Benefits of being married

There are many benefits to being married, micro and macro, tangible and intangible.

The Case for Saying ‘I Do’, by Nicholas Kristoff, The New York Times, March 30, 2024

Historically, most American adults were married — more than two-thirds as recently as 1970. But the married share has crept downward, and today only about half of adults are married…

Survey data indicates that married couples on average report more happiness, build more wealth, live longer and raise more successful children than single parents or cohabiting couples, though there are plenty of exceptions…

Marriage predicts happiness better than education, work and money,” Wilcox writes. For example, survey data indicates that getting a college degree increases the odds of describing oneself as “very happy” by 64 percent. Earning a solid income lifts the odds by 88 percent. Being “very satisfied” with one’s job raises them by 145 percent. And marriage increases the odds of being very happy by 151 percent — while a “very happy” marriage boosts the odds by 545 percent…

Households headed by single mothers are five times as likely to live in poverty as those with married couples…Today about 51 percent of American kids reach adulthood with the same two parents they started out with…[end quote]

DH and I cohabited for 5 years before marrying in 1993. I love him like a teenager. But aside from the emotional benefits, household expenses are split between us so our financial position is more solid. We divide the many tasks of taking care of a home. We take care of each other when one of us is sick. It’s just safer to be married than alone. (Assuming that the people involved are safe.) Not to mention the health benefits of companionship vs. loneliness.

The decline of marriage in the U.S. is a Macroeconomic problem with national security implications. This impacts the working and lower class more than middle and upper classes since the lack of family-wage jobs makes men less desirable as husband material.

When it comes to marriage and family life, America is increasingly divided. College-educated and more affluent Americans enjoy relatively strong and stable marriages and the economic and social benefits that flow from such marriages. By contrast, not just poor but also working-class Americans face rising rates of family instability, single parenthood, and life-long singleness. Their families are increasingly fragile and poor and working-class Americans pay a serious economic, social, and psychological price for the fragility of their families.

Divorce is also more common among working-class and poor adults age 18–55, provided that they have married in the first place. Less than one-third of ever-married middle- and upper-class men and women have ever been divorced. Among working-class and poor men and women who have ever married, more than 40 percent have ever been divorced. [end quote]

The above-linked article explores many reasons why middle and upper class people have more marriage and less divorce than working and lower class people. (Especially with native-born Americans since immigrants have stronger marriage numbers.) But there is no question that this divide increases income inequality and perpetuates child poverty. There will be a Macroeconomic impact since many future workers will have grown up in suboptimal conditions.



I don’t see how any of this “makes the case” for getting married. It’s another case of selecting only for survivor bias. Studies show that studies don’t show things they don’t show. None of the “bad things” that happen happen simply because one is not married and none of the good things can happen unless one is married. That is the condition that must be met to “make the case” for saying “I do”


Just another bit of propaganda dressed up as “science” to pressure people to conform.



Peter Zeihan opined a couple days ago.

The summary, IMO, tell the young people you know to go into blue collar careers.
There are LOTS of “higher Ed” educated workers vying for white collar jobs.
Go for those jobs where the herd aren’t competing.

Zeihan opined on the divorce rate - It’s about finances.


I listened to this podcast, too:

These two are Venture Capitalists, and discuss various aspects of AI and robots, among other topics. No mention of marriage, divorce, or lonely singles, though.

They say that TSMC success in Taiwan is due to cultural norms about loyalty and staying in one company vs those norms in present-day TX, AZ… US, of jumping to the next higher paying job ASAP.

Loyalty is not a problem with robots.

The Middle East countries have lots of CHEAP energy, which makes running an energy hog Accelerated Compute AI training inference server farm economically doable.
Ie, AI companies are going to move the West’s compute needs to the ME? That gets a heartily sarcastic “YAY!” from me.
Another “win/lose” like moving/concentrating the West’s manufacturing in China.

The unpaid leisure class is poised for growth. Don’t miss out!


Marriage as opposed to “living in sin”, which I support we’re doing anyway as a same sex couple is pretty important financially. If one of us gets hit by a bus or drops dead for any other reason, we don’t have to worry about the survivor getting the nest egg.

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Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Condition

One the other hand, being alone is preferable to “wishing you were”. I understand that trying to exit a bad marriage can be expensive and stressful.



This is one of those rare times when I agree in full with Intercst. I remember my bachelor older brother chastising me when I announced I was divorcing my ex. “It is lonely being by yourself,” he said. I replied it was lonelier being married to the wrong person, and right then, being alone sounded absolutely wonderful.

After that divorce, I’ve been with DH for over 32 years. Definite synergy in a good marriage, with the sum of the parts being greater than the individual parts added together. We compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses, each bringing our separate skills and approaching a problem together much better than we could have alone. Marriage is great when you both have each other’s backs.



Husband and I are just over a month shy of our 46 th wedding anniversary and I can attest to the value of partners who have each others’ backs. Over the years such pressures we’ve faced have been external…us against the world, so to speak…and there’ve been precious few of those, really.

