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Gen Z shouldn’t dismiss marriage so lightly

Screengrab from the viral TikTok video

August 12, 2023 - 8:00am

A viral TikTok video doesn’t pull any punches in depicting the so-called negatives of marriage and motherhood for young women.

The video, that has been racking up millions of views, shows a Generation Z woman seeming to accept a marriage proposal before switching to a series of shorts showing the same woman toiling away in domestic drudgery — washing dishes, caring for a newborn baby, and cleaning the house. The clip ends with the woman rejecting the proposal, daunted by the future life of domestic servitude that just flashed before her eyes.

This is simply one addition to a long line of recent memes that deride marriage and motherhood, a trend that plays into a popular narrative. But is all this negative coverage of marriage and motherhood — primarily emanating from academics, journalists, and online influencers — an accurate reflection of reality?

The answer is no. The truths about marriage and motherhood couldn’t be clearer, or more counter-cultural: married women with children are actually happier than their single and childless counterparts, despite the prevailing narrative to the contrary. Drawing on data from America’s premier social barometer, the 2022 General Social Survey, 40% of married women between the ages of 18 and 55 with children report being “very happy” with their lives, compared to 22% of unmarried women with no children and 17% of single mothers.

Women’s happiness, ages 18-55. Credit: General Social Survey

What’s more, women with children are better off financially than their childless peers. According to data from the US Census’s American Community Survey, married mothers (18-55) have an average household income of $133,000, compared to $79,000 for their childless, single peers.

We also have new research, which finds that marriage is “the most important differentiator” of who is happy in America. Falling marriage rates, meanwhile, are a chief reason why happiness has declined nationally, according to this study. 

All of this runs counter to the cultural messaging that is decidedly anti-nuptial and anti-natalist. But the data tells us that married people are happier and more prosperous than their unmarried counterparts. That’s because marriage and family life provide meaning and direction for both men and women, not to mention a sense of solidarity. 

Young people deserve to know the truth. A future that includes marriage and children is, on balance, a happier one. It turns out that building a life around your family is linked to dramatically higher rates of happiness for men and women. The idea that the best pathway to happiness in life is to avoid exchanging vows or the baby carriage is a myth persistently championed by many cultural voices — including this latest viral TikTok influencer — but one unfounded in the data.


Brad Wilcox is the Future of Freedom Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Wendy Wang is Director of Research at the Institute for Family Studies.

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Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
11 months ago

The video, that has been racking up millions of views, shows a Generation Z woman seeming to accept a marriage proposal before switching to a series of shorts showing the same woman toiling away in domestic drudgery — washing dishes, caring for a newborn baby, and cleaning the house. 
So…aside from the baby, do young women nowadays…not wash their dishes or clean their houses?

Daniel P
Daniel P
11 months ago

Depends, but apparently they have concluded that doing the basic chores of life are beneath them.

I’m a single dad of two kids, a 23 yr old daughter off at law school and a 15 yr old son. But even if I were just single with no kids, toilets gotta be cleaned, dishes done, laundry taken care of, the floors mopped the furniture dusted and steam cleaned, the flower beds weeded and maintained, the trash taken out and the barrel washed. The shower glass has to be cleaned, the lint vacumed out of the dryer, the lawn mowed, clothes folded and put away, dry cleaning dropped off and picked up, the oven and stove cleaned, the refrigerator emptied out and cleaned. The car has to be maintained and cleaned.Meals have to be cooked. Food shopping has to be done. There is a very long list of things that have to be done, daily, weekly and yearly just to keep a safe, clean, healthy, home, prepare healthy food and have clean clothes to wear.

Now toss in a dog or cat. Gotta walk them, groom them, feed them and take them to vet appointments. Clean the litter box with a cat.

And now, you still need to go earn a living.

This list is the same whether single or married,male or female, unless you are very well off. You can either do it all yourself or you can share the load with a partner. I’ve been doing it for over a decade and before then I was working 50 plus hours a week, commuting 2 and a half hours a day and then going home to a wife who stayed home and now expected me to “contribute” by jumping into household chores she thought were beneath her or were men’s work like cleaning a toilet or mowing the lawn because it risked her damaging the nails I just paid for.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Did it make you happy?

Are you still together?

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Said he was a single dad!

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Point missed.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Cho Jinn

I realise that.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Cho Jinn

I realise that.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Said he was a single dad!

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Point missed.

Emre S
Emre S
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Never got the point of the dog. When you’ve got all the other things to do, why add much more with a dog.

Terry Raby
Terry Raby
11 months ago
Reply to  Emre S

Good for the kids

Terry Raby
Terry Raby
11 months ago
Reply to  Emre S

Good for the kids

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

On the whole, it’s perhaps better for society that people who don’t try or feel the need to get married and procreate stay single. Perhaps it’s Darwinian? People who don’t seek to procreate maybe don’t have the best gene makeup or the hormonal drive to do so. They are self-selecting to let a better gene pool progress rather than insert their perhaps ‘less biologically driven’ makeup to move forward. Perhaps the societal push to expect people to get married was actually in some ways diminishing the human gene pool?

Last edited 11 months ago by Cathy Carron
Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
11 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Surely it cannot be the case that people who feel the need to procreate “have the best gene makeup”? (Been to Asda/Walmart lately?)

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

A significant percentage of women who end up childless planned to have children. Early career pressure and dating woes run out the clock for them.

