“Marriage only benefits men” — Hmm I don’t think so.

“silhouette photo of man and woman on cliff” by Alex Iby on Unsplash

“Men need marriage. We don’t”

“Men are the only ones benefiting from marriage”

“The society has conditioned women to long after marriage with men as prizes to be won in competition against each other.”

Those are some of the narratives that are being pushed by the user on twitter in a twitter rant captured in the tweet below.

“Men need marriage” by NwaBaby

I was going to make a thread on why those narratives do not hold water but on a second thought, an article is where I would be able to articulate my thoughts better so here I am.

While I do agree that the man in the story she narrated who couldn’t take care of his children while his wife traveled is quite useless and a disgrace to men all over the world, I find her logic which attempts to discredit all Nigerian men in her self-assigned, self-destructive man-hating expenditure quite flawed.

First of all, the narrative that men are the only ones that need marriage is quite ridiculous. Humans were created with a need for companionship. It is inherent. Both parties, male and female thrive and even flourish when there is a healthy marriage. In fact, in a research by Robert H. Coombs, he stated that “although hypothesis which asserts that the relationship between marital status and well-being is spurious since emotional maturity explains both conditions, the evidence is consistent with the protection/support hypothesis that a marital partner who provides companionship and psychic aid buffers individuals against physical and emotional pathology”. In order words, even though this comes with a caveat — i.e emotional maturity — marriages lessen or moderates the impact of physical and emotional ill health especially when the partners provide companionship and psychic aid.

More recently, some ladies have responded with articles such as these: 1 and 2 found in the Independent and the Telegraph respectively to drive the narrative that “studies have shown that marriage is more beneficial to men than women” and that as a result men live longer than women when married. It’s like they have the links to those articles bookmarked and pinned so that they toss it out when needed. The study that those articles refer to was conducted by Ploubidis et al and is titled “Life-Course Partnership Status and Biomarkers in Midlife: Evidence From the 1958 British Birth Cohort”. Link can be found here

An article by Lisa Strohschein, in the PubMed Central website by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health titled “Do Men Really Benefit More From Marriage Than Women?” explains why and how drawing such conclusions from that study is faulty and outright ridiculous. In fact, it has said that the idea that only men reap the health rewards of marriage, although quite popular is quite outdated.

She also stated that it is quite unfortunate that that study by Ploubidis et al invites advice such as “to be safe, young women are advised they should not get married at all”. In her words, this is “because it is clear that the authors never conducted the formal statistical test supporting this conclusion”. “The authors simply compared marital status differences in different biomarkers separately for each gender”, she added.

She concluded by stating that “recent studies evaluating the interaction between marital status and gender have reported that the health effects of marriage are equally distributed among men and women.5–7 Nonetheless, the perception marriage only benefits men persists, resistant to current realities and compounded by improper analysis”.

So dear sisters, marriage is NOT necessarily more beneficial to men than women.

Besides, even if it were so, that study was conducted with data set from Britain. You are in Africa, Nigeria to be precise where in reality you have more aunties with dead husbands than uncles with dead wives. The demographics, standard of living, cultures and behaviors are different. They can not therefore be used as a standard for Nigerians.

Lastly, women are conditioned to long for marriage. While this is true, it also does not acknowledge the fact that when men get to a certain age in life the society views them as irresponsible when they are not married, especially when they are seemingly comfortable and well-to-do. Take for example the movie Isoken. Remember that uncle of hers who isn’t married at the age of 45. Can you remember the disgust in her mother’s voice when she said, “You, my own brother, that has not brought home a wife at the age of 45”? That is a summary of how the society looks at men who aren’t married.

When men get to a particular age and are still bachelors, most landlords find it difficult giving out their apartments to them because they are usually of the impression that they are not married because they do not want to be held to any standards of accountability and do not want to be responsible to anyone. So, stop looking at things with those narrow man-hating binoculars of yours and actually open your eyes to the things going on around you.

In conclusion, men don’t ‘need’ marriage. They were doing fine as bachelors without you sis. They also do not benefit more than women in a marriage and as a result outlive their wives. There are at least 3 studies — found here, here and here — dedicated to debunking that * insert eye roll *. Oh and lastly, men are also made to feel incomplete without marriage. Doubt it? Ask yourself why men are conditioned to get married once they are materially okay.

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