Ask a handful of your married peers what they think of marriage, and invariably you will get guffaws, off color remarks, ball and chain jokes, and, probably, a few terms of endearment. There will be those who comment on the high divorce rates, and others will say they pine for the carefree days when they were single, and, yet, still there will be those who perceive in their marriage a kind of dull monotony. Whether they know it or not, married people are by far happier than their single counterparts.
In a landmark study conducted by the University of British Columbia, it has been shown that their is a direct causal relationship between marriage and life long happiness. The effects are strongest nearest to the wedding date, but show strong effects into middle age. The effects are especially remarkable among those who have a close, loving relationship, and those who say they married their best friend.
Who would have thought it? Marriage, the cornerstone of human civilization, actually makes people happier. It isn’t just a social construct. It isn’t just an arrangement which makes it easier to have and maintain a family. It isn’t just a way to accumulate assets, build a life, and create a home. Marriage makes people happier!
So, why is there so much ho-hum among married people? Why are they so ambivalent, even hostile to the institution of marriage? Why does it get such a bad rap from singles. How did it come to be the butt of so many jokes? My answer: its not cool to be married. Monogamy is not cool. Marriage is “old fashioned”, say those co-habitaters who think they know better. Commitment is not cool, its scary.
Because marriage is not cool, and because commitment scares Millennials, there is the generalized consensus among them that marriage can wait. They say it can wait, because they don’t know it will make them happy. Ironically, if you asked them why they are still single, they would say because they want to be happy. These poor misguided schnooks, don’t even know what’s good for them. And they keep expecting their culture to tell them what will make them happy, but their culture is nothing more than an echo chamber parroting back to them what they already think. It just doesn’t work.
I am not one of these post modern gurus who tells people to do what ever makes them happy. However, when it just so happens that what makes people happy is what also makes for a healthy, prosperous, stable family (not to mention nation), then I am all for it! Living only to be happy has gotten a lot of people in a lot of hot water. This is usually do the fact that we don’t really know what makes us happy. There is enough sociological, psychological, and anecdotal evidence to conclude, once and for all, that it is time for you to settle down and get married. That goes double, if you are over the age of 27.
Some might argue that they get the same benefits from their long term relationship, but there does not seem to be any hard evidence to support this. In fact, in a recent study, it has been shown that women who have children out of wedlock are more likely to go through breakups, than those women who wait until after marriage to have kids. Marriage is shown to have a psychologically sociologically, and emotionally bolstering and stabilizing force on relationships and families.
Some couples even express feelings of guilt that they are “living in sin” Certainly those who hold to Judeo-Christian values would be able to alleviate any negative feelings they may harbor about co-habitation. Sometimes the simple act of breaking up, or committing to marriage relieves so much stress simply because the couples don’t have to battle the guilt or worry what others are thinking. Often times too there can be family pressure to get married. This stress too disappears after the wedding.
Have you been putting it off? Have you considered it, but don’t think the timing is right? Are you afraid to broach the subject, because you might face rejection or a breakup? Maybe now is the right time? Maybe the thing you’ve been missing for so long can be found in a stable, loyal, legal marriage. Search your feelings, spend time in prayer and contemplation, and really ask yourself, “Can I love this person, as long as we both shall live?”