Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Should Christian men marry? What’s the worst that could happen?

This could happen.

Excerpt:

I recently discovered your site while searching the net about frivolous divorce and I think it is great you are trying to educate people about the realities of divorce in America. I went through a divorce two years ago, although I did nothing “wrong” so to speak, but rather because my wife was bored. Under my questioning, she said there was nothing I could have done to have prevented the divorce, which I believe to be true. I was not really lacking “game” (hadn’t heard of the term until recently, but I was manly and attractive), but she was very tired of the routine and banalities of married life, and wanted to, in her words, “find herself”, whatever that means.

As is typical, she did very well in the divorce and got the house, car, most of our assets (she cleaned out our bank accounts and savings and stripped the house bare while I was on a camping trip with a friend which she encouraged me to take – I should have been suspicious as it was the first time she had ever wanted me to do something like that, but I was overjoyed, and of course, completely taken by surprise when I returned to a house empty save for the divorce papers; I was never able to recover any of the things she took preemptively), full custody of both children, alimony until remarriage, and I got a disproportionate amount of debt and had to pay for the entire divorce, both lawyers. I have very restrictive visitation, usually I only get to see my children two days per month. I knew women usually were favored in divorce, but had no idea how unjust it was until it happened to me. In addition, I was completely blindsided. She was still very affectionate and sex had not dropped off at all. I never saw it coming.

I am a traditional Christian man, and had always looked forward to fatherhood and raising my children. In fact, I would say having a family was my dream ever since I was little (I never felt “defined” by my career or that it was anything other than a means to an end, but I am not a CEO or doctor). Now I am watching my children grow up in fast-forward, without any say in how they are raised. I have missed all of the birthdays and Christmases (and other holidays) for the past two years, not by choice. It is truly devastating to spend a month not hearing my children’s voice, or even touching them (let alone any human being) for weeks at a time, to say nothing of losing (who I thought to be) my soulmate after 15 years of marriage.

What is the most painful realization is that I have lost my future. I make $70,000 a year, but have to live on $15,000 after the payments (which I pay the taxes for, can you believe it? – I am in the $70,000 bracket!). I went from a decent house to a $500/month apartment in a bad part of town, and now live alone. I realize that I am becoming estranged from my children (I don’t really know anything about them) and my wife tries to make visitation difficult for me – it is awkward for her to arrange and for her new lover to deal with. I tried to be just a “fun dad”, who takes the kids out for a day of fun and doesn’t really “parent” besides providing paychecks and phone calls, but that is becoming difficult. Having a family is still my deepest longing in life, and I am so lonely, but I am unable to move on financially and start a new family with another woman (I am attractive enough and have the personality to get women quite a bit younger than me), because no woman wants a man that keeps $15,000 a year and goes deeper in debt every month to make ends meet. I could never support a family. I really see no hope of getting out of this vicious cycle – by the time all the payments stop I will be in my 50′s and I will have missed my opportunity, and be forced to live alone until I die. I can’t even have the dignity of a retirement, because my wife took half of my retirement fund which I had been contributing to since I was 22, and now I am so far in the red I have been forced to withdraw rather than contribute under severe penalties in order to make ends meet.

I have come to terms with the fact that this story can’t possibly have a happy ending, and my life is so far removed from what I envisioned and planned it would be like during my youth that it is unbelievable. I feel like a fool for having done everything “right”, because it ultimately made no difference in my happiness and fulfillment.

I wanted to thank you for being a force promoting honoring commitments and discouraging divorce, because it seems like a rare opinion to take in today’s society. You are helping the community by performing this service. I decided to relate my tale here for much the same purpose – if someone reads this and is able think more critically about what the legal implications of marriage are for men and be more cautious it will have served its purpose – I know as for myself I was really too overjoyed to be spending the rest of my life (ha ha) with the woman I loved to really understand what I was getting myself into, in addition to being ignorant and naive about the realities of divorce. If I had to do it all over again I would rather have remained single. It is truly better not to have known paternal and marital love than to have felt it and had it ripped away, regardless of what that folk wisdom quote says about loving and losing.

