Marriage as an institution has been through so much. For centuries, it has been held in reverence as the ultimate act of two people joined in the holiest, most sacred of bonds, so much so, that asking why is marriage important in life was laughable.
With time, even as the institution has been questioned and even mocked, it’s nearly impossible to deny or erase the significance of marriage completely. Common-law partnerships, live-in relationships and so on are solid and viable alternatives to marriage. No longer is marriage a pre-requisite for sexual activity or shared life. So, why is marriage important in life then?
The relationship landscape is changing rapidly across geographies and demographics. As of 2017, a study showed that 50% of Americans aged 18 and above were married. This is a reasonably stable number in recent years, but down 8% since the 1990s. Yet, in a 2010 study, 85% of Americans cited a successful marriage as extremely important to them.
It would seem that marriage persists as an aspiration and hope for most people, despite the cynicism that so often surrounds it. To shed more light on why marriage is important in life, we asked dating coach Geetarsh Kaur, founder of The Skill School which specializes in building stronger relationships, about the benefits of marriage and why marriage is important in our life.
Is Marriage Necessary In Life?
“Marriage is a beautiful institution, provided you find the right partner,” says Geetarsh. “The wrong partner can make marriage a disastrous word in the dictionary of life. Therefore, before looking at the necessity of the institution, it is important to choose the right partner. Once you’ve done that, marriage brings security, stability, hope, a shoulder to fall back on and much more. But it needs to be created and built up with a lifelong companion.”
Perhaps ‘necessary’ is rather a strong word. In many cases, marriage brings beauty and richness to life and therefore, it may be seen as a path to greater joy and togetherness rather than being necessary. After all, there are awesome advantages to being single and having wonderful friendships, too, as much as in marriage and togetherness. But, it cannot be denied that when done right, marriage can make for a wonderful, lifelong partnership.
Why do people marry?
For the cake and presents, of course! No? Well then, it must be love. As per a 2017 study, 88% of Americans feel that love is the most significant component of marriage and the best reason to go ahead with it. Now, this can differ across geographies and cultures, of course.
“Some people marry because it’s the norm because that is what is expected of them. Others want friendship and companionship, to celebrate life, and make memories. Some only do it for family and to fulfill societal expectations. There are also those who marry simply because they are fearful of ending up alone,” Geetarsh says.
Marriage sees its ups and downs but the question of why you have chosen to get married can mean different things to different people. However, if you’re sure you’ll sail through any difficulty with kindness and dignity, if you and your spouse are always ideating on how to be a better husband or wife, you know you’ve chosen well,” she adds.
While love is certainly a factor, there are other, practical considerations that people take into account when getting into a marriage. Companionship, financial reasons, religious reasons, the need to make a long-term commitment, etc. are all important, too. After all, for most people, marriage is a major deal and requires a great deal of thought. For others, there’s always cake.
13 Reasons Why Marriage Is Important In Life
We’ve taken a peek into the whys and wherefores of marriage, but since we’re all about getting real, let’s get down to the bare bones of things. Whether or not you believe in the institution, here are 13 reasons why marriage is important in life.
1. Economic stability
“Look, I love my husband to bits – I love everything about him. But honestly, the difference it makes having a two-income household, knowing we can co-sign on a mortgage and so on is a huge part of it and a major relief for me after years of struggling on my own,” says Katy, adding, “I enjoyed my single days for sure, but as soon as I started looking for a house of my own or wanting to buy a car or health insurance, I realized having a partner makes it so much easier.”
Money and marriage tips often go hand in hand because, again, while love and the wedding of your dreams are amazing, sharing the financial burden is one of the benefits of marriage and a big reason why marriage is important in life.
“Marriage brings economic stability, which in turn brings a measure of peace. Not only can you split the finances with your spouse, but you also have the option of turning to their family for help in times of need and/or crisis,” says Geetarsh.
There’s no denying that economic stability is a godsend to any romantic relationship. Financial stability and literacy is also a good way to resolve marriage conflict more easily. After all, how happy or peaceful are you if you’re constantly worrying about rent and groceries and how you’ll make your next car payment. We’d all like a world where money doesn’t matter, but the reality is, it absolutely does, and that’s why it’s a good thing to think about if you’re contemplating marriage.
2. Emotional security
There’s a certain sweetness in knowing you’re coming home to the same person every day, that you’ve bound yourself together by choice for the rest of your lives and that you know each other’s quirks and eccentricities and are (mostly) willing to live with them. There’s comfort in the sameness, much like an old t-shirt you like to sleep in night after night, or an armchair you hauled from your grandparents’ basement.
Related Reading: 8 Ways To Cultivate Emotional Safety In Your Relationship
Not to make marriage sound threadbare and dusty, but emotional security can be a major reason why marriage is important in our life. We all want a steady companion, someone to turn to with our woes and worries, someone we know will be there and have our backs no matter what.
“A spouse is someone with whom you can discuss your day, even if it wasn’t very interesting. You air out your issues to each other, you feel safe sharing your fears and wondering how to overcome them. Here is someone with whom you’re comfortable being completely yourself, and wholly yourself,” Geetarsh says.
