“More and more men are choosing not to go to school, not to get a job, and not to get married. If similar numbers of women were doing the same, someone would raise the alarm, but since men are the ones opting out, the problem has been mostly met with silence.”

So says Dr Helen Smith, author of Men on Strike, in which she argues that men are acting entirely rationally in response to the lack of incentives society offers them to be responsible fathers, husbands and providers. In the video below, she presents six reasons why men are opting out of marriage:

  1. They’ll lose respect
  2. They’ll lose out on sex
  3. They can lose their children and their money
  4. They can lose their space
  5. They can lose their freedom
  6. The single life is better than ever.

Despite these powerful cultural trends, I still believe that a persuasive rational case can be made for marriage (see the early pages of Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage). However, this also demonstrates how a culture built on human reason rather than on biblical principles is always at risk of rapid disintegration.

 

  • http://highplainsparson.wordpress.com Riley

    Point 1. needs to be developed more. There are so few fathers today that I perceive a latent and deep-seated respect for male fathers and husbands, despite what the media may portray. 2. and 4. depends on who you marry. 3. and 5. are incentives to stay married, not to stay single.

    • welldone

      So it is clear. There’s no problem with marriage. All these things are false. We only need to teach men to man up and stop being such Peter Pans…Problem solved. Thank you for explaining. You won the debate.

      Come to me 20 years from now and tell me how denying the problem has worked. I expect marriage to be a rarity then.

      Denial isn’t only a river in Egypt

  • http://teampyro.blogspot.com Frank Turk

    Hi David –

    I just finished reading this book last week, and I think Dr. Smith’s case is anecdotal at best and flimsy at worst. The acid test, I think, is whether or not her own marriage is based on the principles (or against the principles) she espouses in her work.

    I think your point (regarding secular vs. biblical values) is an interesting one — but who is it for? If you’re saying that the church needs to take a more thoroughly-biblical stand on marriage and affirm and nurture those sorts of marriages, I agree with no qualifications. But if you’re saying that the culture must adopt the church’s view of marriage, I think I have two pieces of bad news for you:

    1. Our view of marriage as we practice it isn’t much to be charmed by. That is: most people inside churches today would not share the same view of marriage proposed by CBMW, and they therefore practice a more-secular view of marriage than the Bible teaches.

    2. Because #1 is true, the culture has, in fact, learned to settle for a lot less in terms of marriage than what the Bible teaches. That is: we have already taught the culture everything they know about marriage.

    Dr. Smith’s book is worth reading because it demonstrates what we are really up against culturally, but it also serves as a reminder that the only solution to culture is the Gospel, and that solution is effected not by passing laws or decrees but through the community of the local church declaring the word of God to lost people, and those lost people getting found and saved by Christ.

    • Phil B

      Hi Frank,
      Dr. Smith is married to Glenn Reynolds, author/owner/chief bottle washer of the political & lifestyle blog Instapundit, one of the most popular and well-respected blogs on the internet. He’s also a professor of law at the University of Tennessee.

      I’m a daily visitor to Instapundit, and I can say that it’s pretty obvious that Reynolds supports his wife and believes in what she’s written here. He’s linking to reviews of her book pretty much daily, and beyond that has always seemed to be both genuinely fond of his wife and supportive of everything she does. If that’s your acid test, I’d say she’s passed.

      You’re absolutely correct in your final statement, however. Smith and Reynolds don’t seem to espouse any particular faith, so their take on this is overwhelmingly secular. That’s not in any way to discount it, but to reflect what you’ve said here: It’s only through Christian community and submission to God’s authority that marriage as an institution can be salvaged.

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      Good points, Frank. I hope to read the book myself, but thought the video was thought-provoking.

      I think we’ve got to start with the church taking a more thoroughly biblical stand on marriage, especially on the motivations for it.

      I agree with your #1 & 2.

  • http://www.andrewterry.org Andrew Terry

    This is the first time the “manosphere” has crossed over into my Christian blog list. I have not read Smith’s book but it is on my to read list. By and large I agree with her. Issue #1 is a big issue especially in the church at large. Even within my own church there is a lack of respect for men particularly within the marriage unit. I could cite numerous reasons why this is but the main factor I believe is the church has walked away from good, sound, Christian marriage. We allow divorce and remarriage without a blink of the eye. We don’t hold marriage in high regard. This is where the church can be different from the world and create a community in which men are respected, the marriage bed undefiled (and active), where they are truly head of their households where their children, money, and house are secure. The other comments are correct. The only solution for this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is so much better than the single life, we just need to proclaim this truth.

    • Esther

      Trust me, you do not want to get involved with the manosphere. There are some truly nasty folks who hang around there and say crazy stuff. It pretty much defines overcompensation for feminism.

      • Eric Ashley

        since feminism brought us abortion, i wonder just how you could overcompensate for feminism…

        i was hoping for a more detailed analysis of this subject rather than a ‘Do it Jesus’ way’ which while true, is a bit sketchy on the details.

        one point is to clearly support the idea of Male Leadership in the home. don’t have Father’s Day sermons on ‘men are great and here’s how they need to improve’ while mother’s day sermons are more laudatory. In fact, switch those.

        Not sure, but disenfranchising women in church voting sounds like a good idea. Pretty much anything that teaches women they need to rely and trust men, and better yet, visibly and audibly do so (so that the slow can take note and understand) is a good idea.

      • Heimdal

        LOL esther, the manosphere opened my eyes to the truth about women. They have been thoroughly knocked of their pedestal, they now lie in the filthy dirt just like me. the greatest gift i receieved from the manosphere is that my sons will never put a woman on a pedestal.

