In the traditional system of Chinese families, individuals are embedded in the institution of the family with defined obligations to enhance family development. As a consequence of the male-biased sex ratio at birth in China since the 1980s, an increasing number of surplus rural males have been affected by a marriage squeeze becoming involuntary bachelors. Under China’s universal heterosexual marriage tradition, family development of rural involuntary bachelors has largely been ignored, but in China’s gender-imbalanced society, it is necessary to adopt a family-based approach to identify and study the plight of rural involuntary bachelors. Studies on gender imbalance indicate that these men face multiple risks from the perspectives of their life course, the family life cycle, and the family ethic. To a certain extent, these risks are caused by a conflict between the individual’s family life and family ethics and are mainly reflected in problems concerning marriage, health, and old-age support. Not only do these vulnerabilities affect the individual and family development across the whole life cycle but also pose major risks to social development in the face of strong gender imbalance. In order to deal with risks faced by rural involuntary bachelors, core ethical principles, including autonomy, beneficence, and justice, need to be adopted. Through adjustments to informal support provided by the family and formal support provided by policy-makers, risk of uncertainty in family development faced by rural involuntary bachelors could be reduced.