Women without Husbands

All right, ladies, the gig is up. It's time for all of us to get married, including you.

I refer to the recent New York Times report on women living without husbands. After sorting through US census data, the Times determined that for the first time in American history the majority of womem — 51 percent — are living without a husband.

The story tore through the media like a lightning bolt. A slew of "I am woman, hear me roar" stories hit the airwaves. The storyline was clear: women are finally free and independent now, and the last thing they need is some sloppy spouse who leaves his socks lying all over the house.

Well, nuts to that. Look, ladies, deciding not to marry for your own well-being is one thing, but it is us you're not marrying in the process. Your decision is killing us single men — literally.

Single men partake in more risky behavior than married men. We eat badly, smoke more, and avoid doctors' offices. We die younger. We're far more likely to wake up in a pile of crumpled newspapers still clutching the tequila bottle we began sipping from two days before.

The reason why is not complicated. We are social animals. Men and women are very different creatures, but we were made for each other. The Catholics call it complementarity — a man and woman, in union and harmony, round each other out.

Men need to be rounded out, too. Take dust. Because our brains take in less sensory detail than a woman's, we don't notice dust. Thus, married men tend to live in orderly, dust-free homes, whereas single men, says P. J. O'Rourke, clean up their place about once every girlfriend.

 Though it's not like single women are faring much better.

The Times article quoted independent women raving about their freedom and flexibility. A 32-year-old woman had already lived with two boyfriends and said that if she ever did marry, she might opt to keep her own place. Another said she likes being able to sleep on either side of the bed.

Oh, just admit it, ladies. You need us, too. Sleeping next to a burping, snoring lug of a husband may not be the stuff dreams are made of, but it sure beats sleeping alone. When you hear a prowler rattling the door knob in the middle of the night, who will you send to investigate? Your cat?

I know the Times is eager for a more "progressive" society to take hold — one in which the stodgy traditional marriage is kicked to the wayside — but the fact is that marriage, imperfect though it is, is good for us.

Married people are happier, says the Pew Research Center. They enjoy life more; they enjoy sex more, too. Children raised by married couples fare better. Society fares better. Successful civilizations are built on the stability that traditional marriage brings.

But despite these simple and obvious truths, we keep trying to reinvent our nature. We keep trying to prove there are better ways to fulfill our simple needs; keep trying to leave every option open, so that we can be "free" and "independent" forever.

And we end up alone.

I can't imagine what old folks homes will be like 40 years from now. There will be an unprecedented number of elderly single people living alone. No children or grandchildren will visit them; no spouse will care for them. I wonder if the Times will do a front-page piece on that trend, too.

All I know is that my life would certainly be better if I woke every morning in a full home in which my children are laughing and my wife is smiling, rather than the way I often wake now: with a throbbing noggin' because my single friends and I over-enjoyed our freedom and independence at the pub the night before.

Like I said, it's time for all of us to get married.

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  • Guest

    Re: the prowler….
    shouldn’t whoever is a better shot go and investigate ?

  • Guest

    The Columbia Journalism Review wrote a scathing critique of the NYT’s piece, characterizing it as elitist, skewed, and misleading. New York once again telling the rest of the country what to think.

    (to read it, copy the URL below and paste it into your Address bar)


    Dennis of Raleigh

  • Guest

    Our cats defend us every night from all sorts of things!!!! Am so glad to be married- and I am definitely happy with my Geoff. Life would be so empty without him- I HATED being single, with all of the nonsense that goes on. I loathe watching sitcoms because of how “dating” is portrayed.

    And yes, the NYT will not do anything in 40 plus years for the singles in nursing homes, unless it has to do with their sex lives.

  • Guest

    The data is a bit strange. They started counting women as adults at age 15. It seemed like they were determined to get the number of singles over the 50% mark. They got their 15 minutes of fame.

  • Guest

    Many women are now living single not by choice–but via divorces they did not want or the early death of their husbands (sastistically, women outlive men by 5 years). Interesting that the Times makes it sound as though we single women are always single by choice and happy about it!

  • Guest

    I hope this was a joke! While I’m sure the New York Times was able to find plenty of “independent women”, I can tell you that among my single girlfriends there are none of us who are thrilled to be single in our mid-20s. While we aren’t ancient or “Old Maids” by today’s standards, we tend to find that good men whom we would want to marry (and men in general who are looking to settle down) aren’t exactly a dime a dozen.

