January 21, 2010

Why Stick to the Vow?

Do you recall your wedding vows?

The pastor asked you, “Will you have this man to be your husband (this woman to be your wife), to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love, comfort, honor, and keep___ in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful as long as you both shall live?” You answered, “I will.”

You then turned toward each other and vowed, “In the Name of God, I __________ take you, __________ to be my husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”

Why did you make these vows? And, perhaps more importantly, why stick to these vows? Maggie Gallagher and Linda J. Waite, authors of The Case for Marriage, reviewed the scientific evidence on the effects of marriage, and found the evidence strongly supports sticking to these marriage vows (Maggie Gallagher "Why Marriage is Good for You." City Journal ((Autumn, 2000)).
In summary, this is what they found.
• Marriage lowers the risk of violence. Unmarried couples who live together engage in more domestic violence than the married.
• Married people live healthier and longer lives. Nine out of ten married men who are alive at 48 will make it to age 65, compared with just six in ten of single men.
• Children live healthier and longer lives. A parent's divorce can lessen by four years an adult child's life.
• The married earn more money. Married men make as much as 40 percent more money than unmarried men.
• The married manage money better and build more assets than those who cohabitate. Near retirement, the average married couple is worth about $410,000, compared with $154,000 for the divorced and $167,000 for the never-married.
• The married are more faithful to each other. “Cohabiting men are four times more likely to cheat than husbands, and cohabiting women are eight times more likely to cheat than wives.”
• Marriage is better for you mentally and emotionally. The married are less depressed, anxious, and psychologically stressed.
• The married are happier. “Overall, 40 percent of married people, compared with about a quarter of singles or cohabitors, say they are ‘very happy’ with life in general. We shouldn’t say, ‘divorce or be unhappy’ but ‘divorce and be unhappy.’”
• Children love their married parents more. “Adult children of divorce describe relationships with both their mother and their father less positively, on average, and they are about 40 percent less likely than adults from intact marriages to say they see either parent at least several times a week.”
• The married have better and more frequent sex. “Single men are 20 times more likely, and single women ten times more likely, not to have had sex even once in the past year than the married.”

Maggie asks, “How can a piece of paper work such miracles? For surprisingly, the piece of paper, and not just the personal relationship, matters a great deal…Something about marriage as a social institution—a shared aspiration and a public, legal vow—gives wedlock the power to change individuals' lives.”

Furthermore, she writes, “What proportion of unhappily married couples who stick it out stay miserable? The latest data show that within five years, just 12 percent of very unhappily married couples who stick it out are still unhappy; 70 percent of the unhappiest couples now describe their marriage as ‘very’ or ‘quite’ happy. Just as good marriages go bad, bad marriages go good. And they have a better chance of doing so in a society that recognizes the value of marriage than one that sings the statistically dubious joys of divorce.”

Deuteronomy 23:23 says, “Make sure you do what you said you would do in your vow” (GW). Now we understand why!


Anonymous said...

Good blog~nice to meet u..................................................................

HD said...

Hmmm, interesting stats.

Only 60% of single men who are presently 48 will make it to 65?! That's shocking...65 is relatively young compared to the growing septua- and octogenarian population.

"The married have better and more frequent sex." For those of us who are Christian and single, well, we could have told the authors that without their having to review scientific evidence on the subject!

Despite the scientific evidence, my reason for making and sticking to the marriage vows (when my time comes) is simply because I understand and value covenant and will wholeheartedly undertake God's design for marriage.

David Porter said...


Interesting statistics, but infinitely beyond this is the obedience of faith for those who are deeply in love with Yahweh.

Abba, sometimes this woman you gave me drives me nuts, but I so deeply desire to serve you, and have your blessing that I will obediently learn to love this woman, and work with all my might to love her, as you have loved your bride the church.

Amazingly, he give me the strength, he opens my eyes to see her as he does, he puts in my heart a deep desire to please Him, and the great, great reward is his pleasure and a most beautiful wife/companion to boot.

Thank you God for my bride! There were times when that was most difficult to say.

Crystal said...

Just for the record I would like to point out as a non-Christian, Love and Respect has been an eye opener for my husband and I. Emerson’s conference has helped us make our marriage amazing. We have been married for 6 years and the first 5 were filled with addiction issues and instability. We had a volatile relationship, but we have always cared deeply for each other. When our friends and family all thought we were crazy and told us we shouldn’t be together we struggled for ways to make it work. We even got to the point that we lived apart. With this new perspective and knowledge we have learned how to understand each other and are incredibly happy. This program is for everyone regardless of your beliefs because Emerson puts the program into terms that everyone can relate to and understand. Thank you Emerson for this insight and helping my husband and I find the way to relate to each other. It has been life changing and has saved our marriage.

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