10 Dec Just Wait Twenty Years
My biggest shock when telling people of my recent marriage is the negativity that comes in response to this life event. They want to know if I am happy, and when I respond in the affirmative they respond with “just wait…” Just wait for whatever they think will give me a reality check. Just wait until the honeymoon is over, just wait for children, just wait until he makes you angry, just wait twenty years. This negativity is darkening the views that today’s young people have on marriage, and overshadowing the real life benefits that come from marriage, including the benefit of happiness.
Married people are happier than their non-married peers. This happiness is contributed to many things, such as the boost in standard of living marriage typically brings, the friendship, and the promise of fidelity and permanence. But regardless of these things marriage boosts psychological wellbeing, and those who marry are less likely to experience depression and chronic stress.
The debate has gone on for years of whether marriage makes people happier or if happy people are more likely to marry. In The Case for Marriage Maggie Gallagher and Linda Waite explore this idea. They state “The selection of happy and healthy people in marriage cannot explain the big advantage in mental and emotional health husbands and wives enjoy.” Meaning that marriage does indeed increase an individual’s overall wellbeing regardless of their emotional state beforehand.
I have heard it said that marriage is just doubling your amount of problems; and it’s true that marriage offers its fair share of challenges. Married couples have to deal with things that their single counterparts don’t. However marriage also provides a partner to go through these things with. They have a shoulder to lean on, a shoulder who has promised to be there for better or for worse.
The Institute for American Values did a report on divorce; they found “two out of three unhappily married adults who avoided divorce or separation ended up happily married five years later.” Showing that even when difficult times arise in a marriage couples that work through it end up experiencing the positive effects of marriage on happiness.
My favorite thing about marriage is that I get to plan my life with someone who has just as much invested in it as I do. Because we both have so much invested we get in more “discussions” about how to spend money, where to live, and what career path to follow than either of us would do with our parents or friends, but it also means that we are thinking about how our choices will affect each other.
Marriage provides many benefits, but when our culture is saying the opposite it causes people to stop looking for and expecting the benefits, causing hesitation towards marriage. If these benefits are not known and only negativity portrayed, marriage will be less sought after and people will be more likely to run when troubles arise rather than staying to work through the issues and find greater happiness. We need to stop portraying this negative message about marriage. The happiness that marriage brings needs to be known and worked towards.