John T. Molloy (the author of “Dress for Success”)
This book is based on over 3,000 interviews conducted by Molloy and his researchers. They interviewed couples coming out of marriage license bureaus, and then a control group. The results reflect the statistical tendencies of marriage. Many of the lessons are common sense, but what sets this book apart is its specificity and the statistical backup for its assertions.
Editor’s note: One interesting fact is that this book got positive but mixed reviews on Amazon. It seems that the statistical truths that women who are A) over 35, and B) overweight are much less likely to marry were not well-received by those women who fell into those categories.
The Six Basic Guidelines For Women To Get Married
Insist on it.
If you find yourself in a dead-end relationship, move on.
Love yourself first.
Commit yourself to the idea of getting married
Keep in shape, watch your weight, and take care of your appearance
Time is running out—use time wisely in your search for the marrying man
To maximize your chances of marrying, only date the marrying kind:
Most men will not consider marriage before they reach the age of commitment
For 80% of high school graduates, 23
For 80% of college graduates, 26
For college men, the high-commitment period is 28-33
For men who go to graduate school, 30-36
After the age of 37-38, the chances that he’ll commit drops dramatically. After 43, it drops even more
A 40+ man who has been married before is more likely to remarry than an equivalent bachelor is to marry
Most men will not contemplate marriage until they have been working and living as independent adults for several years (hence the high-commitment periods)
Men become likely to marry after they become uncomfortable with the singles scene
E.g. They realize that they’ve become the sleazy old guys who hang out at the bars and hit on younger girls
Men do have a biological clock, based on their desire to be an active father (especially to their sons)
Misc. negative traits and warning signs
Men who see marriage as a financial arrangement in which women have the most to gain
Men whose parents divorced when they were young
Men who live with their parents
Other key facts
Men often marry women whose religion, politics, values, and socioeconomic status match theirs
Men whose friends and siblings are married are more likely to marry
60% of the newly married men reported that they had a friend who had married within the last year.
Those men who didn’t have any married male friends were 2-3 times as likely to say that they weren’t ready to marry.
The majority of men who had seen their friends get married said that if they met the right woman, they’d think seriously about getting married.
Avoid stringers, men who string along women but never commit. To filter them out, insist that he commit after six months. Then stick to it, no matter what excuses he gives.
Consider unpolished jewels, men who are just as nice, intelligent, hard-working, and successful, but lack looks, height, or social skills.
a. 88% of men over 50 who were marrying for the first time were marrying divorced women. The women told the researchers that they had already tried the tall, suave, type, and he didn’t make a very good husband.
First impressions are important
1. Men are attracted by the physical, but marry character
a. Newly engaged men said that what attracted them to their fiancées was how classy, positive, energetic, enthusiastic, and upbeat their future wives were.
i. While 68% gave a physical description of their fiancée, only 20% said that what attracted them was how gorgeous and sexy their fiancée was. Over 60% described their personalities, even if the women in question were very beautiful.
b. Therefore, be positive!
2. All wives are trophy wives—men marry women whom they admire and like to show off (but not for their physical appearance)
3. Dressing appropriately sends the message, “I am wife material.” Men marry women they perceive as “situational virgins” who move easily in their world.
a. Editor’s note: In other words, don’t dress like a ho. Men see a sexy outfit as an invitation to have sex.
b. Most men decide within 10 minutes of meeting a woman if she’s appropriate for marriage, or just for a casual affair.
c. Over 80% of men said or bragged that their fiancée was the kind of woman they were proud to introduce to friends and family
d. Over 70% of men said that they knew that their future bride was a “nice girl” the minute they met
e. Only 7 out of 2,000 men interviewed said that their fiancée was dressed in a very sexy outfit when they met.
4. If you want to marry a man who is more attractive than you, go for a very good-looking man because he will actually place less emphasis on looks. Women see their own looks as a gift of nature equal to or superior to brains and talent. In contrast, 67% of very good-looking men think of their looks as a minor asset, and say they would rather be smart, rich, or talented. Do the following:
a. Approach him. Very attractive men don’t make passes at women because they don’t have to.
b. Let him put you on a pedestal. Don’t treat him any differently than you would another man, just because he’s good-looking.
c. Let him see your talents and accomplishments. Very good-looking men often marry women who have qualities they lack—education, professional accomplishment, social standing, and ambition.
d. Make demands on him. Advise him to go back to school or get a better job.
