One counter point to consider: with married men making considerably more money than unmarried in the 45-54 group, even with the obvious disincentives to marry, many men will still pursue marriage the way people play the lottery. If there’s money to be had, there will be no shortage of players.
As foolish as this thinking is, it is important to remember that depending on the context this is also conventional wisdom. There are a number of factors at play here, including men’s ethic not to complain about their role as providers or even to draw attention to this role. This is a form of graciousness, not unlike a hostess responding “It’s nothing” when thanked for her hospitality. It is important to remember that there is nothing wrong with this kind of gracious mindeset, as it is what Christ taught us (see also here). That men don’t expect acknowledgment for their roles as providers, and even that they generally don’t even consider this themselves isn’t the problem. The problem is when this widespread graciousness by men is met by a culture of miserliness. Our inability to recognize the obvious fact that men take on significant responsibilities when they marry comes from this very combination of graciousness by men and miserliness by feminists.
The problem is not the person giving graciously saying “it is nothing” (and meaning it); the problem is with the recipient convincing themselves that it really is nothing. Even worse is when profound gifts are not only accepted with ingratitude, but then transformed into a debt by the receivers. This is at the core of the feminist complaint that men earn more after marriage while women earn less after marrying (H/T Sunshine Mary).
But even the denial of men’s sacrifice as providers is context specific. When considering the social benefits of women threatening divorce, economists suddenly are very aware that husbands are in the role of providers. Even Pastor Driscoll, who wears his contempt for husbands and fathers on his sleeve, grudgingly acknowledges the sacrifice of such men when he is berating the men who aren’t signing up to be husbands and fathers:
Men are like trucks: they drive straighter with a weighted load. Young men are supposed to load themselves up first by being responsible for themselves and not expecting their mom to fill up their sippy cup with beer and push them in a stroller to the unemployment line. Young men who take responsibility for themselves are then ready to marry and take responsibility for the life and joy of their wife.
As I mentioned above, our problem is not that men are being gracious, but that we have institutionalized unthankfulness as our response to gracious acts by men. This is extremely corrosive to our culture, and ultimately risks creating a culture where men see marriage and fatherhood as foolhardy.