June Cleaver might be unmarriagable right now.

Scott asked me to add some thoughts to his working hypothesis that devout young women are facing as many daunting obstacles to early marriage as devout young men are. His post is the result.

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29 thoughts on “June Cleaver might be unmarriagable right now.

  1. Please take a look at this chart on the median age of first marriage. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005061.html

    Aside from a brief period from 1950-1970 the median age of first time marriage for men has been about 25. In 1890 it was 26. That means that half of men were older than that when they got married. The reason that the marriage rate was lower in the 1950’s, that time period that traditionalists obsess over, is because that was when a man could graduate from high school or college and quickly get a family supporting job. That time has passed. Feminism, carousels, and all of that other manosphere nonsense have little to do with it.

    Outside of the much ballyhooed 1950’s stereotype, wives have always contributed economically to their households. This is and always has been necessary for most people. A woman looking to stay home and sew in a time when clothes can be purchased cheaply is a hard sell. Most men don’t mind doing some housework and despite all of the carrying of manosphere types and submission bloggers, most men are the dominate ones in their relationships. Housework, cooking, sewing and submission are nice, but men can get that from women who contribute economically, assuming that this is even something that they want.

    Men get married when they can support a family. For black men, who are mostly poor, that time is going to be later in life. As most black women marry black men, this means that black women will get married later in life. Parents that can afford to help their children out financially should certainly do so, but this isn’t possible for most poor people.

    But we need to let go of this idea that 19 year old men should be looking to get married as that is not a reasonable expectation in most cases.

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  2. This is one issue Nonya, where you are preaching to the choir. As Scott noted my notes in his post, I *get* that my girls are probably going to marry later. Because that’s just how it often shakes out for black women.

    And to Scott’s credit, he dismissed the notion that churches are full of carousel riding women. Believe it or not, this is actually one time when your views are not all that different from mine, or even Scott’s.

    It’s okay that we agree about something, LOL.

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  3. I actually think it’s a big problem the way the 1950s are held up as some kind of template of idyllic life. For a whole host of reasons, but I wonder that no one asks, ‘If the 50s were really so great, why did the 60’s happen?”

    The rot was there all along, just hidden under a veil of patriotism and hypocritical piety.

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  4. The 1950s are the last time anyone currently alive can use as a reference point that vaguely resembles modern life. And it was also the earliest point at which large numbers of women’s domestic labor was no longer economically viable. The “we save money with the wifey at home because she clips coupons” is itself a carryover from the 1980s and 1990s when coupons became widespread due to food getting super cheap because of mass production.

    1917 was not actually so different from 100 years later in some ways, but women’s domestic labor had a clear economic component that was of course being hammered at with advertisements.

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  5. Yay for agreement!

    Having skimmed the discussion at Scott’s there is a lot of “no Christian woman is righteous enough for me,” coming from men who are too old to be looking for young virgin brides. I think that they focus too much on virginity when Christianity is a religion of converts. Insisting on virginity excludes people who came to faith later in life. And this is coming from someone who did it the right way.

    It is also ironic that those men associate virginity with submissiveness when a woman who doesn’t have sex before marriage is probably more stubborn and strong willed than most.

    About black women in particular – the unemployment rate for young black men is 40% or so IIRC. Then there are all of the black men who are underemployed and can’t support a family. I am worried for some of the young black women in my life who are looking for husbands because things don’t look good. Yes, they could get married later in life, but that leads to all kinds of problems as well.

    https://newrepublic.com/article/110861/how-older-parenthood-will-upend-american-society

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  6. Or they can marry someone not-black. Which is kind of happening already anyway. Black American women who want to get married in general are branching out past American black men. I got married in my late 20s though, and I’ve tried to put my kids in a social world where they can meet family-supporting men or be family supporting men who are under 25. Got a couple decades to see how that will work out for us.

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  7. Anyway that article is a bit silly. I can find records of societies where having kids in your 30s was not that uncommon (look up the Hajnal Line). The reason it’s bad this time around is people trying to do so without servants or extended family and general lack of lifelong physical activity compared to when people were in that boat in the past.

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  8. The reason it’s bad this time around is people trying to do so without servants or extended family and general lack of lifelong physical activity compared to when people were in that boat in the past.

    A lot of the developmental delays that we treat today wouldn’t have been such a big deal then either.

