In today’s world marriage is seen as an option. It is often looked down upon because of the “it never works out anyways” mentality. It’s true I’m sure most of us, myself included, have had a family member or friend go through a divorce, but a lot of the places people are seeing marriages not work out are in tabloids, magazines, television shows, etc. The reason it seems there are so many failed marriages is because the media covers those stories. Why would anyone want to hear about a happy marriage when a marriage that is ending has way more “dirty details.” The truth is marriage is good and the majority of marriages are happy and successful.
So what makes a good marriage? According to Gottlieb’s experts “distinguishing ‘needs’ from ‘wants’ certainly helps foster wiser choices in a marriage partner, with qualities in the ‘needs’ category like selflessness, humility, maturity, sense of humor, and the ability to commit taking precedence over those in the ‘wants’ category, like height, college pedigree, type of career, hair color and social status.” Recognizing the difference in the “needs” and “wants” categories is important when looking for a spouse. The “needs” category are things that will make more of an impact on a marriage and will be important for the trials that life will bring to the marriage. Yes, the “wants” category is definitely important, but it shouldn’t be the main focus when finding a spouse. Also, I think it is important to find someone you feel comfortable with, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. These three areas are huge in a marriage and if one area doesn’t click then it might be best to move on from that relationship before making a serious commitment.
Growing up we would have activities in Young Women’s where we would write down qualities we are seeking in our future husbands. It was always a fun activity and my lists would always be changing. Once I got to college and realized that my list of qualities actually meant something I decided to sit down and write another one. I noticed from my previous lists that some of my “needs” turned to “wants” and some of my “wants” turned to “needs.” I found things like having blue eyes, taller than me, and good at cooking were just bonuses and I shouldn’t be too focused on them. But things like willing to work and provide for a family, genuine, mature, honest, and charitable were all things that were going to make a difference in my marriage. Luckily I was able to find someone who filled both my “needs” and my “wants.” While it seems silly growing up to make those lists I feel that it is important to. The lists should always be updated and constantly looked at when looking for a spouse.
Once someone has found their perfect person and they get married it is easier for them to see the benefits of marriage, which are many. Elizabeth VanDenBerghe said,
“As for being unfulfilled and stifled, married people are generally happier, the studies find, with greater life satisfaction, lower risk for depression, and greater economic stability, all contributing to better mental health.”
This shows how marriage can be beneficial, especially in mental health areas. I believe that there is a sense of comfort when a person gets married because they will always have a person there to talk to, express their feelings to, and overcome struggles with. This is very helpful, especially if someone does struggle with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health things.
Another benefit of marriage is overall satisfaction of life and happiness in general. A study from Stack and Eshleman found that “living together not only failed to compensate for marriage, but was also associated with decreased chances of happiness, health, and financial security.” The commitment to get married increases each of these areas and also allows “barriers within the relationship to collapse and the couple feels a freedom unique to marriage– an emotional, psychological, and sexual safety unmatched by any other relationship.” While people think marriage is more of a burden and will not allow them to feel free it is quite the opposite. Marriage allows for more freedom and security than any other relationship.
Elizabeth VanDenBerghe in her research later says,
“Both the soft stories and the hard evidence attest to the fact that good marriages are undeniably worth the work, sacrifice, and dedication they require. The benefits of marriage are unique; the disadvantages of alternative family forms are real, profound, and all too common. The benefits begin at the marriage ceremony; extend into the lives of husbands, wives, and their children across time; then stretch out to bolster neighborhoods, communities, and the world at large.”
Marriage is hard and it takes work, but the benefits that come from making a marriage work are many. Marriages will only work if each person is willing to put forth effort and have understanding, especially in times of trouble. Many will say the work isn’t worth it and if they aren’t in a committed marriage it is easier to leave, but that will never bring joy into life. Marriage is hard, but life is harder without making that commitment and having a person always there to work through the difficult times with.
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