Marriage equals Happiness?


| 4 Comments

Many of us have dreams of meeting someone worth marrying one day.  My friends and I joke around that we will never get married, but we all hope that is not the case.  I often think that people who are not married are not happy.  When I come across an older man or woman who is not married I think, how sad, like marriage determines someone's happiness.  So, why do I associate marriage with being happy?  Are married people happier than single people?


Marriage has been changing in recent years.  It used to be that people would get married at a very early age.  For example, my grandparents were married at age 18.  If this were still the case then I would have already been married by now. Over time more people are waiting later in life to marry if they even decide to marry at all.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while marriage may not be considered a necessity anymore it still has its benefits.  People who are married are less likely to become smokers and alcoholics than single people.  Also, married people are less likely to experience mental and or emotional problems and continual headaches.  Married people have a longer life expectance and make more money due to the combination of each spouse's income.  Psychologists recognize marriage as the most dependable happiness indicator having 43 percent of married people state that they were very happy in comparison to 24 percent of single people that are very happy.  Does this necessarily mean that marriage equals happiness?


One problem with marriage is the divorce rate.  Now, almost half of all marriages do not work out.  One study was done where it looked at 1,000 different married couples for a 15 year period and found that marriage only brings happiness for a short amount of time.  Married couples were most happy in the beginning of marriage following right after the actual ceremony.  After that period most people went back to their normal selves.  It was found that married people are not happier than they were when they were single.  They are happier than they would have been if they stayed single according to the Michigan State research.  Also many of these studies combine all single people in one big group not taking into account each person's background whether they are a widow or newly divorced.  Some studies failed to include the individual friends and family each person had.  The more lifelong friends and family members then the more likely a person is to being happy single. Also, the majority of these studies are observational which means we cannot assume that correlation equals causation.  The direct causality would be that married people are more likely to be happy, but maybe this could be a reverse causality.  Could it be that happy people are more likely to get married?


This could be the case because happy people are the ones most likely to be found in a social setting which then could led to finding their spouses.  Psychologists think that married people are happier because they were already happy before they met their significant other.  Each spouse is responsible for trying to keep the relationship alive and knowing which fights are worth arguing over and which ones are not important.  It does not necessarily mean that marriage equals happiness because it is up to the couple to keep the happiness in a marriage. 

 

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References:


http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/single-and-loving-it


http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/married-people-happier-than-singles.htm


http://www.livescience.com/20649-married-people-happier.html


http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2012/marriage-may-make-people-happier/


    

4 Comments

This is true! Everyone always feels bad for the people who don't end up getting married, but maybe they're the lucky ones. I want to get married one day and have someone to share my life with, but what scares me is how you depend on someone else for happiness. I think that your happiness comes from within yourself and is also based of your genes; some people have happier genes than others. Marriage does not seem easy but defiantly do-able and I would never want to get a divorce if I were to get married. Here is an article about how some have happier genes then others.
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2011/may/06/happiness-gene-long-short-versions

It's funny that you posted about marriage because I just went to a wedding this weekend. After seeing their ceremony and then celebrating with them at the reception, I don't know how marriage couldn't bring happiness. They are both just so in love, and like many people I cannot wait for my wedding day. However, I think you bring up really good points. Each couple is different and to group 1,000 people together and not really examining their family life, background, or social life doesn't give a fair evaluation of happiness. There are many people out there who simply just don't want to get married and for them, being single is the happiest thing they could be. The link to the article below just restates a lot of the valid reasons you mentioned above!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/03/marriage-and-happiness_n_1560585.html

Marriage is such an interesting topic, especially with people our age. Every girl pins dresses and desserts to her dream wedding board, with some unrealistic expectations about what marriage is really about. Do we even really understand what it means to be happy or "in love" at this age? I think it's so interesting to read this article especially the part about marriage and age. It's crazy how even today people I graduated with are getting married! I cannot even imagine getting married right now! I think it's also really interesting that being happy is correlated with being married. Unfortunately, the divorce rates in our country aren't where they should be, but it's nice to know that married people can still be happy, if not happier than they were when they were single. I definitely agree that it takes two, and each marriage is held together by both people. I find young marriage very interesting and found a great article about it. If you want to, feel free to check it out!
http://www.laughyourway.com/blog/young-marriage/

My uncle is in his mid 50's and has never been married, yet he is one of the happiest people I know. This makes me think that every one is different when it comes to marriage and happiness. I also believe that because of the increasing divorce rates, marriage is actually causing people to be unhappy and stressed out in the long run. Like you mentioned, I do agree that mostly all newly weds are very happy in the beginning, but I think that especially now a days, marriage is actually negatively affecting happiness in the end. It is rare that divorce ends civilly, and with almost 50% of marriages ending in divorce, that means that marriage is causing 50% of people to become unhappy.

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