“Why should a man in this day and age in America (or most western countries) get married? No matter how much a man is supposed to “man-up”, why should he take the risk of getting married when it’s already been proven that he’s taking great risk at getting screwed. Women are not being asked to take back any of the “rights” that they have earned, and see that as being unfair. We (men) are supposed to just basically put our heads on the chopping block and HOPE that the woman in question won’t let the guillotine fall when it’s already been proven that more than likely it will.”
Jawara, you ask why should a man in this day and age get married given all the risks to men in marriage; many of these risks being unfair, especially to men who are trying to do the right thing.
I would say a man should get married if it is his calling; if it is part of what he sees as his mission in life. Marriage is the primary way of contributing to society at the ground level, at the interpersonal level where children are born and raised. Marriage has a very high value to society; it is the means by which woman’s femininity is empowered and contributed to society, particularly to children.
So marriage is a means of contributing to society, of doing good. This is the fundamental reason why a man should get married at the philosophical level. There are also many emotional benefits to marriage and family life; these family relationship benefits are another good reason to get married.
So a man “should” get married based on the moral benefits marriage contributes to society; a man will “want” to get married based on the many emotional and spiritual benefits marriage offers him.
What people “want” to do doesn’t always line up with what people “should” do. If what people desired always matched their duties we would be living in paradise on earth; there would be no sin, no selfishness or greed, no abusive or manipulative behaviors.
MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists) ask constantly “but what’s in it for me?” This attitude always bothers me. It’s the wrong approach philosophically. It ends up placing the burden on others to cater to the MRA’s whims and desires to try to “motivate them” to “do what’s right.” If someone rejects “to be moral” as a motivation for their behavior in the first place no amount of bribing them or pandering to them will “motivate them” to do the right thing anyways.
It seems to me though your question is not really aimed at the question “why marry?” but is instead focused on why men should marry given that the law and cultural prejudices are discriminatory and biased against men. “Why play a rigged game?” seems to be the question.
There are two different issues involved in this. First are the benefits and risks involved in family life. Second is the wider environment in terms of culture and law being biased against men; or more accurately I would say biased against responsible men trying to play the role of the traditional man.
There are two different approaches a man can take to add value to society; direct participation in family life through marriage and indirect support to family life through political activism and cultural lobbying whose purpose is to change the culture and law in a family friendly direction. A man can participate in family life through marriage and at the same time try to improve the institution of marriage through cultural lobbying / political activism. Both marriage and efforts to improve the condition of marriage have value. Under this broader understanding of the moral situation a man should get married if he sees marriage as a viable and effective way for him to contribute to society; the aspects of marriage that are biased against men can be dealt with as a separate issue through the mechanism of politics.
This post was originally written as a response to Jawara’s comment under the “Why I am a TWRA” post.