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  9. Or they can marry someone not-black. Which is kind of happening already anyway. Black American women who want to get married in general are branching out past American black men.

    This is happening at a brisk pace (or an alarming one, depending on your perspective) where we live. When I was growing up, the Loving case was the closest thing I knew of a black woman marrying a non-black man.

    Now, we actually are loosely acquainted with 4 such women, not counting the increase we see in them in general here in our metro area. Truth is, one of our girls could have probably already taken up with a white guy already (they like her for some reason) were it not for her steadfast commitment to refuse to date non-Christian men.

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  10. I think that they focus too much on virginity when Christianity is a religion of converts. Insisting on virginity excludes people who came to faith later in life.

    I used to try and make this point all the time, but finally gave up, LOL.

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  11. Now, we actually are loosely acquainted with 4 such women, not counting the increase we see in them in general here in our metro area. Truth is, one of our girls could have probably already taken up with a white guy already (they like her for some reason) were it not for her steadfast commitment to refuse to date non-Christian men.

    There are a lot of older women in my family who married white men and it is a lot more common now. I dated a few white men but decided that I wanted black children.

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  12. I too decided that I wanted to marry a black man after shockingly finding that I was faced with the option to date a white guy.

    But things are different now than they were 24 years ago or even a decade+ (speculating) ago when you were dating.

    It’s rather shocking really, how fast things are changing and it is forcing black women in particular to make some hard choices on this front.

    Contrary to race realist types, there are increasing numbers of “quality white men” willing to date and marry NAM women with whom they share common values and with whom they see the potential for a decent life.

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  13. There are a couple of self hating and confused biracial girls in my extended family. I also met a few in college. To be fair those women have white mothers, and I’ve not met any black women’s children with those kinds of issues. But still I figured better safe than sorry.

    I would not have chosen a dysfunctional black man or being single into my thirties over a white man who would make a good husband, but I see a lot of black women making that choice.

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  14. Of the 4 women we know, 2 of them (members of our church) married their husbands in their 40s and there are no bio kids in those two couples.

    The other two are both have several children under 13 with their husbands. One couple is devout Christian. We do a homeschool class together The other I’m not sure about as the woman is just my daughter’s basketball coach and we haven’t talked much.

    I would be interested to know if the children of marriages where the wife is black and the father is white have as many of the same self-acceptance issues. If I had to guess, I would wager heavily in favor of the conclusion that they do not.

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  15. Looking at the statistics Nonya mentioned above, I wonder if the age gap between men and women marrying is an issue also. Traditionally, men married women 3-5 years younger than them. Thus, a 21 year old woman might marry a man of 25-26. This guy has had a little more time to start a job or career, and save up a little money. He might be ready to start a family, while a guy 22 or so might not.

    In the case of my wife and I, I was 25 and she 28 when we married (could be your daughter and the fellow you mentioned in a couple years). We met in college (when I was 20 and she 23), but I knew that my job prospects weren’t that great, and that I had also accumulated a substantial amount of student loan debt (as had my wife).

    We both got out of school and worked a couple years to save up money/pay off debt (while living with our respective parents) before getting married. Looking back, I wish that we could have married several years earlier. Of course this was all back in the 90’s anyway since we are 43 and 46 now. Perhaps irrelevant.

    After marrying, we were still pretty broke, and delayed trying to have children a couple more years. Then, once we did start trying, we never were able to have any children. Looking back, I wonder if my wife had married at 22-23 to a more established guy, she might have been able to have children. Likewise, if I had married a 20-22 year old when I was 25, perhaps I may have as well.

    Of course all that is irrelevant. I wouldn’t trade my dear wife, and she wouldn’t trade me. We also believe that God meant for us to be together (We’re pretty Calvinistic), and love each other deeply. We were also both virgins at the time of marriage (both due to Christian conviction, and the fact that we were both pretty shy and not that smooth).

    I do wish that I grew up mentally, spiritually, career wise, etc. earlier. I’ve spent much of my life as a typical fairly passive blue pill Evangelical guy. At least I’m starting to wise up and man up now, even though I may be a couple decades slow.

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  16. Welcome Bart, and thank you for your perspective.

    I should point out though that my daughter isn’t the one Scott was referencing in the example he used in his post. Our daughters are still a few years shy of 25.

