Thoughts Regarding the Essay “Married or single, everyone is greedy,” by Esther Wickham, An Essay Which Misrepresents Adult Singles
Here is a link to the piece:
(Link): Married or single, everyone is greedy by Esther Wickham
Already, I have to object to the headline alone.
The author, Wickham, acknowledges within the essay that (Link): studies that show that married people are more likely to be selfish than adult singles, to not do things like volunteer at charities or help others, than are single adults.
Studies Show That It’s Married Persons, Not Singles, Who are Self Absorbed
Yet, Wickham tries to depict single adults as being “greedy” too.
No, I’m sorry, no. Studies show the opposite.
This isn’t to say that every single adult single is giving and self-less, but as a group, studies have shown that no, singles, as a group, are not “greedy.”
Conservatives: Old Strategy to Promote Marriage By Depicting Single Adults as Being Selfish, Greedy, or Maladjusted
Also, for decades now, it’s been a staple in conservative Christian circles, in various denominations, that all tend to be “hyper-” pro- marriage and “hyper” pro- nuclear family, to bolster the case for marriage by bashing singleness, and this has increased in the last several years, as marriage rates are on the decline.
Christians (and many conservative think tanks that are hyper pro-nuclear family and pro-marriage) think the way to “sell” and to market marriage to single adults is to make single adults think that singleness is terrible, singleness is greedy and selfishness, and that (Link): singles will supposedly be happier and healthier if they just hurry up and marry already.
(I happen to be a conservative myself, and I am not opposed to marriage or to parenthood, but I am in opposition to these essays by conservatives that bash singleness or single adults, or that exaggerate the benefits of marriage and the nuclear family.)
So one way many conservatives, both secular and Christian, tend to try to pressure or convince singles to marry, or to defend marriage itself, is to portray adult singles as being “selfish,” defective, immature, or as (Link): “ugly losers”.
Secular and Christian conservatives also play the same game with childfree or childless people, women in particular:
Women who are single and/or childless past the age of 25 are often falsely portrayed by conservatives as intentionally choosing to be single and childless (when the reality is, plenty would’ve like to have been married but couldn’t meet an eligible mate), and are further inaccurately depicted in Christian blogs, radio shows, and so on as hating all men, hating babies, or as having chosen career over marriage.
Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has gone so far as (Link): to shame single Christian women for being single off and on over the years, in various blog posts or speaking engagements he’s given, and (Link): has suggested that childless adults are not “fully human.”
Gender Imbalance In Conservative Religious Circles Keeps Women Single
A big reason why a lot of religious women remain single into their 30s and older is that there has been a gender imbalance going on for decades now: there are more single women than single men in many houses of worship.
That is, there are plenty of single women who’d like to marry, but there are no compatible single men for them to marry. They’re not all deliberately choosing to opt out of marriage.
(Link): What Two Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis (from TIME) (ie, Why Are Conservative Religious Women Not Marrying Even Though They Want to Be Married. Hint: It’s a Demographics Issue)
(Link): How the Dating Scene Became Stacked Against Women– via CT, by Gina Dalfonzo
I have articles and studies on this blog explaining that there has been a gender imbalance among Mormons and conservative Jews for years now, and this is also the case for conservative Christians.
Some Christians have been waking up to the fact that many Christian single women who’d like to marry aren’t marrying due to lack of suitable male partners,
so we get idiot Christian sociologists such as Mark Regnerus arguing in his articles that Christian women should lower their mate selection criteria:
he actually says if a Christian single woman is opposed to marrying a known pornography addict, that she should ditch that criteria and go ahead and marry a known porn addict.
More on that here:
(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
The Christians who are aware of the lack of potential male mates for single women are actually asking Christian women to abandon Christian sexual ethics or their own personal convictions, all to get married to a man, any man will do, so desperate are these Christian pundits to guilt trip and pressure women into marrying because marriage rates have fallen. It’s disgusting.
The Christian ‘Equally Yoked’ Rule and “Just Have Faith and Wait” Advice Keeps Christian Single Women Single Indefinitely
Christian women especially are brainwashed by evangelical and Baptist Christian sermons and Christian literature to believe in something called the “equally yoked rule,” which states that a Christian single adult should only marry another Christian.
I was raised Southern Baptist (Christian), and I definitely was taught the “equally yoked” rule in dating and marriage sermons and Christian dating advice books when younger.
I was also taught by Christians to expect that if I prayed and trusted God to send me a husband, and if I lived a godly lifestyle, had faith, and attended church regularly, that God would provide me with a Christian husband, most likely at a church.
I followed all the Christian advice about how to live life, that taught me if I just followed it, God would bless me with a husband – but although I followed all that Christian advice, had faith, went to church, and lived a clean lifestyle (and later even tried Christian dating sites), I have never married to this day, and I am now a 50-something.
I wrote more about that here:
Related to that:
What happened over the course of my life is that every church I attended (I moved around growing up) there were no single men I attended at the churches I went to.
The only men in attendance at Baptist churches I went to when I was in my 20s and 30s were married men, or 82 year old widowed men, or a smattering of really weird, socially awkward, obese and smelly, socially mal-adjusted, creepy, 30- to- 50 something year old single men (but mostly, the ones I kept running into were men who were married or else way too old for me).
