Friday, July 26, 2013

More on the Benefits of Marriage

Back in 2010, in anticipation of James and Ali's wedding, I  made an entry on this blog,  Marriage, Health and Milton, which discussed the health benefits of marriage.  As the post points out, studies have confirmed what Old Fezziwig said about marriage in the TV movie version of "A Christmas Carol":

“What a difference it makes, Ebenezer, to travel the rough road of life with the right female to help bear the burden, eh?”

Now, with Dave and Cara's wedding approaching, it may be a good time to take another look at these benefits.  

It turns out that the health benefits are only the beginning of the advantages of marriage.  There's also a sizeable marriage economic dividend.  Unfortunately, because only wealthy people are getting and staying married these days, this adds to income inequality. “The people who need to stick together for economic reasons don’t,” says Christopher Jencks, a Harvard sociologist. “And the people who least need to stick together do.”  For a discussion of this issue see,  Two Classes, Divided by ‘I Do’.  Meanwhile, married men make between 10 and 50 per cent higher wages than their unmarrried counterparts.  A study of married and unmarried twins showed that the married twin made 26% more than the unmarried twin.  See Ask not what you can do for marriage; ask what marriage can do for your bottom line.  So if you want to climb the economic ladder, get thee to the alter, not a nunnery.

Finally, marriage makes you a better person.  To be honest, it's not just marriage that makes you a better person, it's the presence of a female in the household that does this.  Apparently, any female will do in a pinch.  In one study that tracked the chief executives for 10,000 Danish companies, researchers discovered that, as a way of securing resources for their own growing family, executives frequently lowered wages of workers upon becoming the father of a son, but they did not do so if they became the father of a daughter.  Studies have also shown that both American and British legislators vote more liberally after having daughters.  In a game that tested generosity, researchers discovered that men who had grown up with sisters were more generous than those who had grown up with brothers, or had no siblings.  The studies suggest that women in a household evoke caretaking tendencies and cause men to become gentler, more empathetic and more other-oriented.  For more on all these studies, see Why Men Need Women.

Anyway, to help you remember the benefits of getting married, here's a simple child's nursery rhyme:

Taking a wife -- as clearly one should --  
Makes a man healthy, wealthy and good.

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