Please men, think very critically about what you are getting into. The laws are equal, but in court it won’t come out that way.

What’s my advice? I would recommend that no Christian man marry unless the woman he is considering has studied these issues by reading books like these:

At least give her this essay to start. Either she is going to read it because she wants the marriage to succeed and is ready to work for it, or she’s not going to read it because she wants marriage to be about her happiness.

It is also critical that she have firsthand experience dealing with children who are separated from their fathers through divorce. If she isn’t aware of stories like the one above, then you can’t really count on her to be opposed to divorce. Don’t settle for “I promise not to divorce you” and a kiss. Ask her to read the books about marriage, divorce and how divorce affects children. And find out what her experiences are of understanding men and children who go through divorce. Favor women who have seen firsthand how women who divorce are cruel to their children during divorce proceedings. You want her to say “divorce is child abuse” and “fatherlessness is child abuse”. That’s what’s required.

If she doesn’t hate divorce as much as she hates abortion, don’t marry her. If she makes excuses for single mothers, don’t marry her. If she doesn’t understand how government gives women inventives to divorce or to become single mothers by choice, don’t marry her. If she doesn’t understand how same-sex marriage would affect children, don’t marry her. If she wasn’t chaste before she married you, don’t marry her. If she doesn’t insist that you be chaste before you marry her, don’t marry her. If she doesn’t let you lead during the courtship, and value your advice and leadership, don’t marry her. She has to value you for being a man. Do not marry feminists who think women are victims and are never responsible.

Here are the facts. 70% of divorces are initiated by women. The woman gets custody, and therefore child support, in 85% of the cases. Divorce rates decline as women get older – so men aren’t trading in a 40 year old for two 20 year olds as some uninformed blowhards like to say. The problem with marriage today is that men and women are not acting in accordance with moral standards before marriage and after marriage. We shouldn’t be encouraging people to do relationships apart from the moral law – it causes a lot of damage.

The only way to judge a woman’s ability to commit is to assess how much she has done to prepare for marriage by studying what men and children need from her in a marriage. And the same goes for men. They have to show that they can do the job they are interviewing for.

Related posts

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

33 Responses

  1. The number for female initiated divorces in the US is between 60 and 70%. Alimony is spousal support which can go either way regardless of primary child custody (more likely to the woman however). Child support is from the more able parent to the one with primary custody (again, more likely to be the woman).

    I’m still in agreement with your overall points.

  2. Where did you find that statistic? 90%? I was just wondering…I wish I would have known that woman so I could have encouraged her to stay. I don’t know any single mom who is doing better post-divorce, and a majority of the single moms I serve were left by their husbands. The minority in the group left because the addictions their husbands had were bringing violence into their children’s lives. We did have one woman reconcile with her husband, too. Indeed, I think the thing that is missing on both sides is an immature spirituality. But, since most couples are not even getting married anymore and are just living together, I am a little puzzled at what to do next.
    I really respect what you are doing here, but I would hate for men to develop anger and resort to the same vengeful behavior as feminists. The suffer from Moby Dick syndrome; I would not want men to do the same. When a spouse leaves, you can, like the author regret your marriage and children, OR you could see this as a divine opportunity to embrace the Cross. Is this a tough one? ABSOLUTELY! But, marriage and the family are under persecution, which means all of society is under persecution. Many, many of us are suffering from this divorce mentality. And believe that no marriage can make it based on the strength of certain characteristics…that is why the Apostles looked at Jesus’ proposal for a life-long commitment as impossible. It is impossible without Him. When reverence for Him goes down, the respect for marriage will go with it. Prayer. Prayer. Prayer.
    Finally, I wanted to add that Theology of the Body is another essential reading for those who want to have true married love because it leads them back to the source of healing. God bless you, brother. And thanks again for the article.

    • I fixed it! I made a mistake. Stupid me. It’s around 67%!

      • ha-ha:)…well, my next question would be, is that because their husband’s cheated on them? That’s what my research has found. By all means, that is NOT always the case. There are some women out there doing some really awful things, too. This is a problem that men and women need to work on together for sure…blessings…

  3. arid2385 says:

    From a legal perspective, there are aspects of the divorce story that do not add up, whether because they are exaggerated or because elements have been left out.

