As I launched into another day I read a discouraging statistic. According to a recent Pew Study www.pewsocialtrends.org anywhere from 32-44% of our population believe marriage is becoming obsolete. That just makes me sad. Why? While I am fully aware of other statistics like since 1960 the number of cohabitating couples has increased fifteen-fold in the United States. www.virginia.edu/marriageproject/(December 2010) I do not believe we need to just sit around and say that is just the way it is in our nation. I’m not here to judge where, exactly when, or why we are where we are. I do not believe being single is a bad thing. I am here to say that if you choose to have a relationship I can testify that life-long marriage is a good thing. Yes, I am a Christian and my values are based on the Bible as I believe it is the Word of God. But don’t let that stop you from reading what I have observed and experienced.
I am a stronger, more well-rounded person because I am married. My husband and I do not think alike on all fronts. We have different styles of doing things. He appreciates things that I really have very little interest in. Because I married him and have stayed with him for over 30 years now I have traveled places, met people, and been exposed to businesses that I would not have if I had stayed single. I have learned to share space and possessions which has helped me share with those less fortunate than me over the years. I have learned to laugh at spontaneous songs and take care of myself by exercising because of his example. I have had someone to share my love of our children as well as other children with over the years. He has encouraged me to be open to new experiences. I can be quoted as saying because I married Mark I have experienced “higher highs and lower lows than I ever would have had I remained single.” It is a true statement I’m sure as I was raised in a very reserved emotional environment but that has not been true of our home. We laugh hard, cry hard, get excited about lots of things and get angry over injustice. We are very verbal!
My co-workers are predominately female and 50% are single. All but one of these single women have children. None of them have been married. All of them are great people. I enjoy them. They are intelligent, kind, and hard working. I have nothing negative to say of them. I just feel bad for them. They are always trying to figure out how to have a “social life” and how to make sure they have money for the next bill. They don’t have a consistent person to talk things over with, help them make decisions, support them in their quest to better themselves, or suggest new things to try. In fact a couple of them are struggling with their self-esteem due to the lack of respect their ex-partner showed them.
I believe marriage is a relationship to help us mature, building character. It helps us not stay stuck in who we think we are but forces us into exploring new ways of thinking and situations. The end result is we are better educated and less selfish. We make the world around us better. I could give you all of the Biblical reasons I believe in marriage and there are many, but for today I just want to concentrate on my observations from life and facts others have gathered. As I said I do not believe everyone has to get married. However, if you do marry, I believe staying married is better than divorce with a few exceptions. I say that as a daughter of a divorced mother who remarried, the sister of a twice divorced sibling and one of my best friends has been married 3 times. I am well acquainted with divorce and genuinely love many divorced people.
I’ll finish with a few statistics, non-emotional facts.
Over 25% of divorced women end up in poverty following their divorce. The average cost for a divorce is $30,000.00
Increased taxpayer expenditures associated with divorce and unwed childbearing include anti-poverty, criminal justice programs, costs for welfare subsidies, additional child support collection costs, foster care and child protection services, health insurance costs and education programs.
Parental divorce increases the odds that adult children will also divorce.
Both men and women who are married enjoy better health on average than do single, cohabitating, or divorced individuals. (My personal opinion is that is tied directly to stress levels.)
Cohabitating before marriage does not increase your chance of staying together, in fact you are more likely to get a divorce.
80-90% of married couples who stay together do so because they have fun together. So if you are married, enjoy it!
Being and staying married isn’t always easy but it is simple. You have to make a choice to be married for life. In my experience it has enriched my life greatly. What do you think? Let’s talk.