I have 2 responses:
    A. I personally can name 3 families where the wife admitted, post divorce, to claiming her husband was abusive when he wasn’t. One wife went so far as to punch herself and take pictures of the resulting bruises, whereas the other two were simply believed without evidence. As my own mother *was* actually abused by my father (who admitted to punching her on numerous occasions) it is disgusting to know that there are those who would make such heinous lies.
    B. The fact that it happens *at all* should be enough to get people to act. One rape is too many. One starving child is too many. One homeless war veteran is too many. And one man who is denied access to his children due to deceitful tactics and lies is too many.

    I’m positive there are many more points I’ve missed, but these are what I’ve come up with off the top of my head.


  4. You make a lot of good points here Mr. Mary although “…divorces are initiated by women. Most of them are not for valid reasons like infidelity or abuse anymore” only applies to the former state of affairs when marriages were mostly a “family matter”. Where so called “love” is concerned (I use the word ‘love’ very loosely as its meaning has disintegrated perhaps to the point of no return) there can’t be an ‘invalid’ reason. “I don’t love you anymore” is as valid as “you abuse me.”

    But that’s not the point you were making, and I do see your points and I do agree that laws are antiquated. You see the men’s short end of the stick when it comes to divorce rights, but I don’t know that such a great percentage of women actually aren’t forced to take care of their children single handedly simply because the father is unwilling to do so. Obviously I’m not talking about all men, but enough men to make “growing up without a father” a social and economic issue of concern for the United States at least.

    There has to be judicial balance, I think that’s obvious. But I find that the scale can never ever balance all the issues at hand. People are unbalanced, therefore, the system is unbalanced. The evolution of law can never surpass the evolutionary state of mankind. As long as we go back and forth, so too will the scales of law. That’s what I see anyway. Great post!


    • Hola Rula Dear,

      How nice to see you!

      I like your points! I think the judicial system is like the cops to the end of an action film. They are only their to capitalize upon the work that’s been done by the people already. I do agree that our institutions of government will never
      solve anything but it is nice to think back to the 60 years ago. I’d have trouble then going to school, me and MrsMary would have some issues with some Miscegenation laws. There is some relative progress I feel. There will never be a a time where everyone is balanced

      When it comes to family,separation and divorces there are clearly abuses perpetrated by both men and women. The same can be said with the raising of children. I think both these issues are manifestation of a still deeper problem but that’s a topic for another day. My main point because that if I was dude today Id be reluctant to marry etc


  5. Well I can’t say I disagree on any point, and even as a woman (imagine that! 😉 ) I’m completely and totally done with “marriage” as a legal entity. “Marriage” essentially means “union”, but I think we’ve steered way too far past the most meaningful definition of that word, which is the marriage of two souls (so to speak in lame cliche). Nice write, it’s a mad world. 🙂


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