    I have had conversations with multiple women who were unhappy in their marriages, some of which initiated the divorce. I don’t believe in divorce outside of adultery, but none of the women had some sudden urge to leave their husbands. Generally it was something that had been building up for years, decades even.

    Emphasizing a woman understanding the impact of divorce on children means little when many people will simply wait until the children are out of the house to divorce. I grew up in a school primarily composed of stay at home mothers, but after we all graduated from college, many of the updates were about which parents were no longer together.

    People are flawed. A woman’s commitment to her children might well take her far enough to make sure they are on their own before she chooses to break up the family. But there are also selfish husbands who honestly don’t really care that their wives are or have been unhappy–so long as *they’re* content and they don’t think their wife is going anywhere, they take her for granted and live life pleasing themselves. This is why you often see women initiating divorces after 20 years of marriage–the story is so often the same. Is it right? No. But very few things that human beings do are completely arbitrary and out of nowhere. Usually something led to it.

    I think that men are much more likely to treat just getting married as a done deal, where women need that relationship to continue to grow and improve.

  4. Pat Joy says:

    ‘If she wasn’t chaste before she married you, don’t marry her. If she doesn’t let you lead during the courtship, and value your advice and leadership, don’t marry her. She has to value you for being a man. Do not marry feminists who think women are victims and are never responsible’

    I think a lot of these comments are chauvenistic. When my husband and I met we weren’t practicing Christians so neither of us were ‘chaste’. I am better at some things and he is better at other. We lead in what we are best in. We DID sit down before we were married and told each other what we expected out of marriage, not a bed of roses by any means. you also have to value her as a woman. your post seems to be all about how great the writer is, he’s good looking (bully for him my husband is average looking, I’m a bit on the plain side). We argue sometimes about certain things in our way forward, but these arguements often bring things into the open so we can sort them out. We always joke that before we got married he thought I was rich, I thought he was rich, then after we got married we found out that neither of us had any money. At one time we were both out of work for 2 years at the same time, and if you saw some of the jobs we did, just to feed out kids, you’d be surprised. At one time we even had to sell our wedding rings to feed the kids.

    Marriage is a partnership, not dominance of one by the other. Most of the letter seems to be about how great he is and how terrible she is. If he’s marriage was like this, I’m not surprised she wanted a divorce. In good and bad times marriage is a partnership.

    I do agree though that divorce is tipped in favour where the money and kids are concerned, but if you bring this into the visits with the kids, you’ll drive them away. I know a few of my children’s friends that this has happened to.

    Just for your further information, we have now been married 38 years and looking forward to the next 30 if we live that long.

    • Well, non-Christians are exempt from having to act like Christians, until they become Christians. I do think it’s important to take these moral rules seriously in order to protect children from divorce, etc.

  5. Pearls says:

    Was the woman he married even a Christian? God is for marriage and marriage does work for couples that are truly walking with the Lord. But you have to make sure that that person is walking with the Lord and not just playing church on Sundays. Always pray for wisdom and discernment.

    • I have no idea, but I would suspect not. I notice a lot of men seem to not be very good at choosing good women, because most men are pretty shallow and they tend to overemphasize looks.

  6. Marry someone who loves God deeply and cares about you and other people in the context of the kingdom of God. If you’re a Christian man and you want secular courts and the laws of the state to change so that “Christian” marriages hold together, you need to adjust your focus a bit.

    • Well, some people are not going to agree with me because they are more concerned that marriage be anything adults want it to be so they can be happy. Some people want laws and government institutions to give them maximum freedom to sin and harm children. So naturally they’re going to object to strengthening marriage and providing incentives for people to marry. Some people don’t care about children having a mother and father and stable environment to grow up in – you just want adults to do whatever they want and to have their selfishness celebrated.

      Like it or not, there are different groups of people, all non-Christian, who are willing to push ideas that harm children: no-fault divorce, gay marriage, premarital sex, big government spending, and so on. Those people are anti-marriage. So of course they don’t want the laws or the state to change to support marriage. They have another agenda – not the welfare of children.

