No Surprise There: Bradford Wilcox Deems Married People Better Off During Pandemic Than Single Adults – Rebuttals
I have made several blog posts in years past discussing some of Bradford Wilcox’s articles about marriage for various publications.
Wilcox works for, is somehow affiliated with, organizations such as the National Marriage Project and Institute For Family Studies. He is very much about promoting marriage, natalism, and the nuclear family.
In years past, he has promoted marriage and all the rest at the expense of singleness: he loves to advance marriage by stigmatizing singleness.
Wilcox (and guys like him, such as Southern Baptist Al Mohler) likes to try to “scare” single adults into getting married by publishing faulty and fear-mongering essays about how studies (which he sometimes misquotes or misunderstands) supposedly say that singles are more likely to suffer this or that calamity or problem than are married people.
Any time Wilcox comments on any issue, you can guarantee before you click on the headline that his editorial will say that married people have X better than singles have X.
It doesn’t matter if he’s talking about financial issues – like in the link that follows – or some other topic.
His pieces are all heavily agenda-driven: to make marriage look fabulous by slamming singleness, or by making singleness look “worse” than marriage, or by making singleness look unsafe, scary, or miserable.
If you are a Christian reading this, allow me to remind you that your professed Lord and Savior, Jesus of Nazareth, never married and never had children, and he actually preached to his followers to NOT put their nuclear families on a pedestal.
May I also remind you that Jesus’ apostle, Paul, told Christians in 1 Corinthians 7 that it is better to remain single than it is to marry.
But do marriage-idolater folks such as Bradford Wilcox or Al Mohler or the many other social conservatives and Christians out there care about any of that? Why no. Because it clashes with their “promote marriage and parenthood at all costs” worldview.
As other authors who study singleness and marriage have mentioned, our culture favors married couples unfairly over single adults – singles do not get the same financial breaks and other fringe benefits that married couples do, so it’s not surprising if married couples supposedly make out better financially during the pandemic than singles do (see links under “Related Posts” at the end of this blog post for more).
August 1, 2020 edit: a couple of nights ago, conservative commentator Tucker Carlson had Bradford Wilcox on his TV program on Fox cable news channel to promote his obnoxious anti-singles views – where Wilcox will go to any length, even demonizing or smearing singleness – to promote marriage. He sat there and told Carlson that married people have the Covid quarantine lock down much better than singles.
Edit. By the way – (Link): a lot of people have been getting divorced during the Cornonavirus Pandemic, probably because of it – married people are getting on each other’s nerves during the continuing lock-down. So much for Wilcox’s idea that marriage is somehow “better” for people in the Covid Pandemic.
by Bradford Wilcox and Peyton Roth
May 28, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has exacted a devastating toll on men, women, and children across the United States. But some Americans are weathering the COVID-19 financial storm better than others. Our research suggests that married men and women have proven to be much more resilient in the face of this storm than their single peers.
On the social and emotional front, we have already highlighted evidence that marriage is buffering many Americans from feelings of loneliness amid stay-at-home orders.
We found, for instance, that singles were nearly twice as likely as married adults to say they felt lonely every day or nearly every day during the previous week.
— end excerpt —
I would like to break here to mention something: a person can be married and still be lonely.
I have examples on my blog by married persons who wrote in to relationship advice columnists to say their spouse spends so much time at their job or on social media that they are “lonely” in their marriage. They feel ignored by their spouses.
I’ve also seen articles since the Covid 19 Pandemic began saying that divorces are on the rise, because married couples are getting on each other’s last nerves having to spend every waking moment around each other since we’ve all been in quarantine since late March 2020.
So, it looks like there is no clear-cut advantage of being married in some respects during the pandemic.
Secondly, if the church did its job and actually treated single adults like family members and included them – instead of treating single adults like annoying third wheels, potential free babysitters (Link): to exploit, or instead of treating them like potential sexual threats (Christians love their insipid “Billy Graham Rule”) then singles wouldn’t feel so lonely.
And, you know, being married during the pandemic ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, because weekly, I see advice columns or articles like this one occasionally go through my social media feeds:
Why all the martial advice from relationship gurus on how to keep marriages going strong (or at all) during the pandemic if marriage supposedly keeps those within its confines safer, happier, or more well-adjusted than those without?
Continuing from the Wilcox piece:
The economic value of marriage has only grown since COVID-19 hit. A new survey spearheaded by the Data Foundation and NORC at the University of Chicago shows how married adults are weathering the pandemic’s economic challenges better than singles.
