The Future of Marriage Will Return to Historical Norm – and That’s Not Monogamy

[D]uring most of agrarian age history, when man and woman married they could divide labor of creating common property (household) so that man could have a tribe and woman a nest, and both freedom from parental control over the allocation of resources.

Getting married meant freedom and sovereignty. A lot. This was true until the postwar boom.

In the present age, unless a woman wants to raise replacement levels of children, children are now an amusement, and men are an unnecessary and more easily sacrificed cost.

Without the need for children’s support in old age there is no incentive to have them sufficient to preserve the incentive to invest in marriage and replacement level children.

Social Security was suicidal. The pill added a noose. No fault divorce created the hanging tree.

We already know, of course, that women wield the ultimate veto power in the mating game. It is women who give thumbs-up or thumbs-down to any advances or proposals from men.

Briffault clarifies by asserting that intimate relationships between men and women result from a calculated cost/benefit analysis by women.

Will she or won’t she acquire a net gain from any relationship with the man? This does not necessarily mean monetary gain, although it might. Other types of gain might be social status, sexual compatibility, anticipated future happiness, emotional security, and the male’s capacity for fatherhood.

Men are costly for a woman in attention, emotion, time, effort and reproductive opportunity – and her children take priority over him. Their value at present is largely income and status and that is decreasingly immaterial.

Women are costly for men in his specialization, lower adaptivity to new groups, his cellular damage, his shorter life span, his shorter working life, and his shorter savings horizon, and his reproductive opportunity.

But a woman’s care is extremely valuable to a man. He trades all these things for the care of a woman. Unless both parties stay socialized and fit, sex dissipates quickly.

It isn’t clear that agrarian marriage can continue as a majority habit and it’s more likely we will continue to return to human norms of serial monogamy, treating relationships like careers, except for the upper classes that as always gain so much value from shared assets status shared oppporutnity that the economics still make sense.


(Some content in this post is from John Brennan)

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