      • Wintery, you need to be very careful to avoid making generalisations. “There are different groups of people, all non-Christian,” you write, “who are willing to push ideas that harm children: no-fault divorce, gay marriage, premarital sex, big government spending, and so on.” But it seems to me that a person may at least be a Christian and support something like big government spending.

        It seems to me that the problem isn’t nearly so much that the laws or the state don’t support marriage as that so-called “Christians” are not really walking deeply with Jesus Christ and seeking spouses who do the same. You want “the laws or the state to change to support marriage.” Well and good; there’s nothing wrong with that. But Christians shouldn’t depend on these laws or on the state to ensure that their marriages work or that their children are cared for.

        • Pat Joy says:

          Thomas, I couldn’t agree more. Len and I weren’t practicing Christians when we married, but we did our best to make sure it worked. When our parents married it was almost unheard of for ordinary people to get divorced, now it’s too easy and people don’t try hard enough a lot of the time.

          I will admit though that in England the children are thought of by the courts a lot quicker, it’s usually at the settlement stage and not necessarily something seperate.

          Having said that, I still think a lot of the problem with this man is that it’s all about him, during the marriage reading his posting. Not much about what she wanted out of it, but that she suddenly said she wanted a divorce. If he’s attitude in the marriage was the same as it came across on the posting, I’m not surprised. When Len talks about our marriage it’s as much about me as it is him and visa versa. We can also laugh when talking about it. about disagreements we’ve had etc.

          No laws in the world are going to change how people act towards each other or make people think differently about their role in marriage. That is what the two people concerned have to WORK at. After 38 years, we’re still working at it. We don’t keep saying, let’s see what the law says.

          • Dan Marsh says:

            “If he’s [sic] attitude in the marriage was the same as it came across on the posting, I’m not surprised.”

            So it’s his fault, huh? Interesting. You devoted one whole paragraph to describing the man’s shortcomings (despite having no evidence for them), although he’s not the one who filed for divorce. If we’re going to engage in speculation about his character, maybe we can debate whether or not this guy’s the Boston Strangler.

            Out of curiosity, do you have any comments about the wife’s lying to her husband, refusal to return his belongings, and shutting her husband out of the children’s lives? I’d honestly like to know.

            “No laws in the world are going to change how people act towards each other or make people think differently about their role in marriage.”

            Interesting tactic you’re using there. Make the issue about self-improvement, as opposed to activism that could restore basic constitutional rights to married men. Just for the record, you’re arguing that legal incentives penalizing or rewarding behavior will NEVER play a role in altering how the genders view their marital responsibilities. Correct?

          • Pat Joy says:

            Read some of my other postings. I have said that I didn’t agree with what she’s done, but I’ve only got his side of the story, but he has got an everything has to be done my way attitude, not a working together attitude.

            Most divorce laws in whatever country are twisted as the judge sees fit and depending quite often on their own life experiences, that’s why I say laws won’t change things.

  7. That’s quite a sobering account. Of course we only getting one side of the story, but it is hard to imagine anything that would remotely justify the selfish behavior of the woman in question. Years ago I used to manage a Christian dating service, and there were usually some interesting interesting (and heartbreaking) accounts shared by the clients–from both men and women.

    I remember a few cases in which the guy was dumped in similar fashion and resulting in his finances plundered, but none so severely as the gentleman in your letter. Perhaps, the community property laws in my state prevent complete loss of the assets (such as house and car), or perhaps my clients had healed to the point where they were determined to attain victory over the bad hand they had been dealt.

    I hope that at the appropriate time (after a reasonable grieving period) that someone will be able to lovingly convey to him that life is not over yet. As one pushing 60 in a couple of months, I can say that life is not over just because it has advanced into one’s 50’s. If he has the attractive looks and personality, plus the ability to earn $70,000/yr, there is way more than enough for God to work with–so long as he really lays it all before the cross.

    I sense from some of the comments from the ladies that they are a bit wont to rebuke the woman for her deceitful action, but I agree that the guy cannot be without fault. No one could, but a boring life with an otherwise faithful husband is not Biblical grounds for initiating a divorce–particularly a surprise one where you steal all the stuff. There are ways to to spice up the marriage, and even if one’s spouse isn’t 100% responsive to such efforts there are ways to make one’s own relationship with God more fulfilling and pleasing.

