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3 Great reasons to get engaged this summer

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Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 05/20/24

If you’re ready to pop the question and just haven’t made the final move, here’s a vote for you to make 2024 “the summer we got engaged."

Maybe you’ve been dating your significant other for a while and know you want to marry them … eventually. You’re not feeling any rush.

You might be interested to know that going ahead and getting married might just make your life better. The newest social science research reveals a whole list of surprising benefits that come with simply being married. 

A new book from University of Virginia sociologist Brad Wilcox lays it all out for us. It’s called Get Married: Why Americans Must Defy the Elites, Forge Strong Families, and Save Civilization. While at first glance the title sounds hyperbolic, Wilcox certainly gives strong evidence for his case.

If you’re curious, here are a few of the reasons to get married, according to the mountain of research he presents in the book.

1
Married people report being happier

Married people call their lives “happier and more meaningful,” according to the 2022 General Social Survey (GSS). Women ages 18–55 who are married are almost twice as likely to be “very happy” with their lives (37 percent), compared to their single peers (19 percent). Married men ages 18–55 are also more likely to be “very happy” (34 percent) than their peers who are not married (13 percent). Meanwhile, 23 percent of unmarried women ages 18–55 say they are “not too happy” with their lives, compared to 13 percent of married women.

In fact, marriage is a better predictor of happiness than education, work, money, frequent sex, or regular religious attendance. 

These numbers might come as a surprise, since there’s often a cultural message that marriage drags down happiness. It turns out the opposite is true amongst the general public. 

2
Married people report greater meaning and purpose

Happiness is a great measure, but many people crave something even deeper, namely a sense of meaning to our lives. Happiness comes and goes, but on the hard days, we want to know that our efforts are for a good reason. We all work hard, but what are we working for?

It turns out that married people report a stronger sense of mission and purpose in their lives. There is a kind of intuitive sense to this: Marriage and raising children both take work, and when human beings do something hard, we feel a great emotional boost of pride and accomplishment. 

3
Married people do better financially

Wilcox reports that, in 2020, married mothers ages 18 to 55 had a median family income of $108,000, compared to $41,000 for childless single women in the same bracket. That’s more than twice as much, even if it’s split with a spouse. And as married women head toward retirement in their 50s, they’ve typically accumulated $357,000 in median assets, compared to less than $30,000 for their single peers. Meanwhile, stably married men heading toward retirement have a staggering 10 times more assets than their divorced or never-married male peers.

Who knew that simply being married is a surprising financial advantage? Probably not most of us, which might be one reason that marriage rates are declining. 

While of course no one should be getting married for financial reasons, if you’re in a loving and committed long term relationship, you might appreciate knowing that putting on a ring on it might just improve your personal bottom line.

These three are just some of the many reasons to get married that Wilcox explains in great detail. If you’re at all curious, definitely check out Get Married!

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I’ll add that the warm, lovely days of summer are a great time to get engaged. And contrary to what social media might have you think, getting engaged doesn’t need to be a whole big production. A quiet moment together is just as meaningful, and more personal and intimate.

If you’re ready to pop the question and just haven’t made the final move, here’s a vote for you to remember Summer 2024 as “the summer we got engaged” for the rest of your lives.

Tags:
BooksMarriageRelationshipsScience
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