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Cohabitation is NOT the Same as Marriage

cohabitation, marriage, media 3 comments

The media got it wrong again. A well-conducted study by Sarah Mernitz and Claire Kamp Dush of Ohio State University shows that transitions into relationships, especially direct marriage, alleviate emotional distress. But reporters cherry-picked data to claim the study shows that cohabitation is no different from marriage. This is false.

Four findings from this study, which does the best it can with rather limited measures, were not reported by mainline media:

  1. Not surprisingly, transitions into all romantic unions give an “emotional lift” (Note that an “emotional lift” is not the same as love—a distinction the authors fail to make).
  2. Marriage gives bigger emotional lifts.
  3. Both men and women gain significant emotional lifts; sometimes the women more than the men, sometimes the men more than the women.
  4. All romantic unions gain an emotional lift from having a baby – sometimes for the fathers more than the mothers. 

Bottom lines: 

  1. Marriage is best if you are looking for an emotional lift.  
  2. Newborns give an emotional lift, especially with second partners. 
  3. The poor need lots of help: no relationship seems to relieve their distress. 

Most disturbing is the plight of the poor.  We know from many other studies that many of the poor (if not most) come from a long line of alienated parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.  We need geniuses or saints to show us how to help them.

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There are two important methodological considerations to accurately interpret this study. First, it focuses on relationship transitions. It measures mental health at the initiation of a new relationship (cohabitation, direct marriage, or marriage after cohabiting), and does not indicate the long-term stability or well-being of relationship types. Second, Mernitz and Kamp Dush’s study evaluates emotional distress only, and does not give a holistic assessment of well-being or relationship quality.

Mernitz and Kamp Dush’s research shows that women benefit emotionally more than men when transitioning into any type of first union relationship; however, women benefit more from marriage and most from a direct marriage. This finding is not surprising. New relationships–no matter what the type–tend to be fun and exciting, thereby reducing emotional distress.

Mernitz and Kamp Dush’s study also confirms the emotional lift gained by having children. For men transitioning into their first romantic union (cohabiting or direct marriage), having a child has a stronger emotional impact than having full time employment or a college degree. Women who enter a cohabiting relationship or first marriage also experience an emotional lift from childbearing. Interestingly, the sex differences are flipped for individuals in their second union. For women entering a cohabiting relationship, having a child decreases emotional distress more than having full time employment or a college degree. Women who enter a direct marriage or marry after cohabiting also reap significant benefits from having a child. Although males in their second union also obtain emotional benefits from having a child, their emotional benefits are not as significant as women’s.

Interestingly, this study raises some important considerations for poorer communities (as indicated by those with less than a high school degree), where intact married families are rare. Poorer women experience less emotional distress when they directly enter marriage for their first romantic union, whereas poorer men experience less distress when cohabiting. For second romantic unions, both men and women experience the least emotional distress if they enter a cohabiting relationship. These sentiments are problematic for the poor community. Research shows that marriage encourages economic mobility, and decreases government dependency. The anti-marriage bias of the welfare system revokes assistance for couples who marry. Therefore, the government imposes stressors for those who marry.

It is important to note that Mernitz and Kamp Dush’s study does not measure love. Love transcends emotional highs and lows and is first really tested when emotions turn sour.  Emotional status is a good indicator of temporary well-being, and has a place in examining transitions into relationships. However, for journalists and reporters to categorically declare that cohabitation is equivalent to marriage is untrue of the study and is shoddy reporting at best. Moreover it totally ignores repeated and compelling research that illustrates the superior benefits of stable marital unions.

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For those interested, what follow is a more detailed summary of the study’s findings:

For First Romantic Unions:

  • Women emotionally benefit more than men from transitioning into a relationship. 
  • Women and men both benefit the most from entering a direct marriage (compared to entering a cohabiting relationship, or entering marriage after cohabiting).

Controlling for Education

  • Across all education levels, women who enter a direct marriage experience more emotional benefits than women who transition into a cohabiting relationship or enter a marriage after cohabiting. There is one exception: women with more than a college degree have the best health benefits when they enter a marriage after cohabiting.
  • Men follow less of a pattern: men with less than a high school degree benefit the most from entering a cohabiting relationship; those with some college benefit most from transitioning into marriage from cohabitation; those with a college degree benefit the most from entering a cohabiting relationship; and men with more than a college degree benefit the most from marrying after cohabiting.

