(CNSNews.com) – Seventy percent of American males between the ages of 20 and 34 are not married, and many live in a state of “perpetual adolescence” with ominous consequences for the nation’s future, says Janice Shaw Crouse, author of “Marriage Matters.”
“Far too many young men have failed to make a normal progression into adult roles of responsibility and self-sufficiency, roles generally associated with marriage and fatherhood,” Crouse, the former executive director of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, wrote in a recent Washington Times oped.
The high percentage of bachelors means bleak prospects for millions of young women who dream about a wedding day that may never come. “It’s very, very depressing,” Crouse told CNSNews.com. “They’re not understanding how important it is for the culture, for society, for the strength of the nation to have strong families.”
She pointed out that there’s “no data” to back up the common assertion that a lack of jobs during and after the Great Recession is the primary reason so many young men have been reluctant to tie the knot. “The problem with marriage was long before that,” she pointed out.
After decades of feminism, Crouse noted that young men are now the ones who set the parameters for intimate relationships, and those increasingly do not include a wedding ring.
“And I know the feminists just yell and scream if you say anything like this, but time was, girls set the cultural morays, the standards, the parameters for intimate activity. The girls were the ones that set those boundaries. And now it’s the guys who do,” Crouse told CNSNews.com.
“And it’s doubly terrible because the colleges now are predominantly female. So you have some – up to 60 percent of the student bodies are female. And almost all of them are more than 50 percent female. And so the ratio [of] male/female is out of sync.
“And that means the girls have to live by the guys’ demands. And that means less romance. They don’t date. The girls, I have talked to numerous young women, lament the fact that they don’t have the opportunity to dress up and go out for an event.”
Young women who adhere to a moral code and refuse to participate in the “hook up” culture are now considered social misfits, Crouse pointed out. And they face even more daunting odds of finding a husband than their promiscuous sisters.
“It’s really interesting, because Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker wrote their book, “Premarital Sex in America,” what, three, four years ago. And even then, they were very concerned about the fact that young women today are not as likely to get married. And their prospects, if they are not sexually promiscuous, are really low because the guys, if they can sleep around, they’re not interested in going with the girls who don’t put out.
“The ones who are very serious get married early. And that leaves the majority of the girls, then, by the time they’re 25 and into their first jobs, the pickings are very, very slim for them. And Mark Regnerus was very, very clear that the quote ‘good girls’ are the ones who are at risk now in terms of not being able to get married.”
According to 2014 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 7.9 million opposite sex couples in the U.S. live together but are not married. A 2014 study by Johns Hopkins University also found that 57 percent of children born to women aged 26 to 31 are out of wedlock.
Crouse says the decline in marriage and a corresponding rise in cohabitation is happening despite at least a decade of research demonstrating the societal benefits of two-parent families.
“Even researchers from the left are coming out very strongly for the family and for marriage, and saying the two-parent family is necessary for children to do their best," she told CNSNews.com. "It’s not just good for them, it’s the very best. It’s the gold standard. It’s essential for children to reach their potential. And that has to be communicated in the popular culture."
According to “projections based on census data, when today’s young adults reach their mid-40s to mid-50s, a record high share (25%) is likely to have never been married,” Pew Research noted in a 2014 study documenting the decline of marriage in the U.S.
But men are not entirely to blame for the steep decline in marriage, Crouse pointed out. “A lot of women fear marriage. While feminism is a spent force, the ultimate consequences of that philosophy is a whole generation of women who don’t want any man to tell them what to do, and don’t really understand the give and take that is necessary for a marriage relationship.”
However, the box office success of movies like American Sniper, which features a very masculine Navy SEAL, is an indication that women still respond to strong men, she said.
CNSNews.com asked Crouse if that means the cultural pendulum has finally swung back in the male direction after decades of feminism.
“That’s not certain yet,” she replied. “There’ still a lot of anti-male stuff out there.”
Feminism has largely achieved its goal of equality in the workplace, so the movement has “lost relevance” for young women who are now earning more college and professional degrees than men, she pointed out. However, feminism’s effects on the culture – including the historically low marriage rate - will linger for some time to come, she noted.
“Feminism was supposed to bring women happiness,” Crouse said. “But the research shows that women today are much more unhappy then they have been in the past. They’ve ended up with far more opportunities, but their personal happiness is way down.”