Marriage is the union of two individuals. For most, it is much more than a civil ceremony with economic or legal benefits. It is a declarative way to express love and devotion to one’s partner and affirm commitment before family and friends. The proponents of marriage believe that communities get better when people enter the institution of marriage and stay married.
However, with the changing times, the concept of marriage has also seen profound shifts. Isn’t love enough? Why do people voluntarily enter into this life-long commitment? Read this post to learn about the many benefits marriage brings to partners and the community at large.
15 Reasons Marriage Is Important
- Marks a new beginning: Marriage manifests life-time commitment, allowing you to care for your partner and your family selflessly. It marks the beginning of a special bond wherein you connect with your partner physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Brings oneness: In marriage, you and your partner work as a team and celebrate milestones and successes and rise to challenges together. You share your emotions, feelings, and, most importantly, your life with your spouse.
- Benefits both the partners: Marriage facilitates social bonding and improves economic standing and social capital. Economic and social ramifications typically benefit not only partners, but other family members, and the community.
- Makes you happier: The benefits or joys of single life may be overrated. Experts believe that marriage improves health and financial satisfaction. A study using data from 17 developed nations has shown that being married was associated with significantly higher levels of happiness relative to cohabitation, and marriage increases happiness equally among men and women (1).
- Improves life expectancy: Proponents of marriage believe that married people live longer and healthier lives. Statisticians Bernard Cohen and I-Sing Lee compiled a catalog of mortality risks, including marital status, occupational risks, socioeconomic factors, geography, diseases, substance abuse, and various other factors. They concluded that being unmarried is one of the most significant health risks that people voluntarily subject themselves to (2).
- Keeps your heart healthy: A meta-analysis of 34 studies involving more than two million participants showed that unmarried people were at a 42% higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 16% higher risk of developing coronary artery disease than married people (3). Interestingly, married people have the lowest incidence of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease (4).
- Benefits children: Parenting is exciting as well as challenging for couples. Experts believe that children gain more when they grow up in households in which both parents live. Long-term studies have observed that children living with their biological, married parents have better physical, emotional, and academic well-being (4).
- Offers economic stability: Many people may believe that being married brings a financial burden. However, experts believe that married people not only make more money, but also manage it better. A study of 76 middle-class couples from a rural midwestern county showed that married people are less likely to report economic hardships (5).
- Keeps you sane: Being married improves your mental health. On the whole, single people experience less social support, which has been associated with higher depression rates, loneliness, and social isolation (6).
- Provides emotional security: People look for emotional support and security in their relationships. When you share your life with a partner, you become more comfortable sharing your aspirations, struggles, emotions, and feelings.
- Increases fidelity: Studies highlighting lifetime-engagement estimates of infidelity have shown that around 20% of married couples and approximately 70% of unmarried couples are engaged in extra-relational affairs (7). Risk factors for infidelity include low relationship commitment or decreasing sexual or relationship satisfaction (7).
- May save your life: Experts believe that marriage is associated with a lower risk of mortality in adults. Various studies have demonstrated that the chances of survival after major surgeries, such as cardiac surgery and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), may be better among married people than unmarried people (8), (9).
- Helps accumulate more money: It has been demonstrated that the longer men stay married, the greater the accumulation of wealth. Interestingly, a married man in his fifties may have three times the assets than his unmarried counterpart (10).
- Improves sexual intimacy: Experts believe that women are four times as likely as men to make love a requirement or enter into an intimate relationship for having sex. Men are also more likely to experience sexual satisfaction when they are in a long-term, lasting relationship (10).
- Makes the community better: It has been observed that married people have more civic responsibility and are more likely to volunteer in community service. In addition, they are more likely to be involved in schools and churches (4).
Marriage confers several benefits. It helps improve different aspects of an individual’s life, including emotional, social, economic, physical, and mental health. When couples commit to marriage, they often become equally stronger and more secure.
2. Cohen, B. L. and Lee, I. S. A catalog of risks; Health Physics (1979).
3. Wong, C. W., et al.; Marital status and risk of cardiovascular diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis; Heart, (2018).
4. Anderson J; The impact of family structure on the health of children: Effects of divorce: The Linacre Quarterly (2014).
5. Conger, R. D., et al.;. Linking Economic Hardship to Marital Quality and Instability; Journal of Marriage and the Family (1990).
6. Shmerling, R.H.; The health advantages of marriage; Harvard Health Publishing (2016).
7. Knopp, K., et al.;. Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater? Serial Infidelity Across Subsequent Relationships; Archives of Sexual Behavior (2017).
8. King, K. B. and Reis, H. T.; Marriage and long-term survival after coronary artery bypass grafting; Health Psychology (2012).
9. Idler, E. L., Boulifard, D. A., and Contrada, R. J.; Mending broken hearts: marriage and survival following cardiac surgery; Journal of Health and Social Behavior (2012).
10. Wolfinger, NH. and Wilcox, W.B. Men & Marriage: Debunking the Ball and Chain Myth: Institute for Family Studies.