Controlling for Employment

  • Men who are unemployed, men who are employed full time, and men who had a child all emotionally benefit the most from entering into a direct marriage.
  • For women the results are more mixed: women who are unemployed emotionally benefit the most from marrying after cohabiting; women who are employed full time benefit most from entering a cohabiting relationship; and women who had a child benefit the most from entering into a cohabiting relationship.

For Second Romantic Unions:

  • Men emotionally benefit more than women from entering into a cohabiting relationship.
  • Women benefit more than men from directly marrying.
  • Men benefit more than women from marrying after cohabiting.
  • Both men and women emotionally benefit the most from marrying after cohabiting.

Controlling for Education

  • Men and women with less than a high school degree experience the least emotional distress when they enter a cohabiting relationship.
  • Women who have some college, a college degree, or more than a college degree experience the greatest emotional benefit from entering into a direct marriage (sometimes tied with marrying after cohabiting).
  • Men who have some college, a college degree, or more than a college degree experience the greatest emotional benefit from entering into a direct marriage.

Controlling for Employment

  • For women who are unemployed, entering a direct marriage produces the best emotional benefits; for women who are employed, entering a cohabiting relationship produces the best benefits.
  • For men who are unemployed, entering a direct marriage produces the best emotional outcomes; for men who are employed, marrying after cohabiting produces the best outcomes.
  • For women who had a child, entering a cohabiting relationship decreases emotional distress the most; for men who had a child marrying after cohabiting decreases emotional distress the most.

Violence in Baltimore Report

Baltimore, family structure, marriage, violence 1 comment

This week, MARRI released a report looking at the social science behind the violence in Baltimore. This report offers a different outlook on the social issues surrounding Baltimore than many other institutions. It shows that family intactness, education, and economic outcomes are a far higher predictor of violence and crime than race. The following is an excerpt from that report:

There is a clear and even desperate need to restore marriage among the poor in inner-city Baltimore. This task, however, is beyond the competence of government. That is not a fault in government—it is the nature of the problem.  No one goes to government for love.

Marital stability depends on affection, care, loyalty and sexual fidelity, which is formed in the home. If the City Councils, the State of Maryland, or federal Cabinet members want to combat the social collapse of American cities, they must ask parents, church leaders, school principals and teachers to take on this work of the mind and heart.

An impoverished boy from inner-city Baltimore will not escape criminal activity because the city of Baltimore receives a stimulus bill from the President; he will escape it if a caring teacher, compassionate pastor, or thoughtful adult mentors him so that he feels the support necessary to finish school, work at a job, and marry the mother of his children.

Government is not capable of doing everything, and clearly does not know how to heal the social brokenness of such communities.  It will continue to fail the youth of Baltimore unless it looks to other institutions—the church, the school, the family and the influential business leaders—to restore the family by restoring marriage in inner city Baltimore.  Until that day comes the problems will only worsen; but when that day does come hope will already have arrived.

To read our entire analysis on the violence in Baltimore, visit our website: http://www.marri.us/baltimore-violence

Debunking Three Cohabitation Myths

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Cohabitation does not replace marriage. Instead, it lays the groundwork for breaking up many marriages. Further, it significantly lacks the benefits of marriage. Despite this, the percentage of women who have ever cohabited has almost doubled over the past 25 years. A number of myths about cohabitation have blinded couples to its harmful realities.

Myth #1: Cohabitation is necessary to “test-drive” a marriage, and will produce stronger marriages by allowing couples to determine whether they are compatible living partners.
Fact: According to the American College of Pediatricians, cohabitation increases the risk of divorce by 50 percent, and is associated with lower marital satisfaction, dedication, and confidence.

Couples sometimes claim that cohabiting allows them to determine whether they can tolerate their partner’s everyday habits such as not doing the dishes or picking up their dirty laundry. But this “test-drive” takes out the commitment necessary for marriage to work; it separates fidelity from love. It may speak more of distrust when trust is the foundation of all successful marriages. If dirty dishes or laundry could break up the relationship, then neither the couple’s love nor trust nor commitment is very deep.