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
11 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Surely it cannot be the case that people who feel the need to procreate “have the best gene makeup”? (Been to Asda/Walmart lately?)

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

A significant percentage of women who end up childless planned to have children. Early career pressure and dating woes run out the clock for them.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Did it make you happy?

Are you still together?

Emre S
Emre S
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Never got the point of the dog. When you’ve got all the other things to do, why add much more with a dog.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

On the whole, it’s perhaps better for society that people who don’t try or feel the need to get married and procreate stay single. Perhaps it’s Darwinian? People who don’t seek to procreate maybe don’t have the best gene makeup or the hormonal drive to do so. They are self-selecting to let a better gene pool progress rather than insert their perhaps ‘less biologically driven’ makeup to move forward. Perhaps the societal push to expect people to get married was actually in some ways diminishing the human gene pool?

Last edited 11 months ago by Cathy Carron
Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
11 months ago

Our dishwashing machine washes the dishes :} The loading and unloading is a shared job.
Now cleaning is another matter – I have a higher tolerance for mess and dirt.

Daniel P
Daniel P
11 months ago

Yeah, I was the one who was the clean freak. Still am. But I knew that was my thing so I did the majority of the cleaning.

I just cannot stand a mess or filth.

Might have come from having been in the army.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Why, may i ask, do you steam-clean the furniture? The thought would never enter my head – plus i reckon it’d take its toll on wear and tear. Unless there’s someone or something making a mess on the furniture, why not let it be?

Daniel P
Daniel P
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Big bulldog. Lots of dander and hair.
My buddy, so I let him camp on the couch with me. BUT…it gets dirty from his dander, drool and hair. Never mind he chews his toys on it too.
Plus, the house is all male at this point. My son and I and his friends and mine eat and watch football and soccer on it. Pizza cheese etc.
Steaming it abut once every two months is not hard. Takes about 30 minutes.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Fair enough!

Alice Lamy
Alice Lamy
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Hello. Ever heard of a washable throw?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Fair enough!

Alice Lamy
Alice Lamy
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Hello. Ever heard of a washable throw?

Daniel P
Daniel P
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Big bulldog. Lots of dander and hair.
My buddy, so I let him camp on the couch with me. BUT…it gets dirty from his dander, drool and hair. Never mind he chews his toys on it too.
Plus, the house is all male at this point. My son and I and his friends and mine eat and watch football and soccer on it. Pizza cheese etc.
Steaming it abut once every two months is not hard. Takes about 30 minutes.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Why, may i ask, do you steam-clean the furniture? The thought would never enter my head – plus i reckon it’d take its toll on wear and tear. Unless there’s someone or something making a mess on the furniture, why not let it be?

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago

I once got into trouble on an online forum with a lady who was bemoaning hoe much time the poor dear spent on household work, merely for suggesting she buy a men’s washing machine – because with those you don’t have to sit and watch the machine while it runs.
Just try to be helpful, and people get all annoyed….

Daniel P
Daniel P
11 months ago

Yeah, I was the one who was the clean freak. Still am. But I knew that was my thing so I did the majority of the cleaning.

I just cannot stand a mess or filth.

Might have come from having been in the army.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago

I once got into trouble on an online forum with a lady who was bemoaning hoe much time the poor dear spent on household work, merely for suggesting she buy a men’s washing machine – because with those you don’t have to sit and watch the machine while it runs.
Just try to be helpful, and people get all annoyed….

Cassander Antipatru
Cassander Antipatru
11 months ago

People seem to view doing chores to help someone else as uniquely degrading and exploitative for some reason.

Cooking for yourself? Fine.
Cooking for pay as a restaurant chef? Also fine.
Cooking for your husband? Oppression!

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
11 months ago

“”Things are different today, ” I hear every mother say
Cooking fresh food for her husband’s just a drag
So she buys an instant cake, and she burns a frozen steak . . .”

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
11 months ago

“”Things are different today, ” I hear every mother say
Cooking fresh food for her husband’s just a drag
So she buys an instant cake, and she burns a frozen steak . . .”

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago

I am a father, and I invest a lot of time and energy on my daughter.

And this kind of thing just confirms to me that a lot of social media being fed to (and believed by) modern women is just bs.
There are two big issues with this story.

Firstly, washing dishes or cleaning the house (or running the washing machine, changing nappies etc) does not take much time. I have done these, while working 12 hours a day on a hectic, gruelling job.
This was true a 100 years ago, with no machines, half a dozen kids and husbands who didn’t share in housework. Not at all today.

Secondly, what actually takes up time is “optional” kid stuff – taking her to the park, movies, play dates, arts camp …
And the reason people still have kids is because that is incredible fun.
Sure, if you don’t like kids – don’t have them.
The problem here is a lot of women are going to realise a fair bit late that they don’t fall in that camp.

Daniel P
Daniel P
11 months ago

Depends, but apparently they have concluded that doing the basic chores of life are beneath them.

I’m a single dad of two kids, a 23 yr old daughter off at law school and a 15 yr old son. But even if I were just single with no kids, toilets gotta be cleaned, dishes done, laundry taken care of, the floors mopped the furniture dusted and steam cleaned, the flower beds weeded and maintained, the trash taken out and the barrel washed. The shower glass has to be cleaned, the lint vacumed out of the dryer, the lawn mowed, clothes folded and put away, dry cleaning dropped off and picked up, the oven and stove cleaned, the refrigerator emptied out and cleaned. The car has to be maintained and cleaned.Meals have to be cooked. Food shopping has to be done. There is a very long list of things that have to be done, daily, weekly and yearly just to keep a safe, clean, healthy, home, prepare healthy food and have clean clothes to wear.

