In which I am slightly snarky about Megan McArdle

But I also don\’t think it works to say that it\’s nobody\’s business but the couple\’s whether people keep their marriage vows……..Why was it so important to call it marriage, if everything about it is entirely private?…….Society takes a greater interest in marriages than in other relationships because society, as well as the individual, has an interest in strong marriages.  Strong marriages support a strong society.  And society supports the marriage by encouraging people to do the very hard work of keeping their promises.  One of the ways in which society ensures strong marriages is by tut-tutting (or worse) at people who don\’t keep to their vows: who abandon spouses, treat them badly, or yes, violate their trust by engaging in covert sexual activity…….I think that social sanction can be very helpful in assisting us in doing important but difficult things.  Marriage is stronger if people who find out that their friends are cheating don\’t say, \”Awesome, is he hot?\” but \”How could you do that to Jason?\” Marriage is stronger if people who cheat are viewed with slight revulsion, and so are the (knowing) people who they cheat with.  Marriage is stronger when people who decide not to care for seriously ill spouses are met with an incredulous \”What the hell is wrong with you?\”, not \”Yeah, I couldn\’t handle that either.\”  Of course it would be nicer if we didn\’t need this sort of help.  But we are a flawed species……..This is, to be sure, a bit trickier in an era when people like me and Andrew accept that there can be healthy non-monagamous marriages.  Maybe, folks have suggested, she was totally okay with this!   This seems possible, but not really very likely.  I know a decent number of people in open marriages, but they are very far from the majority of the people I know.  Looking at what polls and research we have on this sort of thing, plus an unscientific survey of my friends and the women who have written me, I\’m going to go out on a limb here and speak for heterosexual married women as a class: I\’m pretty sure that most of us are not okay with our husbands sending racy photos to strangers, or engaging in phone sex with same within weeks of our wedding day.  And if she\’s totally okay with this, how come she hasn\’t said so?  ……

Well, you get the picture.

Call me old-fashioned

Nooo, that\’s not the description I would use if I were to be snarky about it.

\”Recently married\” would be.

8 comments on “In which I am slightly snarky about Megan McArdle

  1. “Recently married” would be.

    Ah, let her enjoy her honeymoon period in peace. When she’s posting bitter tracts about the inequalities of family law, that’s the time to strike!

  2. I don’t think it’s a very heavy blow. As always Megan McArdle is pretty measured & reasonable. I’m often not sure how much I agree with her but I think she always takes the debates forward. Unlike poor old Andrew Sullivan (who she’s addressing here), who has long since slipped into partisan caricature.

  3. I like MM on the whole. She is one of the most reliable and interesting commentators around at the moment.

    But at the risk of being even more snarky, you don’t need that “recently”. Women are, on the whole, a depreciating asset. If they have managed to get married, they have snagged an appreciating asset – their husbands will become richer and, by and large, more desirable over time. While they, I hate to say, won’t. At the same time marriage is a promise of access to those assets. Ideally, unshared access.

    A husband cheating elsewhere is a risk a husband closer to home might cheat too. Married women need to punish the former to deter the latter. After all, it could take assets away from the marital home, any children said wife may have, and ultimately lead to divorce.

    The interesting question is whether this spells an end to Weiner’s career. You might think it would as half of all voters are women. And much of the other half will be pissed they are not getting sextexts from Co-Eds.

    But on the other hand, female sufferage leads to the welfare state as female voters, it seems, vote to replace their husbands (and their assets) with the State (and its welfare cheques).

    So Weiner was offering women both weaker marriages and, being a Leftist, more welfare to make those husbands irrelevant. Which factor plays a larger role?

    I am going to go out on a limb here and say that women will still vote for him because they prefer welfare to their husbands. If he doesn’t resign, he will get re-elected. But I wonder.

  4. At thirteen years married I think I agree with that quote more than I did when I was a newlywed.

    What is marriage if not a public promise of lifelong mutual support and fidelity? Why shouldn’t people think worse of someone for breaking such a promise? Why should it be a private matter that a public promise was broken?

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