Article: The Case for Marriage They Don't Want You to Hear

How Much Do You Know About Marriage? "Take The Case for Marriage" Quiz

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Doubleday's "The Case for Marriage"  by Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher
receives 2000 Smart Marriages Book Award.

Waite and Gallagher accepted the award at the Smart Marriages conference in Denver,
June 30, 2000 where they also presented a workshop on "The Case for Marriage."

"If you only buy one book this year, make it this one, " says Diane Sollee,
Director of the Coalition for Marriage, Family, and couples Education (CMFCE)
the Washington-based organization that charts indicators of the emerging
marriage renaissance. "The Case for Marriage promises to be the new bible
for every "smart' marriage educator and for all smart marriages
couples."

Together, Linda Waite, a top family scholar at the U of Chicago, and
Maggie Gallagher, Director of the Marriage Program at the Institute for
American Values, have put together the case for wedlock as you've never heard
it before. A decade of research has yielded solid, scientific evidence:
marriage  has powerful, positive, transformative effects on both the adults
who "do it" and their children.

Health, happiness, earnings, wealth, long life, better kids, great sex - in
just about every dimension of life science can measure, you are better
off married than single.

Among the myths The Case for Marriage explodes:

- "Marriage diminishes women and exhalts men." To the contrary, these authors explain how
and why marriage makes both sexes better off on all measures.

- "Marriage puts women at risk of domestic violence." When it comes to family
violence, find out what kind of relationship really puts women at greatest
risk and why. It's definitely not marriage.

- "Marriage means monotony - resigning yourself to boring sex compared to a wild single life."
Find out who is really having a good time - or any time at all - in the sack.

- "Divorce is better for kids than an unhappy marriage."  What happens to "bad
marriages" that don't end in divorce? New research on nationally representative data will surprise you.

Waite and Gallagher show convincingly these benefits are not just an artifact
of selection.  They demonstrate not only what marriage does but how it
accomplishes these miracles. Comparing the marriage bargain to the
cohabitation deal, they show that getting married actually transforms
individuals and relationships in ways that make adults better off, and
children safer, happier and healthier.

What can you do by getting and staying married?

-- Substantially cut your risk of early death, and debilitating illness.

---Boost your bank account, as higher earnings and better management lead to
an explosion of wealth, relative to the unmarried

--Give your sex life the special zing only true love and lifelong
commitment seem to add, according to the research, dramatically reduce the
risk that you or your partner will cheat, and reduce your risk of total
celibacy (surprisingly common among single adults) to almost zero.

If you ever wondered why it was important to support marriage, wonder no
longer.  This is the book that delivers answers to lingering doubts about why
a marriage renaissance is the new movement for the 21st century.

And to whet your appetite, here is an excerpt from the book:

    A strange embarrassment or reluctance to use the word "marriage" is
visible all over the Western World. The Marriage Guidance council of Australia
recently changed its name to Relationships Australia. A popular children's
sex ed book doesn't even mention the word marriage. The closest reference is
a vague phrase "There are kids whose mothers and fathers live together.
"There is little concern now that our society would' disappear' if people
stopped marrying," write the authors of a college textbook on the family."
The subject guide for the 51st annual conference of the American Association
for Marriage and Family Therapy listed 277 topics topics and subtopics. Not
once in all these subjects for discussion did the word marriage appear. "The
state should have no right to privilege or impose one form of family
structure of sexuality over anothers," says a Rutgers law professor, ". . .if
we seek to repopulate the world with lasting love, it can be only on the
basis of freely formed unions." By which she seems to mean: marriage
contracts with no set duration, shape, form or content.

    Because we view marriage as an inner emotion rather than an outer
reality, we have a hard time conceiving that the state of being married, in
and of itself, could enhance people lives.  Marriage we tend to believe is
just a marker for things that matter, like more money, or better education,
or true love, but in and of itself is just a piece of paper, neutral in its
effects. It's not marriage that matters it's-fill-in the blank-race, poverty,
money, education, quality of parenting, that really and truly matters.

    Of course things like race and income and quality of relationships count,
in the sense that all affect how well we live our lives, and how our children
fare.  But in this book we will show you that marriage is not just a piece of
paper, not a marker for other more powerful social forces. We'll unlock the
secret mechanism at work in the marital vow, to show you not only how but why
marriage itself makes a difference. Equally importantly, we'll show how
marriage can work its miracles only if it supported by the whole society.
Marriage cannot thrive, and may not even survive, in a culture which views it
as just another lifestyle option.

    So when people become reluctant to use the word "marriage" to take
positive steps to support marriage, marriage is indeed in trouble.  We'll
tell you some of the steps individuals, families, government, faith groups,
researchers and civic leaders can to to help rebuild a marriage culture.

    Most of all we hope to persuade you that privatizing marriage is
profoundly counterproductive.  For the heart of the war on marriage today is
the attempt to demote marriage from a unique public commitment, supported by
law, society and custom, to a private relationship terminable at will, which
is "nobody else's business."  This is done in the name of choice, but as we
will show you, re-imagining marriage as a purely private relation doesn't
expand anyone's choices. Reducing marriage to
cohabitation-with-a-certificate-and-party gives us fewer choices, not more.
For what it ultimately takes away from individuals is marriage itself, the
voluntary choice to enter a uniquely powerful and life-enhancing bond that is
larger and more durable than the immediate feelings of two individuals.

    What you lose, you'll understand after reading this book, in thinking
about marriage this way, is no less than the marriage bargain itself.
(Copyrighted material for use only with express permission from the authors.)

Publication date for "The Case for Marriage": October 2, 2000.

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