Friday, June 26, 2009

She Said: Solutions to the Menace of Unmarried Men

You have to wonder what makes these unmarried men an undesirable element, even a menace. I'm glad I saved Dr. B. from that fate.

Unmarried men represent 19 percent of all adults – some 37.6 million Americans -- and about 40 percent of all adult men in the nation. Among unmarried men, 67 percent have never been married, 23 percent are divorced, 6 percent are widowed, and 4 percent are separated. Only 5 percent of unmarried men have children under 18 living at home. Unmarried men are not as economically advantaged as their married counterparts. They have less health insurance, they are less likely to own their home, and they are not as likely to vote. They suffer from higher rates of loneliness and depression than unmarried women. They also have fewer ties to organized religion.

But we're going to have to get used to more unmarried men. In my research on this subject, I read an article called The China Syndrome, describing the upcoming social crisis faced by the Chinese due to their "one child only" limitation, the culture's traditional preference for boys, and legal abortion up to the ninth month.
"The one-child policy is 25 years old, so the first generation is just now reaching marriage age, and for China that's a big problem because it is estimated that as many as 40 million of its young men could spend their lives as bachelors."

In the U.S., one cause of the woman shortage is the declining birthrate. Because men tend to marry younger, a declining birthrate means there's a smaller pool of younger women than if the birthrate were steady. Other factors include 105 boy babies being born for every 100 girl babies, and older divorced men re-marrying younger never-married women.

Before we did this post, I didn't realize there were such decreasing opportunities for marriage among men. Mormons have traditionally interpreted Brigham's purported remark as meaning that men who would not marry were lessening the poor females' chances of finding connubial bliss. But not so in the 21st century!

More men than ever before want to get married and are unable to do so. As Dr. B. asks, should these men be penalized in the eternities when they did all they could but were unsuccessful in forming families in this life? Perhaps now is the time to reexamine Joseph Smith's views on polyandry. Joseph contracted polygamous marriage to nine women who were already married. Is this an answer to the marriage crunch of today?


  1. Why'd you throw that in at the end?
    Like I would share my wife with someone else. *eyeroll*

  2. Man, you really must be bored in Vernal. I was interested in topic, but after reading your last 3 sentences I can't take anything in this post seriously.

  3. Anon, you just have to get to know me and my lovable sense of humor.

  4. I really hope God isn't that cruel. That's not the religion or the eternities I want to be apart of. God knows what's in our hearts so I guarantee men won't be held accountable for not getting married. Unless they were really selfish and didn't want to get married til the next life? Maybe? Anyway, and I definitely don't think polygamy is an option no matter who has the multiple spouses. That's not part an eternity I want to be involved in either. If polygamy were the way to go, we'd always have been living it. It's not! It's not fair nor does it allow for mutual care and affection...Ok, that's probably for another blog topic. So men, if you really want to get married and it's not working out for one reason or another don't sweat it! God won't punish you! IMHO!

  5. Anon, I don't believe single men will be held back in the eternities either. But what do we have doctrinally to support that? We have plenty of statements to comfort the single woman, but the single man is still being quoted the (disputed) Brigham Young warning, and being admonished by mission presidents and Church leaders to get married as soon as possible.

  6. I think it's a culture issue, not doctrine. Men have always been the pursuers in society as a general they put pressure on the men to get it done, but just because the leaders hint at it doesn't make it doctrinally sound. There's nothing in scriptures that says one way or the other either. The leaders know that if men or women aren't seeking to get married then other sins etc can pop up. It's always something that is between the person and the Lord, just like how many children a couple wants, etc. And Brigham Young...he said a lot of whacked out things--he was a racist and said that slavery was a divine institution. So one leader's opinion isn't doctrine; they're fallible just like everyone else.

  7. I think the crux is that one descriptor that Pres Hinckley and other used: those who remain single through no fault of their own won't be denied blessings in the worlds to come. That way it can apply to either men or women.

    I don't think male children who die before the age of accountability will be denied blessings. I don't think worthy males who die before they reach the age of marriage will be denied blessings. I don't think elders who die on their mission will be denied blessings.

    And anyway, since the crux is "through no fault of their own", the only possible true judge of that is the Lord.

    What about some poor non-membner guy who was a jerk his entire life, either been divorced or never-married, even if it was "his own fault", and repents of his sins and jerk-itude, and joins the church late in life? That's up to the Lord to judge him too.

    I've known plenty of people in the single adults programs of the church who are so "broken" due to their life's circumstances (family abuse, illness, whatever), that it seems unlikely many will get married, though miracles sometimes happen, and people with compatible problems or conditions sometimes find each other.

    The promise of exaltation for all the billions of people who died as babies pretty much says that the Lord will allow some kind of match-up and marriage to take place on the other side.

    So I take the Lord's answer to the hypothetical question about the woman who sequentially marries 7 brothers, Matthew 22:30, "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven", he must have used the "they" as referring to those specific individuals, and not meant "they" as universally applying to everyone. "They" (ie, those particular people) neither marry or are given in marriage, because the woman apparently gets sealed to her first husband by default. (well, if she still wants him, etc.)

    The fact that we do proxy sealings for people who were married in this life, is another example of a post-mortality eternal marriage. So that opens another category of exceptions.

    It seems to me then that the "doomed to single-hood for the eternities" only applies to people worthy of the Terrestrial or Telestial Kingdom, those who weren't going to the Celestial anyway.

    And, among those who are otherwise Celestial worthy, only those who know about eternal marriage (ie, the LDS) and intentionally avoid marriage to an avaialble, worthy and compatible spouse, or intentionally keep themselves un-qualified for marriage, are in danger of those two single-and-separate (unmarried) lower (non-exalted) levels of the Celestial Kingdom.