    It’s always better to act on what we know when we know than to never know or act at all. The fact that you have a loving marriage that you are both happy in is a blessing. Don’t underestimate it.

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  17. I hope your girls don’t wait too long before finding husbands. If they marry later, then the number (and even likelihood) of the children they will have will drop. It must be especially tough if the potential dating pool is extremely small:
    1. Orthodox – You mean Eastern/Russian/Greek Orthodox – not the general sense of orthodox right?
    Plus
    2. African American
    Plus
    3. Homeschooled
    Plus
    4. Red pill mom

    Wow!

    You don’t meet many people who fall into all of those categories.

    They may want to consider dating outside their race (disclaimer: I’m a white man married to an Asian woman, which is an easier and more common combination than black woman white man marriages.)

    Also, I agree with you and the other poster. There may be some carousel riding young women in the Church, but there are also a lot of excellent young women of very good character (a lot of them being homeschooled types like your daughters).

    That said, I’ve generally been around people and churches on the very conservative side of the Evangelical world, not the laid-back easygoing mega church. Shallow cultural church goers might be carousel riders, but serious Christian young women generally aren’t. Maybe I just know a lot of serious ones, and it seems like a lot of them are having trouble finding suitable husbands.

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  18. which is an easier and more common combination than black woman white man marriages.

    Believe it or not Bart, BW/WM marriages have the lowest divorce rates of ANY combination of coupples, including same race couples.

    And yes, this is accounting by percentage and taking into account the relatively small numbers of such marriages. It was pretty widely discussed in the online media a few years ago. A friend of mine (BW married to WM) sussed it out:

    https://traditionalchristianity.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/why-black-women-stay-put/

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  19. I have to throw in one more quick comment and I hope you don’t mind too much. We were recently discussing the topic of polygyny on Dalrock’s website. It is my conviction that polygamy is marriage according to the Bible (but I also recognize that it generally doesn’t seem to work well, is totally unacceptable in our current culture, and while clearly not prohibited in the Bible, is probably strongly discouraged in the Bible).

    All that said, a man like me (married but still childless, early 40’s, established in career, financially stable, paid off house, 6’4″ 225, fit and strong from weightlifting, reasonably good looking “read still have all my hair”) would be absolutely delighted to marry a young woman like your daughter, do my best to give her children, and allow her to be a full time stay at home mother and homemaker.

    Of course such things are culturally impossible.

    Still, traditional patriarchal polygamy (like that in the Old Testament) is far less messy than what we have in our current modern American culture (divorce, remarriage, hookup culture, friends with benefits, adultery, homosexuality, baby mammas, multiple baby daddies, and whatnot). Jacob’s family doesn’t seem much worse than what we see every day in this society.

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  20. Thanks for your kind comments. That is very interesting about the low divorce rates of BW/MW marriages. I did not know that. The few folks I’ve known in BW/WM marriages, seem to generally have happy marriages.

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  21. OT Polygamy was a mess in my opinion. God permitted it, but doesn’t give us one example of it being something free of great conflict.

    Either way, my husband and I are adamantly opposed to it on NT grounds and because we have had a front row seat as people we know and loved tried to do it. with disastrous results.

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  22. Also, with “easier” I wasn’t really referring to the interactions between the man and woman in the marriage. I was thinking more about how common each type of marriage is in society. For example, I’m not surprised at all when I see a WM/AW combo but I am a little surprised when I see a WM/BW together.

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  23. Where I live WM/BW is becoming increasingly common, actually. Not as common as your marriage but if I spend any amount of time in the market place on a random Saturday or Sunday, I am guaranteed to run into one or two such couples, not counting the two couples at my church.

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  24. It seems like all variants of interracial marriages are becoming more and more common, and I’d suspect that this is even more the case with the WM/BW combination. The marriage market is pretty difficult for the young Christian black woman. It is probably good for them to expand it to Christian men of other races.

    I’m also probably a bit sheltered these days. We live in a fairly rural area in the Pacific Northwest where there just aren’t many black folks at all. We lived in Florida for six years (2000’s) while I attended graduate school in Gainesville (Go Gators!). It was during that time that we were friends with several WM/BW couples (and all of them were serious Christians).