Now toss in a dog or cat. Gotta walk them, groom them, feed them and take them to vet appointments. Clean the litter box with a cat.

And now, you still need to go earn a living.

This list is the same whether single or married,male or female, unless you are very well off. You can either do it all yourself or you can share the load with a partner. I’ve been doing it for over a decade and before then I was working 50 plus hours a week, commuting 2 and a half hours a day and then going home to a wife who stayed home and now expected me to “contribute” by jumping into household chores she thought were beneath her or were men’s work like cleaning a toilet or mowing the lawn because it risked her damaging the nails I just paid for.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
11 months ago

Our dishwashing machine washes the dishes :} The loading and unloading is a shared job.
Now cleaning is another matter – I have a higher tolerance for mess and dirt.

Cassander Antipatru
Cassander Antipatru
11 months ago

People seem to view doing chores to help someone else as uniquely degrading and exploitative for some reason.

Cooking for yourself? Fine.
Cooking for pay as a restaurant chef? Also fine.
Cooking for your husband? Oppression!

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago

I am a father, and I invest a lot of time and energy on my daughter.

And this kind of thing just confirms to me that a lot of social media being fed to (and believed by) modern women is just bs.
There are two big issues with this story.

Firstly, washing dishes or cleaning the house (or running the washing machine, changing nappies etc) does not take much time. I have done these, while working 12 hours a day on a hectic, gruelling job.
This was true a 100 years ago, with no machines, half a dozen kids and husbands who didn’t share in housework. Not at all today.

Secondly, what actually takes up time is “optional” kid stuff – taking her to the park, movies, play dates, arts camp …
And the reason people still have kids is because that is incredible fun.
Sure, if you don’t like kids – don’t have them.
The problem here is a lot of women are going to realise a fair bit late that they don’t fall in that camp.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
11 months ago

The video, that has been racking up millions of views, shows a Generation Z woman seeming to accept a marriage proposal before switching to a series of shorts showing the same woman toiling away in domestic drudgery — washing dishes, caring for a newborn baby, and cleaning the house. 
So…aside from the baby, do young women nowadays…not wash their dishes or clean their houses?

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
11 months ago

The over production of “elite” academic / HR types is the root of all evil


Currently reading Huxle’s masterpiece
 One can only hope we are not headed there
.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
11 months ago

The over production of “elite” academic / HR types is the root of all evil


Currently reading Huxle’s masterpiece
 One can only hope we are not headed there
.

Saul D
Saul D
11 months ago

Sure you had some fun. But what did you contribute to the world? The nice dresses you bought are in landfill now. The cat wasn’t really yours, it just let you think it was. No-one remembers the work you did two years later, let alone a generation. Not even another dot or comma in the history books. But kids, and grandkids, they remember you. You’re important because you’re why they live and breathe and change the world. They remember the stuff you showed them, and the principles you taught them. You worried about them, because they were worth worrying about. They care for you, because you cared for them. Me, is just another pebble on the shore. Me plus them is the start of a mountain to the stars.

Daria Angelova
Daria Angelova
11 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

Having kids simply means that you’ll be remembered for just a tad longer, a few decades perhaps. But once your children and grandchildren die, you’re headed for the same kind of oblivion as people without children.
There are many good reasons to have children, but “who will remember you” is IMO not one of them. I can only assume that parents secretly would like to believe that their children will never die and go on living forever.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  Daria Angelova

“I can only assume that parents secretly would like to believe that their children will never die and go on living forever.”
You assume wrongly

Kat L
Kat L
11 months ago
Reply to  Daria Angelova

Disagree. Your descendants will want your photos; those that have none get put up on the walls of the Cracker Barrel.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  Daria Angelova

“I can only assume that parents secretly would like to believe that their children will never die and go on living forever.”
You assume wrongly

Kat L
Kat L
11 months ago
Reply to  Daria Angelova

Disagree. Your descendants will want your photos; those that have none get put up on the walls of the Cracker Barrel.

Daria Angelova
Daria Angelova
11 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

Having kids simply means that you’ll be remembered for just a tad longer, a few decades perhaps. But once your children and grandchildren die, you’re headed for the same kind of oblivion as people without children.
There are many good reasons to have children, but “who will remember you” is IMO not one of them. I can only assume that parents secretly would like to believe that their children will never die and go on living forever.

Saul D
Saul D
11 months ago

Sure you had some fun. But what did you contribute to the world? The nice dresses you bought are in landfill now. The cat wasn’t really yours, it just let you think it was. No-one remembers the work you did two years later, let alone a generation. Not even another dot or comma in the history books. But kids, and grandkids, they remember you. You’re important because you’re why they live and breathe and change the world. They remember the stuff you showed them, and the principles you taught them. You worried about them, because they were worth worrying about. They care for you, because you cared for them. Me, is just another pebble on the shore. Me plus them is the start of a mountain to the stars.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago

married mothers (18-55) have an averagehousehold income of $133,000, compared to $79,000 for their childless, single peers.

