We enter marriage with high hopes and the belief that passion and joy will last forever. After a few years of dirty socks laying around the house, however, that may not be the case. To understand the intricacies of marriage, it becomes crucial to understand how marriage actually works.
While marriage has plenty of known rules (no cheating, no abuse, etc.), there are many unwritten rules about what genuinely matters to a couple.
The Price of Marriage
For example, a perfectly contented husband may decide to take a less-than-desirable job to help his wife complete law school. They both hope for a better future, and the husband knows that being married to an attorney will have considerable financial benefits.
However, the husband eventually resents his job and his sacrifice, and the wife wonders if she wants to remain with her husband. As she considers divorce following graduation, the question arises, how much does she owe her spouse? He sacrificed a great deal, and a court is likely to feel she owes him a few years of support. Considering that the wife had an inheritance that occurred before the marriage, how will their assets and liabilities be split?
In another scenario, a couple with children moves from a big city to a small town because one of them received an excellent job offer. But soon, the other spouse becomes bored and isolated and has an affair. What happens when this couple divorces?
Marriage comes with a price tag. While during the post-wedding bliss and rose-colored visions, the price may not be an object, that can change very quickly when two people confront problems and disappointments.
If a couple were aware of the price before getting married, would the wedding still take place? Perhaps entering a marriage with the cost of divorce in mind is not a bad idea.
Marriage and Health
There is a general belief that married people live a longer, healthier life, and most studies have confirmed that claim. However, these studies did not include people who were married and subsequently divorced. If marriage provides a boost to one’s health, what does divorce do?
Divorced people do seem to become less healthy, and their health seems to be worse than never-marrieds and singles, perhaps due to added stress. But is there more to marriage and health that studies are not necessarily showing?
Does the health of two people become a factor in a divorce? Do more very healthy people simply stay married, or are unhealthy people more likely to divorce? Does it make a difference?
An interesting and revealing study of 10,000 adults tracked their overall health regarding 13 specific health problems and 23 chronic problems (such as heart conditions). The researchers tracked these people for four and a half years. One thing the study looked at was who began the study married but ended up divorced by the end of the study – over four years later.
The research results were astounding. Married participants who indicated having 4 or more health complaints at the start of the study were 50 percent more likely to be divorced. People with chronic health problems were twice as likely to be divorced. The researchers checked all other possible factors, but the only relevant issue was that unhealthy participants were more likely to become divorced. The bottom line was that the people who remained married were considered healthier as a group.
This very much skews the popular studies that insist married people are healthier. These studies do not take into consideration people who suffered health problems during marriage and subsequently divorced. This renders the general bromide that married people are healthier inaccurate, at best. It gets even worse when researchers compare the health of divorced people to lifelong singles, who are as a rule healthier than those who are divorced.
The fact is that marriage does not make healthy people healthier.
Marriage can have unintended consequences for people. If one looks at why people get divorced prior to getting married, people can be better prepared to successfully deal with what marriage has in store and decide if they are prepared to pay the price.
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