I had an interesting conversation with my friend Jon in the UK the other day, in which he sat down to have a heart-to-heart with his nephew and essentially told him “Don’t get married“.
Although this was in the context of a particular, rather neurotic young lady, his argument was in a wider sense that it is no longer in the rational self interest of a man to enter into marriage with any women as the consequences of making a bad decision are catastrophic for both parties, but more so financially and emotionally for the man due to the inherent bias of Western divorce laws.
I must admit that I was a bit saddened by his approach, but with hindsight it is not very surprising either. Previously, I had only been aware of the concept of a “marriage strike” or “marriage boycott” in the context of Indian marriages (where it is more about the threat of divorce on ancestral properties) and within the American mens movement, which although it started as an equal rights movement, seems to have devolved into a forum for misogyny, which helps no-one and just pours fuel on the fire set by virulent feminism.
At the heart of this debate is a sincere argument that marriage is the single-most important institution for raising children and when the foundations of that institution are undermined, the whole of society suffers, not just the individual families involved.
Marriages fail for all sorts of reasons and it is in the best interests of the children that they continue to be supported by two loving parents even if those parents are no longer together. The difficulty we have today is that divorce has fixated on a substantially distorted view of “what is in the best interests of the children”, which usually means (in Western societies) that the mother is given sole-custody of the children, whereas the father is given the responsibility of providing for them financially, even if his time with his own children is limited to a few hours a month (or not at all in many cases).
Time and again, studies have shown that if fathers are given reasonable access to their children, this helps to minimize the emotional fallout from the divorce on the children and increases the likelihood of child support commitments being fulfilled.
Where a mother gains full custody, there are many circumstances where she attempts to cut her divorced husband out of her life and the lives of their children, even when this violates the settlement terms of the divorce and even against enforcement action by the courts themselves.
From the personal perspective of the divorced woman, this is understandable, she wishes to get on with her life, possibly even establish a new life with a new partner and the shackles of her former marriage, especially child access agreements prevent her from doing that.
But if we are to acknowledge that the rights of the children are paramount then there must be genuine equality in divorce.
Until this in built bias is removed there will be growing numbers of men telling their nephews, brother, cousins, friends and co-workers “not to get married” and the shattered remnants of that institution will continue to be further undermined to the detriment of the family and society as a whole.
Dr. Helen Smith on “Men On Strike”