    Seeking first the Kingdom of God is the necessary step before “all these things” will be added. Problem is most Christians seem to find things of this world (including the “American” dream of the white picket fence and spouse satisfying your every whim) more pressing than God’s priorities. There’s a world of people on the road to hell (including 70-80% of our youth getting picked off by skepticism) and we’re whining about some sinner spouse who fails to put us on the throne.

    • Pat Joy says:

      I don’t agree with his ex taking everything, but I can’t help wondering what sort of marriage it was. If you notice a lot of his post was how great he is, that he’s quite good looking etc. etc looks aren’t everything as I’ve said in a previous post, but treating marriage as a partnership does help a lot.

      Len and I have had our problems in our 38 years together, but we’ve sorted them on near enough equal terms, once we’ve both calmed down. As you’ve said, money isn’t everything and we had two years when we were living hand to mouth. neither of us blamed the other and we worked together to overcome our problems.

      We are Christians, although when we first got married we weren’t active ones, but now work in Ukraine working with disadvantaged children and families. We still try to work as a partnership. As you say, we have only heard one side of the story so unless we hear the other side, we can’t say it’s all her fault.

      • Pat,

        Bless you and your husband–for being a great example for others to follow and learn from. I really like that you have a ministry that allows God’s love to flow though you both in order to bless others. I think a lot of Christians are so inwardly focused on their own household that they bottle up God’s river of life instead of letting it flow.

        I understand your point about the writer of the letter painting himself in a positive light, but that may be more to support his sincere intent of warning people. I really do think he is more interested in alerting men to what he sees as a real danger than bragging on himself or even getting getting anyone to pass judgment upon his ex (she’s pretty much out of the picture as far as we’re concerned. I didn’t see him as going on and on about his looks. I count 2x unless I missed some–one was in context of his past relationship and the latter time as something that would work in his favor if he weren’t so broke.

        What concerns me most about the writer is his despair, which is much more of a roadblock to new relationships than the fact that he is broke. He should ask the Lord to lead him to increase the blessings on people he can influence–and/or increase the number of people being blessed. In the context of economics that would mean an employer or clients willing to pay him more for his services than what he’s getting now. At any rate he needs to get fired up on doing what the Lord would have him do, and the Lord will take care of pouring joy into his heart. When he lets that river flow then some pretty amazing things can happen and turn around his life, but the joy isn’t in the “stuff” it’s in the Giver of the stuff.

        • Pat Joy says:

          Gary I agree with much of what you say, but I know so many people (men and women) who have focused on the ME side of it. Mostly with men, but sometimes with women as well. I provide, I have a well paid job, I’m the man of the house, everyone in the house should do what I say, etc. I know two people here who had this attitude. One we managed to talk to and he and his wife are now happily back together for five years now. The other is on wife number four (two legal civil marriage the other two common law marriage). He still won’t accept that his wives could have had just as much to contribute to the world as he did.

      • arid2385 says:

        I wondered the same about the marriage. The fact that the court only allows him to see his children two days a month was a red flag to me. Perhaps he only meant that she would only let him see them that often, but if a court actually ruled that his visitation would be restricted to such a degree, then there was a reason. I know it’s easy to make the secular, liberal courts the fall guy, but they are not wholly irrational and generally affirm the principle that children should maintain a relationship with both parents. If she is withholding the children in violation of his visitation rights, then she could easily be held in contempt of court.

        • One day of visitation every two weeks is standard when the woman has full custody, which is 85% of the time. And there are no penalties for women if they don’t honor this. Many men don’t see their children for years, but they must still pay child support. A fellow I used to work with had to do that. He hasn’t seen his son in years.

          Women can move children out of state without the consent of the father.

