We have already how marriage has lost its status as an enforceable contract.
But in addition to being a partnership, marriage also served as a sexual outlet, a means not only of channeling and controlling the sexual urge into safe and productive expressions, but also of guaranteeing release for a near-irresistible biological drive. This, too, has been abolished.
Marriage, at its core, was not only a contract, but an emotional and sexual relationship. It provided certain guarantees to men in exchange for the sacrifices made to, and by, entering into it.
- It guaranteed a safe and reliable outlet for the sexual appetite.
- It provided a defense against cuckoldry and paternity fraud.
- It provided a promise of sexual and emotional prioritization in a woman's life.
The first is easy to understand. Married men didn't have "dry spells". While passionate sex could decay into duty sex if the man failed to remain attractive, the level of respect (and thus attraction) commanded by a competent and productive protector and provider was not insignificant, and the wife was held at least partially responsible for her husband contentment.
This is of course no longer the case. While charges of "marital rape" are fortunately rare, the redefinition of rape to "any sexual encounter not desired by, and controlled by, the female" has made this absurd shibboleth seem to the more crazy among as a thing that can actually exist. What this is symptomatic of is the widespread attitude that, marriage being about desire rather than duty, a woman has no responsibility whatsoever to have sex with her husband, much less to make that sex satisfying and fulfilling to him. Just look in /r/deadbedrooms. Once, any of these situations would have been a breach of the marital contract. Now, people complain of it to strangers on a public forum, because wifey is under no obligation to listen.
The second is also a simple idea. While female fidelity was much harder to confirm in the age before the paternity test, the invention of such has merely shown us how real the threat is. It is no coincidence that France has banned them. Expect more first world nations to follow suit. While an adulterous woman can still be divorced if a man wishes, no-fault divorce has ensured that this will be no punishment or deterrent at all... simply a guarantee that his wealth and children will be divided between them by strangers with guns.
It is the third point that requires some explanation.
What does it mean to be an emotional and sexual priority for a woman? It can be hard to understand for many women, but sex is what makes men feel loved; not the only thing, perhaps, but the thing without which nothing else works. This is why female virginity at marriage is and was a priority for men whenever and wherever it could be had. A man who knows he is only man she has ever shared sexual passion with... is a man who knows he is the top priority in her life. Women now, who cannot deliver virginity, make rationalizations like "How can I be an expert at touching your penis if it's the first one?" But sexual pleasure is predicated on animal passion, not clinical skill. The primary organ of sexual excitement lies between the ears.
But virginity is not to be found today. In fact, it is widely accepted that the "requirement" of virginity at marriage was complete unreasonable, and ridiculous and tyrannical, and totalitarian religious practices were required to enforce it, on pain of death or shunning. Is this the case? Was history one long vignette of a boot stomping on a human face, as feminists would have us believe?
Well, if a feminist tells you a drought is coming, better buy a canoe. No, here's the truth of it.
Ever wonder why the early parts of the bible are silent on the subject of fornication? Adultery is strictly forbidden, but not a word is spoken about sex between unmarried people. Why? For a long time in prechristian jewish culture, premarital sex wasn't forbidden, it was impossible. Sex was marriage. A man who took a woman was responsible for her, and their children. That's what marriage was. The ceremony was a formality. Thus, you couldn't have premarital sex, only marital sex, and adultery. That's why the ten commandments forbid the latter but not the former. It wasn't a thing.
As the normadic, herder jews settled down and began farming, marriage as a formal relationship grew into a thing in its own right. That's the era when the bible starts to talk about "fornication", the act of having sex without marrying. This became more of a thing as polygyny fell out of fashion, creating the idea that a man couldn't marry some women he'd had sexual relations with, because he had previously married another one.
The next change to was twofold; the ongoing development of industrial technology, and the "equality" meme.
Industrial development shifted economies away from physical labour and towards mental and social tasks as trades for income. As this happened, more and more education was required before youngsters could ascend to economic adulthood. This began to delay the age of marriage. When a girl can reasonably be expected to be married at 16 to 18 years of age, society can reasonably expect her to keep her legs shut until then. If she's going to be married at 21, it's a riskier proposition. At 25, forget about it. At 28, absurd. And when young people cannot afford a home or to support children, they cannot afford to get married.
The final blow was the equalist meme. The notion that women must have power and authority within the family at least equal to that of men, not merely as a safeguard against exploitation or unhappiness, but because anything else was held to be exploitation in and of itself.
Now it was no longer normal and acceptable to a young woman (16 to 18) to marry a man who had lived long enough to establish his career (28 to 40s) and be able to afford a home, a wife and a child.
Industrial development forced men to wait longer and longer to get married. Equalism forced women to wait longer and longer as well.
Thus the task of "saving it for marriage" developed from automatic to easy to difficult to unrealistically absurd.
The process of redefining marriage has been gradual, and not simply a matter female selfishness expressed as feminism, but also economic and technological change, allowed to reshape the family as it would, without an eye to male instincts and needs.
Now the juice simply isn't worth the squeeze. I suspect the divorce rate will actually even begin to go down, sooner or later, simply because only the sappiest and most controllable of men will get married. And without stable, loving, two-parent families, each generation is successively more fucked.
We all secretly know that banging a succession of sluts is second prize. But no one gets first prize anymore. There is no marriage to a worthy woman anymore, because she cannot be a worthy woman in a culture that railroads her in the opposite direction.
Do not hunt unicorns. Do not put a ring on it. Give women only the intimacy they earn. Do not bargain with them, do not make deals with them, give them no promises, enforceable or not. Always be able to walk away. That is your power. Do not give it away.