We’re certainly paying our dues now with the daughter’s divorce. As intercst said, set to be hugely costly and stressful. It’s hard to fathom the venom and spite that one person can generate…all the while showing all the signs of feeling like the victim. Even as his embezzlement is becoming more obvious by the day. Set to shorten my life, that’s for sure.


So sorry to hear the stresses you all are going through. It’s not fun, for sure, but it can be so worth it.


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This is the biggest truth. Not many things can top being in a good marriage, in my opinion (that’s me, I understand other people rate reasons for happiness differently). I am not talking about making it official, I am talking about having a partner to experience the good, the bad, and everything in between. But staying in a bad marriage is the second worst thing one can do to themselves. Getting married because you “should” is first on that list. There are still fairly young people with the mindset “I should get married; I should have children” and this never ends well. What you should is wanting to do something.

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That is the societal pressure to conform. I remember my mom ranting one day, as I expressed some doubt about that “married with children” narrative, “if a man isn’t married by the time he’s thirty, it means he’s qu33r”. Many people buckle under the pressure, and conform. The US has about a 50% divorce rate, and about 20% of marriage experience domestic violence.

Some of the “accepted norms” of marriage are repugnant. There is a TV commercial on currently, that propagates the “happy spouse, happy house” line, sometimes phrased as “happy wife, happy life”, as if a man has to spend every waking moment, and every dollar, catering to the wife’s every whim, or she will make his life a living he!!. That is the sort of spousal abuse that doesn’t make the “news”.

One of the few times I agreed with Bill O’Reilly, was when he was huffing and puffing about this commercial. The “husband” makes an indelicate comment, and the “wife” immediately attacks him, and attacks, and attacks. Bill suggested that, if the gender roles were reversed, and it was the husband who verbally attacked, and the wife was told to “shut up”, there would be howls of protest that the ad denigrated women.


That’s exactly what it is, societal pressure to conform. I am just surprised how many times I’ve heard this point of view from people in their 30s.

The way I look at the problem is that women were dealing (many still are) with unfair treatment, in society and marriage throughout history. Things did get better. I cannot support reversing roles the way it’s often done nowadays. You don’t correct any kind of injustice by implementing it only with switching roles. I think we as humans continuously cannot find a middle ground, we take things to extreme levels. Oh look, you were bosses, no we are. No one is “the boss”.

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Whoa, I think we need to lighten up a bit. If that’s an attack, then the dude in GA who was arrested after his wife made his grilled cheese too cheesy committed attempted murder.

I do agree that societal pressure leads to a lot of unhappy marriages. I also agree that “accepted norms” can be repugnant. That includes the norm that spouses cater to their partner’s every whim. I wonder how much longer women have had to deal with that “accepted norm” than men…

Marriage is hard. The biggest benefit of my marriage - My wife has helped me become a better, more compassionate person. While I didn’t go into the marriage with that as a goal, I’m happy with the outcome.


For as long as women have been financially dependent on men and also threatened with physical violence if the man was displeased…basically since time began.

A better norm would be the one modeled by my own parents (and explained when asked) – compromise. DH and I model our own marriage on the principle of negotiation to a win-win.



My Uncle G must have been in a state of bliss - he tried it four times :slight_smile:

I’m 70. Started questioning the “accepted lifestyle” in the 60s

That sounds too close to “men now are collectively guilty of all the sins committed in the past, so must dedicate every waking moment, and every dollar, to making amends”. I reject that viewpoint.



I’m afraid you missed my point. Having no right to vote and worse working conditions were far from fair. And seeing domestic violence as a normal thing that no one talks about - also. These are facts. However, this: “men now are collectively guilty of all the sins committed in the past, so must dedicate every waking moment, and every dollar, to making amends” is not a way to make the wrong right. I actually agree with you, even if you fail to see it. I think imposing collective guilt under any circumstances solves nothing and only creates further problems. To avoid further misunderstandings, this is where I’ll stop. All the best.


I’ve heard those phrases before and never read that meaning into them. But I can see that point of view.

However, I prefer to interpret those phrases the way the commercial you linked to did - if you are making a mistake and your spouse is getting angry with you because of that, stop making the mistake. It’s not catering to every whim, it’s paying attention to the impact your words or actions are having. If that impact isn’t the one you want, change your words or actions.

The underlying assumption is that you really do want your spouse to be generally happy. That doesn’t mean happy all of the time, of course. Just clearly happy more than unhappy.

–Peter <== in a generally happy marriage for almost 40 years, so feels he has some experience to comment on this topic.


This is the “happy spouse” advert that has been running recently in metro Detroit. It starts out as a negotiation. Then the wife shuts the husband down with that line and it’s implied threat if he doesn’t do everything her way.


I agree. This one is not the way I’d like to see that phrase used.

In the ad for breakfast cereal up thread, the husband is insulting the wife. He figures that out and stops it. Much better use.

I can say from my experience that my wife never used the second one on me. I got the first one a couple of times, though.