In Defense of Marriage
Today I celebrate my eighth year married to a lovely lady named Shannon. It has been a wonderful journey. It’s amazing how mountains seem not so steep and valleys not so deep when you are walking with someone you love so dearly. Like all other married couples, we’ve seen some difficult times. We have clung to each other when an adoption fell through and we rejoiced 3 months later when it all fell into place. It was so comforting to have someone to lean heavily upon when my mother died a year ago in April. We’ve been through a few job changes. We sat together in a hospital room for ten days while our son, Kameron, fought off a rare ear infection. I’m so glad Shannon convinced me I could be a ‘father’ once again. We’ve watched some friends die, we’ve watched others marry and still others add to their families. We look back in amazement at what God has done and this gives us courage to look ahead with expectation that he will do even greater things in the years yet to come.
If an alien to earth would sit down and study marriage through television he might think that marriage brings only disrespect and dissatisfaction to those who commit to such a life. I couldn’t disagree more, and neither can Linda Waite who did a scientific study on the consequences of marriage which she published in her book, “The Case for Marriage”. This is what she discovered:
1. Marriage decreases the risk of becoming a victim to domestic violence. Single and divorced women are four or five times more likely to be a victim of violent crimes than married women.
2. Married people live longer and happier lives. Nine of ten married guys aged 48 will make it to age 65 while only 6 of 10 single guys age 48 will make it to 65. Statisticians Bernard Cohen and I-Sing Lee discovered that “having heart disease…reduces a man’s life expectancy by just under six years, while being unmarried chops almost ten years off a man’s life.”
3. Children of divorced parents have a shorter life expectancy than children of parents who stayed together.
4. Some estimates claim married men make as much as 40% more money than single men. Having a wife can be as beneficial to the husband’s salary as a college education.
5. Not only do married couples make more money, they manage their money better and build more wealth over a lifetime than single people do. Married couples about to retire have accumulated on average a total of $410,000 in total assets while singles have accumulated on average only $167,000.
6. Marriage increases sexual faithfulness. Men who cohabitate are four times more likely to cheat than husbands while cohabitating women are eight times more likely to cheat than wives.
7. Married men and women have less psychological issues. They suffer less depression, they have less anxiety and feel less stress in their lives. Studies have indicated that divorced people suffer a much greater incidence of deterioration in mental health and an increase in depression.
8. Statistical studies do not concur with those who claim the single life is a happier life. Forty percent of married couples said they are ‘very happy’ while only 25% of singles made the same claim and only 18% of divorced people claim to be ‘very happy’.
Maggie Gallagher wrote, “Sexual fidelity, an economic union, a parenting alliance, the promise of care that transcends day-to-day emotions: all these are what give a few words mumbled before a clergyman or judge the power to change lives.”
I would add that marriage is so successful and fulfilling because it is an institution sanctioned by God from the beginning of creation as a vehicle for procreation and as a means of fulfilling the relational needs of men and women.