Odds of a good marriage and risks of getting married

ITT I would like to discuss why men in my age bracket (18-35) would ever want to get married. I would like to discuss this from a purely secular standpoint.

Some simple facts:

-50% of marriages end in divorce, of which the vast majority are initiated by women (either formally or, to extrapolate from common sense, informally through pressure)
-Of these marriages, which can be ended for not reason whatsoever, the “wife” will have an undeniable right to half of your stuff, the house, the car, and almost certainly the kids as well. You will also likely be liable for alimony payments.
-45-50% of women over the age of 40 will have had an extra-marital sexual affair
-70% of men are unaware of their wives’ extra-marital affairs
-10% of children’s putative fathers are not their actual biological fathers

Now for personal experience
-I grew up in a broken home. I know of the psychological damage this causes. It is, as Peter Kreeft has said, the worst kind of damage you can cause a child short of abuse.
-My grandparents had lovely marriages (of course that was before the second wave feminist/sexual revolution), my uncle was recently abandoned by his wife, who then took half of his wealth thanks to his (and our nation’s) laws permitting unilateral no fault divorce.
-My reading of Catholic Answers and visual survey of the pews every sunday lets me know that even in the western Catholic world, marriages don’t seem to be all too bright, lots of problems in them, hanging on by a thread even if they manage to avoid divorce.

Now to you, CA poster, why should a young man such as myself, with a decent career in the works, lots of free time to pursue activities that please him, and time to volunteer and do almsgiving, fasting, prayer and study of the church, put all this on the line for a marriage which would seem to be a rather unwise investment if it were about money and not people given the above stats. Also remember the possibility of subjecting a child to a broken home, not a delightful prospect from what I’ve heard and known.

Thanks in advance for your reasons,


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If you look at things through statistics, or presumed statistics…given that statistics aren’t as accurately obtained as people may believe. Most of us haven’t been consulted or tested. Some of your statistics…what demographic" and how many were involved in the surveys? Divorce statics may be obvious, whilst some of the others we simply take on others’ say-so, accurate or not.

I thinkthat the decision has to be made on a personal basis.
If a man (or a woman) hasn’t someone in their life whom they personally might consider marrying, the question doesn’t have much personal impact.

However if there is someone, a person needs to consider whether it is right and wise to commit to that particular person. You can only approach the question for yourself on an individual basis.

Life isn’t easy whether single or married. Every life choice has its advantages and disadvantages, but these apply to each person in an individual, not a statistical way.

If you or any man meets a real person whom they could consider marrying, it is regarding this person whom they must discern,
in honesty, and without glossing over reality, in oneself,
and regarding self in ones weaknesses and strengths, and the other person’s weakness and strength.

And life is always a leap of hope and faith, hopefully guided by practical judgement.

We are not all called to marry.
If you are not but fully obey the command to love God above all and others as yourself, this is the basic commandment of God.

One must be careful not to live selfishly either in the married or the single life. See Matthew Chapter 25 verses 31-46. Practical kindness for others is a non-negotiable as far as personal salvation is concerned, on the Savior’s authority.

I’m just going to deal with facts here

For Catholics married to Catholics the divorce rate is 27% source

Women are more likely to divorce because of verbal/emotional abuse and neglect.

In my parents case it was because my father placed his dreams and aspirations ahead of his fiduciary responsibility to our family.

Generally women are better at raising children, unsurprisingly they wind up with custody rather often. It should be noted that when men actually fight for custody they have a fairly good chance of getting custody (in my state it is about 1:1)

Women tend to do most of household work, while not paid it is worth something.

Try 40% of women… and 60% of men.

Women finding out about their husband’s affair (and his lack of feeling bad about it) is a common reason for divorce (it’s so much easier to get a no fault divorce than getting a fault divorce) and given that men are much more likely to cheat it shouldn’t be surprising that women are much more likely to file.

It should be noted that that is highly related to social status of the male, for high social status males it’s only 1%

I think the majority of your stats are wrong or just completely made up. For one you can’t get a good estimate about extramarital affairs; no sane person is going to admit an extra-marital affair to anyone, much less to a stranger doing a survey.

The 10% paternity discrepancy is often repeated, but it is a overestimation because it only counts cases where paternity is in dispute. It should be obvious that if a man thinks he might not be the father there is often a good reason.