But presumably this higher figure has to support a whole family. And in many cases it is the result of both parents working. It’s not obvious a priori that the mother is “better off” financially.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Made a similar point earlier, but subsequent to you making it here which wasn’t read till last due to the stupid downvotes.
Have an upvote.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Sadly people are downvoting posts even when they make perfectly reasonable points or ask perfectly reasonable questions. That’s herd behaviour.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Sadly people are downvoting posts even when they make perfectly reasonable points or ask perfectly reasonable questions. That’s herd behaviour.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Indeed, one might conclude that marriage is a better predictor of a woman’s happiness than financial success.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

A couple of more interesting questions would be – when you look at the jump from 79k to 133k, how much does the father contribute and how much does he consume for his own personal expenses.

I think you will find
A. The husbands of married mothers invariably provide the larger share of that 133k (especially after children are born), freeing up the mother to work part time etc.
B. Most of the additional 54k goes towards the kids and wife, such as a bigger house, private schooling etc.

The bigger question is, given his much the role of that father and husband is reviled in today’s society, how many men in the next generation would agree to be a provider and slog away so that his family enjoys a better life.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Increasingly some women seem to see this marriage benefit not as a boon, but an entitlement.

Indeed, successfully extracting resources from men seems to be an aspect of modern feminism.

Perhaps that solves the paradox of women being happily married and yet divorcing. They think they can get even more elsewhere – or see their friends doing so and become eaten up with envy.

Apologies for generalisation – not saying all women, and I’m aware that this “pop feminism” is an illegitimate child of the feminist movement as conceived in the past.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Increasingly some women seem to see this marriage benefit not as a boon, but an entitlement.

Indeed, successfully extracting resources from men seems to be an aspect of modern feminism.

Perhaps that solves the paradox of women being happily married and yet divorcing. They think they can get even more elsewhere – or see their friends doing so and become eaten up with envy.

Apologies for generalisation – not saying all women, and I’m aware that this “pop feminism” is an illegitimate child of the feminist movement as conceived in the past.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Made a similar point earlier, but subsequent to you making it here which wasn’t read till last due to the stupid downvotes.
Have an upvote.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Indeed, one might conclude that marriage is a better predictor of a woman’s happiness than financial success.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

A couple of more interesting questions would be – when you look at the jump from 79k to 133k, how much does the father contribute and how much does he consume for his own personal expenses.

I think you will find
A. The husbands of married mothers invariably provide the larger share of that 133k (especially after children are born), freeing up the mother to work part time etc.
B. Most of the additional 54k goes towards the kids and wife, such as a bigger house, private schooling etc.

The bigger question is, given his much the role of that father and husband is reviled in today’s society, how many men in the next generation would agree to be a provider and slog away so that his family enjoys a better life.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago

married mothers (18-55) have an averagehousehold income of $133,000, compared to $79,000 for their childless, single peers.

But presumably this higher figure has to support a whole family. And in many cases it is the result of both parents working. It’s not obvious a priori that the mother is “better off” financially.

D Walsh
D Walsh
11 months ago

I knew plenty of women in their 20s who had no interest in getting married or children, all married now with children. Most seem happy

D Walsh
D Walsh
11 months ago

I knew plenty of women in their 20s who had no interest in getting married or children, all married now with children. Most seem happy

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
11 months ago

I’m pro marriage and pro having children but I think there’s a lot of correlation is not causation going on here.

Wealthier, better educated and dare I say it, more phycological well adjusted individuals are more likely to make relationships work than those who don’t have happy and stable lives to begin with.

I still think there are real social and individual benefits to marriage and having children and some of these will be reflected in as feed back in the data but ultimately, it’s probably putting the cart before the horse.

The preconditions to facilitating a happy marriage with children, is likely having a happy and stable life to begin with. A successful marriage just makes this more so.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

This is, in my opinion, absurd. Marriage and families make us happier precisely because it creates burdens of service to others. The thing humans are too short-sighted (‘sinful’ was the old-fashioned word for it) to see is that helping other people is the surest way to your own personal, long-term happiness – and the deeper, more permanent and more burdensome the responsibility, the more likely it will generate long-term satisfaction with your life choices.
This is why having children is so rewarding – and they are *more* rewarding the more work they require of you. Talk to the family of a disabled child about the emotional journey they have undertaken… the hardships and difficulties have generated a depth of warmth, affection, intimacy that is unmatched. This doesn’t prove we should all want disabled children – it proves we should not shirk from lives of familial service.

Jim M
Jim M
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Most people don’t want a disabled child. Look how few people with Down’s Syndrome are born today where pre-natal screening and abortion are available.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim M

I’m not sure if you think you are refuting my point or supporting it… but it’s precisely my point that people don’t want disabled children but end up being very happy they have them. I don’t have a disabled child (and don’t want one) but I know many people that do, and that is their testimony.

Last edited 11 months ago by Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim M

I’m not sure if you think you are refuting my point or supporting it… but it’s precisely my point that people don’t want disabled children but end up being very happy they have them. I don’t have a disabled child (and don’t want one) but I know many people that do, and that is their testimony.

Last edited 11 months ago by Kirk Susong
Jim M
Jim M
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Most people don’t want a disabled child. Look how few people with Down’s Syndrome are born today where pre-natal screening and abortion are available.

