The Marriage Movement


At least someone in the world has finally recognized that marriage and family are the keys to a strong society. Australia and New Zealand have issued a joint report, backed by a coalition of marriage and family advocacy groups, that explains without equivocation just how important these traditional institutions are to a healthy culture. Titled “21 Reasons Why Marriage Matters,” the report is based on local and international research into the benefits of married life. Here is a snapshot of the findings:

  1. Marriage increases the likelihood that fathers will have good relationships with their children.
  2. Cohabitation is not the functional equivalent of marriage.
  3. Growing up outside an intact marriage increases the likelihood that children themselves will divorce or become unwed parents.
  4. Marriage is a virtually universal human institution.
  5. Divorce and unmarried childbearing increase poverty for both children and mothers.
  6. Married couples seem to build more wealth on average than singles or cohabiting couples.
  7. Married men earn more money than do single men with similar education and job histories.
  8. Parental divorce (or failure to marry) appears to increase children’s risk of school failure.
  9. Parental divorce reduces the likelihood that children will graduate from college and achieve high-status jobs.
  10. Children who live with their own two married parents enjoy better physical health, on average, than do children in other family forms.
  11. Parental marriage is associated with a sharply lower risk of infant mortality.
  12. Marriage is associated with reduced rates of alcohol and substance abuse for both adults and teens.
  13. Married people, especially married men, have longer life expectancies than do otherwise similar singles.
  14. Marriage is associated with better health and lower rates of injury, illness, and disability for both men and women.
  15. Children whose parents divorce have higher rates of psychological distress and mental illness.
  16. Divorce appears significantly to increase the risk of suicide.
  17. Married mothers have lower rates of depression than do single or cohabiting mothers.
  18. Boys raised in single-parent families are more likely to engage in delinquent and criminal -behavior.
  19. Marriage appears to reduce the risk that adults will be either perpetrators or victims of crime.
  20. Married women appear to have a lower risk of experiencing domestic violence than do cohabiting or dating women.
  21. A child who is not living with his own two married parents is at greater risk of child abuse.

This short piece originally appeared in the SHRAPNEL section of Salvo 11. Subscribe today!

2 thoughts on “The Marriage Movement

  1. Has any group in the United States spoke highly of divorce, or recommended remaining single for one’s entire life?
    This is why many of us don’t get the energy expended against gay marriage (which would bring stability to the lives of gay couples but probably impacts maybe .5% of the population directly).
    Just think if all these “Protect Marriage” groups started lobbying to change existing marriage laws to make divorce more difficult!
    For some reason, though, I don’t see much interest in that.

  2. FB – There is no organized movement of singles or divorced people trying to use the force of law via courts to force unwilling populations to issue marriage licenses that recognize nonmarriage as marriage. Marriage defenders did not pick this fight.
    I do believe divorce law needs change, but that it another issue.
    As for the benefits of marriage listed above… as a married man I’d like to believe they are all true – I hope they are. However, correlation does not prove causation. We have no idea how well off I’d be in any given category had I remained unmarried and childless. It is no surprise that married men earn more money – who do you think is more likely to attract a wife to begin with? (And note that half of his earnings belong to his wife if she does not earn her own income – so is he really better off financially?) Likewise, of course married mothers have lower rates of depression that unmarried mothers – who is more likely to attract a husband in the first place? Who wants to marry a depressed person.
    I’m a marriage-and-family kind of guy, but we should not overstate our case.

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