Myth #2: Cohabitation is cost effective because it allows couples to pool their finances.
Fact: Cohabitation is financially risky, and lacks the financial benefits of marriage.

At first glance cohabitation appears financially practical: half the rent, half the utilities, maybe even half the grocery bill. But cohabitation also creates many complicated financial decisions: splitting bills between two partners with different incomes, choosing a name to put on the lease, agreeing who owns the furniture in the case of a split. Cohabitating relationships have the uncertainty of dating joined to the dependence needed for marriage—a hazardous mix.

Furthermore, cohabitation does not provide the same economic benefits found in marriage. According to MARRI research, cohabiters grow their net worth less than all other family structures. On average, cohabiting men have less stable employment histories than single and married men, and cohabiting fathers are less likely to have consistent, full-time work than are married fathers.

Myth #3: Cohabitation is a great way for busy couples to spend more time together.
Fact: The American College of Pediatricians found that cohabitation before marriage is associated with increased negative communication, couples spending less time together, and men spending more time on personal leisure.

Thus when unmarried couples live together they are less likely to go on dates and get to know one another, and more likely to go about their individual activities in each other’s presence. For many this breeds resentment and moves them further away from marriage.

Many couples see the frequency of celebrity divorces and resort to cohabitation to avoid a similar fate. Marriage has been disparaged as complicated and short-lived, while cohabitation has been exalted as simple and easy. The truth is, however, most of these divorced celebrity couples experienced an unstable marriage because they cohabited and had multiple sexual partners prior to that marriage.  In contrast to cohabitation, marriage—and reserving sex for marriage—is the best way to secure a loyal, loving, and lasting marriage.

Census Report on Marriage Trends

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The most beneficial family structure is that of the intact family. This structure, however, is declining in practice for many Americans. The Census Bureau recently released data on marriage taken from the 2008-2012 American Community Survey. The findings revealed that between the year 1996 and 2008-2012 there has been an increase in individuals choosing to never marry and an increase in remarriages among women. Simultaneously there has been a decrease in individuals who are married only once.

The percent of females getting married once between 1996 and 2008-2012 decreased from 60 percent to 54 percent. During the same time those who had never married increased from 24 percent to 28 percent. Finally, women who had been married twice (remarried once) grew from 13 percent to 14 percent.

These trends are also found in men. Between 1996 and 2008-2012 the proportion of men who were only married once decreased from 54 percent to 50 percent. Men who had never married increased from 31 percent to 34 percent.

In summary there is a notable downturn in the number of people choosing to create intact married families. Neither remarriage nor choosing not to marry allows for the plethora of benefits that come from an intact married family. Children from intact married families have less behavioral problems, better social development, better education, better child-parent relationships, and less criminal activity. For adults, the benefits of an intact marriage include: sexual satisfaction, incomehealth and many others. Given what is now well known about the benefits of intact marriage for adults and children these developments predict an even weaker American population as the adults age and the children reach a more stunted maturity… the America of the future.

The Marriage Divide

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Forget class and race; the real cultural divide lies in marriage.

Increasingly, those who marry are among the best educated, the wealthiest, the healthiest, and the most religious in society. Marriage fosters economic security and educational attainment (two key determinants of social class), and prepares children for their future romantic relationships. Marriage is also a good attainable by people of all races, social classes, and religious creeds. It seems odd, then, that such an accessible and stable institution could possibly give rise to inequality.

The problem is, marriage and sexual mores are idealized and pursued disproportionately in society. In his 2012 book, Coming Apart, Charles Murray concludes that upper-class whites have held steadfast to America’s founding virtues while middle-class and poor whites have largely abandoned these core principles. Because individuals tend to self-select communities and relationships with like-minded people, the sociocultural divide between those who marry and those who do not has compounded with each new generation. 