Jim M
Jim M
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

It’s a positive feedback loop. This is the Matthew effect.
For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

— Matthew 25:29, RSV.
Think mostly of psychological health and agreeableness and you can imagine that a person with a good disposition will accumulate a spouse, a good career, and healthy children.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

This is, in my opinion, absurd. Marriage and families make us happier precisely because it creates burdens of service to others. The thing humans are too short-sighted (‘sinful’ was the old-fashioned word for it) to see is that helping other people is the surest way to your own personal, long-term happiness – and the deeper, more permanent and more burdensome the responsibility, the more likely it will generate long-term satisfaction with your life choices.
This is why having children is so rewarding – and they are *more* rewarding the more work they require of you. Talk to the family of a disabled child about the emotional journey they have undertaken… the hardships and difficulties have generated a depth of warmth, affection, intimacy that is unmatched. This doesn’t prove we should all want disabled children – it proves we should not shirk from lives of familial service.

Jim M
Jim M
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

It’s a positive feedback loop. This is the Matthew effect.
For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

— Matthew 25:29, RSV.
Think mostly of psychological health and agreeableness and you can imagine that a person with a good disposition will accumulate a spouse, a good career, and healthy children.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
11 months ago

I’m pro marriage and pro having children but I think there’s a lot of correlation is not causation going on here.

Wealthier, better educated and dare I say it, more phycological well adjusted individuals are more likely to make relationships work than those who don’t have happy and stable lives to begin with.

I still think there are real social and individual benefits to marriage and having children and some of these will be reflected in as feed back in the data but ultimately, it’s probably putting the cart before the horse.

The preconditions to facilitating a happy marriage with children, is likely having a happy and stable life to begin with. A successful marriage just makes this more so.

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
11 months ago

The more young women that avoid marriage will in the long term create an awful lot of happier men who had a lucky escape.

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
11 months ago

The more young women that avoid marriage will in the long term create an awful lot of happier men who had a lucky escape.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
11 months ago

It’s not Gen Z. It’s the Guardian, The BBC, feminists, woke gender theorists and every bloody voice in the mainstream media in a concerted ideological campaign for 40 years. At any one time, the BBC is running articles on Polyamory, the benefits of divorce, group marriage, sologamy….it’s incessant and deliberate. And now the Church of England has joined in. Individualism /Narcissism/Materialism/transactionalism and atheism – Gen Z is just the end game

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
11 months ago

It’s not Gen Z. It’s the Guardian, The BBC, feminists, woke gender theorists and every bloody voice in the mainstream media in a concerted ideological campaign for 40 years. At any one time, the BBC is running articles on Polyamory, the benefits of divorce, group marriage, sologamy….it’s incessant and deliberate. And now the Church of England has joined in. Individualism /Narcissism/Materialism/transactionalism and atheism – Gen Z is just the end game

Daniel P
Daniel P
11 months ago

I would not worry about the women so much, I would worry about the guys that will never ever ask a woman to marry him or even live with him. There are a LOT of GenX dads out there that are telling the younger generation of men to never get married. The risk/reward factor is just not in your favor.

50% of GenZ boys and men are not even looking for a date.

I could write a damn essay on all the reasons that marrying a young, western woman is just a bad bad idea. Even my daughter gives me pause when I listen to her expectations and those of her peers.

Though, I will say this.. I was just down visiting my daughter at law school. I stayed with her and her friends. They are all between 23 and 28. I’m sitting with 4 of them having coffee one morning and they start going off about how they want to get married young and have their kids young so they are not 50 yrs old with a 15 yr old like their mothers did. They were talking about how they would love to be able to stay home. They mentioned that they had watched their mothers and fathers drudge off to offices just for the pay check and the idea of doing that for 30 or 40 yrs sounded like a form of hell. One said that she was grateful to the women who worked to get her the choice but if she had a choice she would prefer to stay home. Well HELL…..so would I to be honest.

I mean, come on, would you rather put on a suite, drive an hour plus or get on a train, in cold and heat, drag yourself to cube or sterile office, sit in front of a computer all day dealing with a boss, peers and clients OR….Would you prefer to get up, put on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, put on some tunes, grab a coffee and fold warm laundry in front of the TV or run a vacuum or run the Home Depot to get fertilizer for the flower beds? I know damn well which one I would take.

Now all 4 of these young women graduated with good degrees from good schools and are now law students. One is number 3 in her class.

I honestly was not sure what to make of all that. Kinda took me aback. Seemed so different from the women I grew up with in the 1980’s and 1990’s. But then, my best friend from college told me a few years ago that she had felt pressured to go all in on a career, that she was obligated to do it because of the women before her. She never got to have kids and that may be her greatest regret.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

would you rather put on a suite, drive an hour plus or get on a train, in cold and heat, drag yourself to cube or sterile office, sit in front of a computer all day dealing with a boss, peers and clients

and those are the good jobs!

Daniel P
Daniel P
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Thats a great point.
My HVAC guy was out here the other day. It was Saturday at 6:30 at night. Guy already put in a full week and a full day, shows up, in 90 deg weather to fix my AC.
Told me he had one more call and then had to drive 30 miles home.
He was drenched in sweat and looked wiped out.
Do yo prefer THAT or cooking dinner for the kids, getting them bathed and then watching a movie with them?

Daniel P
Daniel P
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Thats a great point.
My HVAC guy was out here the other day. It was Saturday at 6:30 at night. Guy already put in a full week and a full day, shows up, in 90 deg weather to fix my AC.
Told me he had one more call and then had to drive 30 miles home.
He was drenched in sweat and looked wiped out.
Do yo prefer THAT or cooking dinner for the kids, getting them bathed and then watching a movie with them?

