Wondering if marriage is really worth it? Marriage is worth it if you marry the right person. It is vital that both partners share similar core values and beliefs and that spouses are attentive to each other’s needs and feelings. It is also essential for both partners to be on the same page about their expectations of marriage and each other beforehand.
Recently, the world has seen an overall decline in the number of people getting married and an increase in the number of divorces. If you are in a relationship and considering whether to get married or not, this trend may have you and your partner wondering if marriage is even worth considering.
Before deciding if marriage will be worth it for you, there are several factors to consider. For instance; whether you and your potential spouse are truly compatible, the advantages and disadvantages of marriage, and the financial implications, to name just a few. In the next section, we will look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of marriage.
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What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Marriage?
One of the most significant advantages of marriage is that of companionship. You do not have to go home to an empty house with no one to talk to. You have a companion at home who you can tell about your day and who can tell you about their day, whether good or bad.
However, if you are in a long-term relationship or already “common law” (laws vary depending on the area in which you live, but frequently after sharing a home for over 1 year); you may already be experiencing this benefit, without the potential drawbacks of marriage.
When a couple decides to get married, therefore, it means that they are committing to each other for life. It brings great joy to couples to know that there is someone who wants to, and has promised to, commit to them for the rest of their lives.
Marriage is a binding legal institution that is not so easy to get out of, and it is therefore usually not a decision couples take lightly.
Another advantage of marriage is that you do not have to face the world alone. You and your spouse can face the world together as a team. It means that you do not have to carry the burdens of life, such as finances, house chores, errands, stress, or difficult times alone. You and your spouse can lean on each other for support.
There are potential tax benefits and savings to being married as well. These would vary depending on your state or country and it is best to consult with an accountant to get a clear picture.
One thing that could be considered a disadvantage is that once you get married, you cannot think of only yourself anymore. Your actions and decisions will impact your spouse and any children you may have together. It means that you will sometimes need to make sacrifices for the sake of your marriage.
Making your marriage work will require time, energy, and effort. It means that you will not have as much time for yourself, especially if you should have children together later. It also means that you will not have as much free time to spend with friends and family as you did before getting married. It may be particularly difficult if you are an extrovert or are very close to your family and friends.
It will be good for you to consider if you would be willing to make the required sacrifices for your marriage and future children (if you should have any). You might also want to consider whether you are willing to put in the time and effort needed to make your marriage succeed.
It would also be good to decide if you can accept that you will have less time for yourself, family, and friends.
Is Marriage Worth It for Men?
A study done at Michigan State University indicates that marriage does seem to be worth it for men if the marriage is stable. The study found that while a man’s baseline of happiness tends to nearly go down to the same level as before getting married, he is still happier than he would have been if he had not gotten married.
According to the Harvard Medical School, men in stable marriages also tend to be healthier and live longer than unmarried men, divorced men, or widowed men. It seems as though a good marriage is also beneficial to a man’s mental health, lowering their risk for depression and Alzheimers.
The chances of men being satisfied with their lives when they retire are also boosted if they are happily married.
However, men that are not in happy, healthy marriages tend to have shorter life spans. It is mainly attributable to the effect of stress on the body resulting from constant conflict, which is especially bad for your heart. Therefore, marriage is not worth it for a man if the relationship is unhealthy and filled with ongoing conflict.
Is Marriage Worth It for Women?
As with men, women in happy marriages also seem healthier than unmarried, divorced, and widowed women. However, married women do not appear to benefit as much from marriage as married men do. Women in unhappy marriages also tend to be less healthy than unmarried women.
One reason men may benefit more from marriage than women do is that men seem to rely mostly on the women in their lives for emotional support, rather than their male friends and family. On the other hand, women tend to equally rely on their female friends and family for emotional support, rather than just on their husbands.
According to PsychologyToday.com, divorces are much more likely to be initiated by women. One reason is that many men still expect women to do all the house chores, despite women also working full-time. It can be too much pressure for women and makes them feel unsupported and unloved. Therefore, marriage only seems worth it for women if they have more supportive, loving spouses.
