A Wise Life

A blog by Lisa Price

 

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor~ Ecclesiastes 4:9 NASB

 I am knee-deep in research for a talk I will give at a conference this spring. The conference will be centered on social attitudes towards marriage and family and how those issues are affecting non-profit organizations. In preparation I have read innumerable scholarly articles that all point solidly to the depressing and too real fact that marriage rates in Western countries are declining at an alarming rate.

 Why?

 Experts point to rapid social change, moral relativism and even some welfare programs as causes for shifting attitudes that have led to a decline in marriage rates. The theories are endless and interesting. But even the most interesting theories can get a bit tedious after reading pages and pages of them. I loathe anything tedious or dull. So I did a bit of unscientific research of my own. I contacted some millennials and asked them to share their views on the subject.

 A small number (one to be exact) of those I queried had optimistic attitudes towards marriage and were confident that their marriage would be successful. Twenty-one-year-old Jordyn said:

“Marriage is not an outdated institution by any means! I believe that it is something God gave us and when God created Adam. I dream about getting married all the time. I have seen healthy marriages and that is what I strive for.”

 The bulk of the responses were more cynical and sadly similar to a statement made by an anonymous twenty-something:

“My views on marriage are mostly negative. My Mother and Father have been together for 23 years but are not married because they felt marriage was bad luck. I have seen most of my family members get married and later divorced. I have never understood marriage and have always been told, “It’s just a piece of paper.””

 Too often marriage is looked upon as an antiquated and pointless societal construct. Or worse: marriage is thought to be unnecessary, impractical and the foundation of all sorts of sexual frustration. I for one am sick and tired of having marriage dissed. Marriage is the foundation of human civilization and deserves respect for five reasons:

 Marriage makes people better

  Societies in times past esteemed marriage because they understood a truth that “enlightened” moderns have foolishly forgotten. Marriage makes us better. Married men and women commit fewer crimes, are less likely to be addicted to drugs or alcohol, take better care of their children, give more to charitable causes and are more likely to vote and be actively involved in their communities.

 Marriage promotes healthy living

 On average, married people exercise more, eat better, live longer and have fewer serious health issues. They also suffer from depression at lower rates than single people. This is yet another way marriage benefits all of society: healthier people result in lower healthcare costs for everyone.

 Married people are sexier than single people

 Well, maybe not sexier exactly; but married people do have more sex than single people. Ten percent of single men ages 18-24 report having sex more than twice a week, while married men in the same age group report having sex an average of four times a week. Married men and women in every age group report having more frequent sex than their single counterparts in the same age group. Married people also report higher rates of sexual satisfaction.

 The children of married people have better outcomes

 The facts are indisputable. Marriage benefits children. Regardless of income levels, children with married parents do better and go farther in life. They get in less trouble, do better in school, and are more likely to graduate from high school. Children born out of wedlock are sicker, more likely to be depressed, more likely to use drugs or alcohol and are less likely to attend college.

 Married people have more money

 If you long for economic stability the smartest thing you can do is to get married and stay that way. Married men make more money than single or divorced men in the same jobs. The household incomes of married women are fifty percent higher than the household incomes of single women. Married people tend to have more assets and retirement savings than single people.

 Maggie Gallagher, author of The Case for Marriage, sums up the benefits of getting married and staying that way succinctly:

 Being married gives men a new sense of responsibility towards work. It reduces substance abuse. It creates more meaning and satisfaction in life for individuals. It provides a legal partner that, as in all economic partnerships, allows one to make more money and manage it better. Moreover, the act of marriage increases a couple’s confidence that theirs is a permanent union.

 Contrary to popular opinion, when marriages fail or struggle it’s not because there is anything wrong with marriage. Marriage is a gift from God and all of God’s gifts are good. People are the ones who mess up God’s gifts. If we want our marriages to be healthy we have to look to the one who made marriage, rather than to our own understanding of the subject.

 Sources Consulted:

A Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially by Maggie Gallagher

“Changing Patterns of Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States,” Stephanie Ventura, M.A. Division of Vital Statistics

“How Welfare Undermines Marriage and What to Do About It” Robert Rector

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Five Good Reasons Marriage Deserves a Little More Respect

  1. Tim says:

    Everything you wrote is beautiful – and exceedingly naive. For most people, marriage does not provide the benefits you listed. For at least half, marriage will end in divorce, mostly nullifying or even reversing those benefits into clear burdens and often severe, life destroying consequences. For many that “stick it out”, most of the benefits you mention will impact them only slightly or in a significantly negative way. Grey divorce has quadrupled in a short time span, which means that even those that stick it out long term are going their own ways late in life. There are significant, negative consequences – usually to the primary breadwinner – in late life divorce. As a result of divorce, thousands commit suicide every year.

    The wealthy divorce less because they can afford the vacations, luxuries and hired help that make life easier – unless the money runs low or out, that is. No fault divorce means that one spouse can drive up a huge debt, commit infidelity, file false accusations of abuse, rape or sexual assault, get custody of the kids, file for alimony and child support and completely ruin the life of the innocent spouse.

    The below will change most peoples thinking when it comes to marriage and divorce. Hit this site and behold the destruction of our corrupt divorce industry.

    http://www.divorcecorp.com/learn-more-2/

    The younger generations need to be exposed to all the evil, greed and ruin that has been experienced by the tens upon tens of millions destroyed through divorce over the past 4+ decades. Why? They need to know the truth so they can make informed decisions. What parent wants to see their son’s or daughter’ss life damaged or ruined by divorce?

    The younger generations need to clearly understand how ruinous ‘marriage and family’ can be. Only a cruel parent would expose their children to a ‘rose colored glasses’ view of what very likely awaits them. To do otherwise is to send naive pups out into the world of ravenous wolves.

    Like

  2. Alan says:

    From a purely personal, non-scientific standpoint I can attest to the benefits of marriage in my own life. I think the institution of marriage is beautiful and as beneficial as Lisa describes it. It’s not the institution but the execution that has flaws. People are imperfect creatures and marriage is hard so, yes, marriages often fail. Sometimes, despite one partners heroic efforts. Just because it’s hard, though, doesn’t make it less worthwhile, quite the opposite for me.

    Why?

    As another comment notes, parents don’t want their child’s life ruined by divorce, or by seeing their parents divorce. That thought has been a driver in my own desire to make my marriage work. I want my children to see that two people with common ground (ours is obviously our faith) and a conscious love for each other can make it work. Yes, it’s sometimes hard, very hard, but it’s worth the effort.
    That’s another reason, in my opinion, to make it work. We’ve had our struggles through the years to be sure (I’m not always easy to live with) but have agreed on ground rules for disagreements and committed to working things out, no matter what. The result is a relationship I WANT to be in. The struggles have made us stronger and given us the privilege of showing our children that there is good in marriage, if you work for it. I don’t want my kids to learn to practice the concept of “no fault” anything. I want them to learn to do the hard work to enjoy the best rewards. I don’t mean “stick it out”, though sadly that happens. I want them to do the hard work on the front end as well whether that means waiting for the right one when all their friends are dating and getting married or ending a relationship before marriage if they determine its not right.

    None of these are easy – or foolproof. I know good people who’s relationships ended in divorce. the sadness of divorce should not turn us from marriage anymore than the sadness of losing should keep athletes, politicians or performers from bothering to compete. Tough stuff but, as Lisa points out, worth the trouble.

    Like

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