How to Marry a German

Note 2009-11-24: As this post keeps coming up as active, let me please note that 1) I am not and have never been married to a German and 2) there are no links to dating or marriage sites here. /JC

If you for some reason should be contemplating marrying a German, the strategy is fairly simple: If you are a man with higher education – go West. Cities in the Western part of the country offer massive surpluses of young, well-educated women.

If you promise to do some of the household work, immediate success should be guaranteed. (Don’t sue me if you fail. Remember that you are not paying for this advice).

If you are a woman, things are a bit more complicated.

First of all, there are many reasons why you would not want to move to Germany in the first place if you are a woman. The official view on women’s place in public and private life is antiquated, to say the least. The idea that a woman can have a career and a family life simply hasn’t entered the German mind.

In an interview the German Minister for non-Males Ursula von der Leyen noted that one reason why she had seven children was that she lived in the U.S. during a crucial period of her life and that combining motherhood and a professional career was perfectly acceptable in that country.

The demographic effects of German conservatism in social matters are fascinating. Rather than encouraging childbirth, the ideology and its accompanying policies have backfired completely and left Germany as one of the European countries with the lowest birthrate. Italy and Spain are two other casualties of the social conservative ideology.

Another reason why you wouldn’t want to move to Germany if you are a woman, is that the available men tend to live in the East, have little or no education beyond school and be out of work. And that is probably not the kind of man, you imagine as a paternal role model for your children.

When it comes to female mobility – both with regard to educational and geographical mobility – and male immobility, Germany follows a pattern which is familiar to the Nordic countries. Young men linger in traditional lines of work and declining industrial and rural regions while young women can’t wait to move to the cities.

Figures can be found in a report published by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development: Die Demografische Lage der Nation (pdf-document, opens in a new window). The Berlin Institute as also published a note on why the fertility rate in Germany is so low in an international comparision.

Die Zeit has an article about the issue entitled “Systematic robbery of women“. You shouldn’t claim that the Germans haven’t got some sense of humour.