    Spiritual unity in Christ is far more important to marriage than any ethnic/racial/cultural differences. In my case, my wife is not only Asian, but she is also from a foreign country. Still, our shared Christian faith is far more important than any cultural differences (and we’ve been married 17 years now).

    I hope that your daughters realize that it is essential that they only marry a Christian man. It is great if they find a Christian black man, but a Christian white, Asian, Native American, Latino etc. is ok too (but a non-Christian black, white, Asian, Native Am., Latino isn’t).

    Also, I agree with you that the Bible doesn’t paint a very positive picture of polygamy. It didn’t seem to work well. Furthermore, it is only theoretical to me, as I’ve never been around anyone engaged in it.

    Still, it is somewhat natural for a childless man in his 40’s to wonder about such things when he carefully studies his Bible and sees many examples of it among godly men of old, and no prohibitions against it. This is especially then case when his wife has ALWAYS had a MUCH lower level of sexual desire than he does. Note to wives: Lack of sex and children in a marriage may contribute to your husband carefully thinking and studying what the Bible has to say about polygamy. 

    I hope you don’t think I’m too obnoxious.

    Also, I’m glad to find out that you have a blog of your own. I’ve often enjoyed your thoughts and insightful comments on other blogs (Dalrock, etc.).

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  25. My sample of 3 is not going to win any statistical awards, but I know two families BW/WM ,and if their kids don’t know where they belong, they haven’t told my kids. And I can’t prove it statistically, but given that homeschoolers tend to be a bit more willing than average to buck the system, I have to wonder whether you’d find more “mixed” families among us.

    Regarding June Cleaver and finding Ward, I tend to agree, and I think it’s been the case for a decade or two. I see women (sometimes men, too) who are single, employed, attractive, in church most weekends, no discernable nasty/filthy habits, bathe….and I just want to walk over to the single guys and see if I can find a pulse.

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  26. It should be noted that the Old Testament has at least three provisions that would tend to prevent polygamy. First, Exodus 21:10 says a husband can’t diminish food, clothing, or loving if he takes another wife. It would take a mighty man, or a man with a lot of servants, to have a stable of wives. But inhibiting the number of servants is the Torah provision that land would be divided by family–hence he can’t get the crop to get the servants to feed and clothe the wives, even if he does have the energy to love them to their satisfaction.

    So we’d infer that polygamy would be limited to bigamy due to levirate marriage and the kings. And Deuteronomy 17:17 warns kings against having “many wives” because that would lead to idolatry. Moreover, the same passage warns him about collecting gold for himself–in other words, he wasn’t going to be able to feed or clothe those pagan princesses, even if he had the stamina to keep up with them.

    And if anybody thinks Solomon, or even David, was doing right by all those wives, I’ve got a nice little bridge I’d be willing to sell you cheap. So I think if you read the OT carefully, you’re going to find a lot more against polygamy than you’d think. One might even suggest that the OT doesn’t discuss it directly because it was about as relevant to their daily lives as icebergs or spaceships.

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  27. Thanks, Bike. You’d think a lot of this would be common sense, but I am increasingly understanding how many positions presented by people as rational and/or permissible are actually emotional, intuitive arguments which are then buttressed with post hoc rationalizations from what they view as credible sources.

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  28. At your service, sister. But to be fair, I’ve got to concede that figuring out these implications requires (1) familiarity with the law of Moses not possessed by most Christians and (2) thinking through the implications of that Law in light of various topics. It’s harder work than mere proof-texting. (the mean side of what I said is that I just accused most evangelicals of theological laziness, of course…)

    In this specific case, what comes to mind was my own parents’ response after the divorce; my mother subscribed to Ms. Magazine, and my dad started subscribing to fathers’ rights organizations–one to a feminist extreme, the other going somewhat hyper-patriarchalist. I view the endorsement of patriarchy as an example of the latter, and it goes without saying that those hurt (not necessarily by divorce) often find themselves rather lonely as a result.

    The good news is that real headship can cut through that–my mom quickly let her subscription expire when my stepdad demonstrated a bit more Biblical headship. And when my mother’s son figured out what his stepdad was doing, and started doing it himself, well, that’s when Mrs. Bubba came into the picture for some odd reason. :^)

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  29. Pingback: Our Fates Are Bound—And Some Good News « Calculated Bravery

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