A healthy marriage is like a security blanket around your heart, where you’re not constantly wondering if you’re good enough for the relationship. Even if there are relationship insecurities, you have the freedom to talk them over because you know you have a willing ear and shoulder in your spouse.
3. Marriage brings a sense of community
Marriage brings with it a sense of belonging, not just to your spouse, but to their family and a wider community. “Marriage was sort of a gateway for me,” says Shane, “I wasn’t always very close to my own family, but after I got married, my spouse’s large, warm family welcomed me with open arms. Celebrating holidays and so on with them really made me feel like I was part of a great circle of love and helped me understand healthy family dynamics.”
“I was never very involved in my community till I got married. I was fairly shy and kept to myself. Then I got married and had kids and suddenly, I was helping out at school and holding bake sales and getting to know other moms. And I was enjoying myself thoroughly!” says Alex.
Communities aren’t created solely by marriage, of course, but if you’re thinking about why marriage is important in life, it’s a great place to start becoming part of a wider network and circle of people. As author Rebecca Wells wrote, “We’re all each other’s keepers”, and marriage and the communities it can lead you to are true testaments to this.
4. Marriage is an affirmation of your commitment
There’s something about standing up in front of everyone you love (and probably a few you don’t!) and declaring, “Look, I love this person and I want the whole world to know it. This is my ultimate romantic gesture.” There’s something about declaring it with a big party and lots of champagne and a legal document and a ring. Even my wizened, cynical heart would find it difficult to argue too much with that.
As a stubbornly unmarried person myself, I often ask friends why they took the leap. What was it that prompted them to see the significance of marriage? Time and again they tell me that it just felt like a solidification of love, of commitment. Like the final step, but also the first step in the relationship. An affirmation of feelings they knew they had, but that they wanted to put a name and a label to.
“I have such a big love for my spouse and I love that I got to share it with our families and friends through marriage,” says Carol, “We were already living together and we knew we were committed and we’d met each other’s families. There was no pressure to get married but we wanted to do it because it meant something to both of us.”
Geetarsh warns that while commitment in a marriage can indeed be aspirational, it’s important to remember that attraction for other people can continue to exist. “The institution of marriage does not guarantee togetherness, you still need to choose to be together every day, regardless of what temptations come your way,” she says.
5. Marriage is good for health
We’re not even being glib or cliched here. A study shows that unmarried people are at a 42% higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 16% higher risk of developing coronary artery disease than married people. Marriage can quite literally keep your heart happier, it seems.
Maybe it’s just not having to worry about doing everything on your own and having someone to unload on and yell at when things go wrong. Maybe it’s being able to lounge around in your oldest pajamas with a giant zit on your nose, brandishing your wedding ring at your spouse and going, “Hah, you’re stuck with me!” Whatever it is, it would seem that the question isn’t why marriage is important in life but how much it can prolong your life!
6. Children benefit from healthy marriages
“Really?” You’re thinking. “Isn’t it a little archaic to stay in an unhappy marriage for the kids?” It absolutely is, and we doff our hats to single moms and dads everywhere. But, hear us out. “You need not get married or remain married to have children or raise them well,” Geetarsh clarifies, “But, our world is still built in such a way that children from homes where parents are happy and together tend to grow up with healthier attitudes toward life and love.”
Studies show that custodial mothers lose 25-50% of their pre-divorce income, which means the children may suffer from economic instability. In case of divorce, a child may also lose time with the other parent and set of grandparents, thereby losing out on joint celebrations, traditional holidays and so on.
“I think one of my primary reasons for getting married was that I wanted to raise children in a loving home with two parents,” says Jolene, “When I came out as a bisexual woman, my parents wanted nothing to do with me. I wanted kids of my own and to raise them with a partner so they would know that love exists in all forms. Also, my partner is from a different culture and ethnicity, so the kids get to experience all of that diversity too.”
When we think about why marriage is important in life with culture patterns, it’s also about breaking toxic culture patterns. Maybe you grew up watching your parents in an unhappy marriage and you want to raise kids who know that love and kindness are possible in a marriage. Whatever it is, a good marriage can be great for kids.
7. A good marriage brings responsibility
“I’d been dating my now-husband for 3 years before we got married. We’d gone on holiday together and stayed at each other’s homes short-term. But marriage brought with it a sense of accountability that we’d never experienced before. Suddenly, we were responsible not just for ourselves but for each other. We were responsible for being the kind of people who could be responsible, kind for ourselves and any children we might have,” says Austin.
Marriage is serious business. You’ve just announced to the world that you’re adult and mature enough to take a major step in your personal life. Now, you have to live up to it. You’ve gone from Saturday night dates and Sunday picnics in the park to co-running a home, managing finances, planning for children, and making time for one another as partners.
Why is marriage important in life? Well, it certainly spurs you to grow up and act like a responsible adult. You’re lovingly and legally bound to another person for life. As scary as that thought might be, it means you need to mold yourself into someone worthy of such love and such a responsibility. This can truly be one of the benefits of marriage – that it’s such a vital learning process. Maybe that is the purpose of marriage.