The 50% figure for divorce just takes the number of marriages and the number of divorces per year. It doesn’t take into account that it is not the same people getting divorced that are getting married that year. Obviously people on their second, third, or fourth marriage are going to skew the results. Secondly the 50% is just a crude forecast, not a death sentence. Whether you end up getting a divorce is something that is very much within your power to control…

Or you could say, OP, that if you meet someone wonderful and fall in love with them, and they with you, that tends to get you through the hard times. And that’s because you put them first and they do the same for you. :slight_smile:

The OP asks** : “Now to you, CA poster, why should a young man such as myself, with a decent career in the works, lots of free time to pursue activities that please him, and time to volunteer and do almsgiving, fasting, prayer and study of the church, put all this on the line for a marriage?”**


The Bottom Line is: there is NO universal reason to get married.
If there was, then we would have NO Priests … and NO Nuns.
There’s something for everybody.

If you Love another Human Being enough to want to be with that person, then you must go through your List of Reasons to NOT Marry.
If you balance the Plus-and-Minus scores (that you listed in your Post), then you can make that very Personal decision for yourself.

So, Secularly speaking, you can do ANY Stupid thing you want to do.
So, picket a Church for their Faith … talk to Believers, to have them give up their Faith … or, GET MARRIED.
It’s something like that.

Your beliefs on property division are incorrect in most cases. In NO states do you lose assets that you owned before the marriage (house, 401K savings prior to the marriage, vehicles acquired prior to the marriage) or inheritance.

Only 11 states are community property states where things are split 50/50 down the middle. The rest of the states are equitable distribution- which means things are split, but not necessarily 50/50.

Re: alimony- when awarded, it is most often only a short-term award. If both spouses worked, there’s almost never any alimony payment. If the wife worked and the husband stayed at home, then the wife would be the one paying alimony.

You get married because you are truly in love and know that this person is the one God intended you to be with. It really is that simple.

No offense, but you sound scared and selfish. Natural human emotions. When you are truly in love, those emotions fade and are not necessary.

If your stats are correct (I have no clue), I would point to the huge possibility that many of these marriages were I’ll conceived to begin with.

  1. it is not true that 50% of marriages end up in divorce. The 50% number is a statistic that comes from late 70’s and people have kept repeating despite the fact the number went down a long time ago. The actual number today is around 30%. Also, another huge point is that number does not mean 30% of marriages end up in divorce. The way that number is calculated is by dividing the number is divorces in one year between the number of marriages that occured in that same year so it dies not mean that 30% of marriages will end up in divorce.
  2. your statement that your “wife will end up with half of your stuff” is plain wrong. First no one ends up with your stuff, even in states where they do an equal division of marital assets what gets divided is the property that came to be part of the fabric of the marriage. Also there a million laws and regulations over how property gets divided and it depends on many things from years of marriage, whether there us a prenup, etc. Division if property is subject to many variables, depends on which state you are, who did what and who is your judge so that statement could not be farther from reality. You are basing your statemt simply in one case your uncle, in which you probably don’t have any idea as to the details of their marriage, the laws in your state and no idea what was negotiated. You cannot make a general judgment when you have only 1/5 of the knowledge needed to make that judgment.
  3. well if we go by that the number of men who have extramarital affairs I think is maybe 70%, historically men have always had higher rates of cheating.
  4. same can be said of wives.
  5. the percentage of men who have a second family behind the backs of their wivesis way way way higher than 10%.

Now I do grant you that radical feminism has had a fatal effect on marriage that has lead to a crisis but the reason why that damage was done was because people bought into it. People believed the concepts, thought that catholic ideas as to chastity and marriage were outdated and behaved ignoring catholic teaching if you follow catholic teaching your chances are pretty good. If you make good discernment of marriage, follow the teachings on chastity, get to know your spouse as a person instead of jping to have sex, if you marry another practicing catholic who fully shares and practices your faith and if you follow NFP your chances of divorce go down pretty much to 0. So instead of looking at the 30% of people who are doing things the wrong way why don’t you to us more on the faithful practicing Catholics with strong marriages…which BTW are many here in caf.

Secularly, There is no reason to get married. When you limit it to secular reasons then it all goes to pot. There is no reason to procreate, there is no reason to create a family. Because as a Catholic I believe this is a Holy sacrament meant to produce Holy fruit. If you take the religion out of it, I have no idea why one would want to get married. It is one of the things I do not understand about the gay marriage push. To me, it is more about imposing a view rather than “love”

Because it’s a great Sacrament that provides fantastic grace for you and your spouse, because your spouse will bring you closer to God and because you are able to enter into co-creation of new souls with Our Lord? I dunno, that seems pretty awesome to me. :shrug:

I understand your hesitation given your childhood background. That’s a real concern. The rest of the stuff is, well, “stuff.” Who cares about material possessions? I’d be more worried about if things go south, will you or I become an angry, bitter person who hardens his heart against God?

