Fred Reed On Marriage

© 2000-2005 FredOnEverything


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Marriage, bubonic plague, and infected warts

If you have a choice, go with the warts

To marry, or not

Times change. Some advice to young fellows setting forth


Marriage, bubonic plague, and infected warts

If you have a choice, go with the warts


If I could offer a young man one piece of sage advice, it would be this:

Don't get married.

Don't do it. Come the divorce, as come it probably will, the courts will systematically shear you of your children, your house, and huge amounts of your income for twenty years. Don't do it. It isn't worth it. Nothing is.

My saying this usually brings, from women, cries that I'm an extremist or woman-hater. No. The problem is not women, but the courts. Men can behave every bit as reprehensibly as women, though they go about it differently. But the judicial system, which is politicized to the gills, utterly favors women over men in divorce cases, without remorse, decency, or concern for children.

Should you doubt this, read, before you pop the most foolish of questions, From Courtship to Courthouse by the divorce lawyer Jed Abraham. *

Writes Abraham,

"If you're like most men, you're married, or you hope to marry some day. You think you deserve to live happily ever after, but if things don't work out that way, you'll get a civilized divorce and move on. You'll stay pals with your ex, and you'll see your kids as often as you want.

You have no idea what you're getting into."

And you don't. Not the faintest freaking clue.

A few facts from Abraham:

"The odds are 50% that your marriage will end in divorce. The odds are 70% that your divorce will be filed by your wife. The odds are 80% that your wife will get custody of your children — plus child support, alimony, and/or a hefty chunk of your property."

That is how it is.

Yes, I know: You don't think this applies to you. Cup Cake loves you. She would never behave in such a way. Think again. You have no conception of the hatred that divorce engenders. Men are callous; women are mean. When a family breaks up, when a life dreamed of disappears in flames and emotions go limbic, women are not the kinder sex, and certainly not the more rational. And Cup Cake will have the absolute upper hand, with the full power of the state to help her express her dissatisfaction with you.


"If your wages are not withheld and you fail to pay your child support, the State will garnish your pay, slap liens on your property, intercept your tax refunds, report you to credit agencies, discontinue your driver's license, suspend your professional and business permits, hold you in contempt of court, put your face on a wanted poster, throw you in jail, and deny you food stamps. But if your ex doesn't spend that very same support on the children, the State will do...nothing."

It gets worse. There is, for example, "imputed income." This means that your child support will be based not on what your children need, not on what you earn, but on what the court decides you could earn.

Don't do it.

If you love Cup Cake, live with her. Be kind to her. Be loyal to her. She may be as nice as you think she is: Many women are. Buy her roses. Just don't marry her, or have children with her. If the laws were even-handed, marriage would be an admirable institution. The laws aren't equal.

But it's the kids she'll use, should things get nasty, to tear your guts out. If you're sure that Cup Cake won't do this, you're crazy. True, she may not. Not all women do, or not to the same degree. But you won't know until it's too late. And the courts will do anything she wants.


"Your ex will warm to calling all the shots. She may cancel your visitation now and then. If she's truly mean-spirited, she'll go much further. Under the cover of her court-appointed role as sole custodian, she'll systematically sever your relationship with the children. She'll badmouth you to them. She'll schedule their extracurricular activities during your visitation time. For good measure, she may accuse you of domestic violence and child abuse."

Think "joint custody" is the answer? The courts won't enforce it. What are you going to do — sue Mommy? The kids will hate you for it. Do you believe in pre-nups? The courts ignore them. Read Abraham. It's all there.

Then, says Abraham, there's the killer: "More efficiently, your ex may simply move with the children to a distant community, with the law's acquiescence."

Kids are the crunch, guys. They hurt. And she will know it, and use it. The courts will help her. At bottom, the position of the courts is that the children are her property, like furniture. Judges don't care about you at all.

Ever drive away from what used to be your home, with your daughter of four streaking across the parking lot, yelling, "Daddy! Daddy! Please come back!" — and you can't?

Ever have your little girl of four say, "Daddy, can I get my birthday present early?"

"Why, Pumpkin?"

"Well...after the divorce we might move, and I won't see you again."

That's what you are in for, guys. Don't do it. You'll be suicidally depressed, miss your kids to the point of desperation, be almost frantic — and the courts will make sure you can do nothing about it. The ex will probably enjoy it.

That's the reality. Don't believe it? Talk to men who have been there.

Why do women do these things? Not because they're evil. Cup Cake is probably a perfectly decent woman in her dealing with the rest of the earth. She'll do it because she hates you, which is the normal outcome of a divorce. She'll do it because she can. She's furious because the marriage didn't work, which will be entirely your fault.

And the law gives her every incentive: She will get the house, the kids, the child support-and she knows she will. If women knew they had an even chance of not getting custody, of having to pay child support, the divorce rate would drop like a prom dress and joint custody would suddenly mean joint custody. Women love their children as much as men do.

But that's not how it is. The courts encourage divorce, and they rape men. Get used to it.

Abraham: "The odds are it doesn't pay for you to marry and have kids."

That's a fact, guys. Think about it.


* From Courtship To Courtroom by Jed Abraham. Amazon has it, $14.95


To marry, or not?


That's Easy

Were a young man to ask me, "To marry perchance, or remain forever single?" I would, given the hostile circumstances today of law and love, urge caution. "Marriage is a commitment of several years of your life, plus child support," I would say. "Do not make it rashly."