8. Marriage brings spiritual harmony
If you’re someone who believes in the spiritual realm, that the universe is run by a great and benign power, whatever shape they may take in your mind, marriage becomes a pathway to achieving greater spiritual harmony, whether by welding your subconscious to someone else’s or the religious and cultural rituals that celebrate your coming together.
“I’m not a particular fan of organized religion but my family wanted a religious ceremony when I decided to get married. I wasn’t sure about it but looking back, there was a strange sense of peace in walking down the aisle, reciting ancient vows to each other, knowing that we were committing ourselves to a life together in the presence of universal love. I felt like I’d found my twin flame,” says Allie.
It’s not just the ceremonies, though. The aftermath of marriage can often be a deep sense of inner peace from knowing that your heart and soul are in each other’s keeping. It’s a rooted sense of faith that you were brought together to enrich each other’s lives in the best possible ways. So when we wonder why marriage is important in life with culture patterns, the spiritual realm is a big part of it.
9. Marriage heralds a new beginning
“When my partner and I were getting married, there were a lot of dark mutters about how this was ‘the end of everything’. A lot of people, albeit jokingly, talked about how fun and spontaneity were over and it was time to get ‘serious’. There were others who wondered why we were bothering to get married when we already lived together because it was essentially the same thing,” says Mallory.
For Mallory and her spouse, however, it was all new after marriage. “It wasn’t just that we now knew we were bound by more than our feelings for each other, that it was all legal and official. We knew that marriage is important to society, and that was part of it, but our relationship was different, too. It was a whole new relationship, a whole new getting to know each other as a spouse that just made it so special,” she adds.
Marriage is change, even if you’ve known each other forever and already shared living space. But rather than seeing it as the end of an era, it could be the beginning of a new stage in your love affair, without leaving the best parts of your relationship behind.
10. With marriage comes social capital
Why is marriage important in life? Well, we live in a world with carefully constructed social norms and rules, a lot of which we may not agree with. It can’t be denied, however, that playing by these rules, at least on the surface, makes life a whole lot easier.
Is marriage important to society? Yes, indeed! When you’re married, in the eyes of society, you’re automatically a more settled, steady, sober sort of person, even if you’re sometimes wondering, is marriage restrictive? The kind of person who finds it easier to rent or buy a home, contribute to the community, and generally knows what is expected of them. None of this is fair, but since we’re talking about the significance of marriage, it’s only fair to look at the social benefits.
Think about it. You can get health insurance through your spouse’s employment even if you don’t work. Married couples often qualify for better terms on insurance (homeowners, auto etc.) and loans. If you’re living in a neighborhood where most people are married, you get to hang out with them more if you’re married.
All of this can be a pain, but hey, if you’re going through all the trials and tribulations of getting married, at least you also get a bunch of benefits, whether this is your first, or if you’re in a successful second marriage.
11.Marriage brings a greater sense of intimacy
There are often murmurs that marriage is losing its importance. One major reason is that a lot of people assume that romance and intimacy get lost in the everyday humdrum-ness of married life. But intimacy can expand and grow when you’re married.
“I’ll be honest, the physical intimacy is different to what it was when we were dating,” says Melissa, “But there’s the warmth of comfortable affection, the recreational intimacy of just reading together, the intellectual intimacy of setting and working toward shared goals. Marriage taught us that intimacy isn’t just sexual, there are a million different ways to be intimate and a good marriage is a great space to allow this.”
So, maybe you’re not making out like mad on the kitchen counter every day. Or maybe you are! But you do have the intimacy of knowing that this is your person and you get to touch their bodies and their minds in all kinds of new ways and learn new intimacies every day.
12. Marriage brings overall joy
As per a study, married couples rated their life satisfaction 9.9% higher than widows and widowers and were 8.8% happier than divorced or separated people. In other words, when you have a spouse to blame for everything, you’re just happier!
Now, of course, marriage brings its own strife and there will be fights and arguments and so on. But overall, a good, healthy marriage brings a good, healthy dose of joy to life. There’s something about sharing a couch and a remote control and a bunch of kids to yell at together while you also jointly agonize over them. Maybe marriage is losing its importance in some ways, but happiness is always on the map.
Related Reading: Is Marriage Worth It? What You Gain Vs What You Lose
13.Marriage brings hope that your faith will be rewarded
Marriage is a huge, huge leap of faith. These days, especially, when marriage seems to be losing its importance and we’re wondering whether marriage is important in our life, it’s such a major step to take, not knowing whether it’ll work out or not.
There’s so much to lose in love, and things get horribly public when a marriage doesn’t work out. Big, scary words like divorce counseling and custody float around and before you know it, you’re not sure whether you really want to take this step. But you do, anyway.
That’s why we think marriage is a giant symbol of hope. Hope that things will be all right and that you and your spouse will keep your individual lives while building a future together. That no matter what comes ahead, you will face it together. And what could be a better defense of the institution than that?
Marriage is important to society and why marriage is important in life with culture patterns is a valid question. Marriage came up mostly as a transactional relationship and then evolved into the highest aspiration of a romantic relationship. With all the naysayers and cynics who are convinced marriage is archaic, it continues to stand its ground, even when you’re having a marriage crisis.