The arguments for and against marriage are extensive, particularly in modern times. With changing social expectations resulting in more couples choosing cohabitation over marriage and a growing number of alternatives to matrimony, people such as author Sandra Tsing Loh are posing the question of whether marriage has become obsolete. Since the same issues one person considers a disadvantage are seen as an advantage by others, the choice to marry or remain single comes down to personal preference.
Advantage: Health Benefits
According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control from 1999 to 2002, married people had an advantage in nearly every health-related category over those who chose not to wed. Additionally, since the married population in this study were less likely to smoke, drink and be physically inactive, they also suffered less headaches, back pain and psychological distress. This statistical trend was consistently true for all age ranges, ethnicities and income levels of married couples.
Disadvantage: Health Concerns
While healthy marriages tend to result in healtier individuals, the opposite is also true. Those affected by bad marriages, divorce or the grieving process involved when a spouse dies experienced considerably lower health according to Web MD. Additionally, Web MD reports that even the best of marriages showed a concerning health trend regarding weight, particularly in males. For married men ages 45 to 64, three out of every four are overweight or even obese. By contrast, the slimmest groups in the study were men and women who never married.
- While healthy marriages tend to result in healtier individuals, the opposite is also true.
- Additionally, Web MD reports that even the best of marriages showed a concerning health trend regarding weight, particularly in males.
Advantage: Financial Relief
Getting married results in the ability to file jointly during tax time, yielding lower rates for some filers. According to Investopedia, many areas of American tax laws are written to provide benefits to married couples, including saving for retirement. In addition to this tax break, married couples also have the opportunity to double their total income as well, meaning financially savvy couples who ensure the expenses do not double as well have a guaranteed financial advantage.
Disadvantage: Financial Burdens
Tom Van Riper of Forbes Magazine asserts that married couples are likely to spend the vast majority of their income just on living expenses, leaving almost no leftover funds for spending. While single people generally wait until their 40s to start saving for retirement, the married population starts earlier. Additionally, 77 per cent of homeowners are married couples according to the Center for Politics, resulting in extra expenses like home insurance and household maintenance. The costs of saving for retirement and paying off a home combined with providing for children means that many marriages incur extra expenses single people can safely ignore.
- Tom Van Riper of Forbes Magazine asserts that married couples are likely to spend the vast majority of their income just on living expenses, leaving almost no leftover funds for spending.