Is marriage worth having?

Is marriage worth having?

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NY Times

In all but a few parts of the world, even when controlling for people’s life satisfaction before marriage, being married made them happier. This conclusion, however, did not hold true in Latin America, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Intriguingly, marital happiness long outlasted the honeymoon period. Though some social scientists have argued that happiness levels are innate, so people return to their natural level of well-being after joyful or upsetting events, the researchers found that the benefits of marriage persist.

One reason for that might be the role of friendship within marriage. Those who consider their spouse or partner to be their best friend get about twice as much life satisfaction from marriage as others, the study found.

The effect of friendship seems to be the result of living with a romantic partner, rather than the legal status of being married, because it was as strong for people who lived together but weren’t married. Women benefit more from being married to their best friend than men do, though women are less likely to regard their spouse as their best friend.

“What immediately intrigued me about the results was to rethink marriage as a whole,? Mr. Helliwell said. “Maybe what is really important is friendship, and to never forget that in the push and pull of daily life.?

So many marriages get kicked to the curb for no other reason beyond, “I’m just not feeling it any more,” “The spark is gone,” or, “All I feel is annoyance and frustration.”

The message is simple: Marriage is all about excitement, feeling massive warm fuzziness and, of course, the ever present sexual passion.

But, is it?

Obviously, there are violent, horrible marriages of unrelenting and unrepentant abuse or torment that definitely do need to be ended — and which result in much higher levels of happiness after doing divorcing. But, for the vast majority of divorces, no one is likely to end up happier as a result.

If you study marriage, by and large only well educated, decently well off people get married. Those who do get married tend to stay married and doing so makes them far happier then not marrying. (Yes, even if you correct for the idea that only happy people marry…)

A new relationship almost always is fresh and exciting — but, it often costs you that which will eventually come to be seen as what mattered the most:

Your best friend.

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