Monday, June 04, 2007

Guest Post by Dr. Tony --- On Staying Married...

I want to congratulate ALa on her milestone anniversary. I am very deeply committed to the success of my marriage and, fortunately, so is my wife. While we do have our disagreements, sometimes serious, we do not accept divorce as an option. And now there is research to support the wisdom of our practice:

  • Marriage itself is “a wealth-generating institution”, according to Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and David Popenoe, who run the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. Those who marry “till death do us part” end up, on average, four times richer than those who never marry. This is partly because marriage provides economies of scale—two can live more cheaply than one—and because the kind of people who make more money—those who work hard, plan for the future and have good interpersonal skills—are more likely to marry and stay married. But it is also because marriage affects the way people behave.


  • Mothers who married ended up much better off than mothers with the same disadvantages who did not. So did their children. Among those in the bottom quartile of “propensity to marry”, those who married before the baby was six months old were only half as likely to be raising their children in poverty five years later as those who did not (33% to 60%).


  • Most children in single-parent homes “grow up without serious problems”, writes Mary Parke of the Centre for Law and Social Policy, a think-tank in Washington, DC. But they are more than five times as likely to be poor as those who live with two biological parents (26% against 5%). Children who do not live with both biological parents are also roughly twice as likely to drop out of high school and to have behavioural or psychological problems. Even after controlling for race, family background and IQ, children of single mothers do worse in school than children of married parents, says Ms Hymowitz.


  • Read that last paragraph again: "Children who do not live with both biological parents are also roughly twice as likely to drop out of high school and to have behavioral or psychological problems." So, getting divorced and remarried is not the same as the original marriage.

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