Recently released publications from the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI), “The Index of Belonging and Rejection” and “The State of the Black Family,” confirms that Murray’s thesis applies to the black community as well. There are two phenomena at work: the adversities of broken, non-married families are  exacerbated with each  generation, and the gap between the married and  the non-married increases in education, wealth, health, and religion. The marriage divide is particularly big in the black community because marriage has been retained and celebrated by its most educated and avoided by its least educated—a trend that has grown worse over the decades. Between 1950 and 2012, the fraction of black 15 to 17 year olds raised in by their always-married parents dropped from 38 percent to 17 percent.  Even more alarming, between 1950 and 2012 the number of black two year olds with always-married parents was cut in half (from 62 percent to 30 percent). In laymen’s terms, only 30 percent of black children begin their life with their married parents; only 30 percent of young black children experience the security and belonging of an intact family, while 70 percent experience their parents rejection of each other, which leads to the brokenness of a non-intact family.

MARRI research also shows that those in intact families outperform their counterparts on social outcome measures. For both black men and women aged 35-40, the highest fraction of professional graduates were raised by married parents, whereas the highest number of high school drop-outs were raised by an always-single parent. Black men, women, teenagers, and children who were raised in always-single households had the highest rate of poverty of all family structures. Always single black men and women, as well as children raised by such parents, receive the greatest proportion of government aid, including: SSI, SSDI, TANF, Welfare, and Food Stamps.

Increasing marriage across all social strata is a prerequisite for reducing poverty and inequality in America.

The Black Family: America’s Opportunity

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“America is free to choose whether the Negro shall remain her liability or become her opportunity.” –Gunnar Myrda, An American Dilemma (1944)

Exactly fifty years ago Daniel Patrick Moynihan published his prophetic report, “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.” In 1965 when the report was written, Moynihan warned that the black family was in crisis: 23.6 percent of blacks were born illegitimately (1963), 21 percent of non-white families had female heads-of-household, and only a minority of black children reached age 18 having always lived with their married parents. But the state of the black family in America today surpasses Moynihan’s worst fears: 72.2 percent of blacks are born out-of-wedlock, 50 percent of black children live with their mother only, and only 17 percent of black children reach adulthood having always lived with married parents.

The racial dynamic of America in 2012 is now most complex. One Civil War, three Constitutional Amendments, hundreds of legislative/ juridical decisions, and thousands of protests later, and African Americans still rate disproportionately low on a number of social outcome measures.

Unable to explain this phenomenon otherwise, many have blamed a covert but pervasive racism in America. Although this may be true for some perverted individuals, it is not the case of the majority of Americans. There is a different and powerful culprit at work.    

By common sense the straightforward way to eliminate an adverse outcome is to mitigate its cause; otherwise, one is only providing temporary treatment rather than a permanent solution. Black social ills have been temporarily treated rather than permanently resolved. During the horrible days of the slave trade, black families were ripped apart—fathers were taken from their children, and wives were left to run households. Blacks still do not have informal equality of opportunity because the broken black family—the real root problem of their social ills—has yet to heal. Relief programs like affirmative action are insufficient solutions because blacks are neither less intelligent nor less capable of working than whites, Hispanics, Asians, or any other race. Rather, many black children are never given the opportunity to fully harness their potential because they suffer the rejection of a broken family and its attendant misfortunates. The real relief the black community needs is an immediate and radical resurgence of intact marriage and all that is necessary to achieve that.

The importance of family structure is underlined in two recent publications released by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI): “The State of the Black Family in America” and “The Index of Belonging and Rejection.” For both black men and women (aged 35 to 40), the highest number of high school drop-outs were always-single, while the highest number of professional graduates were married. Black men, women, teenagers, and children who were raised in always-single households had the highest rate of poverty of all family structures. Correspondingly, 61 percent of black females and 51 percent of black males receiving TANF or welfare are in always-single families, and 49 percent of black children whose household receives food stamps were being raised by an always-single parent. Currently, only 17 percent of black 15- to 17-year-olds on the cusp of adulthood have been raised by always-married-parents since birth.

The state of the African American family explains why racial gaps have, in a sense, widened even though formal discrimination has ended. The government depends on the intact family to achieve its goals, but the intact black family is close to absent, except among highly educated blacks. According to the Fifth Annual Index of Belonging, the number of black teens (15- to 17-years-old) that grew up in intact families dropped from 38 percent in 1950 to 17 percent in 2012. In other words, 21 percent fewer teens have the security of a stable, intact family.

