The Advantages and Disadvantages of Marriage
Marriage has been a part of human culture for thousands of years and almost all cultures and religions on the planet have some sort of partnership ceremony.
In some cultures, men are allowed to have multiple wives, but in most places marriage is limited to one man and one woman.
In recent times marriage has become less popular, however, especially in developed countries. The institution suffered a dramatic decline in the middle to late twentieth century – partly due to increased divorce rates but also because many couples chose not to marry at all.
The traditional concept of marriage has also been challenged in recent years by gay couples, who believe that they should have the same opportunities to get wed as straight couples (See - The pros and cons for gay marriage legalization).
Below are what I believe to be the main advantages and disadvantages of marriage.
My husband and I are best of friends first and foremost. We fight like cats and dogs, but never stay mad for long. I was lucky to find him, he is in every way, my soulmate.— Carnie Wilson
Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.— Franz Schubert
Advantages of Marriage
- Most human beings are not solitary and crave companionship. Life is enhanced when experiences can be shared with another person who has similar interests and concerns and loves you.
- Most cultures have religious reasons for getting married. A religious marriage can be a way for a couple to deepen their bonds to each other, as well as help them form a deeper relationship with God and receive His blessing.
- With or without religion, marriage is an accepted way for two people to show their commitment to each other. Couples who marry have been statistical shown to be together longer and are more likely to bond for life.
- Marriage benefits society generally because it is associated with stable families. Stable families produce happier children and a more stable society with less crime and other social problems.
- There are often financial benefits associated with marriage. Taxes are often lower. Other financial issues associated with legalities such as inheritance can be easier to sort out when a couple is married.
- Marriage is about sharing burdens and responsibilities and that can mean less stress, both in terms of practicalities and also with emotional problems. Raising a child, for example, is relatively easier for two parents than it is for one.
- Marriage gives a child two parents, which can help a child to develop into a balanced and happy adult. Children have two different role models to look up to and twice as much potential support, emotionally and practically.
- Marriage promises and helps deliver a happy sex life. Partners can get to know and fulfill each others' desires in a trusting long term relationship. Monogamy also reduces health risks such as sexually transmitted diseases.
In marriage there are no manners to keep up, and beneath the wildest accusations no real criticism. Each is familiar with that ancient child in the other who may erupt again. We are not ridiculous to ourselves. We are ageless. That is the luxury of the wedding ring.— Enid Bagnold
Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is simply purgatory.— Abraham Lincoln
Disadvantages of Marriage
- Fidelity is not a natural state for human beings, especially when they are young adults and their sex drive is at its strongest. Most married sex lives fade over time, which can lead to affairs and other forms of infidelity, such as the use of prostitutes, even in the most well-intentioned people.
- Many couples get stuck in a rut, repeating the same arguments over and over. The key differences in their personalities never go away. Petty problems, irritating habits, become magnified over time.
- Marriage restricts the freedom of individual. Single people can happily live their lives pretty much as they please without having to be concerned with the needs or wishes of others.
- Marriage means that couples have to deal with their partner’s family, which can be a source of problems and conflict.
- Getting married can add lots of extra bureaucracy and red tape to a relationship, especially when the wife changes her name and official documents such as social security, driving licenses have to be changed.
- Society has moved on and the traditional idea of marriage is outdated. Rather than seeing marriage as the one way that people should follow, we should embrace the various different sorts of human relationships and treat them all equally, such as one parent families, homosexual relationships, etc.
- Relationships should be purely personal and less formal. Marriage is about seeking approval from the civil authorities, or a religion, when it should just be the two people in the relationship that matter.
- There can sometimes be situations where there are financial disadvantages to being married. Divorce costs can also be huge if you make a mistake and marry the wrong person.
- Marriage ceremonies can be very expensive and extremely stressful. It is not uncommon for relatives to take over and the couple's wishes to be sidelined.
- Marriage can extend the time that couples stay together in a bad or unhealthy relationship, when it would be better if they split – for instance, where the couple are clearly ill-suited, or even where there is physical or emotional abuse going on, they may be tempted to stay together because of religious or cultural taboos over breaking up the marriage.
One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.— Oscar Wilde
But marriage goes in waves. You've got to be patient. People bail and give up on their marriages way too early. They just don't put the work and the effort into it. You've got to suck up your ego a lot of times, because that can be a big downfall.— Anna Benson
Do you think marriage is a good thing overall?
© 2011 Paul Goodman