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Benefits of Marriage
by Gloria Liven
"Marriage may provide individuals with a sense of meaning in their lives," Dr. Waite said, "and a sense of obligation to others, inhibiting risky behaviors and encouraging healthy ones."

Research has found that there are numerous benefits to being married, compared with either singles or cohabiting couples. Why do cohabiting couples not show all the same benefits as married ones? Some researchers have speculated on causes, read here.

Dr. Waite of the University of Chicago has been doing research on marriage and its side-effects, which seem to include:

Longer Lifespan & Better Health
Married men and women both live longer.
"For both men and women, there were large, consistent effects after taking into account all the other characteristics of the individual," says Waite.

Higher Income
Married couples tend to pool their income together, saving for the future. As a result, married couples have better finances together than either cohabiting couples or singles.

More Satisfying Sex
Married Men have twice as much sex as single men, and report that they have better sex lives than either single or cohabiting men. Married women have higher levels of sexual satisfaction than cohabiting or single women, too. It's thought that the commitment and security that marriage offers makes sex more intimate and enjoyable.

Married Men and Women are Happier
Despite the modern view that marriage is bad or oppressive for women, research shows married women are actually happier than single women. It's true for men too; "What is really interesting is they found no differences between men and women on any of the measures," says Waite.

Lower Rates of Alcohol or Drug Use
Men that are married have lower rates of alcohol or drug use than single or divorced men, but women didn't have the same benefit.

Lower Risk of Violence
Married men are less likely to be violent to their partner. Interestingly, in a marriage where violence does occur, both the man and the woman are equally likely to be violent person. "Women are as likely to initiate violence as men are," says Waite.

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