Life comes with risk. And there’s not a much bigger risk possible than saying “I’m laying down my life for you. All I have and am, is yours.” And that’s what marriage is. Scary! But Christ noted that there is no greater gift than laying down one’s life for a friend, and the giving of that gift is an awesome thing.

There’s always a chance that the person to who you give that gift will eventually reject it… but the odds are actually indeed in your favor if your spouse is a practicing Catholic. Especially if you both embrace the gift of sexuality the way God made it.

Epidemiology can be a lousy way to determine a personal course of medical treatment. In the same way, marriage is not a statistical crapshoot–you be the best spouse you can, and you marry someone who is truly committed to living out God’s will and who believes that marriage is permanently binding.

It’s okay to be skeptical. Modern society has wreaked havoc on marriage. You certainly don’t have to be married, and it’s far better to be single than unhappily married! That said, I think it’s absolutely wonderful being married to my husband, and I am so happy we’re together. I know a lot of people–including on CAF–feel the same.

As always, be careful with those stats. A careful reading of the limited information in that article seems to indicate that “Catholics” are people that identifies themselves as such. That is not how the Church defines a Catholic. I’d be willing to place a bet that there are plenty of Catholics among the 40% of people with no religious affiliation. And I’ll also place a bet that the are Catholics counted amongst the Protestants. The result of that is to push that statistics upward.

Now if the article specifically stated “practicing” Catholics, over even marriages involving one practicing and one non-practicing Catholic, it would show they did their research. But that’s not what I’m seeing.

Of course the article and I am going by people who identify themselves as Catholic. If someone was baptized, but the parents left the Church when they were two they tend to have very little (accurate) knowledge of what is Catholicism.

You keep repeating that a woman is entitled to half of “the man’s stuff”. That’s telling. It is not his stuff, it is theirs, so of course she gets half. Until you let go of the idea of his vs. hers, you aren’t ready for marriage.

These statistics (assuming they are accurate) apply to society as a whole. The statistics on divorce are far different if you are surveying marriages consisting of two Catholics who regularly attend Mass together and pray together. Your “statistical” chance of divorcing in that case goes way, way down.

Plus, there is so much more that goes into making a good marriage. If you believe in the goodness of marriage and family and rule out divorce as an option and find someone else who believes likewise, then I don’t think you have too much to worry about.

I would say that young men your age should not marry. It is too risky, for all the reasons you mention.

Many carry a bias of optimism. They think the statistics do not apply to them. Or that their intimate knowledge of someone is a more credible predictor of a happy marriage than what the statistical evidence projects.

I say - look at the statistical evidence and apply the evidence to your situation. In all likelihood your chances of a successful marriage are no better than anyone else’s. And with the odds overwhelmingly against you, it is best to stay single.

Didn’t you get the memo? If a man is the sole breadwinner because he wants a “traditional family” and then they divorce because of his infidelity it is totally outrageous that she gets half the stuff acquired during marriage because it is “his” and also it is mad to think he should support her for a time not to exceed the length of the marriage.

Amongst couple where both people identify as Catholic the odds are 27%, that isn’t go to Mass every week and pray together, that’s merely where they say they are Catholic.

Men actually win the most from marriage.

Married men live longer healthier lives than single men.

They also earn more.

However in the case of the OP, he is better off staying single if he feels he cannot trust women.

I can think of a million reasons why I got married, and my reasons are pretty universal as far as the secular people in my life. As for no purpose of having children, are you serious? Would you not love your children and take joy in your role as a father without your faith? Don’t you consider your kids the best, most important thing in your life? Is this only because of your religion?

As for reasons to marry: life is hard. Really really hard. There are so many bad things that we can be sure will happen to us in our lives, and many more that we haven’t even pictured yet. No one wants to tackle it alone. We have a need as people to bond closely with others, and marriage and family is a part of that.

My husband wasn’t planning on being diagnosed with cancer in his 20’s, and if he didn’t have a wife, it would have been 1000x harder and more lonely.

And for the record, the gay people that I know who have married could care less about the statement their marriage makes to you, but they care a lot about the things I listed.

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