The following dot points and conclusion are taken from the Marriage Coalition’s paper ’21 Reasons why marriage matters’.
Marriage increases the likelihood that fathers have good relationships with their children .
Cohabitation is not the functional equivalent of marriage.
Growing up outside an intact marriage increases the likelihood that children
will themselves divorce or become unwed parents
Marriage is a virtually universal human institution
Divorce and unmarried childbearing increase poverty for both children and mothers.
Married couples seem to build more wealth on average than singles or cohabiting couples
Married men earn more money than do single men with similar education and
Parent divorce (or failure to marry) appears to in crease children’ s risk of school failure.
Parental divorce reduces the likelihood that children will graduate from college and achieve high -status j obs .
Children who live with their own two married parents enjoy better physical health , on average, than do children in other family forms .
Parental marriage is associated with a sharply lower risk of infant mortality.
Marriage is associated with reduced rates of alcohol and substance abuse for both adults and teens .
Married people, especially married men, have longer life expectantcies than do other wise similar singles.
Marriage is associated with better health and lower rates of injury, illness, and disability for both men and women.
Children whose parents divorce have higher rates of psychological distress and
Divorce appears significantly to increase the risk of suicide.
Married mothers have lower rates of depression than do single or cohabiting mothers
Boys raised in single – parent families are more likely to engage in delinquent and criminal behaviour.
Marriage appears to reduce the risk that adults will be either perpetrators or victims of crime.
Married women appear to have a lower risk of experiencing domestic violence than do cohabiting or dating women.
A child who is not living with his or her own two married parents is at greater risk of child abuse.
Marriage is more than a private emotional relation ship. It is also a social good. Not every person can or should marry, and not every child raised out side of marriage is damaged as a result. But communities where good-enough marriages are common have better outcomes for children, women, and men than do communities suffering from high rates of divorce, unmarried childbearing, and
high- conflict or violent marriages .
As policy makers concerned with social
inequality and child well being think about how to strengthen marriage,
more funding is needed for research into both the causes of the marriage
gap in child and social well being and ways to close that gap. Solid research is pointing the way toward new family and community interventions to help strengthen marriage.
On going, basic scientific research on marriage and marital dynamics contributes to the development of strategies and programs for helping to strengthen marriages and reduce unnecessary divorce.
Who benefits from marriage and why?
How can we prevent both divorce and the damage caused by divorce?
How can families, counselors, communities, and public policy help at-risk and disadvantaged parents build healthy marriages?
If marriage is not merely a private preference, but also a social good, then concerned members o f our society, as well as academics, need and deserve answers to questions such as these.