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

The goal for young women seems to be to incur significant debt to get a good education and a career so they can support themselves then find a wealthy husband so they can quit the rat race, stay home and have babies.
The career is simply their Plan B for when, after the children are grown, they can dump the husband, take him for everything the family court will give them, and spend the rest of their days partying with the sisterhood.
Unfortunately for them the men of their age are beginning to wake up to being rinsed in this way (sprinkle, sprinkle) and not falling for it any more.

Last edited 11 months ago by William Shaw
David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

would you rather put on a suite, drive an hour plus or get on a train, in cold and heat, drag yourself to cube or sterile office, sit in front of a computer all day dealing with a boss, peers and clients

and those are the good jobs!

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

The goal for young women seems to be to incur significant debt to get a good education and a career so they can support themselves then find a wealthy husband so they can quit the rat race, stay home and have babies.
The career is simply their Plan B for when, after the children are grown, they can dump the husband, take him for everything the family court will give them, and spend the rest of their days partying with the sisterhood.
Unfortunately for them the men of their age are beginning to wake up to being rinsed in this way (sprinkle, sprinkle) and not falling for it any more.

Last edited 11 months ago by William Shaw
Daniel P
Daniel P
11 months ago

I would not worry about the women so much, I would worry about the guys that will never ever ask a woman to marry him or even live with him. There are a LOT of GenX dads out there that are telling the younger generation of men to never get married. The risk/reward factor is just not in your favor.

50% of GenZ boys and men are not even looking for a date.

I could write a damn essay on all the reasons that marrying a young, western woman is just a bad bad idea. Even my daughter gives me pause when I listen to her expectations and those of her peers.

Though, I will say this.. I was just down visiting my daughter at law school. I stayed with her and her friends. They are all between 23 and 28. I’m sitting with 4 of them having coffee one morning and they start going off about how they want to get married young and have their kids young so they are not 50 yrs old with a 15 yr old like their mothers did. They were talking about how they would love to be able to stay home. They mentioned that they had watched their mothers and fathers drudge off to offices just for the pay check and the idea of doing that for 30 or 40 yrs sounded like a form of hell. One said that she was grateful to the women who worked to get her the choice but if she had a choice she would prefer to stay home. Well HELL…..so would I to be honest.

I mean, come on, would you rather put on a suite, drive an hour plus or get on a train, in cold and heat, drag yourself to cube or sterile office, sit in front of a computer all day dealing with a boss, peers and clients OR….Would you prefer to get up, put on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, put on some tunes, grab a coffee and fold warm laundry in front of the TV or run a vacuum or run the Home Depot to get fertilizer for the flower beds? I know damn well which one I would take.

Now all 4 of these young women graduated with good degrees from good schools and are now law students. One is number 3 in her class.

I honestly was not sure what to make of all that. Kinda took me aback. Seemed so different from the women I grew up with in the 1980’s and 1990’s. But then, my best friend from college told me a few years ago that she had felt pressured to go all in on a career, that she was obligated to do it because of the women before her. She never got to have kids and that may be her greatest regret.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
11 months ago

It is CCCP propaganda meant to destabilise Western society. The clip has already been disclosed as such. The other people, the interiors, the objects are all Chinese.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
11 months ago

CCP, rather than CCCP, but having re-watched the video, you’re absolutely right about the other people, interiors and objects. If you freeze frame at the right point, you can see Chinese letters on the white t-shirt.
Even the ornamentation in the background of the patio scene looks oriental.
Is the actress even real, or has she been digitally altered?
Why make something so obviously fake?
Is it a stupidity test?

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
11 months ago

CCP, rather than CCCP, but having re-watched the video, you’re absolutely right about the other people, interiors and objects. If you freeze frame at the right point, you can see Chinese letters on the white t-shirt.
Even the ornamentation in the background of the patio scene looks oriental.
Is the actress even real, or has she been digitally altered?
Why make something so obviously fake?
Is it a stupidity test?

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
11 months ago

It is CCCP propaganda meant to destabilise Western society. The clip has already been disclosed as such. The other people, the interiors, the objects are all Chinese.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago

Any information on how happiness with marriage changes with age?

After all, the divorce rate is high so it can’t all be a good news story.

Also, is it having children that is the key factor in bringing happiness, or having a permanent life partner?

Mustard Clementine
Mustard Clementine
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I suspect the partner makes the biggest difference.

Last edited 11 months ago by Mustard Clementine
David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago

And yet the divorce rate shows that large numbers of people are leaving those partners via divorce.

Are they deliberately walking away from happiness?

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Perhaps the divorcing parties are “deliberately walking away from happiness”, perhaps they aren’t: that’s not clear. Though somehow I doubt that the 40% of married people who report being “very happy with life” are the ones divorcing in great numbers.

But it can be said that the divorcing parties are, apparently, more likely to be “walking into” unhappiness, as are the unmarried, especially unmarried with children.

