It’s been many years since I had to impress a woman enough to get her to marry me, and I’ve only had to do it once so far (can’t imagine any circumstances where it would happen again), but I think the thing that really got her on board was my declaration that with a two-household income, she could get out of her father’s house and I could get out of my mother’s house. Apparently a promise of just enough combined income to get a house no longer impresses women. According to a study by Cornell University professors cited by the National Council on Family Relation’s Journal of Marriage and Family, “one reason marriage rates are down nationwide is because prospective husbands can’t provide enough financial security.”
In other words, if you ain’t making the right amount of money, you’re gonna die alone and poor, probably living at home.
And since studies have shown single men die a lot earlier than married men, you probably don’t have much time left.
It’s called a shortage of financially-attractive men, and men who are single earn, on average, 58% less than men who are married. I know what you’re thinking. You’ve known some dead broke married men who somehow managed to find women who would work two jobs just to keep them up. That’s true, but they are a dying breed. I’ve often said to the wife she needs to get a job paying $30-$40 an hour so I can retire to the life of luxury I so obviously deserve. I won’t say how she responded, but apparently I could also find a better paying job. The study said that in 1960, 72% of adults were married. Now, while more people are living together, only 50% of adults are married today. It broke it down and said 54% of white adults are married while only 30% of black adults are married. People of Asian descent are most likely to get married, with 61% of Asian adults being married. The study concluded by saying men who make less money may never marry or marry less than suitable partners.
I’m not sure what a less than suitable partner is, but most of the men I’ve known who never amounted to much financially speaking couldn’t really be choosy. I’m not saying they were bad guys. Quite the contrary for most of them. Nice guys, who usually worked hard, never got that financial break so many undeserving people seem to get.
I’m saying if a less than suitable mate is somebody who looks at the real you and doesn’t even show the slightest interest in your bank account, well is that person really less than suitable?
It used to be a different world. In 1960 when 72% of adults were married, women were expected, and usually wanted, to find a man who could support her and two or three kids and she didn’t work outside of the house and marriage, though raising those two or three kids was probably more work than most men knew back then.
But life, as it tends to do, moved on. Women started working outside of marriage, and soon, for whatever economic reason you want to cite, two-household incomes became a thing people needed just to survive week to week.
I’m sure there are still plenty of households where only one person works, but I’m not sure if I know of any personally.
Everybody I know has two incomes and they all say the same thing: How did mom and dad do it? If one of us lost a job, we’d be living under a bridge.
But the real question here, I suppose, is: Are you unworthy of love if you don’t rise above a certain income level? And if you pick somebody just because of how much money they make, well, is either of you really that great of a catch?
Some people claim marriage is an idea whose time has come and gone.
And that may be true.
If we could somehow come back in a hundred years, we might find marriage has just been quietly forgotten, like indentured servitude. Maybe that’s not the best analogy.
But it’s here now and I found it works pretty well, as long as you don’t set a prerequisite that involves money.