In modern times, there are also more opportunities for women in the workforce, making it possible for women to take care of themselves financially on their own. Therefore, if a woman cannot find a supportive or loving spouse, it might be better for her to not marry at all and rather stay single.
Is Marriage Worth It Financially?
Marriage can be worth it financially, especially if both spouses earn money. Research shows that, on average, married couples tend to acquire about two and a half times more assets than their single or divorced counterparts. It is mainly due to their ability to split expenses, such as rent, utilities, and food.
In terms of salaries, it also seems like married people tend to earn a higher income than unmarried people. Studies have shown that married men can make up to forty percent more money and women up to ten percent more money than single people.
However, even in marriages where only one spouse works, there can still be a financial advantage. It might be because the spouse who remains at home can support the working partner by taking care of all the household chores. It enables the working spouse to focus on earning a higher income.
They may be eligible for family tax breaks as well, based on their overall family income (vs. a single person).
How Many Marriages End in Divorce Around the World?
About half of the marriages in America end in divorce, making this country amongst those with the highest divorce rates globally. Some other countries with high divorce rates are as follows:
There are also some countries with lower divorce rates. The countries with some of the lowest divorce rates globally are as follows:
|South Africa||17.6% (2017)|
It is worth noting that these countries with very low divorce rates likely have very different opinions on ending a marriage and may have stricter laws that only actually allow divorce in certain circumstances, versus the more liberal views towards divorce held overall in the countries which have higher rates. More on this below.
In the next two subheadings below, we will look at the factors that impact these statistics and why the divorce rate is higher in some countries and lower in others.
Why Is the Divorce Rate Lower in Some Countries?
India has the lowest divorce rate globally, at a mere 1%. Here, there is a more traditional culture and more conservative views regarding marriage. Generally, divorce is frowned upon by the community and, in some cases, not even legally allowed.
Many marriages in India are also arranged by the couple’s family members, and the pressure for the couple to remain married is therefore very high.
Another factor that might play a role in the low divorce rate in India is that a divorce case in this country can take years to finalize if one spouse is against it. Research has also revealed that many marriages in India do not get registered either, although the reason for this is not really apparent.
Some couples might also not be able to afford the legal fees involved. The factors above do not necessarily mean that all marriages in India are unhappy.
However, it does indicate that when we assess divorce rates worldwide, we need to consider that lower divorce rates do not necessarily mean happier or healthier marriages. It will also be good for us to look at the factors that contribute to the statistics in each country individually to get an accurate picture.
Why Is the Divorce Rate Higher in Other Countries?
Luxembourg has the highest divorce rate in the world. However, as in India, several factors account for the high statistics. One factor to consider is finances, as people in Luxembourg tend to be financially well-off and are not dependent on a combined income to make ends meet. It also means that couples can afford to get divorced, despite it being an expensive process.
Another reason cited is that many ex-pats live there and are far away from their families. It can make it hard for couples to find time to spend with each other, as families often provide a lot of support for couples, especially when it comes to children. Although there are many babysitters, parents often do not trust strangers to take care of their children.
Lastly, foreigners who move to Luxembourg are often already married and get divorced in the country. In other countries, such as America, getting a divorce is more straightforward and should be factored in when considering high divorce rates. Other factors to consider are attitudes towards religion, egalitarianism, tradition, and cultures.
From the above, it is clear that there does not seem to be a part of the world that has the ultimate recipe for a successful marriage. Each person is different, and therefore the dynamic of each couple will also be unique. There are, however, a few universal factors that can lower your risk of getting divorced and some things a couple can do to ensure a successful marriage.
What Are Some Factors That Lower the Risk of Divorce?
According to research conducted, your risk of getting divorced is reduced by around 24% if you get married after 25. It does make sense since science tells us that our brains are not fully developed until we reach 25. However, while your risk for divorce is higher if you get married at a young age, it does not mean that the marriage will necessarily end in divorce.