    Certainly none of us ladies are perfect, but in my experience you’ll find more women hoping to find Mr. Right, settle down, and have a family than you’ll find men of the same mind. (Ever seen the movie “The Bachelor?”) The gifts and challenges of marriage aren’t lost on many of us, but it’s not something you can make happen on your own. It’s a sacrament, it’s a gift, so it’s not something we deserve or create. And while women in our culture are free to take the initiative in relationships, it seems to me that most people prefer the traditional male-female pursuer-pursuee dynamic, and probably for good reason.

    And my guess is that deep down, many of those women who say “the last thing they need is some sloppy spouse who leaves his socks lying all over the house” are saying it with at least a bit of the same spirit as the child who says about the toy they didn’t get for Christmas “I don’t want that dumb old thing anyway!”

  • Guest

    “The sun is outdated.” quote from Mr. Freeze

  • Guest

    I think it obvious that the new york times article is just another example of thier normal lies and poor journalism.

    I am only theorizing here but if what you are looking at is sensus data and unmarried women I suspect there as no attempt to account for: women who where once married.

    Given the exceeding geriatric percentage of our population I am forced to ask what portion of the 51% of unmarried women are women who were married,had children and thier husbands died?

    Anybody looked into it?

  • Guest

    I was one of those women who swore I would never get married — guess what — I’ve been married twenty years and couldn’t be happier! I love being married and being a mom (I also swore I would raise puppies and not kids…) Regarding the potential prowler, listen up ladies, when you do get married, don’t marry one of those “metrosexual men” or you’ll have to take care of the prowler yourself anyway!!!!

  • Guest

    He was born in with animals. He was God but also a tiny, little, goofy baby.

    We can change the world for the better because none of us started out being born in a manger. Also, we all have had him die for us. He cleared the way! He did the hard part!

    All we have to do is learn to live together and love each other. And when we can choose our own person to love … we can look for someone we can live with. Then we just need to love them.

    Our part is easy. Can you dig it?

    The children that result from said easy part … make us smile all of the day and all of the night. They also make dirty diapers, but what is that compared to a lifetime of companionship, pride and glory?

    So, we should get goin’! Find a spouse! Rock the bull cookies that say you should wait to get married after you have gone to school, bought a house, make $X/year, … Those are rules our parents have lived and are dying by. They get in the way! Pray and find love and let it take you where Christ would have you be!

    Go and find love. Love one another as He has loved us. That is it! That is His only command. Other than love Him … and how hard is it to love Someone Who died for you so you could be with him.

    Get married. Get life. Get going. We all only live once. Why put the important stuff on the back burner and take care of all the boring stuff first. There is too much holding love back and squishing life out of love. Go … Love! Love! Love now! Men love women! Women love men! It is a fact! It is by design! It is God’s plan!

    I have 6 kids, a gorgeous wife. All is not perfect but it is far from drudgery or boring. Christ is in it. He is there all the time. We reject Him way too much. Find the opportunity to love and then love as he has loved us. It is rockin’ good news baby!

    GK – God is good!

  • Guest

    Amen, PrincessP! I would very much like to be married and most especially I would love to be a mother, but the question is where to find a nice guy with good values and not a lot of baggage. I’d rather be alone, though, than simply settling on the wrong person. I am hopeful God will allow me to meet a nice man when the time is right.

    However, the columnist took some of the information from this article out of context. The abstract of the article explains that this 51% includes “factors ranging from women marrying later or living unmarried with partners to those living longer as widows or delaying remarriage after divorce because they prefer their new freedom.” It also includes women who are living alone because of spouses being deployed on military missions and it also included women living alone from the age of 15 and up…that certainly skewed the number a bit!

    I do think more women are living alone today than in years gone by. But as my Mom said when we first discussed this article last week: more young women go to college today and end up settling away from home because of school or career choices, so there are probaly more women in my own mid-late 20’s age bracket that do spend time living alone prior to getting married than say young women in the 1960s and 1970s did. I had girlfriends from college who were told they could live home for three months after graduation and after that they were on their own, because their mothers had all married young and went right from their father’s houses to their husband’s houses and they wanted their daughters to learn how to be more independent. My parents didn’t feel that way and my brother and I still live home!

  • Guest

    Once again the New York Times got it wrong. What they printed as fact is untrue.

