Hypergamy and Singleness in the Church

Let me explain how I see hypergamy being related to the marriage/singleness problem in our culture:

1. Hypergamy is a principle that states women naturally desire to marry of an equal or greater status. In general, women want a guy that is older, taller, and more successful.

2. 1st thru 3rd wave feminism radically altered the cultural landscape of the West for both sexes.

a. Women were “liberated” from domesticity. They were now able to provide for themselves due to workplace integration. More importantly, they now had control over their fertility through contraception and abortion.

b. Men were “liberated” from supporting domesticity. They now could easily get “low-risk” sex. In other words, they could get sex without commitment to a wife and family.

c. This “liberation” produced a massive increase in single mother families (aka fatherlessness).

3. Women entering the workplace and education reshaped the nature of both spheres.

a. Workplace integration requires men to modulate their masculinity. In short, they have to dial down their manliness.

b. Education has been increasingly augmented to prefer female over male tendencies.

4. As it relates to education and career, women are doing “better” than ever before. Conversely, men are doing worse. In a nutshell, we have more highly educated women making good money and fewer highly educated men making good money.

5. The availability of “low risk/low commitment” sex combined with an ever-increasing push towards higher levels of education has led to a delaying of marriage into the upper 20s and early 30s.

6. At present, we have a lot of high-performing single women in their late 20s and early 30s realizing that their child-bearing years are slipping away. Consequently, they begin to look for a more serious relationship.

7. As a result of hypergamy, these women began to look for a man of equal or greater status. So, they are looking for an equally high-performing man of a similar or greater age. They also want him to be taller.

8. As a result of the cultural shift, the number of high-performing men in their late 20s and 30s has greatly decreased.

a. Low risk/ low commitment sex greatly reduces a man’s drive. Apps like Tinder and free HD pornography are truly robbing many men of their desire to succeed.

b. The present educational system discourages masculine behavior. Consequently, many boys/men are checking out.

c. To a lesser degree, the rise of video gaming is making men feel like a success without creating any real world benefit. Gaming, by meeting their need to be successful, diminishes their desire to dominate in the marketplace.

9. Online dating gives the impression that there are plenty of fish in the sea and can encourage people to hold out for someone that meets their requirements. This is largely an illusion, especially for high-performing women. Requiring a single attribute will greatly reduce the number of candidates. For example, how many single men are there that make $80,000 or greater? Each attribute desired exponentially reduces the number of candidates until they are a percentage of a percentage.

10. Women will and often do date older men. The opposite isn’t true. Men rarely date older women. This means that high-performing single women have fewer candidates based of their desire for hypergamy AND those candidates are being pursued by younger women. This means less options with equal or greater competition.

11. Men aren’t hypergamous. They don’t choose women based on status as much as attitude/attractiveness. In other words, a woman being highly educated and a high earner doesn’t raise her “value” in the eyes of a man. It means very little to him. In many cases, it can actual devalue her as a potential spouse.

a. The problem is women think men evaluate women the way they evaluate men. This is why you’ll often hear women say, “I guess men aren’t interested in or are intimidated by a smart successful woman.” I’m not sure about the intimidate part but, otherwise, yeah.

b. Men are attracted to femininity. Money and education doesn’t make a woman any more feminine. Now, don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying it is wrong for women to get educated or have jobs. I’m saying that it won’t make them more attractive to men. It is either breakeven or a negative.

In conclusion, all these factors are creating a “singleness epidemic.”

Now, I haven’t even scratched the surface on how this is uniquely impacting the church. Here are four reasons this issue is further exacerbated in the church:

1. Men don’t like going to church because it is inordinately geared towards the feminine.

2. Churches are harder on “masculine sins” than they are on “feminine sins.”

3. Most evangelical churches operate with gnostic assumptions that downplay the importance of the body and sexuality.

4. Men are told to be good men but not taught how to be good at being a man. Therefore, men are turning to non-Christian sources on how to be a man.

So… high performing Christian women are going to have an even harder time finding a high performing Christian man.

What do we do? Here are three recommended steps:

1. Teach and exhort women to pursue feminine beauty.

2. Teach and exhort men to pursue manly excellence in health, wisdom, finances, and leadership.

3. Address the sins of men and women equally.

4. Exhort both men and women to not unduly delay marriage.

This is from my Facebook page.

Comments

  1. David Anderson

    This is an excellent analysis. Perhaps it should be made more explicit how some of those factors inter-play. It’s there, implicit (in 8 + 11, and in the fourth recommendation), but needs underlining, I think. Delaying marriage because of working on increasing her own status, and then looking for someone of equal/higher status after doing that, is self-defeating. The more a woman delays marriage because she’s working on improving her status, the more she narrows the pool of people who she’d be willing to marry (as well as, as you’ve pointed out, of people willing to marry her).

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      Michael Scott Foster

      I intend to expand everything. This was just a Facebook outline that I reposted. Good points.

  2. James Ward

    Scripture call such observations things that promote sound doctrine. Check out Dressing Down Liberalism; Revealing Modesty (both are 5k words); and The Naked Truth: Revealing Things We Hide Behind (big book).

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  3. Katrina Fife

    That’s about as real as it gets.

    “So… high performing Christian women are going to have an even harder time finding a high performing Christian man.”

    But something that bothers me is…. Are men just naturally lazy? I mean it’s like they’re just, “Well women are doing good, guess I’ll play video games.” Just because women are doing well doesn’t mean men can’t; it should propel them to do even better. It’s not women’s fault that men aren’t men because we are educated. I think men are just entitled babies throwing temper tantrums.

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      Michael Scott Foster

      God’s curse on man was directly related to his ability to dominate in the world. Therefore, I do think men have a fallen tendency towards laziness that must be rooted out.

  4. Kirk Skeptic

    Great piece, this. However, we can’t overlook the widespread myth in Christian circles that a man isn’t ready to marry until he can support a family. Given the over-education of America and skyrocketing college debt, a man today has to wait much longer to achieve the finances to marry in this paradigm. The well-advised need to encourage earlier marriage (and increased fertility) should be accompanied by encomia to parents on prolonging support for young newlyweds – who themselves should realize that they are not entitled to Disney princess weddings or to live at the same material level as their parents.

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      Michael Scott Foster

      I have been looking into the issue of marrying age. I think we need to 1) train our sons to mature faster and 2) train our daughters how to spot a man with potential.

  5. Pete

    Don’t forget the impact that divorce has too. For a man, it’s a high risk/low reward venture to get married. You can be 100% faithful to your wife only to come home one day to find out she’s moved in with the neighbor and taken your kids, and when the divorce is complete you’ve lost your house, half your retirement, half your income, and you get to see your kids on holidays if you’re lucky. Half of marriages end in divorce, and 2/3s of divorces are initiated by women, and 80% of custody cases go to the woman.

    What man would willingly risk the financial ruin and the heartbreaking emotional devastation of divorce, especially when the “benefits” of marriage can all be gained outside of marriage in today’s world anyway. It’s literally flipping a coin on the bet that if you win you get nothing, but if you lose you’ll be looking for the nearest bridge to leap off of. Only a fool would flip that coin.

  6. Jonathan Poppe

    Not sure if you addressed this, I think it might be a subset of #6. I’ve met a number of girls that think they have to do all the fun stuff before they “settle down” and get married. One girl didn’t want a serious relationship because there were a number of places she wanted to go see… I guess everyone knows that when you get married you aren’t allowed to travel and see places together…
    I think that’s at least partly due to the cultural influence, where places like Hollywood glorify singles and portray marriage as a miserable institution.

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