Cheng Jiang (Fiona)
A marriage is the relationship between two people who are willing to share life together in the future under a legal contract. Marriage is good for the couple, and it also provides the optimal conditions for bearing and raising children. However, nowadays, more and more people start to question the necessity of getting married because they believe that they don’t need to get married to share life with others and they also enjoy their lifestyle. Thus, the numbers of single and cohabiting families has increased now in the society. This is because some people believe that marriage is personal. Nevertheless, marriage is the bedrock of society. Therefore, it is necessary for adults to get married for a society to remain strong because marriage helps children become more successful, creates healthy citizens, and contributes positively to the economy.
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First of all, in order to keep the society strong, adults should get married because marriage enhances children’s wellbeing and development. In other words, children who grow up in a two-parent family are more likely to achieve excellence in the future. In fact, children grown up with their married parents perform better in many ways. Specifically, they have greater physical, cognitive, and emotional achievements than children who grow up in other family forms. (Ribar 12). It is clear that marriage contributes to children’s future development since children who grow up in a stable family do better than others. Some people argue that it is normal for children to live with their cohabiting parents in today’s society and they are able to promote health and development. According to Wendy D. Manning, “stable cohabiting families with two biological parents seem to offer many of the same health, cognitive, and behavioral benefits that stable married biological parent families provide,” (Manning 51). The opponents’ idea is clear; however, they ignore the fact that cohabiting families tend to be very unstable and the family instability harms children in many ways. In fact, almost 50 percent of cohabiting couple will end relationship and separate while their children are young. And some of them will start new relationships and have other children later (McLanahan and Sawhill 3). Clearly, it shows that cohabiting families are not very stable. Cohabiting couples estimated to have higher possibility that they will separate from each other compare with married couples. More importantly, the instability tends to have great negative effects on children’ wellbeing. For example, living in an unstable family is greatly related to children’s poor future performances. Children who live in cohabiting families tend to see their parents separate more frequently than married families, which cause them to have long-term mental problems (Manning 51). This clear shows that children’s healthy development is greatly affected by their family stability. In other words, marriage provides a more stable family for children, which reduces the risks of children being raised in an unstable environment. Therefore, marriage benefits children’s wellbeing.
The positive effect of marriage for children’s well-being is clear, but more importantly, marriage helps society to create healthier citizens. Some people argue that marriage cannot create healthier citizens because married people more likely to be obese, which is not related to health. Based on a study done by CDC, married people have higher chance of becoming obese. To be more specific, the percent of married men who have greater possibility of becoming obese after getting married is up to 20, compared with single men (Oliwenstein 37). The opponents’ point is clear; nevertheless, it is deficient as it overlooks the benefits of marriage towards people’s health. For example, married people are healthier because they are less likely to have serious health problems like cancers. Based on research done by U.S. cancer centers by analyzing the medical records of 734,889 patients who were suffered from one of the 10 most common and deadliest forms of cancer between 2004 and 2008, the numbers of singles who have higher risks of suffering from metastatic cancer is up to 17 percent, which could spread from one organ to another, and 53 percent have lower possibility to receive the best therapy (Lunau 50). This demonstrates that married people are healthier in a way that they have lower risks of having serious cancers. Moreover, according to a 2013 study published in “Annals of Behavioral Medicine”, Peter Martin, a professor who works at human department and family studies at Iowa State University, and his co-author found that unmarried people have twice the risk of dying early compared with married people (Sifferlin 94). It clearly shows that marriage has significant benefits on people’s health, which reduces the risks of having serious diseases and improves longevity. Therefore, marriage creates healthy citizens, which allows society to remain strong.
Despite the benefits to children and health, some opponents argue that getting married cannot strengthen the society because compared to singles, married people contribute less to economy. This is because singles tend to have higher purchasing power than married people. “Single people are more likely to eat out, exercise in gyms, take classes, attend public events and volunteer than married people” says Eric Klinenberg, an American sociologist who teaches at New York University, “Single people fuel the economy and spend more discretionary dollars than those who live with a partner or have children” (Klinenberg 128). It is clear that single people spend more money on their personal interests since they don’t have to worry about their partner. The opponent’s idea may be true, but it is insufficient as it overlooks the benefit of marriage towards the economy. This is because economy is not just about its purchasing power. For example, married people contribute more to economy because they typically have higher level of household income. Based on a report done by an economist named Adam Thomas and Isabel Sawhill, a senior editor of Future of Children, in 2003, single mother and cohabiting families had 37 and 61 percent of the salaries of married-people households (Ribar 17). This clearly shows that married people have more stable and high-paying jobs, which contributes to economic growth. Moreover, the economic level of married people is higher than others. In “Why Marriage Matters for Child Wellbeing,” David C. Ribar points out, “married-parent households have more financial assets and are wealthier than other types of households, and that lone mothers and cohabiting parents have substantially fewer assets than other households.” (Ribar 18). Clearly, it demonstrates that married couples enjoy relatively better quality of life, which they are wealthier than others. Since married people have better economic conditions, it helps them have less reliance on the social welfare system. Thus, the society will remain stable and continue to thrive.
To conclude, it is apparent that marriage keeps society strong because it helps children become more successful, improves people’s health, and contributes more to the economy. Since the number of singles in society is likely to increase, some governments make several policies that aim to encourage citizens to get married. For example, married people benefit from lower taxes; some developed countries even reward women who have children. Marriage, which means love, trust, and responsibility, provides society with more chances to be strengthened.
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