Studies show that individuals who make the effort to maintain quality, long-term relationships enjoy greater levels of overall happiness. Proving, the grass is greener where you water it.
However, according to Cristen Conger’s Huffington Post article, married couples tend to report being happier than singles. Since married individuals also drink and smoke less, statistics show they are healthier and live longer than unmarried people. Very interesting data considering we live in a divorce-happy society.
An escalating divorce rate has deterred many from marriage with a growing number of long-term cohabitants, who feel their relationships are just as substantial as legally-binding unions. But research from Nancy Wartik’s article “The Perils of Playing House” published in Psychology Today suggests these “trial periods” double the likelihood of divorce in a subsequent marriage. Researchers suggest people with more positive views on relationships simply go ahead and tie the knot before moving in together and discover greater happiness. Those with more risk factors (i.e. baggage) are more hesitant to take the plunge and often find themselves less satisfied after marriage.
Marriage is more than a piece of paper. Emotionally, it’s a sigh of relief. Marriage means you can’t just wash your hands after a big fight. It means you are completely vulnerable. It means you have given up the “I’s” for “we.” Unmarried couples are two “I’s” standing side by side, unwilling to sacrifice the freedoms of single life. If one person is suddenly unfulfilled and wants to leave, they can. In a marriage you can’t just go whenever things get rough. It is a character-building journey that forces husbands and wives to mature. There is a much higher level of commitment. Plus, break-ups don’t come with alimony, insurance policies and child support.
Among stability, openness and potential monetary compensation, married couples also experience a higher level of sexual freedom in their ability to reproduce. Unplanned pregnancies within marriage are much different than those outside. Often viewed more as surprises than life sentences, the abortion rate amongst married women is drastically lower than that of legally single women. According to 2005 statistics, single, never married women account for two-thirds of abortions in America. African-American women lead the way at 37 percent. Additionally, less drama surrounding paternity makes for less stressful pregnancies and healthier babies.
If you’re over 25 and you have been with the same guy for over two years and he’s still playing the we-don’t-need-a-piece-of-paper-to-validate-our-commitment card, move on. Unless you want to turn 30 just in time for him to tell you he’s leaving or eventually have a baby out-of-wedlock only for him to consider marrying you after the child turns 18.
Want to know more about LaShaun Williams? Follow her on Twitter @itsmelashaun.