Nostalgia for the middle school years gone by rarely rushes into the mind unaccompanied by a twinge of regret birthed by memory of our regrettable social ineptitude. Awkwardness abounded at school social events, when the hermetically isolated genders were thrust together onto the middle school dance floor. Those are days to which few would happily return. Yet recent polling of young singles in
USA Today reports that in a poll of 5,541 adults who are either never married, or widowed, divorced, or separated, only 34.5% of the respondents answered affirmatively when asked “Do you want to get married?” 27% answered no, and 38.6% were uncertain whether they wanted to enter into a marital commitment.
These findings illustrate broader trends, as Americans tend to view marriage as a nonessential social institution, and consequently neither desire nor pursue it for themselves. Instead, sexual activity is increasingly detached from marital fidelity, as 55% of respondents report having a one-night stand, and 56% of respondents report having suffered infidelity.
But apart from these issues of sexual exclusivity, marriage confers numerous salutary benefits upon those who choose to engage in it. Indeed, these benefits are some of the most unassailable and verified findings in all of social science. Drawing on an abundance of social science research, the Marriage and Religion Research Institute has compiled some of these benefits into the convenient 162 Reasons to Marry in order to educate the public about the desirability of marriage. If the polls cited above confirm that marriage is on the decline among young Americans, the social science data from numerous sources confirms that those who flee from marriage forfeit its numerous benefits and do themselves a disservice. If we would avoid this preventable development, it is worthwhile to reevaluate our analysis of the marital bond. In short, marriage deserves another look.