Well church, maybe.
The idea that Christians are as likely to be divorced as non-Christians is largely a myth, at least when adjusted to include the ones who actually go to church.
In fact, people who actually practice the disciplines of their faith tradition are far more likely to stay married, regardless of their religious tradition.
But getting married in the first place is a different challenge. In 1970 only 16% of 25 to 29 year olds had never been married, while today it’s 55%.
In an important upcoming book, Kay Hymowitz argues that delayed marriage causes or explains the extended adolescence of American men.
In Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys, Hymowitz, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, says “it’s time to state what has become obvious to legions of frustrated young women. [This extended “pre-adulthood”] doesn’t bring out the best in men.”
And it’s not pretty.
She cites comedian Julie Klausner, for example, who writes inI Don’t Care About Your Band, that men today are “more like the kids we babysat than the dads who drove us home.”
Hymowitz argues that while women are more likely to go to college, grad school, and make strides in the workplace, men are increasing unsure of themselves, partly because they no longer have to pass a test of maturity, proving their competence as providers and protectors.
It’s unclear if delayed marriage is a symptom or a cause, but now, she writes, the “qualities of character men once needed to play their roles—fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity—are obsolete, even a little embarrassing.” Today’s pre-adult male is “an actor in a drama where he only knows what he shouldn’t say.”
In an adaptation printed in the Wall Street Journal, she concludes:
We can be disgusted if some of them continue to live in rooms decorated with “Star Wars” posters and crushed beer cans and to treat women like disposable estrogen toys, but we shouldn’t be surprised.
Relatively affluent, free of family responsibilities, and entertained by an array of media devoted to his every pleasure, the single young man can live in pig heaven—and often does. ….Why should they grow up? No one needs them anyway. There’s nothing they have to do.
They might as well just have another beer.
And sadder still, the church may not continue to be the last defense of virtue, as it once was. Youth groups have become rock concerts and trips to amusement parks, not serious efforts to teach them what God calls them to be—men and women of character and purpose.
I teach at a Christian college and many young men I know want to be in a band, but not a brotherhood. They want to critique the church, but they don’t want to contribute to it. They want a relationship, but they don’t want responsibility.
We must take our investment in young men more seriously.
Because no thoughtful young woman wants to marry a boy.
Nor should she have to.