So, today I wanted to talk to you all about something a little bit different and that is the subject of marriage. Or, specifically five reasons to get married that have absolutely nothing to do with love.
Now, just as a quick disclaimer here: I’m definitely not advocating that you shouldn’t love your husband or your wife. It is very important that you love and care for your partner.
But, love should not be your sole basis for getting married.
Like other legally-binding partnerships, marriage is a contract. So, instead of looking at marriage as a happily ever after fairy-tale, it is much more beneficial (and practical) to view marriage as a partnership between two committed individuals.
Second disclaimer: my reasons for marriage rely on the assumption that both partners are committing equally to this marriage.
So, if you are in an unbalanced relationship where, for example, you are bringing in 100% of the income, the following benefits may not necessarily work in your favor.
With this in mind, let’s go through the five different reasons why I believe people should consider marriage.
Reason No. 1: Married couples are typically more financially stable than single homes.
And, this reason is pretty easy to comprehend.
If a single person makes $70,000 per year, that person is in a better position if she pairs with someone else that makes a comparable income.
If, God forbid, something were to happen to her primary source of income, she can lean on her partner for support until her primary income is fully restored.
The same situation is a bit hard for individuals.
Now, ideally, the single person would already have a sizable emergency fund so they’re not solely relying on unemployment. But, regardless, the single person does not enjoy the same financial advantage that the married couple with dual incomes does.
Reason No. 2: Your cost of living will be less expensive as a married couple.
Again, this is a pretty easy concept to understand.
A one-bedroom apartment that costs $1,200 per month is a lot less expensive when split with a partner. The same idea applies to to household appliances, groceries, Netflix subscriptions, etc.
When you share items that you would otherwise purchase as an individual, your cost of living is much less.
Reason No. 3: Financial goals are achieved much faster as a married couple than as an individual.
Once again, pretty easy concept to understand.
If, for example, you want to save money for a down-payment on a rental property, you’re going to get there much faster if you have a partner that’s contributing equally toward this goal.
The same down-payment will take a lot longer to save for on only one income. And, by the time the single person has finally saved that amount, the married couple will already be well on their way toward achieving their next financial goal.
Reason No. 4: Married couples have legal access to shared assets.
Now, for the first few marriage benefits that I mentioned, you could very well argue that you don’t have to be married in order to enjoy these benefits.
And, that’s true!
You don’t have to be married to share a one-bedroom apartment, and you don’t have to be married in order to purchase a house together.
But, if you want to claim any legal rights to a shared asset, it’s a whole lot easier if you’re already married.
For instance, I just read a terrible story about an elderly woman who is facing eviction because her partner passed away, and she has no legal claim to their shared co-op apartment.
Although they had been living together for 20 years, they were never married.
And, because there is no such thing as a common law marriage in the state of New York, she has no legal rights to the property.
So, when people tell you that marriage is “just a piece of paper,” well – that piece of paper is going to protect you and your assets in the court of law.
Reason No. 5: Children are statistically better off in married households.
Obviously, this doesn’t apply if you aren’t planning on having children. But, if you are, this is a really big point to consider.
If you want the best possible outcome for your child, the data clearly supports marriage.
A study by Kimberly Howard and Richard Reeves at the Brookings Institution showed that children whose mothers are continuously married make higher incomes at age 40 than children raised by single mothers.
Research by sociologists Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandefeur also showed that children who did not live with two parents were twice as likely to be poor, have a child outside of marriage, have behavioral and psychological problems, and to not graduate high school.
And, finally, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research also found that growing up in a single-parent household significantly hurts a child’s chance at upward mobility.
Now a portion of this is due to reasons we already discussed: married households are more financially stable than single households and childcare costs less when split with a partner.
But, a bigger portion of this is due to time.
Married couples have more time – and energy! – to engage with their children than single parents.
If you’re tired after a long day of work, your partner can chip in and engage with your child as you take a break to recover.
Single parents do not enjoy the same luxury.
Now, you could very well argue that you don’t need to be legally married in order to enjoy the benefits of a two-parent household. And, indeed – parents who are in a cohabitation situation do enjoy many of the same benefits as married households.
But, again, if we look at the data, it still supports marriage.
Only one out of three children born to cohabitating parents remain in a stable family through age 12 as opposed to three out of four children born in married households.
So, as much as I am hopeful that your situation will last long term, the data suggests otherwise.
Now, these were my five reasons that you should consider marriage, but just because there are pros to getting married does not mean that marriage is always a great idea.
Next week, I’ll specifically talk about six qualities to look for in a marriage partner, because – if you don’t have a great partner – then you’re actually better off being single.
I’m curious to know what you all think about my reasons that people should consider marriage – do you agree with them? Am I missing any?
Let me know in the comments below!