To marry or not to marry: For men.

 Marriage advocates tell us that married people are happier and healthier and wealthier. But they tend to forget that marriage is also the lead cause of divorce, and divorce make people less happy and less wealthy.

On the other hand, a growing number of marriage opponents tell men: Do not marry. Do not have children. Fool around, pick up women, use and dump them. Because in the Western world, divorce laws mean that women can and will walk out on you any time, leaving you without wife and kids and taking along most of your money. These tend to forget that many marriages are actually beneficial.

Statistically, which advice is most sound? Is it more beneficial for men to stay single, or to take the marriage gamble, which may leave you better off if you stay married, and worse if you divorce? By lack of better data, we will assume that the popular statistical myth is true: That half of American marriages end in divorce.*

Does getting married (having no idea if your marriage will work out or not) increase your chance of wealth?

Married men earn approximately 11 percent more per hour than men who have never been married, even after controlling for work experience, education, age and other factors. Economists also find that divorced or separated men make about 9 percent more than never-married men.

The person who marries is, on average (considering a 50% chance of divorce), likely to make 10% per hour more, compared to the one who never marry.

For people on the verge of retirement
* Married couples had accumulated $410,000

* Never married accumulated $167,000

* Divorced acccumulated $154,000

Since there are 2 people in a marriage, the $410,000 has to be divided by two for this calculation.

Married:Divorced:Never-Married have accumulated wealth 205:154:167 to each other.

The person who marries is, on average (considering a 50% chance of divorce), likely to retire with about $179 000** compared to the $167,000 of the one who never marry.

Another study of about 9,000 people found that divorce reduces a person’s wealth by about three-quarters (77 percent) compared to that of a single person, while being married almost doubles comparative wealth (93 percent.)

By that metric, the average divorcee has $23 for every $100 that the single, and $193 that the average married person has. (The same study also claims the average divorced man has about 2,5 times as much money as the average divorced woman, so he actually has $38,33 for every $100 that the single person has.)

The person who marries is, on average (considering a 50% chance of divorce), likely to have about  $115 dollar for every $100 of the one who never marry.

All in all, the person who marries is, on average, likely to end up with more than the one who never marry.

Does getting married (having no idea if your marriage will work out or not) increase or decrease the chance of happiness?

* 40 percent of the married said they are very happy with their life in general, compared to just 22 % of those who were single or who were cohabitating. The separated (15 percent very happy) and the divorced (18 percent very happy) were the least happy.

On the other end of the happiness scale, just 7 percent of married Americans say they are “not too happy” with life in general, compared to 13 percent of singles, and 18 percent of the divorced.

Married: Divorced: Never-Married have “very happy levels at rates 40:18:22 to each other. Married: Divorced: Never-Married have unhappiness levels at rates 7:18:13 to each other.

The average person who marry increase his chance of being very happy from 23% to 29%; and the average marrying person marginally decreases his/ her unhappiness chance from 13% to 12,5%.

Does getting married (having no idea if your marriage will work out or not) increase the risk that you will be so unhappy as to commit suicide?

Married men are only half as likely as bachelors and one-third as likely as divorced guys to take their own lives. Married: Divorced: Never-Married have divorce chances 1:3:2 to each other.

It averages out- the man with no idea if his marriage will end in divorce or not has roundabout the same chance of suicide as the one who stay single.

Does getting married (having no idea if your marriage will work out or not) increase your life expectancy?

The percentages living to age sixty five are 88 percent of married men versus 69 percent of widowed men, 65 percent of divorced men and 63 percent of never-married men.

The man who marries, wether he divorce or not, still has a higher life expectancy.

Conclusion:

For the average man, marriage is a worthy gamble, although not remarkably superior. But don’t be average. You can greatly increase your odds, and make your gamble a lot safer, by things like choosing your partner well, your ages at the time of marriage, your religious commitment, your education level and choosing a woman who’se parents stayed married, and by knowing the possible legal pitfalls and taking steps to avoid them. And if a man does not merit a women who fulfills several of the requirements (under “greatly increase your odds” and “choosing your partner well”), and he himself fulfills few of them? In that case, the doomsayers may be right, and it may be better for him to stay single.

