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For too many women today in our communities marriage is no longer consider an option. For some marriage is no longer a requirement or a desire for raising children. They have accepted the false belief that having fathers involved in the raising of children is nice to have but not a requirement. Too often we hear women referring to men as merely "sperm donors" and they have little, if any belief that the men will be involved in the children’s lives. It is unfortunate but for many women if it were not for their children there would be no one in their lives and so rather than living lives of solitude they become mothers with little or no expectation of support from the men they procreate with.

"Cohabitation has some but not all of the benefits of marriage," said Linda Waite, the association’s president, in an address to members in which she argued that the married enjoy better health, more money and more satisfying sex.

An enhanced commitment that comes naturally with marriage, she said, increases all levels of the support that individuals bring to their relationship and lives. "Cohabitation does not generally imply a lifetime commitment to stay together," she said. "Cohabitants are more likely to assume that each partner is responsible for supporting him or herself."

Dr. Waite, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago whose research focuses on family structure, drew from various resources in her work, including the National Survey of Families and Households, a sampling of 13,000 adults, which was conducted in the late 1980’s, with a follow up in the early 1990’s

In terms of money, her research found that married couples were generally more financially well off than couples who simply lived together, because they were much more likely to pool money and invest in the future than were couples who merely cohabitated.

Increased material well being, she argued, trickles down into investments in better medical care, safer surroundings, better food and other things that raise the standard of living and reduce stress.

Dr. Waite also traced better health to marriage. Divorced men, her study showed, had twice the rate of alcohol abuse that married men had, and almost as many indulged in other "risk taking" behavior. Divorced women showed similar patterns, though at lower rates.

"Marriage may provide individuals with a sense of meaning in their lives," Dr. Waite said, "and a sense of obligation to others, inhibiting risky behaviors and encouraging healthy ones."

Her audience seemed most interested in the fact that married people report having more and better sex than single people have.

She cited the 1992 National Health and Social Life survey to support the notion that a readily available and willing married partner resulted in married men having sex twice as frequently as most of the single men surveyed, and the married men reported higher levels of satisfaction with their sex lives than either single or cohabitating men. She attributed this to the partners’ investment in "skills" to please one specific person, and to an emotional investment in a relationship that should result in increasing the frequency and quality of sex

Men appear to have the most to benefit from marriage, the study showed. They tend to make more money, perhaps because they have the incentive of another person. Dr. Waite said that divorced men had higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse and depression than single or married men or than single, married or divorced women.*

* New York Times

Benefits of Healthy Marriages for Children and Youth

Researchers have found many benefits for children and youth who are raised by parents in healthy marriages, compared to unhealthy marriages, including the following:

  1. More likely to attend college
  2. More likely to succeed academically
  3. Physically healthier
  4. Emotionally healthier
  5. Less likely to attempt or commit suicide
  6. Demonstrate less behavioral problems in school
  7. Less likely to be a victim of physical or sexual abuse
  8. Less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol
  9. Less likely to commit delinquent behaviors
  10. Have a better relationship with their mothers and fathers
  11. Decreases their chances of divorcing when they get married
  12. Less likely to become pregnant as a teenager, or impregnate someone
  13. Less likely to be sexually active as teenagers
  14. Less likely to contract STD’s
  15. Less likely to be raised in poverty

For Women

Researchers have found many benefits for women who are in healthy marriages, compared to unhealthy marriages, including the following:

  1. More satisfying relationship
  2. Emotionally healthier
  3. Wealthier
  4. Less likely to be victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or other violent crimes
  5. Less likely to attempt or commit suicide
  6. Decrease risk of drug and alcohol abuse
  7. Less likely to contract STD’s
  8. Less likely to remain or end up in poverty
  9. Have better relationships with their children
  10. Physically healthier

For Men

Researchers have found many benefits for men who are in healthy marriages, compared to unhealthy marriages, including the following:

  1. Live longer
  2. Physically healthier
  3. Wealthier
  4. Increase in the stability of employment
  5. Higher wages
  6. Emotionally healthier
  7. Decrease risk of drug and alcohol abuse
  8. Have better relationships with their children
  9. More satisfying sexual relationship
  10. Less likely to commit violent crimes
  11. Less likely to contract STD’s
  12. Less likely to attempt or commit suicide

For Communities

Researchers have found many benefits for communities when they have a higher percentage of couples in healthy marriages, compared to unhealthy marriages, including the following:

  1. Higher rates of physically healthy citizens
  2. Higher rates of emotionally healthy citizens
  3. Higher rates of educated citizens
  4. Lower domestic violence rates
  5. Lower crime statistics
  6. Lower teen age pregnancy rates
  7. Lower rates of juvenile delinquency
  8. Higher rates of home ownership
  9. Lower rates of migration
  10. Higher property values
  11. Decreased need for social services

Why Marriage Matters, Second Edition: Twenty-Six Conclusions from the Social Sciences

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