The Family Research Council runs a great outfit called the Marriage and Religion Research Institute. This center has recently produced an extensively researched document called “162 Reasons to Marry” that is a stemwinder of a case for covenantal union.
Here’s what the report says at the outset:
With fewer than half our children now reaching the end of childhood in an intact married family, it will be good for all adolescents to learn again and again that an intact married life is a great good to aim for. If they are clear on the goal, they may be motivated to reach it. Just as the children who grew up in the Great Depression became the wealthiest generation in history, maybe we can hope that the children who experienced so much rejection between their parents will become the greatest generation of parents who belong to each other in lifelong marriage.
The report goes on to list the promised 162 reasons. Here are a few; I would encourage you to read the whole thing, as I am firmly in line with the historic Christian church and modern political philosophers (and candidates like Rick Santorum) in believing that marriage is a) God’s ideal plan for widespread human flourishing and b) the best way to ameliorate many social ills (when coupled with other factors–spiritual, educational, economic, and so on).
- Children from intact families have fewer behavioral problems in school.
- First-grade children born to married mothers are less likely to exhibit disruptive behavior, such as disobeying a teacher or behaving aggressively towards peers, than children born to cohabiting or single mothers.
- Adolescents from intact married families are less like to be suspended, expelled, delinquent, or experience school problems than children from other family structures.
- Married families have larger incomes.
- Intact married families have the largest annual income of all family structures with children under 18.
- Among family structures with dual earners, married households in which both spouses are in the paid workforce have the largest income.
- Marriage increases the income of African-American men and women.
- Married households have the highest income-to-needs ratio.
- Men enjoy a larger “wage premium” (the financial gain men enjoy when they join a female partner) when they marry rather than cohabit.
- The marriage premium produces an annual income increase of approximately .9 percent.
- Women in intact marriages have a higher income-to-needs ratio than women in any other family structure.