A Trebling Delay

Novaseeker’s comment here reminded me of something I said recently, and I need to get a post out.

I noted to a friend recently that as a society we look totally wrong at the delay in marriage. If a woman is biologically capable of bearing children around 15, and if her fertility and ability to complete pregnancy starts to fall off around 30, then they only have about 15 reliable years.

We aren’t pushing marriage out a few years as if it was a fraction of time, but increasing it by orders of magnitude. For millennia, until the modern era, women often first married[1] in their teens. In the later 20th Century, marriage after college became the prescription. That is a delay of 7 years already: almost half of the 15 available. A woman who waits until 30 may be out of time. If she wants multiple children she takes a great risk. Delaying just a few years after age of majority (18) is not a great idea. It is a terrible idea to delay it to 25. A determined pause until 30 is insane.

Unless, of course, your goals are short-term pleasure, dishonoring your (future) husband, and the self-satisfaction of telling everyone, “They don’t know you”–which is the dominant message everyone signals to women.

[1] Widowhood was common.

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28 thoughts on “A Trebling Delay

  1. Pingback: Percentage of U.S. women never married, by age, 1980 & 2015 | Dalrock

  2. Even worse, the modern Christian response to this trend has been to repackage the feminist message that women should delay marriage as coming from God. When feminists tell women to delay marriage, they at least grudgingly acknowledge that the clock is ticking. But Christians have made never settle gospel. As CBN founder and chancellor and CEO of Regent University Pat Robertson explains:

    I’m holding in my hand a very special book. It’s a book that every young girl should have. Teenagers should have it, college students should have it, and young single women should have it. It’s called You are a prize to be won. Written by none other than the lovely Wendy Griffith, and she has had all kinds of experiences!

    Wendy Griffith is the role model young Christian women are told to emulate when it comes to finding a husband. Griffith is 53 and still looking for a husband. But, she has had lots of experiences!

  3. Although I am a believer and value our (European) religious traditions, stuff like this is why I don’t trust organised religion. First they tell women “never settle, be empowered, never be judged, etc etc etc…”, then they say those same gospels command us to love the stranger and support massive 3rd world immigration. After all, they remind us, since our own women have so few children, we have to import the 3rd world here for economic reasons alone, let alone the moral imperative. Catholic charities in the city where I live is notorious for aggressively pushing for more and more refugee resettlement here. Heaven forbid if our own women would just settle down somewhere (early) in that 15 year window and have a few kids.

  4. “Unless, of course, your goals are short-term pleasure, dishonoring your (future) husband, and the self-satisfaction of telling everyone, “They don’t know you”–which is the dominant message everyone signals to women.”

    This makes a clear parallel with Christianity. Our mortal life is our “youth” during which we can either live for Beta God or Alpha devils. When the spiritual equivalent of menopause hits, however, the consequences won’t be dismissed by test tube Frankenscience.

  5. Pingback: Percentage of U.S. women never married, by age, 1980 & 2015 - Top

  6. Jay, I believe that those Biblical teachings you mentioned are intended for people to use within their interpersonal relationships with others. They are not intended to be used to form mass policies (National, organizational, etc.). But when it does become a mass policy, then the individual is greatly pressured to respond in kind. The problem with this is that the individuals in the society, organization, etc. pay the cost, not the government, nor those in decision-making power. Worst of all for the case of the gospel, the power of grace is erased from those spiritually obedient gestures, because it then becomes a law, requirement, obligation, etc. In a word, the authorities become “Overbearing”.
    Anyway, I do agree with the general sentiment of your comment. Organized religion tends to be a part of this evil world.

  7. I’m assuming this means you are against/not entirely supportive of the modern age of consent laws?

    With respect, is age of consent discussions allowed in this blog?

  8. @White

    I’m assuming this means you are against/not entirely supportive of the modern age of consent laws?

    I’m perfectly content with the age of consent laws where I live. The impediments to good society, as it concerns marriage, are not primarily from the law or courts, but from families.

    With respect, is age of consent discussions allowed in this blog?

    No. In addition to my contentment, there are too many weirdos on the Internet that I’d rather not bother to filter.

  9. Ok, but surely the legal minimum age of *marriage* (which tends to be higher than AoC for some reason) has to be a Christian issue, right?

    For instance, AoC where I live is 16 but minimum legal AoM is 21, few exceptions. When the age 21 law first passed here some Christians protested but we were labelled “paedophiles” and “weirdos”. Non-Christians don’t care because the 16 number is all that matters to them.

    I must say, being relatively new to the Christian manosphere I am shocked at the vitriol/indifference to this topic. It’s clear the Enemy’s intentions in this (and what feminists are trying to do here)

    Nonetheless, this is your blog and I fully respect your wishes. Perhaps there are ungodly weirdos this part of the internet I’m yet to be aware of… Or perhaps I’m the weirdo here.

