THE POWER of MARRIAGE

Romantics on the dockMY WIFE, KELLY, recently shared an article with me titled, “Study: Married Men Are Happier!” When I originally received the message, I dismissed it altogether, assuming it was just another Buzz-Feed-Style story that lacked validity but somehow made it out of the Internet’s wormhole and landed on Facebook. I also figured it was one of my wife’s crafty ploys to remind me of how good I have it…Months passed, and I never opened the link.

Then, while searching for “creative inspiration” to write this article, I remembered Kelly’s message. I decided to read it, and what I previously assumed was a “click-bait” article ended up being legitimate research from the Institute for Family Studies. After processing the information (and feeling shameful for not reading the article earlier), I learned a few things worthy of sharing. Most notably, researchers discovered “the benefits of marriage for men are substantial by every conceivable measure, including more money, a better sex life, and significantly better physical and mental health.”

Such findings overwhelmingly contradict the notion that marriage isn’t worth the financial sacrifices, lost romantic opportunities, or “lack of freedom” that single men fear. These negative associations of marriage best fit under the umbrella of a “ball-and-chain” spouse who serves little benefit to a man interested in pursuing happiness. Given the decline in marriage rates and spike in divorce, compounded by the seemingly endless “availability” of partners that younger generations believe they can freely select from, it’s reasonable to say that the ball-and-chain viewpoint is becoming engrained in our society, particularly by young, unmarried men.

However, this negative perception of marriage has been disproven, and a much brighter reality exists. When it comes to work and money, researchers found that marriage has a transformative effect on men; They’ll be richer than single men by 10 to 40 percent because they generally work harder, smarter, and more successfully. In terms of financial security, “Married men earn more, save more, and generally have access to a second income. Consequently, they have much greater accumulated wealth than their unmarried peers.” Interestingly, the typical fifty-something married man has three times the assets of his unmarried peer.

Additionally, married men are far healthier, both physically and mentally. Not only do they have healthier diets, but “men who stay married live almost 10 years longer than their unmarried peers.” Further, Harvard researchers found that among men diagnosed with cancer, married men live significantly longer. An important related factor is that spouses are more likely to insist on a doctor visit. To put this into practical terms, the next time your spouse is nagging and kvetching, take it as a sign of love…and increased life expectancy.

Lastly, for men who are holding off on marriage in hopes of having intense romantic encounters with a bounty of partners, I’m sorry to inform you that you’re yanking your own chain if you believe such a fantasy exists. According to the National Health and Social Life Survey, “51 percent of married men reported being extremely satisfied with their sex lives, compared to 39 percent of cohabiting men and 36 percent of single men.” Simply put, married men find sex more emotionally and physically pleasurable than their unmarried peers, and although the findings don’t align with what Cosmo Magazine or Charlie Sheen have to say, the research evidence is indisputable.

After doing my research (prompted by the wisdom of my wife), I hope this article inspires any single men who are contemplating taking the next step to reconsider their preconceived notions, as the ball-and-chain myth has indeed been debunked. For the already married man, perhaps now you’ll be more willing to put up with the idiosyncrasies of your partner if it means some extra cash in the bank and another decade added to your life.

Adam Chester lives in Los Angeles with his wife Kelly and is in graduate school working towards his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Contact the author: Adamzchester@gmail.com.

 

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