If we told you we knew about something that would extend your life span by up to eight years, improve your immune system, reduce the incidence of physical, mental and substance abuse disorders, help you recover from illness and surgery more quickly, result in more satisfying and more frequent sexual relations, and increase your financial net worth, would you be interested in finding out how to get this thing for yourself? How much would you pay for it if it was in a pill? How hard would you work to get it? Just what is this amazing thing? A new miracle vitamin or nutritional supplement? A new tape program advertised in hour-long infomercials on late-night TV?
The good news is that we all are very familiar with this magical something that adds all these benefits to our lives. It’s called marriage. That’s right, marriage. A book, The Case for Marriage, by sociologist Dr. Linda Waite, a top family scholar at the University of Chicago, and Maggie Gallagher, Director of the Marriage Program at the Institute for American Values, discusses the enormous multi-dimensional benefits of being married.
Among the findings from the research that led to this book:
- married people live up to eight years’ longer than divorced or never-married people. In fact, over 90% of married people live to be at least 65 years old, while only 60% of divorced and never married people live to this moderate age;
- Waite also found that the incidence of all forms of mental and physical illness were reduced in married people as compared with unmarried or divorced people;
- percentages of people engaging in unhealthy levels of alcohol or drug consumption were also significantly lower among married people;
- married people even have sex twice as often as single people, and report deeper levels of satisfaction with their sexual relations. Unmarried couples who live together also have active sex lives but, like unmarried people, get less emotional satisfaction from it than married people.
- married people have more than twice as much total net assets, on average, as unmarried people. Married couples not only save more while enjoying some economies of scale, but married men also earn up to 26 percent more than single men.
- moderate domestic violence (defined as hitting, shoving or throwing things at a partner) occurred half as often with married couples and cohabiting couples engaged to marry, as compared to cohabiting couples not planning to marry.
At our workshops, we often hear people say that attracting a healthy partner or working on their current relationship is ‘too hard’ and requires ‘too much work’. Yet in light of these powerful findings, it is obvious that a good marriage can enhance and expand the quality of your entire life more than almost anything else. Why not do everything you can to make yours as strong and healthy as possible? You’ve got nothing to lose by trying. By not trying, you may be choosing to lose your life, your health, your money and some great sex.