        AWALT

    • Loki

      “The only solution for this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ”

      Plenty of non-Christians around the world have successful marriage cultures. Many of those non-christian societies have lower divorces rates than christian societies. Hindus, Muslims, Shinto, Animists, etc. all have a strong culture of marriage without Jesus Christ. Europeans peoples, who have been christians for only less than 2,000 years, already had a culture of marriage for tens of thousands of years before christianity was introduced.

      So the fact is, the Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t the only solution.

  • William Trip

    I would love to be married but today’s Chrisitan woman are chasing after big money and six pack abs. I’m a nice guy so i’ve fisnished last. I’ve refused to play games and I have paid a price. If I could go back in time, I would be a jerk and chase money. If I had chased after money and been a bad boy, I would be happy and married today instead of alone. A woman is a woman. There is no difference in how a Christian or Secular woman thinks. They both want money and they both play games.
    I lose.

    • http://www.andrewterry.org Andrew Terry

      You lose every game you refuse to play, every time. Ladies are looking for good godly men. But you have to get into the game to get a gal. You mentioned six pack abs, well, your physical fitness is important to attractiveness. You can say, “I’m a nice guy!” but if you don’t look decent why would any gal make the effort to “get to know you” to know you’re a nice guy. Just a little effort in appearance can go along way. Second, you mention money. What a woman sub-conscientiously wants is security, hence, it always seems they want money because money can bring security. You don’t need a lot of money to show a gal she can be secure with you. Confidence, boldness, assertiveness, these things convey a message of security. Work on your appearance, work on your attitude. All these truths are hidden in the book Song of Solomon. Read it and see what a woman praises in a man. Then be that man to the best of your ability.

    • Ashley Williams

      Hey William, I totally understand your gripe with Christian women. Much of it is true. But what I find is that the Christian man wants the hot Christian girl and those tend to be the ones you’re describing here. Both sides, not just women, are equally superficial. If you were around the women I know, and the kind of woman I strive to be, I think you wouldn’t be alone now. Stop going for the cheerleader if you’re not the quarterback. Neither are marriage material anyway.

    • EV

      Bitter are we? If you are wondering why women may not be interested in you, perhaps it is your bad attitude and sense of entitlement. You are wrong, across the board, in your evaluation of (real) Christian women. I am not sure which type of church you are attending where “all” of the women are shallow gold diggers. My single women friends are godly, Christ-following women who are praying hard for an upright man to pursue them. They are approaching their 30′s and yet still cultivating their femininity, growing in their skills to be a wife & mom someday, and serving others in their sphere of influence. Hardly “secular” and never playing games. But let me suggest you drop the “woe is me” bit… it is odious to women. Let me suggest to you Rick Holland’s “Relationship Series” .. a sermon series to prepare you for (hopefully) your future courting and marriage. Coming from a woman, please cultivate some humility and seek a mentor before you even think about getting married.

      • EV

        Rick Holland’s “The man to be, and the Husband to Find.” Is a great start: http://www.gracechurch.org/media/4926/the_man_to_be_and_the_husband_to_find_part_1/

      • Loki

        Mr. Trip, Christo-feminists like EV don’t like it when men stand up for themselves. To these women, you are acting “uppity”. I mean, how dare you speak! Just go and read some mangina Protestant pastor’s view on marriage. Learn your place Christian man-servant, I mean, husband.

      • Patrick John Doran

        Let me suggest that you cram your opinions up your ass.

    • Esther

      Sounds like you’re from the manosphere. May I suggest you crawl back under that particular rock and take the whining somewhere else?

      • uptothe

        After 40 years of whining about men, women like you think they have the monopoly of complaining.

        Women like you have been whining for decades: from bigotry (men have oppressed women for millennia, men are testosterone-poised) to silliness (men don’t leave the toilet in the position women like).

        Men have been hearing this nonsense for four decades in silence (a good slave doesn’t complain) but things are changing. Men are starting to speak up. Men are starting to express their thoughts instead of telling “Yes,ma’am”.

        I know you don’t like that and you want us to be quiet so only women can complain. You don’t like free speech. But there is no turning back and you better get used to it.

      • Loki

        William needs to keep on “whining” for the rest of his life. Just like women in the USA have been whining for the past 150 years about what they think is not fair to women. Whining=a man standing up for himself and his rights. So Mr. Trip, keep on fighting for your rights as a man. Which women classify as whining. Mr. Tripp, don’t allow the Christo-feminists to silence you.

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  • Random Angeleno

    Strongly suggest reading Dalrock’s blog. Dalrock is happily married and supports marriage, but he is also very realistic about the trends that work against it and generally advises men to vet their prospective wives very carefully just as women should not only vet prospective husbands but be realistic about who they can attract for commitment. (Hint: it will not be the most attractive man she ever dated. That man can and often does better than her in marriage.) He writes frequently about women who won’t accept the headship of men in marriage and how they are in clear rebellion against God’s word (Ephesians 5 ftw), yet their ideas rules the churches they attend. Example of a recent post discussing this: http://dalrock.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/no-room-for-headship-here/
    And some people wonder why men feel so disrespected in many churches?

    Dalrock has put in a lot of work to track statistics that support his positions. Will just say that if you’re insulted by the whole idea of the manosphere, then stay way from the comments in his posts as he himself is very well worth reading if you claim to have an open mind. I’m a devout Catholic and I still find plenty of space for Dalrock’s posts in my ideology though I do not always agree with him or the commenters.