  • Guest

    As the scripture quote accurately, “What God has joined together, let no man put assunder”. You are correct in waiting for the man that is sent to you by God. Marriage is not so much a decision or a choice as it is an answer to a prayer. Tobias found his wife Rachel through the guidance of Saint Rafael from the prayer of Tobit and Rachel. Even the Blessed Mother of Christ found favor with God and was highly exalted to become the mother of Christ. And to think that all of this emanated from prayer and faith. What is lacking in this day is prayer and the belief that marriage is a match made in heaven. In the Holy Love of God I am your brother in Christ and my name is Roy

  • Guest

    Thank you Dennis of Raleigh, Melissa9890, & jmtfh, for pointing out the specific logical flaws in the NYT article. I bet they included nuns as part of the swinging singles group also! I notice the double standard flies over the NYT once again, as both single women living with men and married women whose husbands were serving abroad were included as women choosing the single life.

    My wife and I were both very concerned about pro life issues, and so we met by volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center (we joke that we met in counseling…). I think that church is a good place to meet a spouse! I had to learn that maybe God’s plan was for me to be single, and I would have to be happy regardless…


  • Guest

    Just today, a colleague behind me in the coffee line told me how he and his wife always tell each other how much my wife and I seem to just go well together.

    It made my day, and my wife’s too — because it is true [thank you, Jesus], and because it’s so rare to hear such a compliment!

    Our culture is full of conventional wisdom about how unhappy marriage is. Don’t believe it and don’t tolerate the jokes and the tearing down of what is good. Call people on it.

    It’s not just a coincidence that the big cultural battles are over women’s rights to “reproductive options” [abortion] and same-sex “marriage.” The NYT had to include all girls 15 and older who still live at home as well as widows and divorced women [and those under religious vows] as “singles” to get their 51% statistic to launch their “we don’t need husbands” chorus. Don’t believe it and call them on it!

    And instead, today [and maybe every day?] tell someone their marriage is a sign of encouragement to you.

  • Guest

    Regarding the article Women Without Husbands – I think that part of that 51% of women includes those of us married for many years whose husbands had mid-life crises and left their wives to pursue younger women or a lifestlye that they believe is going to make them happy! We live alone because of decisions made by our husbands, not choices that we have made. We grew up in a generation that didn’t encourage independence in women – are are forced to start paying our own bills, hiring handy-men to do the work around the house and some of us having to go out and get full-time jobs for the first time. While it is empowering to know that you can live on your own, come and go as you please, and sleep on whatever side of the bed you want, I think most women in their hearts would love to either have their husbands back home or find a new man to love, honor and obey, till death do us part. Younger women see the high divorce rate and become frightened that they too will be cheated on or betrayed and so they choose not to marry. Men, step up to the plate! Be Godly men and love and cherish your wives!

  • Guest

    Amen to that, Angela!

    And women, be Godly women! Demand your man step up to the plate; demand he love you as Christ loves His Church; wait until matrimony to cohabit; be open to life in your marital embrace; and then be willing to submit to your husband’s vocation — meaning LET him love you as Christ loved His Church (i.e., completely giving the gift of himself unto death).

    Fathers, live this out and bring your boys up to be open to the state in life to which God calls them — be it the priesthood of Jesus Christ or the married state. These demands should not be a shock to those contemplating matrimony. They come from our Lord Himself, not from a prideful man, a timid woman or a misogynistic society.

    Get it, get it, get it! Love means to give the gift of yourself completely to the beloved.

    • Freely (not coerced)
    • Fully (holding nothing back)
    • Fruitfully (open to new life)
    • Forever (unto death).

    Look at a crucifix.

  • Doris Rodriguez

    I have three unmarried sons who don’t seem in too big of a hurry to get married, but it’s also because the pickings are slim! There just aren’t that many stay-at-home, keep the home fires burning female-types out there! Fear of commitment, fierce independence, a yours/mine mentality, and loose morals rule the day and the sacrament of marriage is suffering the consequences.

    Even the women looking to get married have either been divorced, have already lived with someone, or have one or more illigitimate children from other relationships.

    I have a divorced niece with a child, a single niece with a baby on the way, and all my other nieces and nephews are “happily” single and living any way they see fit. None of them attend church so they have no moral compass to guide them out of their error.

    I would be interested to see the statistics on how many 18-30 year olds have been divorced, lived with someone, and/or had children outside the bounds of marriage. I would also be interested to see how many of these females have had abortions and how the fathers felt about it. I think the results would be absolutely appalling.

    I have a myspace account that I use to evangelize and the kids fill out a lot of surveys. Interestingly enough, most will not answer questions about abortions, and yet they will spill the beans on every other imaginable aspect of their lives, which tells me that they know abortion is wrong.

    That our children will come to their marriage beds “freely, fully, fruitfully, and forever” is something we should all be praying for without ceasing. Amen.