We know from the same General Society Survey that women are more likely to initiate divorce than men. Perhaps these women were indeed unhappy in marriage, moreso than the male counterpart; perhaps the women believed the prevailing narratives that marriage is the root of their unhappiness, while noticing favorable financial outcomes for women in divorce courts. . . But I digress.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

I was being sarcastic.
But any theory that sees marriage as creating a state of happiness has to account for the high divorce rate.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

This is akin to asking if McDonald’s is unhealthy why do people keep eating there. Humans make lots and lots of bad choices, prioritizing some immediate goal over a long-term one. This is why historically social and legal norms have created ‘guardrails’ to keep people chugging along in the direction of happiness. The difficult of obtaining a divorce in olden-times was part of that, as was the social expectation connecting sexual activity and marriage, as were a whole host of related sex-and-gender norms that are long gone, like the idea that it was the man’s job to provide for his wife and child, or that a woman would prioritize kids over career.
Given the relative material wealth of the post-war era, the relative lack of military conflict, the incredible medical and technological advancements… it should be startling how unhappy people are. You’d think it would startle people out of their worldviews.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

This is akin to asking if McDonald’s is unhealthy why do people keep eating there. Humans make lots and lots of bad choices, prioritizing some immediate goal over a long-term one. This is why historically social and legal norms have created ‘guardrails’ to keep people chugging along in the direction of happiness. The difficult of obtaining a divorce in olden-times was part of that, as was the social expectation connecting sexual activity and marriage, as were a whole host of related sex-and-gender norms that are long gone, like the idea that it was the man’s job to provide for his wife and child, or that a woman would prioritize kids over career.
Given the relative material wealth of the post-war era, the relative lack of military conflict, the incredible medical and technological advancements… it should be startling how unhappy people are. You’d think it would startle people out of their worldviews.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

I was being sarcastic.
But any theory that sees marriage as creating a state of happiness has to account for the high divorce rate.

Daniel P
Daniel P
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I think that they have misconceptions about what they should expect from a marriage and a partner.

They go into marriage with a lot of bad, unreasonable, expectations and then give up when they find out that it is not what they were sold.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Perhaps the divorcing parties are “deliberately walking away from happiness”, perhaps they aren’t: that’s not clear. Though somehow I doubt that the 40% of married people who report being “very happy with life” are the ones divorcing in great numbers.

But it can be said that the divorcing parties are, apparently, more likely to be “walking into” unhappiness, as are the unmarried, especially unmarried with children.

We know from the same General Society Survey that women are more likely to initiate divorce than men. Perhaps these women were indeed unhappy in marriage, moreso than the male counterpart; perhaps the women believed the prevailing narratives that marriage is the root of their unhappiness, while noticing favorable financial outcomes for women in divorce courts. . . But I digress.

Daniel P
Daniel P
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I think that they have misconceptions about what they should expect from a marriage and a partner.

They go into marriage with a lot of bad, unreasonable, expectations and then give up when they find out that it is not what they were sold.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago

And yet the divorce rate shows that large numbers of people are leaving those partners via divorce.

Are they deliberately walking away from happiness?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

This very discussion was had just a week or so ago on Unherd. As far as i’m concerned, there’s no answer that can be generalised for any individual. I also (as i commented then) suspect the survey’s motives; almost certainly skewed in terms of questioning.
One of the stats that springs to mind is household income. Did anyone ask co-habitees? Why no reference to unmarried but happy couples living together?

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The General Society Survey is quite straightforward. (Though it is apparently conducted in an interview format, which I have reason to believe inclines more respondents to answer in accordance with dominant media narratives.)

The survey doesn’t aim to provide an answer for individuals, though the article draws its conclusions. The survey is simply a statistical report.

The happiness of unmarried couples living together would presumably fall into the “unmarried” category, which responds with a lower percentage of “very happy with life”. Perhaps you view this as “skewed.” Though having glanced at the General Society Survey website materials I can’t imagine what suspicious motive you have uncovered therein. . .

Are you suggesting that there is a large number of unmarried roommate-lovers whose bliss is unjustly obscured by being lumped in with the other unmarrieds, who are more likely to report unhappiness? Somehow I doubt this is the case, because most people who live together as a couple are going to get married sooner rather than later (and maybe they eventually divorce). Or else, they break up and find themselves undeniably “unmarried”. In any event it is surely a relatively small category of people.

(By the way, though I have been warned about confounding factors by a statistician acquaintance, my view is that data suggests higher divorce rate and greater likelihood of unhappiness for married couples who cohabitated before marriage.)

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The General Society Survey is quite straightforward. (Though it is apparently conducted in an interview format, which I have reason to believe inclines more respondents to answer in accordance with dominant media narratives.)

The survey doesn’t aim to provide an answer for individuals, though the article draws its conclusions. The survey is simply a statistical report.

The happiness of unmarried couples living together would presumably fall into the “unmarried” category, which responds with a lower percentage of “very happy with life”. Perhaps you view this as “skewed.” Though having glanced at the General Society Survey website materials I can’t imagine what suspicious motive you have uncovered therein. . .

Are you suggesting that there is a large number of unmarried roommate-lovers whose bliss is unjustly obscured by being lumped in with the other unmarrieds, who are more likely to report unhappiness? Somehow I doubt this is the case, because most people who live together as a couple are going to get married sooner rather than later (and maybe they eventually divorce). Or else, they break up and find themselves undeniably “unmarried”. In any event it is surely a relatively small category of people.

(By the way, though I have been warned about confounding factors by a statistician acquaintance, my view is that data suggests higher divorce rate and greater likelihood of unhappiness for married couples who cohabitated before marriage.)

