For nearly four decades, marriage has been cast into considerable controversy. Psychologists, sociologists and marriage “experts” have viciously—and successfully—attacked the most valuable institution given to mankind. As a result, marriage has come to be considered an injurious undertaking, especially for women. The marriage institution is in near fatal decline: Divorce is common, and more and more people are choosing not to marry at all.
In 2011, a study by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia revealed Americans’ disenchantment with marriage. From 1970 to 2010 there was a 50 percent decline in the annual number of marriages per 1,000 unmarried adults. Current statistics indicate that roughly half of American marriages end in divorce.
But there is hope. There exists a renewed effort by many to restore marriage’s good reputation. More and more books and articles are highlighting the benefits and the importance of marriage. Even an avowed supporter of cohabitation-without-marriage stated in the New York Times in June 2012, “What I have learned is this: While ‘happily ever after’ may indeed be a farce, there is something to be said for uttering ‘I do.’”
What is to be said for marriage? Consider what some of the latest research is saying on the subject.
Financial strength is often mentioned as the most important benefit to marriage. A Rasmussen poll released in January 2012 showed that marriage offers better financial prospects. Families where the couple is married typically have higher household incomes than those with unmarried couples. This is true even when only one spouse holds a job. Statistics show that married men make 11 percent more than men who have never married. Economists and social scientists call this effect the “marriage premium.”
To what can this male marriage premium be attributed? Married men tend to be more conscientious and productive than their unmarried counterparts. A man who is married is often thinking more responsibly, since he has a family to support, so he is 1) likelier to go after a higher paying job, and 2) a more responsible individual and thus better capable of holding down a higher paying job. In addition, married men generally have wives who spend more time with household duties, which allows their husbands to devote more time to job responsibilities. Advancement and increased pay are the likely result. This means that even if the wife is not employed outside the home, her work in the home contributes to the overall income of the marriage. Two are better than one.
It is also well documented that married couples tend to have a greater accumulation of wealth. In their book The Case for Marriage, Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher show that the longer people remain married, the greater their wealth. Conversely, the longer that divorced people remain unmarried, the fewer their assets. For example, many married couples tend to own their own home, adding to their assets. Studies cited by Waite and Gallagher showed that couples married less than five years had a median net worth of $96,000. Spouses married 15 to 19 years had a net worth of $125,000, while couples married 35 years or more had assets totaling nearly $158,000. In contrast, people who had been divorced less than two years held a net worth of $41,900. Those divorced for 15 to 19 years had a net worth of $21,400. Those who remained single more than 20 years or more were worth only $7,200.
Ample evidence shows that the majority of single-parent families, especially those headed by a single female, struggle financially. The 2010 Census showed that “Of the single-mother families with children under 18, nearly 41 percent were living below the poverty line.” Single-father families do better. The census also found that only 9 percent of the married-couple families with children under 18 fall below the poverty line. So, explain the marriage advocates, if you’re married, you are likelier to be better off financially.
Promotes Good Health
Evidence proves that a happy marriage is good for your health. Medical studies show that married couples who spend a lot of time together and share an emotionally supportive relationship tend to have lower blood pressure. (Couples in negative marriages tend to have high blood pressure and other cardiovascular ailments such as thicker heart walls.) This suggests that loving couples help each other better meet the challenges, stresses and strains of life. In addition, compatible marriages strengthen each partner’s immune system, digestive system and prevent emotional problems like anxiety and depression.
In 2010, the New York Times, citing a study from The Journal of Health and Social Behavior, reported that “when the married people became single again—either by divorce or because of the death of a spouse—they suffered a decline in physical health from which they never fully recovered. These men and women had 20 percent more chronic health issues, like heart disease and diabetes, than those who were still married to their first husband or wife by middle age.” The Times also reported that divorced and widowed people aged less gracefully.
Medical experts believe that marriage is especially good for younger men. Young married men tend to be more cautious of their health, get regular check-ups and greatly improve their diet. Single men are three times more likely to die of cirrhosis of the liver, the California Healthy Marriages Coalition reports. And the U.S. Department of Justice says that male victims of violent crime are nearly four times more likely to be single than married.
Married sex is also better for a young man’s heath—and a woman’s too. Monogamous sex eliminates the chances of catching a sexually transmitted disease. The stress, uncertainness and emotional ambiguity that comes from promiscuous sex has been well publicized, but unfortunately, not believed. Married sex is better sex. The mental, emotional and physical satisfaction that is produced by bonded and committed love has no parallel.
On top of all that, marriage tends to have a noticeable dampening effect on risky behavior in young men, decreasing participation in activities like bungee jumping, parachuting and drunk driving.
The Overlooked Benefit
Above all, marriage offers awesome benefits to children. Nurturing, teaching and properly rearing children is the most important case for marriage. The 21st-century liberal media have gone over the top in insisting that same-sex “marriage” is better for children. Time is showing that this is a terrible lie foisted on a deer-eyed public. No other form of marriage has the incredible power to bring into being a new human life as does the sexual union between a man and a woman. No other union other than that of two opposite-gendered parents can produce healthy, emotionally stable, successful children.
The well-being of children has plunged with the decline of marriage. The rates of child abuse (physical and sexual), neglect, adolescent and teen crime, adolescent and teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed as adults have divorced and forsaken marriage. The problem is growing worse.
In February 2012, the New York Times reported that more than half of the births to white, American, middle-class women under 30 occur outside of marriage. These figures represent a shift of unwed pregnancy from poor women and minorities to white women with some college education. “The shift is affecting children’s lives,” the article stated. “Researchers have consistently found that children born outside marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty, failing in school or suffering emotional and behavioral problems.” As a nation we must come to see how adults, in full pursuit of private selfish desires, are crippling the future generation.
That is not to say that children who grow up in a single-parent family or divorced family are doomed; many have been successful. Yet, children living with happily married parents have distinct advantages that last long into adulthood. Statistics show that children of married couples are healthier physically and that they maintain their health throughout adulthood. Children of married couples grow up in a stable environment, often living in the same house until ready to move out on their own. A family history of living in one home lays the foundation for children to want to build their own families. Most importantly, children of married couples experience specialized attention from both Dad and Mom. Moms provide the nurturing that all children need. Dads provide practical know-how and crucial emotional stability. It is support from Dad and Mom that gives children the emotional strength and physical confidence to meet the challenges of life.
Children’s access to Dad is of prime importance for the development of self-esteem and confidence. Fathermag.com reports, “An increased amount of father-child involvement has proven to increase a child’s social stability, educational achievement, and even their potential to have a solid marriage as an adult.” Studies show that children are more likely to enjoy school and participate in extracurricular activities when their fathers are involved in their education. Waite and Gallagher cite a national study that shows that 81 percent of children in two-parent families said they get help with homework from their dads, while just 56 percent of children from single-parent families made the same claim. Lack of support from Dad could be one of the main reasons why children of single-parent families tend to do less well in school.
The vital importance of marriage can never be overstated. When the love between a man and a woman blooms into a marriage, an incredible power for great good is unleashed. A well-mated couple—the blending of two lives into one—produces a shared personal completeness that cannot be achieved any other way. Marriage stands firm as an honored institution that cannot be tarnished with human misuse.
While married love is incredibly good for men and women, it is critically necessary to raise happy, healthy and successful children. Looking at the lives of children, we see the future of humanity in the making. What will that future be like? Only those who understand the importance of marriage can ensure that future is bright. ▪