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*This 50% is based on the amount of weddings in a year, and divorces that same year, and does not take into account the amount of already married people. The chances that a particular marriage will end in divorce is actually impossible to calculate.

 **A 50% chance of being in the $205,000 group, and a 50% chance of being in the $154,000 group, average out on that. All further calculations in this piece also average out between the married and divorced.

Too strong and independent? What else should I be?

I got a confession to make: I am single. A single Christian female over thirty. No scandal to it, and I live the life God gave me the best I can. But the advice and judgements from other people can get a woman down:

“Young woman, you should wait for a good Christian man.”

“Who do you think you are, a princess or something? Settle for less.”

“Don’t persue men. Live your life. Study. Do what your hand finds to do. He will come along when the time is right.”

“Single woman like you are the problem with the church: Settle down and marry, it will do way more good than your Christian work.”

“Persue men. You can’t just sit around and wait for them to come to you.”

And the silliest, (even more so as those who call me a feminist never even asks my views on feminism, and judge me as one for merely being single and employed) :

 “Men don’t like strong, independent women, you feminist! It’s because you live a happy, independent life that men don’t want you!”

Fact: More women than men want to marry.

Corollary: Some women who want to marry are single.

We single women have two basic choices: We can either be weak and dependent and unhappy. A burden on the state, parents or friends, waiting for a man -any man- to rescue us. Or we can live our lives, pay our bills, be strong in the Lord and depend on Him if we are believers, and do what needs to be done. I am not a feminist for choosing the latter. Nor will I apologize for it.

And if anyone anywhere accuse me of being too strong and independent again, I’ll refer them to this blog entry.

Scandinavia most atheistic? One more reason to doubt Zuckerman

Note, added later: While Zuckerman indeed compiled the list I refer to in “Atheistic countries have the most healthy societies”, and also wrote on his experiences in Sweden and Denmark, some of the conclusions atheists call his may be by his atheistic fans, not his own. The purpose of this blog entry is to discuss the conclusions that his fans say is his. I never made a study of whether his fans report his views accurately. So, if this post talk of doubting Zuckerman, it may rather be a reason to doubt his fans.

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“Theory without data is myth: data without theory is madness.” – Phil Zuckerman

Phil Zuckerman wrote a book about his experiences in Sweden and Denmark, painting it as probably the least religious countries in the world, yet with low crime rates, high standards of living and social equality. A previous post of mine questioned (very much) the accuracy of painting the Scandinivians as the world’s most atheistic countries, and (a bit) if their societies are really all that healthy, and sustainable. And is correlation (many people who don’t believe in God/gods/spirits, and a prosperous society) causality here?
A survey of the European commission collected these statistics of religious (un)belief in Europe. (I do not know what DK stand for.)

According to these, France (33%) has the most unbelievers (People who claim “I don’t belief there is any spirit, God, or life force”) of all European countries, with the Czech Republic (30%) second. (Would Zuckerman study the Czechs as an example of irreligious people next? Or perhaps the Cubans, who are, of course, not part of this European study?) Sweden is 6th and Denmark joint 9th.

In Iceland (11%), Finland, (16%) and Norway (17%), there are, in fact, a less than average unbeliever percentage for the countries surveyed – the European average was 18%. Even if there are a lot of unbelievers in Scandinavia, they are, by all statistics I ever read outside of Zuckerman’s work, a minority. Those who believe in God, a spirit or life force, still outnumber the unbelievers by at least 3 to 1.

And, since Prof. Zuckerman believe that statistics without theory is madness, I would follow it up by my theory: Denmark and Sweden are rather succesfull countries with more believers, albeit of very little if any commitment, than total unbelievers. It may even be that their Protestant heritage is partly responsible for their success. No country in Europe is an indicator of what a society of unbelievers will be like, since everywhere in Europe, believers in God, a spirit or life force outnumber unbelievers.