Given this disintegration of the black family, it is no wonder that blacks rank disproportionately low on a number of “ordinary good-life” outcomes. The pernicious effects of family rejection have been compounded across generations and seep into the wider community and its ethos. Children of broken families are more likely to pass their problems on to their own children, and, overtime these adverse outcomes spill over into society at large.

Despite the failure of social policy, there is a solution to this vicious cycle: the Black Church. African Americans are among the most frequent church-goers. Recently, however, many churches have become lackadaisical in promulgating Christ’s teachings on chastity and marriage. Social policy has proven useless in correcting the ills of family rejection and brokenness, but the Church certainly can if it has the will. A deep conversion and close following of Christ and His teaching on purity, family values, brotherly love, and communal service are the key ingredients to raising the black family to its rightful integrity. In turn, the black community can then hold the rest of America to this new standard. This is the exemplary role of the black community, and the leadership opportunity that beckons the Black Church.


Support Marriage- Promote Women’s Health

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Adding to the discussion on women’s health, a recent survey reported that 40.2 percent of women – compared to 29.5 percent of men – reported an unmet medical need due to costs within the last year (*note, however, this is a biased figure and the disparity is actually lower). There is much speculation on the causes for this disproportionate need of women, but identifying a driver is quite simple: the deterioration of marriage. Marriage lifts women out of poverty. Divorce and cohabitation keep women in poverty.

Marriage provides a number of (intuitive) economic benefits to women. Married women share income with their husbands, and are able to optimize the division of labor for a household. Married couples enjoy, on average, larger incomes, greater net worth, and greater year-to-year net worth growth. Not surprisingly, marriage raises the long-run family income of children born to single parents by 45 percent.

Divorce does the opposite. Divorce causes women to disproportionately bear the brunt of poverty. Family income falls by 41 percent and family food consumption falls by 18 percent in the year following a divorce. Divorce is the main factor in determining the length of “poverty spells,” particularly for women whose pre-divorce family income was in the bottom half of the income distribution.

Although it might seem that cohabitation can provide the same economic benefits as marriage, it in fact cannot truly alleviate the feminization of poverty.  Cohabitation is temporary (with a roughly 50% failure rate), and the men in cohabitation are less attached to the labor market than married men. Cohabiters share fewer resources, since their bonds are less assured. Cohabitation, therefore, lacks all the natural gains of marriage (security, labor market benefits such as insurance, and the pooling of resources). Preferring cohabitation over marriage in our policies means preferring a modality of life that cannot deliver the benefits to women’s health coverage that marriage can.

If we want to promote women’s health, we really must discourage divorce and cohabitation. and encourage marriage.  Studies have already shown that married women rate their health better than divorced, separated, widowed, and never-married women do. Married women’s ability to cover their medical costs is one of the many reasons why. 

*According to the Urban Institute: “Questions on unmet need for contraceptive prescriptions or other family planning services were only asked of female respondents. Respondents may report an unmet need because of cost for more than one type of service, so sums may exceed the share reporting any unmet need because of cost.”

Wonk Wong

marriage, single mothers, Washington Post No comments

By Henry Potrykus

The Washington Post recently posed the question of how we should react to the “unbelievable” finding that marriage is dissolving and single parenthood is rising in America.  The Post makes “clear:” “none of the findings [on which it relies] mean that children would necessarily be better off if their biological parents married.”

From that point of clarity, the Post (and the researchers on whom it relies) goes on to advocate that for the sake of postponing motherhood, more educational and career opportunities must be created for lower-educated women.  This, says the Post, should go along with the rather broad policy of improving the economic prospects of “suitable partners” those women are “searching for.”

First off, it’s downright un-American to be against more education.  This we must all stand for, even if a degree does not confer human capital as we expect (human capital: the skills, capacities, and know-how of value in the labor market), and even if the newly minted grads simply end up part-time baristas with a fat bill to pay.  So, for this rebuttal, let me put the policy aside.  Soundly critiquing such policies requires a more thorough examination of economic sociology.

