Why marriage is good for you

Single man

The married couples have much better sex lives than the singles.

Photo credit: Igah | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The separated and divorced of both sexes experience particularly high mental health risks.
  • It’s fine to enjoy spending time alone, but missing out on social relationships is very damaging.

We live very different lives from our grandparents. We stay single for far longer, our relationships don’t last as long, and many couples just live together rather than marrying. 

It’s currently fashionable for young women to say they’re happier on their own even though they may secretly wish they were married. And while single men are more willing to admit that they want a partner, they often treat women badly and can be unwilling to commit. 

And yet marriage is clearly a very good idea. Married couples live longer, need less medical care, and are emotionally and physically healthier than the unmarried. Even just holding your partner’s hand lowers your blood pressure.

Married couples also have lower suicide rates than the unmarried, suffer less mental illness and recover more successfully. The separated and divorced of both sexes experience particularly high mental health risks.

All the evidence suggests that these differences are caused by social isolation. It’s fine to enjoy spending time alone, but missing out on social relationships is very damaging. And the separated, divorced, widowed or never married are much more likely to describe themselves as feeling lonely or unhappy compared to married couples. So the idea that people who marry swap their exciting social circle for a life of boredom and isolation simply isn’t true. It’s just the opposite, in fact.

Better off financially

It also makes a difference whether people marry or cohabit, though this isn’t really about whether people actually get married or not. It really depends on the stability of the partnership.

Because people who choose to cohabit tend to be less committed, and to have a lower tolerance for difficulties in a relationship. And so they bail out rather than work through problems. They also have a different perspective on time. From ‘I’ll always be there for you,’ which encourages a couple to invest emotionally in each other, to ‘I’ll be there as long as the relationship meets my needs.’ 

Such people typically value their independence, personal leisure time and freedom highly. They’re less likely to care for each other ‘in sickness and in health,’ or to support each other financially, or to have joint bank accounts. But all this comes at a price. They also miss out on the benefits of a deeper, more honest and more intimate relationship.

Married couples also tend to end up better off financially. Men become more serious about money when they marry, and couples monitor each other’s spending, because “your money’s my money”. So, that financial stability and emotional intimacy are key aspects of what most people expect from marriage. Plus the sex of course!

And believe it or not, married couples have much better sex lives than singles! Commitment and security make sex more enjoyable, and married couples tend to see love and sex as intrinsically connected. So even though marriage doesn’t always mean ‘happily ever after,’ it’s still your best option for a long life, full of love and happiness.

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