  10. Something happened and a few generations, probably including mine, are “getting lost” when it comes to marriage. There are those who say that “the family is the most basic building block of society” and, while I tend to disagree and instead say that it is the altar, chances are there is something to this adage; therefore a raised age of marriage should be further investigated. Why do certain people elevate “credentialed” women—those with post-highschool degrees—so highly?

    Apparently half of the American population gets those advanced degrees and more than half of all college students are women—which tells you all you need to know… Meanwhile, women don’t seem so concerned about being the “glue” of society any more, and clothing repair (shoes that can be cobbled are expensive) and cooking proficiencies are more and more outsourced to foreigners if they’re even still available… When it comes to knowing the academic things like cultural history, who really wants to marry a woman who already knows all of it? It’s nice to watch women learn—and that woman could be your wife—rather than having her carry round her diploma saying she already knows… Plus, women love to discover culture, so even if you give her a certificate it will hardly mean much because she’s probably perpetually interested in going farther and farther (so why doesn’t her husband or close, blood relatives guide her in a loving way, if he or they have time?). Commodified education is much less applicable to their sex; and it makes them boring.

  11. There could be a problem from lack of Christian courts, and since the Federal State monopolises so many of municipial, commonwealth and federal courts, Christians need extra-judicial courts like other religions have. Maybe have them oversee Christian schools and decide which students should qualify for scholarships there, maybe have them reviewing catechisms and conversions, as well as setting standards for modesty (believe it or not, even secular people want dress codes in places like their favourite restaurants).

    Sounds like a lot, right? But indeed a lot needs to be done and Christians should not try to struggle through it without community support.

  12. I can’t agree here as the idea rests on an incorrect assumption. I can pull the stats but we know well into the medieval period that the average age of marriage for women was about 23 for women and 25 for men (both mean). This doesn’t mean we didn’t have outliers but many of them were from the noble class as those marriages cemented alliances. The other outlier would be post-war (1950’s) periods.

    We definitely delay too long now, well past fertility. But there is an equal error in marrying too young.

    I’m actually suprised that Darlock joins in the analysis since he has shown that younger women tend to divorce (though I think he correctly identifies this as likely a proxy for IQ in that high IQ women likely delay for college).

  13. @GK Chesterton
    Of course you’ll get such high numbers when you observe societies west of the hypothetical “Hajnal Line”. Some scholars also like to cherry pick high ages to falsely represent societies too, like taking the Song dynasty to represent the entire Ancient China demographic. The Song dynasty is infamous for it’s high average age of marriage due it’s relentless Imperial examination and the natural hypergamy that follows, and even then this “high average age” is still just 18. Perhaps even lunar calendar 18. Neither will you ever hear about the average age of marriage being 17 in Renaissance Tuscany, for example, because it goes against the modern narrative. A deeper look into the other Chinese dynasties, or other Western societies not often mentioned, will show that the average of marriage in those societies are a lot lower than certain scholars would like to admit. There seems to be a concerted effort by scholars in recent years to make past societies’ average age of marriage seem higher than they really are. Some very dishonest methods are often used (taking Industrialized Japan to represent the entire Ancient Japan demographic), and particularly in the arena of Ancient Roman scholarship, “Average age of marriage” has become something of a hotly-contested topic, with the “12-15 average marriage” scholars often accusing the “17-19 average marriage” scholars of dishonest revisionism. No prizes for guessing what the latter group label the former group with.

    It’s a shame this is a bit of taboo topic even among the manosphere. Needless to say this is a much more complicated topic than it appears, and touches of the topic of not just politics, but scholarship and revisionism as well. It’s also important to ask at this point: “Which version of history does our World want to hear?” But finally, I doubt discussion of this nature is welcome here so perhaps we should just leave it…

  14. I think its reasonable that different cultures have different averages. I also don’t oppose marriage at 18, or even in some conditions less, but that still isn’t the norm. Age of consent is there for the abnormal cases not the norm.

  15. @GKC

    I can’t agree here as the idea rests on an incorrect assumption.

    You seem to have incorrectly assumed upon what my assumption rests. My basic premise is the age when a woman becomes biologically capable of bearing children. Tradition matters, but the mean age of marriage during a particular time of the European Medieval Era is but one drop in an ocean of human history.

    I’m actually suprised that Dalrock joins in the analysis since he has shown that younger women tend to divorce (though I think he correctly identifies this as likely a proxy for IQ in that high IQ women likely delay for college).

    It makes perfect sense to me: Young women pair-bond more easily than older women.

    @White

    It’s a shame this is a bit of taboo topic even among the manosphere. Needless to say this is a much more complicated topic than it appears, and touches of the topic of not just politics, but scholarship and revisionism as well. It’s also important to ask at this point: “Which version of history does our World want to hear?” But finally, I doubt discussion of this nature is welcome here so perhaps we should just leave it…

    1) Cut out the passive-aggressive comments or I’ll just ban you. I despise it from women, and worse from men.