In analyzing the second wave of data from the COVID Impact Survey, we find that married men, women, and families are less likely to experience hunger, to be less dependent on public assistance, and to be better prepared to cover unexpected expenses during this pandemic, when compared with single adults and families headed by single parents.
…Unsurprisingly, marrieds have been less likely to turn to the government for public assistance during the pandemic.
…The financial advantages of marriage are especially striking because cultural and political elites in the U.S. are so reluctant to discuss them in public.
Our culture treats singles unfairly as compared to married couples – married couples receive financial breaks that singles do not – that is not something to praise, or to use to beat singles over the head with.
And you know, as a never-married woman who’d like to be married, I’d like to marry for love and companionship – not purely or primarily for financial benefits – which is, when you get down to it, what Wilcox is advocating.
I’ve watched a lot of true crime programming on the I.D. channel, and I’ve noticed that about every third crime depicted on these shows involves a wife taking out a hefty life insurance policy on a husband and then she murders the husband – for the money.
Occasionally, the sexes are reversed, and the husband takes out a large policy on the wife, and then bumps off the wife.
I’ve also seen a few episodes where a married doctor’s marriage is on the rocks, and so he murders his wife to avoid paying alimony – enjoy these pages:
So how about that financial advantage, Wilcox? Married people will murder each other over money.
Wilcox has things backwards: instead of telling singles to run out and marry to experience financial benefits (or implying this), he should be encouraging our culture and employers to start giving singles paychecks and other perks on par to what married couples already receive.
Some push-back on Wilcox’s awful article:
(Link – off site): Being single may be an expensive proposition
(Link – off site): Getting Married And Getting More Money
(Link – off site): Groups of people with more income are richer, Wilcox credulity edition
(Link – off site): I knew that marriage-is-good-for-the-economy thing sounded familiar
(Link – off site): Benefits for Singles: Are You Guilty of Singles Discrimination?
(Link – off site): Single vs. Married Employees’ Benefits Aren’t Equal
(Link – off site; somewhat related issue):
Very important social scientist says — wait, Brad Wilcox did what now?
What causes this workplace unease to boil over? Childless singles feel put upon, taken for granted and exploited—whether because of fewer benefits, less compensation, longer hours, mandatory overtime, or less flexible schedules or leaves—by married and child-rearing co-workers.
“The overall assumption tends to be that if you’re single, you have nothing better to do—or nothing that qualifies as more important than what your married co-workers have to do—and so you’re going to have to pick up what the rest of the workforce can’t or won’t,” explains Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., a visiting professor of psychology at the University of California-Santa Barbara, and author of Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After (St. Martin’s Press, 2006).
On her web site, DePaulo collects experiences and complaints from single employees regarding all kinds of perceived work and benefits inequities—and she finds they’re frustrated.
“If a single worker complains to a boss or co-worker about such things, they say they often get a hostile response,” she says. “No one wants to be unfair—but when the issue’s brought out into the open, it’s obviously hitting a nerve with both parties.”
…Creating a Wider View
To encourage a sense of equality among all demographic groups, more company officials take a wider view of the benefits and work/life programs they provide—with an eye toward diversity, flexibility, neutrality and choice.
“The buzzword shouldn’t be ‘family-friendly,’ ” says social psychologist DePaulo. “It should be ‘employee-friendly’ or ‘life-friendly.’ “
Indeed, many employers already have renamed their benefits “work/life” or “personal benefits” or have simply gotten rid of the distinction, she notes.
(Link): Singled Out: Are Unmarried People Discriminated Against?
From health insurance to housing, singletons get fleeced. Maura Kelly explores the rights of the unwed.
Activists say that unmarried people are systematically discriminated against. They pay more for health and car insurance than married people do. They don’t get the same kind of tax breaks. Co-op boards, mortgage brokers, and landlords often pass them over.
Article mentions the increase of domestic violence during Covid 19:
(Link): Man Stabs Wife in ‘Brutal Attack’ in Argument Over Attending Church on Mother’s Day by L. Blair
(Link): Are Single Women – and specifically Never Married Women – More Likely To Be Victims of Abuse? Rebuttals to this view (advanced by W B Wilcox)
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site
(Link): Male Christian Researcher Mark Regnerus Believes Single Christian Women Should Marry Male Christian Porn Addicts – another Christian betrayal of sexual ethics and more evidence of Christians who do make an idol out of marriage