MARRIAGE: OVERVIEW OF BENEFITS AND FUTURE DIRECTION IN THE UNITED STATES

Open Access
Author:
LaPenta, Michelle Lynn
Area of Honors:
Human Development and Family Studies
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dr Eggebeen, Thesis Supervisor
  • David Eggebeen, Thesis Supervisor
  • Chalandra M Bryant, Faculty Reader
  • Kathryn Bancroft Hynes, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • marriage
  • advantages and benefits
  • cohabitation
Abstract:
Abstract The purpose of this thesis was to support the claim that married people are better off, to serve as an argument for promoting and valuing the institution of marriage and to grasp the developing changes of marriage. Many researchers recognize the importance and rewards marriage in the United States brings to individuals, and my goal was to bring a compilation of marital research over the years, combined with a personal standpoint that marriage is in fact good. The question of whether marriage makes people happier, or happy people are more likely to get married was examined. Marriage was compared to cohabitation in terms of couple’s relationship quality and satisfaction. Arguments that suggest marriage is not universally beneficially were considered, and finally, a debate of the possible future outcomes was reviewed. Most research found a positive association between marriage and greater physical, emotional, financial and sexual advantages. Married couples themselves also ranked their relationship quality higher in satisfaction compared to cohabiting couples. Evidence also indicates that marriage was not selective, meaning happy people were no more likely to wed than depressed individuals. In conclusion, the evidence supports the belief that marriage is an ever accepting and embracing institution, granting equal benefits to individuals regardless of health, emotional stability, personalities, or family backgrounds. I believe that this report grants a more organized, systematic framework for discussing marriage effects, in a time when the institution is weakening. My hope is that having more information on the benefits of marriage will give greater incentives for individuals to marry.