Marriage was born of ancient societies’ need to secure a safe environment in which to breed, handle the granting of property rights, and protect bloodlines.
There was a time when being married was an advantage. In fact, marriage was deemed to be so important that powerful elder men fighting for land and economic strength arranged marriages between their heterosexual children for the sake of furthering these means. Marriage was one part of a battle strategy.
Marriage was created to control a human’s base instincts, namely the urge and interest to have a lot of sex with a lot of different people. Early marriage was born of ancient societies’ need to secure a safe environment in which to breed, handle the granting of property rights, and protect bloodlines. Pretty much a legal contract as it was at that time a civil institution. Religion then popped into this party and brought in a whole lot of other dynamics that scrambled the initial intention of good solid legal sensibility.
Christians began to have their marriages conducted by ministers in Christian gatherings, and it was in the 12th century that the Roman Catholic Church formally defined marriage as a sacrament, sanctioned by God. Guilt and shame became the name of the game as people squeezed themselves into monogamy, sexual fidelity and commitment to the one and only.
During the Victorian era, romantic love appeared on the horizon establishing love as the primary requirement for marriage. And so the scene was set for a three pronged approach to marriage: love, law and religion requirements had to be met for a successful marriage to happen. As marriage was formalised, provision was simultaneously created for divorce… and infidelity never stopped. Nevermind all that pain and complexity, we were urged to marry. We were told that marriage had so many advantages that it was worth suffering some discomfort, as the gains were more abundant.
Tell me your marriage advantages and reflect on these questions: Are you healthier and happier, and having more regular and satisfying sexual activity? How frequently are you being sexual and what do you think is the norm? Do you prefer to live alone, take yourself in hand with porn whenever you want, hook up with no commitment as marriage has no advantages for you?
Marriage advantages are cited across all professions: psychologists say it is best for children to grow up with two parents. Mmm, I wonder, what if those two parents are squabbling, violent and abusive? Not much advantage there. Research indicates clearly that children raised by their married, biological parents are 20 times less likely to be sexually abused than children raised by a lone parent and a partner not related to the child. That places 50 percent of divorced kids at risk. I don’t believe this is a good enough reason to stay married. Neighbours, grandparents, uncles and aunts visit and abuse children who are living with biological parents, especially those whose marriages are unhealthy.
In the age of Tinder, consensual non-monogamy, fluid sexual orientation and acceptance of gender variance, marriage is losing popularity and advantages seem slim.
Health care providers have great research that shows marriage is health protective for men, not so much for women. Studies have found that married people have better health than unmarried people. However, new research shows that people who experience separation, divorce and remarriage, have very similar levels of health in middle age to those who are married. A major study in 2011 found that being married lowered the risk of premature death by 15 percent.
In 2012 the World Health Organisation found marriage could reduce the risk of anxiety and depression and those who tied the knot were much less likely to suffer the blues than those who stayed single. I’m cynical, I work with too many married couples who are definitely very blue despite being ‘happily’ married. Drum roll: the marriage tide is turning. In the age of Tinder, consensual non-monogamy, fluid sexual orientation and acceptance of gender variance, marriage is losing popularity and advantages seem slim.
Be honest as you consider that perhaps your primary advantage of being married was the thought that you get to have more sex as your mate lies in bed with you every night. No religious guilt, legally pure, and easy access to a partner. Well, a paper recently published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, showed that overall American adults are having less sex than they did a quarter century ago, with married people showing the most dramatic decline of all. This is across gender, race, region, education level and work status.
One factor is the higher percentage now of unpartnered people, who tend to have less sex than partnered ones. But a major driver is a steady fall in the rate of sexual activity for people who are married or living with partners, which reduces what had been known as the “marriage advantage.” To preserve the institution of marriage, economists have joined the marriage debate to argue in favour of marriage. This is in response to a new trend that shows marriage before children is no longer the norm in the United States. In fact, more than half — 55 percent — of parents between the ages of 28 and 34 were not married when they had their first child. Some of these millennial parents married, while others remain unmarried.
Were I the marrying kind, I would follow every piece of professional advice and find a way to stay married. And that includes knowing when it’s time to get unmarried.
This deviates from what is known as the “success sequence”. People who follow the success sequence first receive at least a high school degree, then get a job, then get married and then have their first child. Doing so, the researchers argue, increases the odds that both the parents and their children will succeed — economically and socially, as well as in terms of health status and life satisfaction. Yet people are no longer following this and research indicates that this results in a correlation with higher poverty rates.
Of the people who followed the success sequence, only 14 percent were living in poverty. For them, remaining in poverty was a relatively rare exception. By comparison, the poverty rate was 46 percent for those parents who had grown up in low-income households and then had a child without ever marrying. Personally, I think that when marriage does work well it is as if the trumpets emerge from Heaven and blast out Hallelujah.
There is simply nothing as godly as a safe, intimate, marriage. And were I the marrying kind, I would follow every piece of professional advice and find a way to stay married. And that includes knowing when it’s time to get unmarried.