The question is simply, "Why marry?" As a young man full of dangerous steroids, your answer will probably be, "Ah, because her hair is like corn silk under an August moon; her lips are as rubies and her teeth, pearls; and her smile would make a dead man cry." This amounts to, "I'm horny," with elaborations. It is as it ought to be. The race continues because maidens are glorious, and striplings both desperate and unwise.

Note, incidentally, that by the time October rolls around, corn silk is shriveled and brown.

Why marry, indeed? In times past, marriage occasionally made sense. Life on a farm required two people, a woman to work herself ragged in the cabin while the man carried heavy lumpish things and shot Indians. Later, come suburbia, the man did something tedious in an office and the woman did two hours housework and stayed bored for six. It worked, tolerably. In the Fifties, nobody expected much of life. It generally met their expectations.

And there was sex, though not enough of it — the scarcity being the propellant behind matrimony. Back then, before the miracle of feminism, women had not yet commoditized themselves. A lad had to pop the question before he got laid regular. Women controlled the carnal economy and, in a world that was going to be boring anyway, that was probably a good thing. At least kids had parents.

Times change. Some advice to young fellows setting forth


First, forget that her lips are sweet as honeydew melon (though not, of course, green). It doesn't last. One of nature's more disagreeable tricks is that while men are far uglier than women, they age better. Remember this. It is useful to reflect in moments of unguided passion that, beneath the skin, we are all wet bags of unpleasant organs.

Soon you will be a balding sofa ornament and she will look like a fireplug with cellulite. Once the packaging deteriorates, there had better be something to get you through the next thirty years. Usually there isn't.

Prospects have improved for the single of both genders. Sex is nowadays always available. If you don't marry Moon Pie, which would be wise, you may get another chance when she comes back on the market with the first wave of divorcees. It's never now-or-never. Getting older doesn't diminish your opportunities. As you gain experience, you will recognize the tides, the eddies, the whirlpools of coupling — the urgency of the biological clock, the lunacy of menopause. Men by comparison embody a wonderful clod-like simplicity.

As you ponder snuggling forever with Moon Pie, compare the lives of your bachelor and your married friends. The bachelors come and go as the mood strikes them, order their apartments with squalid abandon, drive Miatas or Harleys if they choose, and live in such pleasant dissolution as is consonant with continued employment. The married guy lives in a vast echoing mortgage beyond his means, drives sensible cars he doesn't like, and loses his old friends because he isn't allowed to hang out with them.

Self-help books to the contrary, marriage does not rest on compromises, but on concessions. You will make all of them. Perhaps it doesn't have to be this way. But it is this way.

Moon Pie has only one reason for marriage: to get her legal hooks into you. She doesn't think of it in these terms, yet, and she has no evil intentions. She just wants a nice quiet home in the remote suburbs where she can live uneventfully, raise progeny, and keep her eye on you.

If you think surveillance isn't part of the contract, try going out late with your old buddies. Marriage is an institution founded on mistrust. If she thought you would stick around if not compelled, she wouldn't need marriage. She wants monogamy, at least for you and, with some frequency, for herself. She knows viscerally that you would prefer the amorous insouciance of an oversexed alley cat. You know it consciously. Marriage exists to control the male, until recently a good idea. Now, however, she can support herself, and doesn't need protection. She doesn't need you, or you, her.

She will, however, want to have children. Women do. At which point, God help you.

Given the schools, drugs, latch-keyism consequent first to working parents and then to divorce, and the cultural pressure on children to be slatterns and dope-dealers, reproduction is a gamble. You may not even particularly like them, or they, you. Nobody talks about this, but how many people do you know who hardly talk to their grown children?

And you've just tied yourself into twenty years of raising them.

The moment Junior enters wherever it is that we are, Moon Pie will have you screwed to the wall. She won't think of it this way, yet. She'll be delighted with the cooing bundle of joy, his little fingers, his little toes, etc. But divorce usually comes. The chances are two to one that she will file: Women are more eager than men to enter marriage, and more eager to leave it — with the kids, the house, and the child support. It won't be amicable, not after seven years. You will be astonished at how ruthless she will be, how well she knows the law, and how utterly hostile to divorcing fathers the law is.

You don't understand how bad the divorce courts are. You probably don't know what "imputed income" is. You think that "joint custody" means "joint custody." Think again. Quite possibly you will have to support her while she moves with your kids to Fukuoka with an Air Force colonel she met in a meat bar.

In short, marriage often means turning twenty-five years of your life into smoking wreckage. Yes, happy marriages exist (I personally know of one) and there are the somnolent marriages of habitual contentment or, perhaps, of quiet resignation. But the odds aren't good.

Permit me an heretical thought. In an age when neither sex economically needs the other, in which women do not need protection from wild bears and marauding savages, not in the suburbs anyway, perhaps marriage doesn't make sense, at least for men. The divorce courts remove all doubt. A young fellow might do well to stay single, keep his DNA to himself, pick such flowers as he might find along the way, and live his life as he likes.



| EJF Home | Find Help | Join the EJF | Comments? | Get EJF newsletter |


| Families And Marriage Book | Abstract | Family site map | Family index |


| Chapter 1 — Marriage, The Bedrock Of Civilization |

| Next — A Primer Against Gay Marriage by Stephen Baskerville, Ph.D. |

| Back — Tech Support |


Added January 25, 2006

Last modified 4/11/15