Marriage Causes Stability for Both Straight and Gay Couples

I give dating and relationship advice to people who ask, but I don’t really care what you do with your private life.

If that sounds cold, it’s important that I state this, because there is a prevalent sense that I’m trying to be preachy and get you to convert to my way of thinking – secular, liberal, sex-positive, non-judgmental, married with children. No, I am those things, but if you’re not: if you’re a religious conservative who wants to save yourself for marriage, or you’re one of those people who doesn’t want to get married or have kids, I am 100% cool with it.

Remember, no one puts a gun to your head and forces you to get married. People choose marriage, by their own volition, regularly.

I’m a live and let live guy who believes that everyone is entitled to her own feelings, but not entitled to her own facts. So here’s a fact for all the “marriage-is-obsolete-and-it’s-really-just-a-piece-of-paper” people. Reason Magazine just did a piece on the rise of gay marriage and the similarities between straight marriage, and what they discovered should not be surprising to anybody.

“There are big differences in relationship stability between married and unmarried heterosexual couples. The annual breakup rate among married different-sex couples was 1.5 percent. The relationships of unmarried different-sex couples dissolved at annual rate of 21.7 percent.”

You mean that people who get married are less likely to break-up than people who are unmarried? That maybe the whole ceremony and the tremendous investment of time, energy and money may signify a greater level of commitment than just being “boyfriend/girlfriend” or “living together”? Sure enough. And it’s not even close.

The goal is not to get married but to become HAPPILY married. And while marriage doesn’t guarantee happiness, I think it’s safe to say that we all value stability in our relationships.

And since gay people are just like straight people, except for the part where they’re attracted to members of their own sex, we see a very similar pattern when gays are allowed to marry. “Married same-sex couples broke up at a rate of 2.6 percent per year, while 12.8 percent of unmarried same-sex couples went their separate ways annually.” Concludes the study’s author, Michael Rosenfeld, “Despite the declining universality of marriage in the US for heterosexual couples, marriage is a uniquely important predictor of couple stability, for both heterosexual and for same-sex couples.” Rosenfeld finds that marriage is not just associated with stability but causes it–that once couples are legally entangled, that serves as a significant barrier to exit.

Remember, no one puts a gun to your head and forces you to get married. People choose marriage, by their own volition, regularly. And even if 50% of people get divorced – usually because they are younger, uneducated, immature, or marrying out of passion – that doesn’t mean that marriage itself isn’t a positive and stabilizing institution. Again, the goal is not to get married but to become HAPPILY married. And while marriage doesn’t guarantee happiness, I think it’s safe to say that we all value stability in our relationships, and that stability is 10X more likely to take place within a marriage than with a plain old boyfriend.