So forty percent of
Americans in a Pew Research and Time magazine poll think that marriage is
caput. And who can blame them? Marriage in our time is such a bore that eighty
percent of married couples use their one date night a week, usually a Saturday,
to go to a movie. Here they have an evening to finally get to know each other
again as man and woman rather than Mom and Dad and the silence is so deafening
that they require Hollywood noise to fill the empty spaces.
Then there’s marital
sex, which has become so pathetic that, as I reported in my book The Kosher
Sutra, one out of three American married couples are entirely platonic while
the remaining seventy percent have sex once a week for seven minutes at a time,
which includes the time he spends begging.
Passion in marriage is
plummeting while divorce is skyrocketing. Visit the average American master
bedroom and you’ll see a giant, cathedral-like TV. Husband and wives have
exchanged erotic desire for HBO because at least the people on the screen are
Does it matter that
marriage is dying? Isn’t it enough for people just to commit and love each
other outside the framework of any institution?
I could spend a month
answering that question in the positive, but here let me use just a few lines.
Sigmund Freud famously
wrote, “The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not
yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine
soul, is ‘What does a woman want?”
Nearly a century
later, I, Rabbi Shmuley, a man deeply in touch with his feminine side, will now
provide the response.
What does a woman
want? To be chosen. There, it’s settled. Now let me explain.
Everyone thinks that
women want to be loved. True, but woefully shortsighted. If they wanted to be
loved they would never move out of their parents’ home. Noone will every love
with you with as much unconditional affection and acceptance as your Mom and
Dad. So why do women seek the love of a complete stranger?
Your parents can do
many things for you. They can adore you and cherish you. But they can’t choose
you. If your Mom tells you you’re the most beautiful girl in the whole class
you roll your eyes. You know she has a genetic shotgun to her head compelling
her to say it. She has no choice. Her words therefore don’t make you feel
But when a boy who
could have said the same thing to fifty girls in class tells you you’re the
most beautiful you feel special. It must be true.
When you think of it,
even without the modern marital problems of passionlessness and divorce I
detailed above, marriage is a really bad deal for a woman. She has to give up
her name, literally. She has kids and compromises her figure. She gets saddled
with eighty percent of the housework. She often gives up her career as she
becomes a Mom. Who would be stupid enough to accept this lousy offer?
Yet, every Hollywood
romance, the vast majority of whose viewers are women, ends in a wedding. The
audience demands it. Why? Because marriage provides the one thing that a woman
most wants, namely, to be chosen. To have her uniqueness validated by a man
making her his one and only. Every woman wants to be the sun with a man placing
her at the center of his universe where he will remain permanently in orbit,
basking in her light.
Only marriage – rather
than living together or going out – provides for a true act of chosenness. In
essence, a man makes a public declaration to a woman, “I am choosing you. There
are many beautiful women. But you are the most beautiful. There are many
special women. But you are the most special. And with you I have so found what
I have been looking for that I am prepared to de-select three billion other
women by publicly taking myself off the market, right here, in front of
everyone. Before you I had a house but with you I have a home. You are my soul
Wow. When a man makes
that declaration, you feel mighty special. So why are so many women souring on
marriage? Because they witness many of their friends being neglected in
marriage, even after the declaration is made. They see husbands becoming couch
potatoes, TV connoisseurs, and porn addicts. They hear about quickie sex
lasting a couple of minutes that leaves women utterly unsatisfied. And they
wonder why they should make all the sacrifices of marriage if they won’t be
chosen in return.
We can fix this, of
course, by men becoming gentlemen again and prioritizing their wives and
families above all else.
And that’s my
perspective on why marriage, even in this deeply cynical age, is so important
and deeply accords with the innermost desires of human nature. Admittedly, it’s
a feminine perspective, explaining why marriage is so important to women.
So why didn’t I
explain it from a male perspective as well? Because the only men who still want
to get married in America are gay. While the gay guys are petitioning the
Supreme Court for the right to tie the knot, the straight guys are running to
the hills begging their gay brothers not to ruin the party.