Should I marry?

Updated: 2 March 2015

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Dad's response

You should marry. A stable relationship between a man and a woman, recognized as a "marriage" by society, friends and family is the most natural and rewarding way of adult life. Sure - you can live alone all by yourself, you may live in an informal relationship, have multiple partners, or share your life with a same-sex partner (which may be even recognized as a "marriage" in some parts of the world). I don't care. In my experience there is nothing "working" better than a marriage between one man and one woman (especially if they have a child or children) - und I have tried out some of the other alternatives. Here are a few no-nonsense arguments why marriage is the best way of life:

You will live longer. Demographic statistics on life expectancy clearly show that married people have (much) higher life expectancy than people who live alone by themselves. The difference is particularly striking with widowed men who's long-time wife has died. Many don't survive their partner for more than a few months.

You will be happier. Large-scale representative surveys consistently show that married people describe themselves as being much happier than people who live alone. The popular perception that singles enjoy life more because they can do whatever they want is nonsense.
 

An old married couple in Kyrgyzstan, 2010. Jennifer Buzanowski, U.S. Air Force, Source

African American Family 20th or 21st century.
Wazzle

Bott Family, 2007
Jefferybott

It is much easier to have children - particularly for a woman. Of course you can have children out of wedlock. You can have it all by yourself or when living together "informally" with a partner. Nowadays everything is possible. But is it sensible? Raising a child is a challenging task that makes most sense in a stable relationship between a man an woman. A family is the most natural way of adult life - because this is how our species has successfully evolved.

Economically, you will be more secure - especially if you are a mother. The most vulnerable in almost every society are single women with children. Sure - modern societies make the biological father pay his share in the cost of raising the child. Some societies provide other support for single mothers. But the bottom line is that you will be struggling when you have to raise a child without a husband. Among the poor, single mothers are highly over-represented. Marriage is also an economic safety net if your partner gets sick or disabled. With two people supporting each other economically, unemployment can be better compensated. And if you start a business or buy a house being married has clear economic advantages - in some societies mortgages and loans are cheaper to married couples and governments pay special subsidies to young families.

You will live healthier. Physical and emotional health is typically higher among married people than among those who live in any other arrangement. Our cultural "elites" have indoctrinated the public to believe that marriage usually is a succession of "rose wars", permanent cheating, wife beatings and emotional exploitation. Nonsense! Most marriages are reasonably happy (at least for many years) and provide a stable environment for children to be raised. Of course, there are fights, there is cheating, there is abuse in marriages - but don't think this would be better in any other form of living together! Living together is just difficult - but of all the difficult living arrangements traditional marriage is still the best.
 
 

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Waite - Case for Marriage Gottman - Seven Principles Smith - Why Women Shouldn't Marry Veaux - More than Two

Linda Waite / Maggie
Gallagher (2001)
The Case for Marriage. Why married people are happier, healthier and better off financially. Broadway Books

John Gottman / Nan Silver (2015)
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. A practical guide from the country's foremost relationship expert. Harmony

Cynthia S. Smith / Hillary B. Smith (2008)
Why Women Shouldn't Marry. Being single by choice.
Barricade Books

Franklin Veaux / Eve Rickert (2014)
More Than Two. A practical guide to ethical polyamory.
Thorntree Press

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Copyright 2014, 2015 by Gerhard K. Heilig. All rights reserved.

Updated: 3 February 2015