Did you hear? February 7th kicks off “National Marriage Week.” Outstanding. We can’t wait for Human Week, Man Week, College Graduates Week, and People Who Drink Water Week.
So what does this week entail, exactly? Let’s consult the experts.
According to the National Marriage Week official website, this blessed timeframe “is a collaborative effort to encourage many diverse groups to strengthen individual marriages, reduce the divorce rate, and build a stronger marriage culture, which in turn helps curtail poverty and benefits children.”
Right. To clarify, and to cut down on some of the hate mail: we’re not anti-marriage. We’re also not anti-human, anti-man, and anti-people-who-drink-water. We are, however, lactose intolerant. And this is heavy on the cheddar.
But maybe we’re being unfair?
Let’s investigate. On their site, they have this adorable list of reasons of why you should get married. Now, it’s not that these are wrong, per se, just… well, you’ll get the idea.
Their thoughts, then ours:
Marriage Week: Being unmarried can actually be a greater risk to one’s life than having heart disease or cancer. For example, having heart disease shortens the average man’s life span by slightly less than six years. But being unmarried chops almost ten years off a man’s life.
The Plunge: One word: romantic. In fact, we urge Plunge readers to incorporate this into your proposal. It’s easy. Seamless. Go with something like, “Becky, I want you to help me live a longer life. You, Becky, are 80% better for me than not having heart disease or cancer. Therefore, will you marry me?”
Marriage Week: Women also reduce their drinking, smoking and drug use upon marriage.
The Plunge: Reduces sex, too.
Marriage Week: A recent study of outcomes for hospitalized patients found that married surgical patients are far less likely to die in the hospital than singles.
The Plunge: Sold! I’ll admit I was skeptical. This whole “marriage” thing was a little unsettling, and I needed some persuasive arguments. The others were only so-so. But after hearing this? Done and done. When you propose to Becky, make sure that you also sprinkle in–on your knees, of course, and looking her straight in the eye, “Becky, if I am ever a surgical patient, your betrothal increases my odds of survival. Marry me.”
Marriage Week: Marriage Leads To Greater Wealth
The Plunge: So does selling crack. Is that a reason to hit the corners?
Marriage Week: Married men really do settle down, while men who aren’t married voluntarily behave in ways that endanger their own life and health. Take alcohol abuse, for example. Single men drink almost twice as much as married men of the same age.
The Plunge: May we paraphrase? “Hey Gents, are you looking to become a boring, melba-toast, watered-down version of your former self? This is your ticket!”
Marriage Week: Married people were also about half as likely as singles or cohabitators to say that they are unhappy with their lives…. The divorced were two and a half times more likely, and the widowed were almost three times more likely than spouses to confess they are “not too happy”.
The Plunge: Isn’t there just one little flaw in this argument? Maybe I’m confused on the definition, but isn’t a divorced person someone who used to, um, be married? So, if that’s the case, shouldn’t they make some kind of probability-adjusted happiness score, where they factor in the 50% likelihood of getting a divorce?
Marriage Week: Unmarried (including divorced, widowed, and single) people are far more likely to die from all causes, including coronary heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, many kinds of cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, automobile accidents, murder and suicides.
The Plunge: Tell that to OJ’s wife.
Marriage Week: Married men and women report less depression, less anxiety and lower levels of other types of psychological distress than do those who are singled, divorced or widowed.
The Plunge: Marriage also, apparently, improves the ability to lie.
Marriage Week: Being unmarried is one of the greatest risks that people voluntarily subject themselves to.
The Plunge: Um… really? There are millions of car accidents every year. But that’s far less dangerous than leaving your house in the morning being unmarried.
Marriage Week: The act of getting married actually makes people happier and healthier; conversely, getting a divorce reverses these gains…
Maybe I’m just being thickheaded. But help me out here. So, if I’m reading this right… marriage makes people so happy and healthy that they want to file for divorce?
Look. There are lots of good reasons to get married. There are plenty of bad reasons, too. Anyone who needs to be persuaded, however, is clearly not ready for marriage. Yes, marriage is about more than just all the lovey-dovey crap. Finances matter. Shared-values matter.
But there’s something else that matters, too: making decisions like an adult… and not by reading propaganda.