5. Making a good impression on his family is almost as important as making a good impression on him.
a. 5% said that it was their family that had convinced them that the woman was something special
b. 30% said that their family’s positive opinion had influenced them
What kind of women get married?
1. Women with a large number of female friends are more likely to marry than women with a large number of male friends
a. Men don’t go out of their way to introduce their female friends to other men
2. If you reach 30 and want to get married, you have to make finding a husband a primary goal. Once your friends start getting married, they are less likely to have an active social life with you. Don’t be the last one off the bus!
3. Women who get married, even those with high-powered careers, make getting married a priority that they work at.
4. The larger the number of single men and women you work with, the better your chances of marrying
a. If you work in an industry with few eligible men (e.g. the fashion industry, where most male colleagues are gay), or have other disadvantages, you’ll have to work harder outside of work to overcome them. It’s unfair, but suck it up.
5. Women with unrealistic expectations often remain single
a. Much of the time, these expectations are imposed by others, who think that the men she brings home aren’t “good enough for her.”
b. Give men a second chance—20% of brides to be said that they didn’t like their husband when they first met him.
6. Self-confident men are attracted to accomplished, self-assured, and talented women
7. Women who waste their time with stringers or men who don’t care for them hurt their chances of marrying
a. Women who marry refer to the men who broke up with them as losers. Women who don’t marry often make men who don’t reciprocate their feelings the center of their universe and still speak well of them.
b. Don’t date married or gay men.
8. Women who live with their parents are less likely to marry
9. Being slender attracts more men, therefore increasing your chances to marry
10. Women who put effort into looking their best are more likely to marry than those who don’t
11. However, men find women who are active and don’t spend all of their time primping more attractive
12. Women who make an effort to seek out the company of single men are more likely to marry
a. Women who marry date more frequently than those who don’t, even it’s Mr. Wrong.
b. Women who marry are three times as likely to participate in masculine activities in which they had no real interest.
c. Women who marry are twice as likely to have made lifestyle sacrifices (changing jobs or moving) to meet eligible men.
13. Women who have active social lives are more likely to marry
a. Go out on Friday and Saturday, when other single people go out
The stages in a relationship
1: Living up to expectations
Men believe that they can size up a woman in 5 minutes. They’re usually wrong. If a man doesn’t call, it’s because he realizes that he made a mistake.
2: Getting to know you. The following types of women are more like to get asked out on additional dates
a. Women who date more extensively
b. Women who have male friends or brothers (and thus have a better understanding of men)
c. Women who worry less about impressing their dates and more about having fun
d. Women who don’t have sex on the first date
e. Women who object when they don’t approve of the man’s plans
f. Women who are friendly and positive
g. Women who are a good audience and show interest and/or a concern for his welfare
Sidebar: Why men don’t call
As men see it, they don’t need a reason not to call. They do need a reason to call.
The woman gets too serious too soon
The woman is not as positive as they had thought.
90% of men find catty remarks a turnoff
3: Needs and lifestyles
This stage is about separating attraction from compatibility.
If your lifestyles aren’t compatible, end the relationship as quickly and painlessly as possible
4: Steady dating (range: 3 weeks to 3 months)
Men don’t typically think of themselves as dating until after 4-6 dates
Women typically think of themselves as dating after 2-3 dates, hence the problem
The primary reason men drop women during the first month or two is that the women come on too strong, too soon.
50% of men have broken up with a woman because she got serious prematurely
Never speak of marriage, children, or your future together for the first 6 dates.
5: Romancing the woman
Men are always trying to please the women they like. Just relax and enjoy your stay on the pedestal (because it’s likely to be brief).
6: Getting comfortable (3 months+). This is the stage where the couple stop feeling they have to be on their best behavior and start being themselves.
The fact that your man doesn’t bring you roses, but instead plops on your couch to watch TV and takes you for granted is actually a natural stage and the hallmark of almost all serious relationships—not a deal-killer.
But, don’t be a doormat. If you don’t complain, or, even worse, try to do everything for him, it will make him think you are just there for his convenience.
Women who withhold doing household chores usually get more respect from men
The women who insist on being treated well are 2x as likely to end up marrying their man. No one marries a servant.
