Marrying in the Current Year

As Dalrock has detailed to a ridiculously in-depth level, marriage in the current year has some issues. To help people think about the problem, here are some questions:

  1. What is marriage supposed to be, in the best case?
  2. What, if any, is the difference between this ideal formulation, and the modern American formulation?
    • What prevents the modern formulation of marriage from living up to the ideal?
      • How relevant are:
        • Social setting?
        • Legal setting?
        • Religious setting?
        • Technological advancement?
  3. How does a marriage come about?
    • What prepares young men and women for marriage?
      • What character traits are important?
      • What material situations are important?
    • How do men and women meet nowadays?
      • How is this different from previous generations?
      • Are these differences an improvement, in general? If not, is there a solution, to make the meeting process better?
    • How do men and women decide to get married nowadays?
      • How is this different from previous generations?
      • What are the benefits of the modern process?
      • What are the benefits of the older process?
    • What motivates men to propose marriage to women?
      • Has this motivation changed over time?
  4. What is to be done to improve the situation?

And now, my answers:

  1. The sacrament of Holy Matrimony is supposed to be a permanent, fruitful union between a man and a woman.
  2. Modern marriage is not a sacrament, it is not permanent, it is not (in aggregate) fruitful, and it is no longer limited to a man and a woman.
    • Many things. But an understanding of what marriage is and why it exists in the first place seems to be lacking across the board, and without this understanding, we should not be surprised to see marriage falling apart.
      • Social setting is extremely important to a marriage, as the community surrounding a marriage can help or hurt the marriage. Modern community is nearly non-existent, as Americans are the most isolated humans probably ever to exist. What community we do have tends to be centered around pop-entertainment, which generally tends to erode marriages, rather than build them up.
      • Legally speaking, signing up for marriage is a death trap for the richer party. At any time, for no cause, the marriage can be voided, and the poorer party can receive cash and prizes.
      • America is not a religious nation any more. We might be a vaguely spiritual one, but we do not hold strongly to concrete doctrine, a hallmark of religion. Since religion is strongly tied to the success of marriage, the lack of religion entails a lot of the problems we see.
      • An important part of marriage is the help it provides to each partner. Marriage makes life no longer something to be lived alone, but it gives you someone to lean on when hard times come. Modern technology also makes life easier. You can lean on it when the hard times come. Thus, the material incentives for marriage are lessened whenever some technology lessens our dependence on others, which is practically every technology.
  3. A marriage comes about when a man asks a woman to marry him and she says yes, and then they go before their family and their God and make solemn vows of fidelity and love.
    • Seeing their parent’s example of marriage. Maturing as a competent individual. Social interaction in general, because marriage is a social affair.
      • Truthfulness, responsibility, loyalty.
      • Money/Income, but a lot less is necessary than most Americans think.
    • They largely do not do so anymore, or at least not easily, naturally, or well. The remaining avenues tend to be degraded versions of the old forms (Church, Family, Friends) or new, crappier forms (Work, Internet)
    • Largely through inertia. Very few men strongly desire marriage–most are “suckered into it” by their live-in girlfriends who pester them about it frequently. Most young women do not want it, until they hit the wall (around age 30) and want to have a kid or two.
      • Previous generations placed a much larger emphasis on family as central to the purpose of life, whereas moderns tend to see it as a capstone to achieve only after other goals (career, education) are reached.
      • People have more disposable income to waste on un-necessary diversions like vacations, and vapid entertainment.
      • Larger families, more stable families, more meaningful familial relationships.
    • Widely varies from man to man. Love, Duty, Desire, etc…
      • Yes, it is much more likely to be done at the insistence of the woman now, than it was in the past, but since motivations are so personal, generalizations here are difficult at best.
  4. Good question. Pray, I guess?
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