There was once a time when marriage was a foundational part of our culture. However, since the 1960s, marriage has declined close to 72 percent. This means that only about half of America’s population are in a marital relationship. Not only that, but according to the Pew Research Center, 15 times the amount of couples now live together than they did in the 60s, and 40 percent of unmarried individuals believe that marriage does not hold the need or relevance that it once did. Unfortunately, to many, a marriage license is nothing more than a piece of paper.
Some might say that if that perspective was debated in a court of law, it’s interesting that a deed to a house or a title to a car is not seen as simply a “piece of paper”—and they would have a valid argument. Marriage is not just a relationship between two people who love each other. Marriage is also a legal contract and a binding agreement. And so, when two people decide to become life partners with the help of a marriage license and wedding ceremony, there are actually a lot of benefits that come with it.
Marriage is good for your health
Everyone wants to “live well and prosper”, right? Well, one way to do that is to get married. For instance, there is a study which indicates that “those who never married were more than twice as likely to die early than those who had been in a stable marriage throughout their adult life”. Not only is marriage a potential lifesaver (literally), but it reduces your chances of having a chronic condition, it improves your mental and emotional health and there are also studies which indicate that married sex is better than sex among singles. One reason is because married people tend to have sex more consistently than singles do; this results in more calories burned and better heart health. Also, engaging in the activity with a monogamous partner is much safer too.
It’s a healthy environment for children
There is a bit of a caveat to this point. Marriage is a healthy environment for children if the marriage itself is good. Keeping that in mind, there are numerous reports which indicate that children who have two parents in the home earn better grades, are more likely to stay in school (and go to college), have a lower chance of doing drugs or participating in underage drinking, are less vulnerable to emotional issues and depression and they have a greater chance of getting married when they grow up.
A marriage license earns you all kinds of rights
Although no one should get married just for the legal benefits, it’s still good to know that there are some. Many, in fact. Being married gives you the right to your spouse’s Social Security, Medicare and even disability benefits. It puts you in position to make major medical decisions on behalf of your spouse. If your partner had children prior to you getting married, you can legally file for the official role of stepparent or even adoption. You can sign for lease renewals on behalf of your spouse. And, should they die, you are able to consent to after-death procedures and also make final burial plans. You are also able to get access to their worker’s compensation or retirement funds as well.
You can receive some financial breaks too
Did you know that there are financial benefits that come with being married? Marriage can earn you several tax deductions. It can also safeguard your estate, reduce your healthcare costs, earn you greater deductions on your charitable contributions and it can also serve as a tax shelter if your partner has a business that ends up losing money.
Being married can make (and keep) you happy
Can you live a fulfilling life as a single person? Of course you can! But when you know that you have someone by your side who is committed to supporting and encouraging you, through the good and tough times, for the rest of your entire life, that can bring about a special feeling of relief and happiness. And that’s why there are also studies which indicate that married people tend to be happier, long-term, than singles (and divorced people).
So, as you can see, when considering whether or not getting a marriage license is going to make that big of a difference in your life as it relates to your relationship, there is an overwhelming about of evidence that says that it definitely can. Getting married is about so much more than just “having a piece” of paper. In just about every category that you can think of, it comes with a myriad of advantages. Ones that can last a lifetime!