Published October 25, 2023
Anti-marriage influencers claim to be looking after men’s interests, but they are directing men toward unhappy, cowardly lives. The latest example comes from X, formerly known as Twitter, where social media personality H. Pearl Davis declared that “marriage is a terrible deal for men in 2023.” To the contrary, sociologist Brad Wilcox pointed out that married men are, on average, much happier than their unmarried peers (and the same is true of women).
The rejoinder from Davis and her followers was that the problem with marriage is in the potential for failure—sure a happy marriage might be great, but a bad one may be so miserable, or a divorce so devastating, that marriage is not worth attempting. Though Davis overstates the prevalence of these ills, they are real. Men can have their hearts broken, their bank accounts drained, and their children taken from them. Thus, though Lyman Stone is correct that the risks of divorce do not, on aggregate, offset the benefits of marriage, and furthermore that “divorced men have the SAME HAPPINESS as never-married men,” this is not really about the data. Rather it is about courage and what it is to be a man.
Nathanael Blake, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. His primary research interests are American political theory, Christian political thought, and the intersection of natural law and philosophical hermeneutics. His published scholarship has included work on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Alasdair MacIntyre, Russell Kirk and J.R.R. Tolkien. He is currently working on a study of Kierkegaard and labor. As a cultural observer and commentator, he is also fascinated at how our secularizing culture develops substitutes for the loss of religious symbols, meaning and order.