Men and Marriage: Why They Avoid It

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man" by Steve Harvey. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Why do men avoid marriage? How can you turn your boyfriend into your husband?

If you’re in a committed relationship, then the next obvious step is marriage. However, Steve Harvey explains in his book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man that even committed men avoid marriage because it means changing their way of life and officially taking them off the market. To avoid this, Harvey says you should set the expectation early in a relationship.

Continue on to learn more about men and marriage, according to Steve Harvey.

Men and Marriage

If you’re in a committed relationship, neither you nor your man is unaware that you want to get married someday. Don’t let your man pretend like he doesn’t know that’s what you want. Men and marriage are like water and oil, they will do what they can to avoid taking that next big step as long as possible.

Men don’t hate marriage, but marriage forces them to change their lives in a way that they’d rather not most of the time. If women weren’t around, men would live in sweatpants, eat burgers for every meal, and only watch sports and pornography. But men pull themselves together, make money, and show interest in other things because that’s what women want, and men need women. Still, the idea of marriage is like eating vegetables as a child. You know you have to, but you’d rather eat chips. 

So why are so many men married if they’re predisposed to avoid it? Harvey says it’s because their women made it happen. 

1950s State of Mind

You, like most women, probably still operate under the assumption that you meet a man, go steady, and when the time is right, he proposes. You get married and live happily ever after. Despite the 50% divorce rate in America, this vision is still somehow the predominant one. You sit around waiting for your man to propose and dream of the romantic moment when he gets down on one knee, but he never does. So why won’t your man propose? 

The truth is—men don’t propose for one of three reasons: 1) they’re already married, 2) they don’t think of you as “the One,” or 3) you haven’t set your expectation for marriage. The question to ask isn’t “Why has he not proposed yet?”, but rather “Why would he propose when I’m doing everything he wants without the ring?” 

Even if a man is in a committed relationship, he’s not truly tied down if he’s not married. He doesn’t want to lose the illusion of freedom, and if you let him continue to string you along while you wait for a ring, he’ll never have to. 

Ladies, this is not the 1950s. You aren’t required to sit back and wait for the question to be popped. You don’t have to propose to him, but you do need to make it clear that marriage is what you want and expect if this relationship is going to have a future. 

Think about it—if you’re at the point in your relationship where marriage is a viable option, your man has already proven himself worthy and committed to you. He hasn’t done that because he likes being off the market. He does it because he likes having you off the market. But if you’re willing to stay off the market and wait for his awakening, you’re going to be waiting forever. 

How to Turn Your Boyfriend Into Your Husband

Ideally, you will set your standards for the type of relationship you need early on, and part of those standards should include your expectation that a long-term partnership eventually becomes a marriage. True, setting this standard may scare a man off, but if your man is run off by the future prospect of marriage, he’s not your man

If you make your desire to get married clear and set a clear period of time by which this needs to happen, he knows he will lose you if he doesn’t come through. And if he truly sees you as his woman, he won’t let that happen. 

If you’ve been with your man for a while and didn’t set your marriage standard before, do it now. He knows it’s what you want and has likely expected this conversation. If he’s your man, he’ll get the job done and go buy a ring. If he does anything other than buy a ring, he’s not in love with you, and now you know and can move on. 

You deserve to know where your life is headed. Don’t be afraid of losing a man because he’s not ready to get married yet. You’re not going to shock your man by bringing up marriage. If you’ve reached that point and he’s not ready, it means he doesn’t see you as his wife, plain and simple. 

Men and Marriage: Why They Avoid It

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Here's what you'll find in our full Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man summary:

  • How to navigate the adult dating scene
  • What men need, how they think, and how they behave when it comes to relationships
  • How women can gain an advantage and find the right man to fulfill their desires

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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