Here, let me rebut the Post’s logic.  The Post is wrong when it says two sociologists’ work – the statistics of McLanahan and Jenks – mean the problem of non-marriage demands a solution “far beyond marriage.”

Now, the Post relies on work by McLanahan and Jenks, who caveated their findings:  Recall the laden term “necessarily” quoted above.

The real issue is what do statistics say for policy, and, specifically, what does research on marriage in America say for policy? 

Here’s the easy part: statistics are about the general – usually average – case.  So of course they don’t speak to something necessarily affecting any given individual.  They speak to what generally happens.  Governance is also best construed around the general, so statistics do have a use there.

Here’s the harder part, which is about the methodologies employed by researchers nowadays.  That is, it’s about science:  Researchers have more or less three classes of tools to study a phenomenon like marriage.  One is descriptive statistics, the second is called regression, and the third are – sometime occult – analyses of “natural” experiments.

Let’s put aside descriptive statistics (even though the work of McLanahan and Jenks has many nice figures); work by McLanahan and Jenks and other sociologists should be considered at par when they involve so-called multiple regression analysis.  These analyses show the simultaneous influence of different factors on some outcome.  Informally, if you say a group’s workforce participation level (a pro-social activity of interest to the Post and McLanahan and Jenks) is to be found irrespective of that group’s proclivity to be married you contradict this second type of analysis.  These analyses say that marriage influences partners’ workforce participation.

Of course, we are not interested in whether marriage and working are merely correlated.  Maybe only the guys already with jobs get the girls (in marriage of course).

This is where the hard part comes to a head:  Sophisticated analyses of the third type can show that the dissolution of marriage actually does affect behaviors and prospects, and does affect the outcomes of the children the Post wants helped.  Sophisticated analyses do uncover a positive effect of marriage on social outcomes.  These analyses confirm the more basic, second kind of analyses.

Let me reiterate that: The workhorse, more basic analyses of sociology tend not to be wrong-headed.  In fact, good analysis of the second type does point to causal relations.  It is just not in itself completely conclusive.  It nevertheless tends to align correctly – and even quantitatively – with the much more difficultly arrived-at causal analyses.  (There are reasons for this.)

We are at the end of the critique of the Post’s logic:  Children in general would be better off if their biological parents married.  Just because sociology’s baseline method (regression) is not totally conclusive, one cannot infer that that method shows things that are not there.  Saying “this fact is uncertainly arrived at, so it is false” is a bad inference!  (Marriage is important to social outcomes even if all that science we fund through NSF grants shows it!)

Even without delving deeper into the science, we can nonetheless conclude that the Post cannot make the inference it wants: none of this body of evidence means the problem of non-marriage demands a solution “far beyond” marriage itself. 

Quite the contrary: Solutions are found within marriage.  Sophisticated studies indicate marriage causes positive behavior changes that are [very] difficult to affect otherwise. 

The good analyses of the second type which line up with the causal studies show the same.  If the Post wants the economic prospects of “suitable partners” to improve, I suggest it stop looking “far beyond” an empirically proven means of doing so.

To close, I want to confess my own befuddlement in the Post’s choosing to call the last few decades’ flight from marriage “unbelievable.”  The calamity follows on the heels of the sexual revolution.  According to the Post, one behavior doesn’t beget another?  No, we should be about as bewildered by this – yes, seismic  – shift away from marriage as we would be in observing people buying more bananas once the price of bananas falls. 

And that elementary point should be what we pivot on to get back to good policy.

Remember to Thank God for your Family

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At the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims and Native Americans came together to thank God for the abundant blessings bestowed upon them, especially for their families. Unfortunately today, though family still remains, God is being pushed out some by Black Friday sales and other materialistic frenzies. But as the bedrock of society that best cultivates future generations, the intact married family that worships God weekly cannot be forgotten—it was and is one of the most important things we all have to be grateful for. 
Although most Thanksgiving festivities are winding to a close, the intact married family produces a number of benefits for individuals and society, and should be celebrated everyday of the year. MARRI has consolidated 20 social science reasons to give thanks to God for your married family:

