Recently we were speaking at a Build Your Marriage conference and an attendee engaged one of us in a conversation about why marriage mattered. “Isn’t marriage just a little piece of paper–an unnecessary formality?”
No–marriage matters. Marriage is much more than a piece of paper. Marriage was designed by God and it’s the best way for men and women to live together!
With the increased number of adults who have never married (1 in 5 adults over the age of 25) and the rise of adults choosing to live together, it can seem like the prevailing wisdom of this age is to forgo marriage because it isn’t worth it. But when considering the evidence and wisdom behind getting married, the excuses for living together simply don’t hold up.
Here are five benefits of marriage that will cause you to appreciate the fact that you are married or make you seriously consider marriage:
1. You receive God’s blessing
Marriage was created by God. Choosing to enter into a marriage relationship is an active agreement with God that His ways are best. It’s a step of obedience and an expression of our love for Jesus. As a result, God blesses us with increased intimacy with himself. He pours his favor on our relationship. Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” (John 14:21).
You have to ask yourself, “Do I want God’s favor on my relationship? Do I want greater intimacy with Jesus?”
2. You enter a covenant relationship
A covenant is far more than a commitment. It is a solemn promise to each other that is witnessed by God. Have you heard the minister say, “Therefore, what God has joined together…”? Because you have chosen to enter a covenant relationship, you are joined together by God. You are inviting His help in keeping the two of you together. A marriage covenant is a declaration that you will stay together “until death do you part.”
3. You are healthier physically
According to Dr. Robert Schmerling of the Harvard Medical School, the health benefits of married couples statistically far outweighs those who are not married. He writes that married people live longer, have fewer strokes and heart attacks, have a lower chance of depression, are less likely to be diagnosed with advanced cancer, are more likely to survive cancer, and survive a major operation more often. In a study in England, of 25,000 people who had a heart attack, those who were married were 14% more likely to survive and they left the hospital two days earlier than those who were not married.
4. You are stronger financially
The number one stress married couples face is around the topic of money. While couples may choose to live together for financial reasons, they actually bring even greater stress on their relationship because their income is less than those who are married!
The truth is, you are better off financially being married than living together! Did you know that couples who choose to get married have a household income 39% higher than those who live together? And married partners have greater assets than cohabiting couples. You also have the benefits of filing jointly on your taxes. Additionally, you can share health insurance and decrease its cost. There are benefits relating to IRA’s, medical decisions, inheritance, and Social Security as well.
5. You have a stronger environment for your children
“About half of couples who are cohabiting at their child’s birth will split by the time that child is five. Many of these young parents will go on to form new relationships and have additional children with new partners” (The Future of Children). A child born outside of marriage is more prone to face instability in the home and uncertainty in intimate relationships.
Children raised within the context of marriage have the benefit of both parents’ attention. They experience commitment. A child born in a marriage ultimately has a smaller relational network to navigate. They are raised in a home with more structure and less unsupervised time alone.
Is it worth it to be married? Absolutely! Use this list to remind yourselves once again of the beauty and value of being married. Recommit yourselves to the covenant you declared at the altar. Renew your dedication to build your marriage!