The fact that men and women do better when bonded for life is a trend found in history, proven by science, and beloved by literature.
When a couple is married, both man and wife benefit from each other in numerous ways including income, life satisfaction, longevity, and community engagement. The teamwork and “social support” in marriage have even been proven to increase your odds of surviving cancer.
Two studies conducted between 2000 and 2009 found that the death rate among female cancer patients was 19% higher for unmarried women than for those with a husband. Even more shocking is the statistic for men: the odds of dying from cancer go up by 27% for unmarried patients compared to married patients.
Study authors controlled factors including health insurance status, income, and race to ensure that data was as accurate as possible. “Social support is a key factor,” says Scarlett Lin Gomez of the Cancer Prevention Institute.
One could argue that a traditional marriage benefits the woman more than the man – but as it turns out – the man enjoys far more benefits in regards to health and longevity than does his wife.
Here’s an example: a Framingham Offspring Study found that a man’s chances of premature death from a heart-related condition decrease by 46% when married. Married men also have:
• Lower levels of depression
• Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cancer
• Better blood sugar levels
• Better survival rates after diagnosis
Marriage is one of the most basic of human relationships and can be used as a lens through which to view other differentials in American life; for example, the income gap between whites and blacks.
Marriage rates for African Americans have remained below that of other races for many generations. But a 2010 study found that black married couples in which both man and wife worked enjoyed a combined income above the national average for married couples of any race.
Unfortunately being married is not the norm in America’s black population, where more than 60% of children are raised by a single parent. This rate drops to 42% for Hispanics and 25% for whites.
While the results of unmarried parenting can be seen in the black community, they are co-morbid with several factors. Are problems like poor school performance, high crime rates, and increasing frequency of disease related to family structure, poverty, or the residue of slavery?
Today, marriage rates are falling among whites and Hispanics. Simultaneously, these populations are experiencing a rise in unemployment, mental illness, drug abuse, and school failure. Without a history of discrimination to skew the data, we can only assume these problems are linked to the failure to wed.
Editor’s Note: Marriage has a genetic quality, where the best qualities of each parent can be passed on to children. But the most important quality is the ability to pass on the institution of marriage to the next generation.
It does not occur to many that attacks on the institution of marriage cause great harm to our society. One should note, in other genetic systems, when the gene system is damaged, the patient dies.