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Why is marriage better?

Dad's response

There are many possible living arrangements: A man may live with several women, a women may live with more than one men, a man may live with a man or with many men, a woman may live with a woman or with many women. Widowed men and women may live alone or remarry. Men and women may also remain single for life - with or without having children. A marriage may be recognized by a state, an organization, a religious authority, a tribal group, a local community or peers - or the couple may cohabitate without formal recognition. Everything is possible. But the great majority of people worldwide still prefers the union between a man and a woman - usually including own children.

Because evolution has shaped us for marriage. For thousands of years a marriage between a man and a woman was the safest living arrangement for a women having children. Children, who were born into a marriage, had better chances to survive and prosper. Men, who took care of their family had better lives, usually lived longer and had higher chances to reproduce.

Because there is no better alternative. Marriage is still the most rewarding form of a relationship between a man and a woman. Period. Don't believe the nonsense that life is better in some other form of living arrangement. It's nothing but the steady propaganda of our mass media and culture change activists that has given marriage a "bad name". There is absolutely no scientific evidence that any other form of partnership or cohabitation makes people more happy, is better for the children, or is more stable. To the contrary: All serious surveys (all over the world) show that "marriage and family" are the two most important elements of happiness in life.

A (relatively) stable relationship between a man and a woman is still the best environment for raising children. Our world is full of neglected, abused and emotionally disturbed children, who could not grow up in the loving care of a mom and a dad. Children, who were raised by single mothers, in foster care, orphanages or in unconventional relationships often have serious social and psychological problems later in life. They are much more likely to use drugs, fail in school, stay unemployed or become criminal.

As indicated above, there all all kinds of living arrangements between men, women and children in the world. There is monogamy, polygamy, polygyny, polyandry, bigamy. Some families are matrifocal, others conjugal, and some avuncular (you can check out the mumbo-jumbo by clicking at the phrases). Anthropologist have thrived by describing these kinds of arrangements in various human societies. And even the common "western" marriage and family between a man and a woman, possibly including children, is not always what it seems to be. There is infidelity, adultery, promiscuity, double standards for men and women; there are mistresses, courtesans, escorts, call girls and call boys, prostitutes and concubines. And most of all, there is divorce and separation. Families may be incomplete or include step-children and adopted children. But all this great variety and all the temptations and challenges cannot eliminate the fundamental desire of men and women to have a stable emotional and sexual relationship with love and security for their own children.
It would be naive to ignore the threats to married life and the challenges to raising offspring in a family. In some counties, almost half the marriages end in divorce and there are scores of problems between between parents and children even in the best families. But living 15 or 20 years reasonably happy together before getting a divorce is still better than spending your evenings alone in a bar or numbing your loneliness through a succession of "one-night-stands".

Advertisement: Smart books from

Coontz - Marriage, a History Graff - What is Marriage For Easton - Ethical Slut Siegel - Parents' Marriage

Stephanie Coontz (2006)
Marriage, a History. How love conquered marriage.
Penguin Books

E. J. Graff (2004)
What is Marriage For?
The strange social history of our most intimate institution.
Beacon Press

Dossie Easton / Janet W. Hardy (2009)
The Ethical Slut. A practical guide to polyamory, open relationships & other adventures. Celestial Arts

Judith P. Siegel (2001)
What Children Learn from Their Parents' Marriage. It may be your marriage, but it's your child's blueprint for intimacy. Harper

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

Updated: 3 February 2015