Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

Men may be more reluctant to marry, despite benefits they gain

Compiled by Lois M. Collins, Deseret News National Edition

Published: Thu, May 15 5:45 a.m. MDT

 Men may get the biggest benefits from marriage, but they are often the slowest to warm to the idea of matrimony.

Men may get the biggest benefits from marriage, but they are often the slowest to warm to the idea of matrimony.

(Getty Images)

Men may get the biggest benefits from marriage, but they are often the slowest to warm to the idea of matrimony, according to an article on the Family Studies blog.

"Both men and women benefit from marriage, but men seem to benefit more overall. In addition to being happier and healthier than bachelors, married men earn more money and live longer. And men can reap such benefits even from mediocre marriages, while for women, the benefits of marriage are more strongly linked to marital quality," writes Scott M. Stanley, senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver.

Interestingly, he notes, when surveyed, men are slightly more likely to endorse the idea of marriage than are women.

"I believe that men resist marriage more than women primarily because they believe marriage requires a substantial increase in their behavioral commitment — and they don’t always feel ready for that transition," he adds.

Kathleen Blanchard connected some of the research dots about marriage's health impacts on men for an article on Askmen.com: "As early as 1858, William Farr, a British epidemiologist, identified the risk of dying among unmarried men. Farr studied records of medical statistics to find the link.

"Current studies support the role of marriage as a contributor to better health — but it’s also important to note that the relationship dynamic is what matters the most," she wrote. "Fun and friendship that comes from a happy relationship can undoubtedly promote a longer and healthier life. Men with lower stress hormones are healthier, live longer and they look better too …."

In Men's Health, Ann Maltby says marriage will not only improve a guy's health but increase his pay, keep him out of trouble and speed up his next promotion.

Stanley writes that perspectives change when marriage is part of the discussion. "Men begin to see themselves as fathers, providers and protectors when they transition into marriage."

Researchers at Brigham Young University found that how happy a couple is matters a great deal to how great the health benefits are. That study was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

"The BYU study is the latest one to emphasize the quality of marriage and find that a happy marriage bestows health benefits on its members, while conflict and hostility lead to poorer health. The impact is so important, in fact, that (the researchers) believe health insurance should cover the cost of marriage counseling if it's needed to strengthen a union," according to an earlier Deseret News report.

People happy in their marriages typically support each other. "They probably encourage each other to be healthy, to go to the doctor, to take multivitamins and that kind of support," Rick Miller, a professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, told the Deseret News. "We found not only an absence of negative stuff, but the presence of good stuff in a positive, supportive, vibrant marriage."

Among those with low incomes, barriers to marriage and attitudes may be different. Low-income women in particular seem reluctant to wed. As Kathryn Edin, now at Harvard, and Joanna M. Reed, now at University of California Berkeley, noted in a study published in 2005 in the journal Marriage and Child Wellbeing, many are opting to have children outside of wedlock and perhaps even cohabit, but not necessarily tie the knot.

Among social barriers they cite are "marital aspirations" that are "less concrete" than in the past, while marital expectations are still high, different attitudes about childbearing and an aversion to divorce. Economic barriers include low male earnings, growth in women's real earnings and their potential to earn, among others. Edin told the Deseret News that low-income women may not view a particular partner as marriage material.

Email: lois@deseretnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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1. John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT,
May 15, 2014

It should surprise no one that the younger generation of men is reluctant to marry. How could it be otherwise with the constant barrage from the left-wing?

The left-wing will stop at nothing in its efforts to destroy traditional marriage. This includes a relentless campaign in the media which denigrates traditional marriage.

The left has an open and stated agenda of promoting wanton sexuality and drug use. Too many younger men have fully accepted this pernicious promotion.

I issue my strongest possible condemnation of those leftists who are seeking to destroy all that made America great. Their disregard for the Constitution is nothing short of shameful

2. FelisConcolor
North Salt Lake, UT,
May 15, 2014

They needed a research study to determine this?

Pssst: Does anyone really want to know why men don't want to get married nowadays? You could ask any single guy, and he'll tell you in one word: Divorce.

There is not a man in America who has not seen a brother, father, uncle, cousin, or friend go through the Kafkaesque wringer of modern divorce, where courts routinely dismiss male concerns and needs and treat men solely as paychecks with pants.

Where a refusal of a father's court-ordered visitation by a mother is dismissed as a mere inconvenience, but a failure by a father to pay child support results in garnishment of wages or jail time.

I've been happily married for over a quarter-century, but if I were single again I'd think twice before getting married again. The benefits, however real they are, simply do not justify the risks anymore. For most men being single isn't that bad, especially given the alternatives.

As comedian Ron White once said, "The next time I think about getting married, I'll just go out and find a woman I hate and buy her a house."

3. EJM
Herriman, UT,
May 15, 2014

Many men are afraid to marry or remarry because in today's society they are not allowed to be men. Women more and more expect to call all the shots in a relationship. So many guys I know treat their wives with kindness and respect but you see how their wives treat them and you wonder "Why be married?" I am fortunate enough to be married to the kindest woman I have ever met. Remarried for almost 2years and I know how good I have it. I dated 8 women after my divorce 12years ago and was remarried for 3 months 6 years ago. I vowed that mutual kindness and respect would be at the top of the list. When I hear women complain about the lack of good men I smile. We are here. They just want a doormat.

4. Schnee
Salt Lake City, UT,
May 15, 2014

@John Charity Spring
"The left-wing will stop at nothing in its efforts to destroy traditional marriage. "

There's a difference between wanting gay people to have marriages too and wanting to destroy traditional marriage.

"The left has an open and stated agenda of promoting wanton sexuality and drug use."

Actually no, we just encourage people to be safe if they engage in sex, and think that the war on drugs hasn't helped with anything. That doesn't mean "hey everybody do drugs".

"I issue my strongest possible condemnation of those leftists who are seeking to destroy all that made America great."

I wonder if my health insurance covers injuries related to excessive eye-rolling...

5. Shane333
Cedar Hills, UT,
May 15, 2014

There ARE real benefits to men from marriage. Those benefits are offset, however, by the threat of divorce as FelisConcolor points out.

Approx. 40% of first marriages fail (60+% of second marriages fail) and according to my neighbor who works in family law here in Utah, almost 90% of those divorces in Utah are initiated by women. Consider what that means for a moment. A man doesn't have to be doing anything wrong and can still be effectively reduced to indentured servitude for a decade or more simply because his wife may desire greener pastures.

When it's almost a 50/50 coin toss to end up in indentured servitude and lose half or more of one's assets, marriage has become a significant risk. It is no wonder that men endorse the concept of marriage but are averse to the modern legal risks involved.