A groundbreaking look at the most basic and universal of all human institutions, this authoritative and provocative book reveals the benefits-emotional, physical, economic, and sexual-that marriage brings to individuals and society as a whole.
Everyone knows that we are experiencing an epidemic of divorce; rates of single-parenthood and unmarried cohabitation are skyrocketing while marriage rates continue to decline. Yet 93% of Americans still say they hope to form a lasting and happy union with one person, though fewer now believe that this is possible.
Numerous books have been written about the impact of divorce on men, women, children, and society at large. But no one has yet studied the long-term benefits of being and staying married. The Case for Marriage is a critically important intervention in the national debate about the future of the family. Based on the authoritative research of family sociologist Linda Waite and other scholars, the book's findings dramatically contradict the anti-marriage myths that have become the common sense of most Americans. Today a broad consensus holds that marriage is a bad deal for women, that divorce is better for children when parents are unhappy, and that marriage is essentially a private choice, not a public institution. Waite and Gallagher flatly contradict these assumptions, arguing instead that by a broad range of indices, being married is actually better for you physically, materially, and spiritually than being single or divorced. Married people live longer, have better health, earn more money and accumulate more wealth, feel more fulfilled in their lives, enjoy more satisfying sexual relationships, and have happier and more successful children than those who remain single, cohabit, or get divorced. Statistics show, for example, that violence is less prevalent in married households and that divorce reduces male life expectancy on the order of a pack-a-day cigarette habit.
While their book is not primarily a work of moral exhortation, the authors argue that in order for marriage to do its beneficial work it must be treated as a socially preferred option, not merely one choice among others that are equally valid. Combining clearheaded analysis, penetrating cultural criticism, and practical advice for strengthening the institution of marriage, the authors provide clear, essential guidelines for reestablishing marriage as the foundation for a healthy and happy society.
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