Have you recently wondered, “Is marriage worth it?” A lot of people ask that same question these days with fewer young adults tying the knot than ever before in the US.
Millions of young adults have seen the ugly side of marriage too. And many of these experiences were up-close encounters as the marriages of their parents, siblings or close friends dissolved before their eyes.
So, it’s not surprising that a lot of questions run through the minds of those considering marriage today. Here are some of the more common ones:
- Why do people get married?
- Why are people not getting married anymore?
- Is getting married worth it?
- Will I regret getting married?
- Should I marry or not?
- What makes a man want to get married?
- Why do women get married?
- Is it possible to be happily married these days?
- What’s the point of getting married?
- What are the benefits of not getting married?
- Why are people still getting married?
If some of these questions ring a bell, this article is for you. Although we can’t answer them all in one blog post, they’re all related to this topic in some way.
Is marriage worth it? Ultimately, that’s for you to decide. Here are a few thoughts as you work through this life-changing decision.
The Scary Side of the Marriage Statistics
Yes, it’s true there are some scary marriage statistics out there. These less-than-stellar marriage numbers were brought up in Marty Nemko Ph.D.’s ‘Psychology Today’ article entitled A Debate: Is Marriage Worth It?
He structured the article like a debate between someone for and against marriage. Here are some of the stats the ‘alter-ego’ shared while arguing against marriage:
“55% of marriages end in divorce and many of the other 45% are, as relationship expert Warren Farrell says, psychologically divorced, far from heavenly.”
So, should these stats cause you to run screaming into the night if your long-term date brings up the word ‘marriage’? Not necessarily.
Let’s just say that these numbers aren’t great. According to the stats, a little more than half of the people who get married will end up divorcing. Worse yet, countless more are stuck in unhappy marriages.
The Positive Side of the Same Marriage Statistics
Now that we’ve discussed the bad side to the numbers, let’s discuss the good. Roughly the same amount of marriages don’t end in divorce. And the divorce rate is beginning to drop. It’s more like 50/50 now with some stats saying the divorce rate is as low as 40%.
It really comes down to whether you see the glass as half full or half empty. You could just as easily look at the same stats and say, “Wow. A lot of people succeed in marriage.” Or you could say the opposite.
It’s just human nature to focus on negative data. Deep within us is a desire to protect ourselves at all costs. But sometimes that self-protective tendency gets in the way of us doing something that could be good for us.
Much of success in life means you’ll have to beat the odds, including marriage. For instance, there are always plenty of students competing for the highest GPA in their class. And for every person who gets that dream job, many more don’t.
The same goes for starting a business. Here are some numbers on that:
- 20% of small businesses don’t make it through year one
- By the second year, that number increases to 30%.
- By year five, the failure rate jumps to 50%.
- By year 10, 70% of small businesses have failed.
Do these numbers mean you shouldn’t start a business? Not necessarily.
What these stats should do to an entrepreneur, however, is sober them up quite a bit.
The same goes for those considering marriage. Just like starting and maintaining a successful business, marriage certainly won’t be a cakewalk. It’s extremely wise to count the cost before saying, “I do.”
The fear of failure shouldn’t necessarily keep you from marrying. Rather, it should cause you to try harder. And even if you fail, it isn’t the end of your life. You may have ‘failed’ but that doesn’t mean you have to personally wear the label ‘failure’.
Many entrepreneurs who fail at their first (or second) business go on to success later on. The same could be said of marriages. Perseverance and success bring many benefits with them.
At a Glance: Some Reasons People Find Marriage Worth It
For many people, the desirability of marriage comes down to stability. It can be hard to get far when your life is constantly unstable. A good marriage provides plenty of traction in life. This isn’t to say you can’t be unmarried and stable—you definitely can.
It’s just harder to do so if you value a romantic connection. Here are a few reasons people get married (at a glance). Of course, the emotional connection is often a big motivating factor as well (for good or bad).
- More difficult to ‘break up’ (meaning you tend to try harder to succeed)
- Married couples earn more on average
- Married couples have more sex on average than non-married couples
- Greater stability for children (although not always)
- Married couples tend to live longer
- Greater chances for relational faithfulness and fewer STI/STD concerns
- Potential for lifetime companionship
- Potential for fewer romantic ‘roller coaster rides’
Having said that, there are plenty of benefits to not getting married including:
- More personal freedom (you only have yourself to worry about)
- Financial freedom
- Chance to deal with past baggage (without it negatively impacting a family)
- Learning more of what you want in life
- Having more time to decide if marriage is for you
Is Marriage Worth It? Counseling Can Help You Decide
The choice to marry or not is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. There are reasons to get married just as there are reasons not to get married. Ultimately, the decision to marry is a very personal one. There’s a lot to think through.
A licensed counselor with a proven track record can help you work through this process.
The OC Relationship Center can assist you with a wide variety of relational and personal improvement journeys. Although we do our fair share of marriage counseling and couples counseling, that’s not all we do. We also provide premarital counseling and individual counseling.
If you could use some professional advice about marriage or relationships, feel free to get in touch with us. Scheduling an appointment is quick, convenient and confidential.