Another factor reducing your chances of divorce by about 30% is earning an annual income of more than $50,000. Financial difficulties are one of the most significant reasons people get divorced, especially if you have financial problems as a couple or have multiple children despite having a low combined income. Therefore, if you earn a good income and do not have monetary issues, you and your spouse are less likely to argue about money.
Other factors that researchers have found to decrease your chances of getting divorced are as follows:
- Waiting until at least seven months after you get married to have children. It reduces your risk of divorce by about 24%.
- If you come from a home where your parents are still married, your chances of getting divorced are reduced by approximately 14%.
- If you both subscribe to the same religion, such as Christianity, your risk of divorce is reduced by about 14%.
- Your risk of divorce is lowered by approximately 13% if you have some form of a college or post-secondary education.
What Are the Main Causes of Marriages Ending in Divorce?
There are many reasons marriages can end in divorce. Some fail due to the couple having differing core values, which lead to unresolved arguments about how to handle certain situations. Other couples have very little in common, which can lead to them drifting apart because there is very little that they can talk about or enjoy doing together.
Money can also be a significant cause of tension if both spouses are not on the same page about handling their finances. Some couples also have difficulty communicating constructively, so arguments are often never fully resolved. Unresolved conflicts usually cause resentment, which can grow over time and eventually cause the marriage to fail.
Sometimes people also get married without getting to know each other properly beforehand and then discover character traits in their spouse that they cannot stand. Others get divorced because one spouse is unfaithful to the other. Once trust is gone, it isn’t easy to get it back, and marriage without trust cannot work.
Another reason some couples get divorced is due to unmet expectations. Sometimes a spouse promises to fulfill certain expectations before the marriage and then fails to keep their promise. Other times, however, the other spouse was not aware of these expectations, or these might not be realistic, rendering the spouse unable to meet them.
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Should You Get Married?
Each person is different, and what will work for one person might not necessarily work for someone else. Some couples are happy to live together and have children without getting married and are perfectly happy. These couples often argue that marriage does not guarantee commitment.
Others prefer to get married for religious reasons or because getting a divorce is more complex, which they use as additional motivation to make the marriage work. Some prefer to stay single and are very content to be on their own.
In order to decide if marriage is right for you, it would be good to consider all the factors involved. It will then be good to consider if marriage is something that you want and, if so, what you will expect from your future spouse.
How Can You Ensure That Marriage Is Worth It for You?
If you decide that marriage is something you want, it is crucial to get to know each other very well. It will be good to share your core values and beliefs with each other beforehand, as compatibility in these areas is essential. You should also ensure that you are on the same page regarding how you will handle specific aspects, such as; money, conflict, and raising children, instance.
Furthermore, it will help if you are both transparent and honest about what you are expecting from the marriage and each other so that you can make a mutual decision about whether you think you can or are willing to meet these expectations.
It will also be good for you to consider going to pre-marital counseling since research has shown that it boosts your chances for a successful marriage. You will learn valuable skills that you can use throughout your married life, such as how to communicate effectively, handle conflict, and understand each other, to name a few. Some religions, such as Catholicism, actually require this pre-marital counseling as a condition for holding your wedding in the church.
The key to making marriage worthwhile is to choose the right partner. If you marry the right person, marriage will be a blissful experience. However, if you marry the wrong person, marriage will likely be an awful experience and ultimately not worth it at all.
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There are many factors to consider to determine whether marriage is worth it. It will be good for you to take account of all these factors to decide if getting married will be worth it for you. If you choose to get married, you can do a few things to increase your marriage’s chances of success.
To ensure marriage will be worth it, you must marry the right person. Choosing the right person can be achieved by getting to know your potential future spouse very well beforehand. It will help ensure that you are compatible with your core values, beliefs, and expectations. Research has also found that pre-marital counseling increases the chances of a successful marriage.
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.