Mustard Clementine
Mustard Clementine
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I suspect the partner makes the biggest difference.

Last edited 11 months ago by Mustard Clementine
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

This very discussion was had just a week or so ago on Unherd. As far as i’m concerned, there’s no answer that can be generalised for any individual. I also (as i commented then) suspect the survey’s motives; almost certainly skewed in terms of questioning.
One of the stats that springs to mind is household income. Did anyone ask co-habitees? Why no reference to unmarried but happy couples living together?

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago

Any information on how happiness with marriage changes with age?

After all, the divorce rate is high so it can’t all be a good news story.

Also, is it having children that is the key factor in bringing happiness, or having a permanent life partner?

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
11 months ago
Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
11 months ago
Mustard Clementine
Mustard Clementine
11 months ago

I suppose it depends what study you choose to believe.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/why-bad-looks-good/202102/why-so-many-single-women-without-children-are-happy%3famp

As a decidedly not single person, long partnered but with no interest in having children (and a partner who shares the same perspective, possibly even more strongly than me) I find it interesting that tends to be less explored in many studies.

Last edited 11 months ago by Mustard Clementine
Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago

Agreed, and the trend seems to be the unhappiest are single women with children, which is likely of course as a result of divorce.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
11 months ago

I am married without children. I am in a data black hole.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
11 months ago

There’s no study in that link–you have to buy Paul Dolan’s book to see the data, if I’m not mistaken.

I notice the article appears in Psychology Today. Aren’t single women the most avid “consumers” of psychology? Of course I am cynical, but might not there be money to be made by creating that customer base, then selling them professionally certified reassurance (in the form of content, therapy and drugs)? The links in that page go to Business Insider. . .

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago

Agreed, and the trend seems to be the unhappiest are single women with children, which is likely of course as a result of divorce.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
11 months ago

I am married without children. I am in a data black hole.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
11 months ago

There’s no study in that link–you have to buy Paul Dolan’s book to see the data, if I’m not mistaken.

I notice the article appears in Psychology Today. Aren’t single women the most avid “consumers” of psychology? Of course I am cynical, but might not there be money to be made by creating that customer base, then selling them professionally certified reassurance (in the form of content, therapy and drugs)? The links in that page go to Business Insider. . .

Mustard Clementine
Mustard Clementine
11 months ago

I suppose it depends what study you choose to believe.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/why-bad-looks-good/202102/why-so-many-single-women-without-children-are-happy%3famp

As a decidedly not single person, long partnered but with no interest in having children (and a partner who shares the same perspective, possibly even more strongly than me) I find it interesting that tends to be less explored in many studies.

Last edited 11 months ago by Mustard Clementine
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago

Same message as that anti-man, anti-family pink film currently in the cinemas

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago

Same message as that anti-man, anti-family pink film currently in the cinemas

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
11 months ago

The idea of domestic drudgery is a bit strange. Absolutely looking after children is hard work (though usually fun). But what a couple need to do to run a home is minimal. It really isn’t hard work.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
11 months ago

The idea of domestic drudgery is a bit strange. Absolutely looking after children is hard work (though usually fun). But what a couple need to do to run a home is minimal. It really isn’t hard work.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
11 months ago

Has anyone found a serious discussion about the origins of this video?
As Francisco Menezes noted in another comment here, it clearly wasn’t filmed in America, and no attempt was made to use Western objects or Western-style scenes. The white t-shirt, soy sauce bottle and moisturiser have CJK characters on them.
Was there an original Chinese version, which has been transformed by AI (there’s something uncanny about the actress)? If it’s propaganda, as some suggest, it’s deliberately shoddy.
The version of the video linked above uses a heart icon in the bottom right to obscure the previous userid, but that still appears briefly at the end (funny.vlog89). The account isn’t there any more, but it still gets hits on Google.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
11 months ago

Has anyone found a serious discussion about the origins of this video?
As Francisco Menezes noted in another comment here, it clearly wasn’t filmed in America, and no attempt was made to use Western objects or Western-style scenes. The white t-shirt, soy sauce bottle and moisturiser have CJK characters on them.
Was there an original Chinese version, which has been transformed by AI (there’s something uncanny about the actress)? If it’s propaganda, as some suggest, it’s deliberately shoddy.
The version of the video linked above uses a heart icon in the bottom right to obscure the previous userid, but that still appears briefly at the end (funny.vlog89). The account isn’t there any more, but it still gets hits on Google.

Sage Vals
Sage Vals
11 months ago

Women who are married with families are better off because it’s the better off who can afford to be married with children. The article has cause and effect mixed up.

Jim M
Jim M
11 months ago
Reply to  Sage Vals

It is a self-selecting group. Happy people are able to find psychologically stable partners for stable marriages.

Jim M
Jim M
11 months ago
Reply to  Sage Vals

It is a self-selecting group. Happy people are able to find psychologically stable partners for stable marriages.

Sage Vals
Sage Vals
11 months ago

Women who are married with families are better off because it’s the better off who can afford to be married with children. The article has cause and effect mixed up.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago

Obviously the people with a problem with marriage and children are going to eliminate themselves from the gene pool.
Problem solved.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago

Advice for men: beware of women.
#sprinklesprinkle.

Last edited 11 months ago by William Shaw
Bernard Brothman
Bernard Brothman
11 months ago

Remember TicTok – Chinese plot to undermine the west, especially the US.