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Study: Married Men Are Happier

By  Aaron Bandler

A new study has concluded that married men are happier and healthier than those who are not.

The study, conducted by the Institute for Family Studies, concluded that “the benefits of marriage for men are substantial by every conceivable measure, including more money, a better sex life, and significantly better physical and mental health.”

When it comes to money, the study found that married men will be richer than single men by a range of 10 to 40 percent; when taking “selection effect” into account, that range decreases 10 to 24 percent.

“Men who stay married are in much better financial shape than their peers who divorced, or those who never married in the first place,” the study’s research brief states. “Married men earn more, save more, and generally have access to a second income. Consequently, they have much greater accumulated wealth than their unmarried peers. In fact, the typical fifty-something married man has three times the assets of his unmarried peer, about $167,000 compared to less than $49,000.”

While married men did not have as much sex as men who were “co-habiting,” married men clearly had more satisfactory sex lives, as 51 percent of married men described their sex lives as “extremely satisfactory” while only 39 percent of men in co-habitation relationships and 36 of single men said the same.

The reason is pretty obvious: sex is better when people are in love with their sexual partner.

“Women are four times as likely as men to make love a requirement for having sex, and marriage is obviously a venue in which women are going to feel the love necessary for sexual engagement,” the study brief states. “Surprisingly, men too are more likely to experience sexual satisfaction when they know they’re in lasting relationships. So from a sexual perspective, research suggests that marriage is worth the commitment it requires.”

Married men were also healthier from both a physical and mental standpoint; the study found that “men who get and stay married live almost 10 years longer than their unmarried peers.” Part of this is because their spouses are more likely to push them to see a doctor as well as married men having healthier diets. But it’s also due to the fact that married men can lean on their spouses for support in the case of illness and are, overall, just happier. In a survey of men asked if they are “very happy” with their lives, 43 percent of married men said yes, compared to 20 percent of single men and 21 percent of men in co-habitation relationships.

Here is how the study’s research brief concluded:

Social science confirms that marriage confers enormous benefits for men’s wallets, for their sex life, and for their physical and mental health. Yet too many men still believe in the ball and chain myth, viewing marriage as an expensive encumbrance on their freedom and their sex lives. These views are ubiquitous in popular culture, and this has undoubtedly had adverse consequences for men’s aspirations to marriage.

We believe these negative perceptions need to change. The first step is ensuring that the next generation knows the truth about marriage. Journalists, social scientists, and policy-makers bear a special responsibility for making the good news about marriage more widely known. This is a priority given some of the adverse consequences men, women, and children have suffered in the retreat from marriage.

The full research brief can be read here.

Follow Aaron Bandler on Twitter.

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  1. Traditional Marriage
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