Marriage is no walk in the park but, there are more benefits to marriage than divorce. Those in a good enough marriage should consider these benefits before considering taking steps to divorce.
This will strike a nerve with some of you readers but, marriage is better for you than divorce. There are social and financial benefits to a married person that a single or divorced person won’t experience. I often wonder how often those who divorce stop to think about these non-romantic benefits of marriage before pulling the trigger on a good enough marriage.
Marriage is good for a couple; it is also provides the optimal conditions for bearing and raising children. Marriage also makes an essential contribution to the common good. And when I say marriage I’m not talking about your 3rd or 4th marriage. I’m talking about long-term marriage with two spouses who are invested in solving marital problems and making their marriage work for the good of all of us, not just themselves.
So, what are some reasons marriage is better than divorce?
1. On average, husbands and wives are healthier, happier and enjoy longer lives than those who are not married.
2. Married mothers have lower rates of depression than single or cohabiting mothers, probably because they are more likely to receive practical and emotional support from their child’s father and his family.
3. Married couples build more wealth on average than singles or cohabiting couples.
4. Married women are economically better off than divorced, cohabiting or never-married women.
5. Children from intact families are less likely to be poor or to experience persistent economic insecurity.
6. Children raised by their own mother and father in an intact family are more likely to stay in school, have fewer behavioral and attendance problems, and earn four-year college degrees.
7. Children of divorce are more vulnerable to serious emotional illness, depression, and suicide.
8. Children raised in intact families are more likely to have positive attitudes towards marriage and greater success in forming lasting marriages.
9. Married women are at lower risk for domestic violence than women in cohabiting or dating relationships.
10. Boys raised in single-parent homes are more likely to engage in criminal and delinquent behavior than those raised by two married biological parents.
11. The institution of marriage reliably creates the social, economic and affective conditions for effective parenting. Parenting together in an intact marriage is a hell of a lot easier than co-parenting after divorce!
12. Being married changes people’s lifestyles and habits in ways that are personally and socially beneficial. Marriage is a “seedbed” of prosocial behavior.
13. Marriage generates social capital. The social bonds created through marriage yield benefits not only for the family but for others as well, including the larger society. In other words, married people are more likely to be attached to others, committed to others and involved with others in a healthy manner.
Am I saying that no one should divorce? Not at all. What I’m saying is, there is more to consider before you divorce than whether you’ve “fallen out of love,” or, “he no longer makes me happy.” Divorce isn’t a decision anyone should take likely, especially in light of the many benefits of marriage.
And, although this should be implicitly understood, if you are in an abusive marriage, you are not experiencing any benefits of marriage, so, please feel free to divorce without second thought.