There are many things people search for in order to gain a deeper sense of purpose and meaning, and I believe one of the most significant is marriage.
Marriage is kind of like the northern lights. I can describe to you in great detail what it’s like to see the northern lights in person: it covers the entire night sky, it’s full of amazing movement and color, it’s beautiful and breathtaking. But to really know what it’s like, you have to be there.
Similarly, I can describe to you some of the wonderful things about being married: the companionship, the intimacy, the trust, the laughter and fun, the joy of seeing your children grow and learn. But if you really want to know the benefits of marriage, you have to be there.
That being said, I want to do my best here to paint a vivid picture that stirs a longing within you for marriage.
3 benefits of marriage
There are a remarkable amount of reasons why a couple should pursue marriage, and while I certainly can’t cover every reason, I’ll try to give you three compelling benefits of marriage.
1. Closer Relationship.
Journalist Maggie Gallagher once observed, “Married people are both responsible for and responsible to another human being, and both halves of that dynamic lead the married to live more responsible, fruitful, and satisfying lives. Marriage is a transformative act, changing the way two people look at each other, at the future, and at their roles in society.”1
Naturally, when you commit to another person as a spouse, the commitment lays a foundation for a deep connection with them in a way that can’t be replicated. A bond forms between the married couple and becomes that “transformative act” turning the two people into one, much like an alloy.
An alloy is a metal made by combining two metallic elements, giving it greater strength and resistance to corrosion. The combination as a whole is greater than its individual parts. Why? Because they are better than the simple sum of one plus one. They are blended together into something new and bonded in a way that simple, everyday proximity can’t replicate. Marriage brings a closeness unlike any other relationship a person can have, and positively changes not only the couple who is married, but the society they are a part of as well.
2. Better Sex.
Let me start by saying something that might be a bit of a surprise to you: Married people have better sex, and they have it more often. Why? Well, Gallagher says, “Despite the lurid . . . marketing that promises singles erotic joys untold, both husbands and wives are more likely to report that they have an extremely satisfying sex life than are singles or cohabitors.”
When a bond is made via a sexual experience, it is not something that can be easily removed. Engaging in a sexual act with another person is meant to exist within a committed marriage relationship, and without that proper context, lives can quickly be destroyed.
However, modern cultural perspective would have you believe sex is just a thing that happens between two people for selfish pleasure. It treats sex like the random placement of a sticky note. Stick to someone here, then peel away. If you like that person, stick to them for a bit, then peel away. Stick to the hot person you met at the bar, then peel away in the morning. Be a sticky note.
But the catch is, sex is not a temporary thing.
When a sexual attachment is made between two people, it’s more like an envelope flap being sealed for the purpose of creating a secure bond. And we all know what happens when an envelope is opened, right? There is permanent damage done when the ripping apart starts. Even though they are somewhat obsolete in our digital age, have you ever tried to use an envelope again after it’s been sealed and then reopened? It’s kind of pointless to try, isn’t it? Why? Because it was meant to be attached only one time.
3. Kids Make You Stronger.
My children are delightful in ways I never thought possible. That being said, raising children certainly has a way of helping me come face-to-face with my preexisting selfish disposition. But as difficult as it is, I’m better for it.
I once met this couple in a coffee shop who looked like they were in their late forties or early fifties. When I sat down near them, I immediately noticed that both the husband and the wife didn’t put up with inconveniences too well. She complained about the residual sugar crystals and wet coffee cup circles on her table as she wiped them up with a disposable wet cloth. He got flustered when his white shoe rubbed up against the table leg and got scuffed, and both of them couldn’t stop staring daggers at the baby a few tables away who, according to them, “Just would not . . . Shut. Up.”
I asked how long they had been married, and they answered, “22 years.” I then asked if they had kids, and they both said in unison, “Nope.”
Their coffee-shop demeanor suddenly made sense to me. Raising kids has a way of making a man and a woman stronger and less intolerant of life’s little annoyances. Why? Because sacrificing forces you to see life from a perspective that’s uncomfortable. It makes you adjust, move, rethink, and grow. It helps you adapt and prepares you for the inevitable messiness of life.
The point of marriage
Again, there are many more reasons to pursue marriage, but hopefully this will whet your appetite to look for more.
In fact, if you believe in the Creator, there’s an even more compelling reason why marriage is the best place to experience what our lives were ultimately made for. It actually seems like the point of marriage was created to point us to a bigger story. A love story all of us were designed to experience.
1. Maggie Gallagher, “Why Marriage Is Good For You,” City Journal, Autumn 2000, https://www.city-journal.org/html/why-marriage-good-you-12002.html.
Adapted from What’s the Point? copyright © 2020 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.
Shelby Abbott is an author, campus minister, and conference speaker on staff with the ministry of Cru. His passion for university students has led him to speak at college campuses all over the United States. Abbott is the author of Jacked and I Am a Tool (To Help with Your Dating Life), Pressure Points: A Guide to Navigating Student Stress and DoubtLess: Because Faith is Hard. He and his wife, Rachael, have two daughters and live in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.