          • arid2385 says:

            That is not the case. There are definitely legal remedies that can be pursued. I cannot say where your information was found, but from both personal and professional legal experience I know that to not be the case. It is very possible that those who experience such never got an attorney and are working off of an informal arrangement. But in actual court-ordered custody arrangements, not complying is illegal. (I actually trained to be a guardian ad litem in the courts, which is the person who advocates for the interests children in the midst of divorce and domestic violence proceedings.)

          • Here’s one:

            http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/07/child_visitation_rights_go_une.html

            Visitation rights are not enforced. Men go for years without seeing their children. But if they don’t pay child support, they go to jail.

          • arid2385 says:

            This is a story about one county in Ohio. Even if you take it as indicative of what happens everywhere (and again, attorneys could tell you otherwise), the article itself says that many fathers don’t follow through with the steps they need to take to establish visitation and partial custody–either because they don’t know or because it is too overwhelming:

            “Several groups, including the Cuyahoga County Fatherhood Initiative and the Northeast Ohio Fatherhood Collaborative, try to educate parents — men in particular — on the legal steps they need to take to establish visitation or have partial custody of the child.
            Experts who work closely with the system said the legal process can be arduous for many fathers, and they end up not following through. In a lot of cases, fathers don’t know their rights, and even when they learn them, they quit before the process is complete, said Judith Lane, a guardian ad litem at Juvenile Court.
            “Dealing with these cases is extremely difficult, and I see this all too often,” Lane said. “As frustrating as the process can be, they need to work with it if they want to see their children.”

          • Look, we both have a burden of proof here. I’m willing to shoulder mine. You have to shoulder yours, otherwise I win 1-0.

            The article states this:

            The Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency will collect about $240 million this year in child support payments, said Joseph Gaunter, who directs the office of Employment and Family Services. But the agency has no power to enforce visitation orders.

            This is the county that contains Cleveland, OH. A major city. That’s my evidence. I have more. Where’s yours?

          • arid2385 says:

            I gave the quote which said directly and clearly that many men do not work with the legal system. The office of Employment and Family Services is not the agency that enforces court orders. If there is court-mandated visitation, then it is the court system with the support of law enforcement that enforces the order, not an administrative agency. Just like if a judge issues a restraining order, and someone violates it, it is the court system and law enforcement backs it up. If men go to the administrative offices that collect child support to complain about visitation, no, they will not get anywhere. Why the article is not worded that way, I do not know.

          • Lawyers cost money – and men who are already paying child support cannot afford to pay lawyers to fight for their visitation rights. That’s why so many men have not seen their children in years. The child support payment is enforced, but the visitation rights for the father are not enforced. Men have to hire lawyers to fight for their visitation rights, and they can’t afford it.

  8. Father Marker says:

    I saw that 90% on another website and it was explained this way. 67% divorces initiated by women. Of the remaining 33% around 20 percentage points of that were claimed to initiated by the man with a gun held against his head. Obviously some kind of threatened blackmail that forces his hand. Which leaves only around 10% of divorces truly initiated by the man of his own free volition.

    • Men love women. We want to be in intimate, loving relationships with them, and score lots of points by serving and solving problems and making them happy. Men don’t like divorce at all. We like making commitments.

  9. Dan Marsh says:

    “he has got an everything has to be done my way attitude, not a working together attitude.

    Most divorce laws in whatever country are twisted as the judge sees fit and depending quite often on their own life experiences, that’s why I say laws won’t change things.”

    With all due respect, you know nothing about Constitutional protections. If Equal Protection, presumptions of innocence, etc. were taken seriously in divorce court, then marriage would be a much more attractive prospect for men. Rulings confiscating excessive wealth from divorced men, forcing from their homes, etc. would be overturned. Judges could not “twist laws” whichever way they wanted because Federal District Courts and the USSC would overturn them due to Stare Decisis.

    But then, that would stop the gravy train that you women have been taking advantage of, wouldn’t it?

  10. James says:

    When I read how women respond to a letter like this, I feel assured that I am doing the right thing by abstaining from dating/marriage. Good men are walking away from the madness and until women are willing to change their attitudes good men are going to become more and more difficult to find.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Click to see recent visitors

  Visitors Online Now

Page views since 1/30/09

  • 4,504,652 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,155 other followers

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,155 other followers

%d bloggers like this: