By Amanda Idleman, Crosswalk.com
Married life can sometimes sound like a drag. We have heard the term “the old ball and chain” or seen the sitcoms that portray the middle years of marriage in a less-than-glamorous light. Others of us have seen people we look up to bail on their marriages for a variety of reasons that have led us to abandon the institution altogether for fear we may find yourself heartbroken in the future.
Marriage is not an easy commitment to keep. A lifetime together means a commitment to forgive, grow, and change as life brings new challenges and joys. Beyond that, we can’t control the actions of others and sometimes people you love do things that are hurtful. Unfortunately, no relationship comes with guarantees, but even with all the challenges married life brings, the potential for joy outnumbers them when you lean in and make a love-filled home happen.
The world may think that there are no benefits if you're already living together, but God's plan for marriage was put in place so you can be better cared for. God loves you and he came up with the idea for marriage because He knows that two are better than one.
More than that, to remain unified as a couple, commitment is required! Marriage is the place where we enter into a covenant that signifies our loyal allegiance to one another through all the season life brings. It’s a very important step in building a love that lasts the test of time.
Let’s explore the many beautiful benefits of married life.
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1. Social Benefits of Marriage
The family unit is a fundamental building block in creating a strong society. While families take many forms, the committed union of a man and a woman with children offers more stability. Studies have shown that marriage benefits society in many surprising ways.
Marriage offers security, commitment, and accountability that helps produce a healthier generation of people.
Marriage reduces crime. Married men are less likely to engage in all sorts of reckless behavior that results in criminal activity. Married women are less likely to experience domestic violence compared to those who are cohabitating with their partner. Society enjoys more peace and less violence when marriage is common.
There are also some real financial reasons to get hitched. Marriage offers more income potential for families, giving them an advantage in society over their single peers.
Married couples are invested in working hard to see their family excel, leading to more success in the workplace. Married men statistically earn more than their peers and married women enjoy more economic stability than their single or divorced peers. This offers more economic security for the children in their care.
Children raised by their married mother and father enjoy many benefits. They are more likely to complete their education, typically have less behavioral issues, attend school with more consistency, and are more likely to complete a four-year college degree. These kids are less susceptible to mental illnesses such as suicide and depression.
They are also more likely to experience a lasting marriage when they grow older. Marriage produces better results than the alternatives when it comes to child-rearing.
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2. Health Benefits of Marriage
Conventional wisdom has held that married people live longer lives. Surprisingly, science has actually found this to be true! Studies have shown that married people, especially married men, are less likely to die early and less likely to die from a heart attack or stroke. Marriage offers support that helps us better navigate life’s stressors, helping better protect our bodies from the detrimental effects of stress.
What about marriage leads to a longer life? The idea that you “settle down” once you are married has some truth to it. Married people are less likely to engage in more risky activities and are more likely to work to curb things such as substance abuse. Limiting these activities substantially adds to your life expectancy.
Your spouse is also a built-in accountability partner! When you have a health goal, your spouse is there to help you stay committed. You are able to keep tabs on each other, encouraging each other to get checked if you see suspect symptoms as well as support each other through life’s more stressful seasons.
Just knowing you have a spouse to rely on can keep you from experiencing isolation and depression.
Love and support from a committed partner in marriage offers better outcomes, even when you face the worst circumstances. A study conducted in Norway found that single and divorced cancer patients had higher mortality rates than married men.
Having a partner to look after you and a companion to keep your spirits up through all of life’s ups and down is a powerful medicine.
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3. Emotional Benefits of Marriage
The joys of single life are definitely overstated in our culture. Careful research has demonstrated that married people are happier people. On average 40 percent of married people reported being “very happy” with their lives compared to only 25 percent of singles or cohabitors.
Those who do not cohabitate before marriage report having a happier marriage than those that do.
Married individuals more frequently express that they are proud of their work and generally feel more positive about their home environments than others. Marriage promotes individuals to be more connected to their communities. Married couples tend to be more well supported giving them the time to tap into community events and educational resources.
Marriage can help you stay sane too! Married men and women are less anxious, depressed, and physiologically distressed than single, divorced, or widowed Americans. Research has shown just the act of being married gives your mental health a boost! Marriage is a deterrent for suicide as suicide rates drastically decline in married men and women.
Marriage helps keep the bond tighter with your children, leading to more emotional health for everyone in the family unit. Divorce weakens the bond between parents and children in the long run. Adult children of divorced parents describe their relationship with their parents in less positive terms and are less likely to see their parents as often as those with parents that remained married.
Married people are even more likely to report an emotionally satisfying sex-life. Half of married men say that sex with their partner is emotional and physically satisfying while only 39 percent of cohabitating men report the same thing. The idea that marriage equals less physical and emotional intimacy has been found to be untrue.
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4. Biblical Benefits of Marriage
God is the creator of marriage! He has made us to be people in need of community and accountability; marriage is one of the important ways that God meets our needs.
Ephesians 5:33 says, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” This passage articulates the ways that marriage was intended to be a God-inspired institution that is fueled by mutual love and respect.
Ephesians 5 also explains that marriage should be filled with unity and we should care for one another with the same diligence that we use to care for ourselves. God wants us to use our marriages as a way to look out for one another. For most of us, we need the accountability of marriage vows for us to be willing and able to truly love another human in the ways the Bible calls us to. Marriage is one way that God shows you His love!
God knows that two are better than one! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”
God knows that we are better together. He desires you to have a life partner that is there to help you up when you find yourself in the midst of difficult times. Also, God knows you can accomplish more in this life when you are not alone. Having a partner who can take the kids, make you coffee when you need it, or help clean the house leads to a fuller more productive life.
Two get a better return on their labor than one.
The Bible calls us to serve, love, and grow as Believers. Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
Marriage is the place where we get to serve one another daily. In marriage, there are moments where we have to grow past our more selfish tendencies and God knows that this is the case. He uses this committed and close union to help refine us and grow us into better lovers of others.
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