If I had married in my 20s, I was obviously wanting to marry a man in his 20s, not an 82 year old man.
Christian Women Brainwashed to be Pathologically Giving, Empathetic (Non-Selfish) – Codependency for Women is Enshrined Via Incorrect Biblical Interpretations and the Gender Complementarian Doctrine
I spent years being very codependent (which I am (Link): no longer).
My mother and the complementarian Baptist churches I was raised in presented “biblical womanhood” as being near identical to codependency, which means I was pathologically non-greedy, and un-selfish for over 35 years.
It wasn’t until my late 40s, due to life experience, and having read books and articles by psychologists about codependency, that I started, finally, in a healthy way, began prioritizing my own needs, dreams, and goals in life, instead of feeling obligated to run around rescuing other people and helping them meet their goals in life at the expense of my goals and dreams.
I spent over 35 years being non-greedy as an un-married adult – not greedy, but non-greedy.
Yes, Married People Tend to Run Self Absorbed, Because Unlike Singles, They Can Afford to Do So
And yes, anecdotally, (research studies aside), and I know that the author, Wickham, may not want to hear this, but the reality is, I can tell you that many married couples are, yes, “insular,” which makes them “greedy.”
Married couples turn to each other to get their emotional needs met, as well as companionship needs met.
Married couples do not like to hang out with single adults… but they will do selfish, self serving things such as phone their single adult friend when their spouse goes out of town on a business trip or deployment for weeks or months, because they get lonely without their spouse around.
The moment that married friend’s spouse returns, though, they go back to basically ignoring you, their single friend, because they were just “using” you so long as their spouse was out of town and they felt lonely.
I’ve had single adult women friends who began to ignore me 99% of the time the moment they got a boyfriend or got married – and then they stopped staying in touch with me (unless their spouse left for a business trip, as I just explained).
And to all you married people out there that keep turning to your spouse and get lazy at developing your relationships outside of your marriage: your spouse is going to die one day, perhaps before you.
I am constantly seeing “married with young children” couples complain about how exhausting it is to be a parent.
This is particularly true of the mothers who write (Link): these cloying essays on various sites begging their adult single women friends to run over and play “free babysitter” for them, or do housework for them, so they can take a nap.
I see many extremist, pro-Family Christians write articles going back decades and books advising single adults (especially women) that it’s our duty or obligation, as a single woman, to act as free maid service or free baby sitters to the married mothers out there.
I never, ever see Christians writing books or articles telling married couples with kids or no to provide help or assistance to their single and childless adult friends. This “help” only runs one way, and (Link): never in the direction of the single and childless adults.
After having re-read the essay by Wickham, I don’t think she has a full picture of why some remain single, and it’s not fully because “the institutions that traditionally provided couples with support” are on the wane.
The very first and crucial hurdle many women face, especially conservative religious women, is just finding a suitable, single conservative religious man to start with – such men are not in churches.
Most religious women are not going to try to find a man in a night club or bar. Dating sites are filled with perverts and weirdos, including self-professing Christian ones.
I will be returning to commenting more on Wickham’s essay below these excerpts:
Excerpts from the essay:
(Link): Married or single, everyone is greedy by Esther Wickham
Marriage — it’s an institution that a majority of people desire for themselves but one that struggles to flourish in a society that prioritizes individualism and scorns the institutions that traditionally provided couples with support. No wonder, then, that some have decided they’re better off without it.
In a recent interview with the Atlantic, Dr. Bella DePaulo, 68, who worked as a psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, admitted she’s spent her whole life as a single person with no desire for marriage.
… Yet DePaulo pointed out that many of the married couples who are supposed to be happier than her have begun to disconnect from their communities and isolate themselves. Their marriage, she said, becomes greedy.
…. Research suggests DePaulo is, in some ways, correct. A New York Times article “found that married respondents were significantly less likely than the unmarried to contact or see their parents and siblings. … The married are also less frequently spent time with or helped friends and neighbors. … More than 80% of never-married individuals said they’d called or written to their parents in the last month, compared with just 60% of married people. Likewise, around 70% of unmarried people but only 30% of the married had socialized with friends in the last month.”
However, DePaulo overstated her case. Married people inevitably have different priorities than those who are single. They are often focused on raising children and building a home, both of which are time-intensive responsibilities.
Moreover, it is normal for married couples to spend what free time they do have on each other.
… To be sure, married couples should make their communities a priority and resist the temptation to isolate themselves. But to say that most married couples are greedy for spending too much time with their spouses and not enough with family and friends is to misunderstand the very purpose of marriage.
Surely in a society that overemphasizes “self-love,” couples who prioritize each other should be viewed favorably. There’s nothing wrong with a “greedy marriage,” nor is there anything wrong with singlehood — so long as both lifestyles are lived in moderation, of course.
— end excerpts —-
DePaulo was right on the money and was not “over stating” her case.
History of Marriage in the USA
Contrary to what this author writes, no, marriage was not “always that way.”
I’ve read other research and studies that explain that in the past, in the United States, couples did not spend as much time with each other as they’ve been doing the last 50 or so years – they would invest more time with extended family and so on than they do now.