    2) In a previous post you asked if you could discuss “age of consent” laws, and signaled that you disagree with them. I responded that I have no problem with age of consent laws as they currently are. That’s because age of consent is a somewhat related, but different, topic than customary ages of marriage. Since I favor strong parental involvement in arranging marriage, age of consent is not a limiting factor.

  16. @Cane
    You call it “passive-aggressive”, I call it mild paranoia. Discussing these things is like walking a tightrope these days.

    Seeing that you’re engaging GKC on this topic, I’ll assume you’re okay with discussing “Historical average age of marriage of past societies”.

    @GKC
    Isn’t the norm today, or historically?

    If you’re talking about the past, <18 or 18 was indeed the norm anywhere East of the "Hajnal Line". But even if we were to observe societies West of the "Hajnal Line" (aka Western Europe + Anglosphere) there are still societies that observes this "<18 or 18" pattern as well. Another example would be Renaissance Florence (mean 17.5) as per the Florentine Catasto. Some scholars even predict that the entire Renaissance Italy could have the same trend due to similar culture and family structure.

    In all these societies though, average age of marriage is a direct result of many factors. I highly recommend the study: "Marriage and the family in Eurasia Perspectives on the Hajnal hypothesis" by Theo Engelen & Arthur P. Wolf. This study attempts to cover data regarding marriage patterns across Europe and Asia over a good stretch of time, and analyzes the possible reasons for each society's marriage patterns.

    A whole list of possible explanations have been given for each society's relatively early/late marriage, including economic factors, family structure, manorialism, even paternal authority, all directly influence how early/late each marriage is in each society.

    More importantly, the study also indirectly demonstrates (without specific mention, of course) how our society is the only one where people INTENTIONALLY AND UNNECESSARILY delay marriage. Cane is therefore correct in implying that such a phenomenon today is indeed unprecedented.

  17. So I’m claiming the mean age of marriage over most of Western history. Not just the medieval period. Twenty three is the historical norm going back to (I believe I can check) the Bronze Age. And pair bonding seems to happen _better_ inside of a range that has a lower bound that is significantly post (formal term for biological womanhood I’m forgetting).

    The same goes for men. They _can_ get women pregnant starting at about twelve. I wouldn’t suggest it because they would fail at being fathers even if they would heroically try.

    For women the optimal band seems to be 21-24 with an average at 23. For men it seems to be 23-27 with optimal at about 25. Individuals can vary (see Mary the Theotokos).

  18. People simply ignore/deny the science of fertility and age. in light of the evidence, I have never understood why a man 30+ who claims to want a family would marry someone his own age. A 31 y.o. coworker of mine has told me on multiple occasions that he wants 3 kids. Then he goes and gets engaged to a girl slightly older than him and they have a 14 month engagement (getting married next summer). throw in the mandatory 2 to 3 years of enjoying marriage without kids, then the year or two of trying to get pregnant, and at best, if all things work out perfectly, she will get pregnant around 35. So much for having more than one kid at that point.

    Contrast that with my 30 y.o. brother who wants lots of kids and is getting serious with a 21 y.o. girl. He understands the relationship between age and fertility and is making a wise decision. i applaud his choice of looking for someone younger and more fertile but not surprisingly, all my sisters and sister-in-laws (all older than him) tell him how shallow and creepy he is for pursuing someone so much younger than him. Women react very unpleasantly when they are reminded that they are not as young and attractive as they once were in their early 20s.

  19. @GKC

    Twenty three is the historical norm going back to (I believe I can check) the Bronze Age. And pair bonding seems to happen _better_ inside of a range that has a lower bound that is significantly post (formal term for biological womanhood I’m forgetting).

    I’d like to see that data.

    @Gage

    Well, obviously your prospective SIL is going to waste her youth and beauty in marriage to your brother. Doesn’t she know she can peddle it around many men for many years?

  20. @White

    I found your comment in the Spam folder when Gaspar noticed his comment hadn’t posted either. I don’t know why it was there as I hadn’t taken any action on your ability to comment.

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I will definitely check it out.

  21. I listen to a lot of podcasts while I work, and I’ve been noticing a trend of conservative women encouraging women to marry young and have babies, to which I say; great!

    One of these women is Faith Goldy. I didn’t know who she was, so I looked her up. She’s 28. Had she married at 22, she could easily have three kids now.

    Talk about ignoring ones own advice.

  22. > One of these women is Faith Goldy. I didn’t know who she was, so I looked her up. She’s 28. Had she married at 22, she could easily have three kids now.

    > Talk about ignoring ones own advice.

    Physician, heal thyself.

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