Insist on being monogamous
7: Committed couplehood (range: 6 months to 1 year; 73% said that within 9 months, their partner had become the center of their lives).
Put their partners interests above their friends and family
If his family member makes a negative comment about you, he should defend you. 79% of marrying men said that they came to their financees’ defense.
Hang out together without any particular plans. When just being together, you are a successful couple.
8: Premarital couplehood.
Committed couples are:
Openly affectionate, and make sacrifices for each other
Become confidants. More than 90% of couples who get married are.
But remember that men are sensitive to criticisms of their family, and men don’t share their feelings easily
9: The proposal stage
Most men propose after going out with a woman for 18 months.
If at the end of 22 months, a man has not proposed, the chances that he will start to diminish.
For 3.5 years, the chances diminish gradually. After that, it plunges. After 7 years, your chances are virtually zero.
Speaking of Marriage
1. Men who discuss marriage are more likely to propose
2. If you want to discuss marriage, you’re going to have to bring the subject up, because many men never will
3. 73% of marrying women said that they put pressure on their man to propose
4. If a woman is convinced that marriage is essential to her happiness, she is more likely to marry.
a. If a man is convinced that being married is essential to a woman’s happiness, he is more likely to propose
5. When a man who has been dating a woman for months says he hasn’t thought of marriage, he’s probably just being honest. Men don’t think about these things.
a. 1/3 of husbands who had said no at first had forgotten that they did so
b. 2/3 remembered, but most thought it wasn’t a big deal.
c. When told that saying this upset their wives, the men generally responded, “What did she want me to do, lie to her?”
d. More than 90% of men who said they weren’t ready didn’t think the answer was a rejection, just a fact.
e. The best response is, “Maybe it’s time for you to think about it.”
f. Statistically, this is actually one of the most encouraging answers a woman can receive; many of these men proposed within 4 months.
6. Men don’t get subtle hints—a woman has to discuss marriage directly and, to make sure he gets the point, ask follow-up questions.
7. When a man says he isn’t ready, it usually doesn’t mean he will never marry.
Often, it’s because they don’t have enough money.
8. Men rarely respond positively when challenged.
a. Over 50% of men say that when presented with a choice, “Marry me or get lost,” they chose to get lost.
b. Over 50% of men say that when a woman walks out, they let her go.
c. Instead, come back to the subject later. Send the message, “I love you, but I need marriage.” Don’t let them off the hook.
i. “How could you do this to me? You hurt me.”
ii. “The reason I’m so hurt is that I love you.”
Marrying after 40
1. The best places to meet eligible men are clubs and groups based on common interests. Join organization that have single men as members.
a. 21% of engaged women over 40 said that they had met their fiancée at an athletic club
b. Sports clubs that focus on activities that attract singles (trips, bicycling) are best
c. Next best are tennis, and golf.
d. Third come professional or social organizations that are overwhelmingly male, like engineering associations or collectors of sports memorabilia.
e. Fourth come organizations that have a singles scene, or sponsor events that give singles a chance to socialize with other club members.
f. Dances, picnics, and charity golf or tennis tournaments are also a good place to meet men.
2. Have an active social life
a. Women who go out twice a week, even just to dine with other women or do volunteer work, are 3x as likely to marry than those who don’t go out.
b. Going out three times a week boosts your chances even further.
c. However, going out more than 5 nights a week decreases your chances.
3. Though men often date women who are much younger, they usually marry someone close to their own age.
4. The most common reason men over 40 were attracted to their fiancées was that they took good care of themselves. So stay in shape!
5. When asked what attracted them to their fiancées, younger men cite virtue, talent, or accomplishments. 62% of men over forty cited “niceness” (congeniality, agreeableness, a relaxed, low-maintenance attitude, and acts of kindness).
6. Older men may be in a hurry to get married; delay them, don’t dump them, if you aren’t ready yet.
7. Men who attend religious services are more likely to marry.
Divorced men, widowers, and single fathers
1. Young widowers without children are the most marriageable men on earth
2. Single fathers with young children have little or no energy for a social life
3. Most widowers are not ready for a relationship until 2 years after their wife passed away
4. Men whose wives died of lingering or painful illnesses are less likely to remarry.
5. The more amicable a man’s divorce, the more likely he is to remarry
6. The younger a man is, the more likely he is to remarry