Is Marriage Beneficial To Happiness?

By Lauren Hall
April 1, 2024

Recent studies have shown that being married can make people happier compared to those who aren’t married. Economist Sam Peltzman’s latest research suggests that marriage is the key factor in determining happiness, with married individuals being 30% more likely to report being happy than unmarried individuals.

Further studies indicate that married people tend to have better mental well-being overall. For example, the 2022 Cooperative Election Study surveyed 60,000 Americans and found that almost 60% of married couples rated their mental health as “good” or “very good,” compared to only 38.4% of unmarried individuals.

These benefits of marriage extend regardless of how long the couple has been married or their demographic background. Marriage seems to boost mental health right from the start and continues to provide benefits over time, affecting both men and women, young and old, rich and poor, and people from various ethnicities and political views.

But what exactly makes marriage so beneficial for mental well-being? Let’s break it down:

  • A Strong Support System: Having a spouse can provide support during tough times, offering comfort and encouragement that helps individuals cope with stress and challenges.
  • Stability: Marriage offers a sense of security and stability through commitment and shared responsibilities, providing a solid foundation for psychological well-being.
  • Opportunities for Growth: Within a marriage, individuals are challenged to grow and develop personally, fostering better communication, empathy, and resilience.
  • Biochemical Boost: Loving relationships trigger the release of hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, which are associated with reduced stress levels and improved mood.

Despite these benefits, divorce rates remain high, with many couples citing a lack of commitment as the primary reason for their separation, even more so than infidelity. Building a fulfilling marriage requires deep commitment and a willingness to work on the relationship.

Maybe building a relationship that has all these benefits is harder than some couples are prepared for. If marriage is going to provide the well-being it’s capable of, individuals must be deeply committed to the relationship and to each other. They must also have a desire to cultivate and experience the type of marriage worth benefitting from.

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