  1. Men raised in married families have more open, affectionate, and cooperative relationships with the women to whom they are attracted than do those from divorced families.  
  2. Families with either biological or adoptive parents present have the highest quality of parent-child relationships.
  3. Married men and women report having more enjoyable sexual intercourse more often.
  4. Those from married families are less likely to see religion decline in importance in their lives, less likely to begin attending church less frequently and less likely to disassociate themselves from their religious affiliation.
  5. Children of married parents are more engaged in school than children from all other family structures.
  6. Children in intact married families have the highest combined English and math grade point averages (GPAs.)
  7. Adolescents from intact married families are less frequently suspended, expelled, or delinquent, and less frequently experience school problems than children from other family structures.
  8. Men’s productivity increases by 26 percent as a result of marrying.
  9. Intact married families have the largest annual income of all family structures with children under 18.
  10. Married couples are less likely to receive welfare.
  11. Married men are less likely to commit crimes.
  12. Marriage is associated with lower rates of domestic violence and abuse, compared to cohabitation.
  13. Married women are healthier than never-married, divorced, and separated women.
  14. Married men and women are more likely to have health insurance.
  15. Married men and women have higher survival rates after being diagnosed with cancer, regardless of the stage of the cancer’s progression.
  16. Married people have lower mortality rates, including lower risk of death from accidents, disease, and self-inflicted injuries and suicide.
  17. Married people are least likely to have mental disorders.
  18. A larger fraction of those raised in an intact family consider themselves “very happy” than those raised in non-intact families.
  19. Married parents spend more on education and less on alcohol and tobacco as compared to cohabiting parents.
  20. Married mothers enjoy greater psychological well-being and greater love and intimacy than cohabiting or single mothers.
 

Humanum Series Celebrates Young Marriage Activists

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Liberal propagandists claim that traditional marriage, sexual fidelity, and family values are antiquated ideas; however, a rising generation of activists is quickly debunking this myth. In “Challenge and Hope for a New Generation,” the fifth segment of the Humanum Series launched at the International Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman, a group of young adults assess the state of marriage worldwide. It is true that marriage is in crisis, but it is false that there is a lack of desire for marriage. Young people thirst for marriage—they long for its stability, its loyalty, and its love. According to Malcolm Rivers, a 27-year old teacher in D.C., the problem is that “we are deeply and woefully underprepared for marriage.”
Malcom is right on target. Radical feminists have inculcated licentious mores in “sexual health” classes, and taught that casual hookups are a natural way to fulfill sexual desires. This idea, that the sexual act is nothing but a means to fulfilling an individual’s pleasures, has altered the dynamic between a romantic couple. Although once a single unit in which each complemented the other in order to elevate the whole, now a couple is nothing but two individuals using each other to extract physical pleasure. This dooms relationships to failure. “Permanence requires me to do things for other people. I can’t have a permanent relationship with somebody if I’m only worried about myself” Malcom said. Nobody wants to enter into a permanent relationship knowing that the other person is only in it to gratify his/ her own needs.
Young marriage supporters from Mexico to France to Lebanon agree. Alix Rokvam, a founder of Les Veilleure in France, stated, “We all had sex education in school, but we never had romantic education, which encompasses all aspects of sexuality, not just the technique.” A group of young ladies in Lebanon reminisced on the days when “People used to support each other more.” Worldwide, young people are yearning for relationships built on complementary teamwork rather than competition. The problem is that few know how to achieve this dream.
In his Tuesday presentation, Rev. Dr. Rick Warren offered some practical advice on how we can prepare more people for stable marriages: celebrate healthy marriages. We must offer an appealing alternative to the hookup culture by giving people the confidence that their marriage can last, and we must show that the sexual act should be rooted in a selfless love between husband and wife. This advice is scientifically supported. For example, MARRI research shows that children who grow up in intact, married families are more likely to have a positive outlook on marriage and maintain more stable marriages than their counterparts. Adolescents with married parents are less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, have sex out of wedlock, or have an abortion. In essence, healthy marriages promote more healthy marriages.
Once selfless marriages gain standing, more and more young people will naturally flock to uphold this institution and its values. “Everyone should know that there are young people concerned about taking back our values,” Lily Alvarez Rabadan of Mexico City stated. “Young people are thirsty for love, and so, we have to talk about it, we have to shout about it.”