Marriage Is Just a Piece of Paper - Part 3
- Monday, July 23, 2007
Marriage: The Best Alternative
I truly believe countless lives would change for the better if people were told The Naked Truth about the benefits of marriage. Families could not continue to be in such disarray if true believers—not make-believers—began to evangelize their communities about marriage. It’s important to share what God says, but it’s more powerful to live the truth. How you live your life says more about you than anything you can ever say. A marriage revival will only occur when Christians obey God’s charge in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then . . . I will heal their land.”
“Evangelize at all times, and when necessary use words.”
—St. Francis of Assisi
Sex in America was a book that documented the most exhaustive research study ever done on married couples in the U.S. and it found that married people achieve the five basic things that almost everyone wants: long life, health, financial security, sense of well-being, and a happy sex life. Though living together is now generally accepted, its outcomes can’t compare to the benefits of marriage.16
Married people not only feel better but are actually physically healthier and live longer than single people.17 There are many mental and physical health benefits to knowing that there is another person who will take care of you when you cannot take care of yourself. Married people vow to care for each other “in sickness and in health, as long we both shall live.”
Married couples—who are mutually dependent upon each other, helping each other to meet their financial and career goals—are more likely to be financially responsible for their partners than live-ins, who place a greater value on their independence over dependability. Live-ins are more likely to control their own finances and protect their individual economic futures by having separate bank accounts, instead of working as an economic team.
Married men earn nearly twice as much as single men. This may be explained by the increased financial responsibility men feel when they marry as many men have been heard saying, “Marriage made me get more serious about my career and making a good living.”18
Married women also benefit from marriage in that they make more money than their cohabitating or single sisters, and they also have access to more of their man’s earnings. In addition, many married women report receiving considerable support from their husbands in their careers.19
Married couples are also better off financially because they monitor each other’s spending in a way that emphasizes “our budget.” For most marrieds, “Your money is my money, and my money is your money.” According to the authors of The Case for Marriage, “This financial union is one of the cornerstones (along with sexual union) of what Americans mean by marriage.”20
Finally, married people are emotionally happier on the whole than singles, and they have more stable and secure relationships within their communities.21
In some families, cohabitation is no longer cause for parental disapproval. But in many families, cohabitation is still immoral and embarrassing to extended family members. Live-ins from these families run the risk of damaging their relationships with parents and experiencing the withdrawal of parental and extended family support for the relationship. Additionally, the temporary nature of live-in relationships may limit access to grandparents for children who might end up switching sets of grandparents multiple times.
People who live together may seem to have achieved the same benefits as married couples, but those benefits vanish in the long run and they are no better off than singles.22 Because cohabiting relationships are temporary by nature, the benefits last for a relatively short time, and if the couple splits up rather than marrying, the benefits are lost at a high emotional and psychological cost very similar to what people experience in a divorce.23
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