"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Happiness of Married People

Health Day News reports that a large study by Cornell University found that married people are happier than others. I hope that this comes as no surprise to most people, but just in case, here's an excerpt from the HDN story for your enjoyment and edification:

Women and men in committed relationships are happier than other people, claims a Cornell University study. Researchers analyzed information collected from 691 people and found that the stronger the commitment, the greater the sense of happiness and well-being.

Married people had the highest sense of well-being, whether they were happily married or not. Next on the scale of happiness and well-being were people who were living together, followed by people in steady relationships and those in casual relationships.

The findings were published in a recent issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

"Some commitment appears to be good, but more commitment appears to be even better," study author Claire Kamp Dush, a postdoctoral fellow with the Evolving Family Theme Project of the Institute for Social Sciences at Cornell, said in a prepared statement.

The finding that even people in unhappy marriages had a high sense of well-being and happiness may be due to the benefits they derive from the stability, commitment and social status of marriage, Kamp Dush said.

"Even when controlling for relationship happiness, being married is associated with higher self-esteem, greater life satisfaction, greater happiness and less distress, whereas people who are not in stable romantic relationships tend to report lower self-esteem, less life satisfaction, less happiness and more distress," she said.

10 comments:

Jay D. Homnick said...

Or as the Talmud (Yebamot 62b) puts it: "Any man who has no wife is in a state devoid of joy, devoid of blessing, devoid of goodness."

James Elliott said...

"...married people are happier than others."

So why oppose gay marriage? Then everyone can be happy!

Hunter Baker said...

Because marriage, by definition, is the legal, sexual, social, etc. union of men and women.

We don't actually know what sort of sociological results we'll get from same sex unions. It will be interesting to find out.

My guess is that we'll see a lot of these deals working out reasonably well with gay women and not so many with gay men.

Kathy Hutchins said...

So why oppose gay marriage? Then everyone can be happy!

It's my own completely non-scientific guess that it's not being married that makes you happier, but attaining the frame of mind necessary to getting and staying married that makes you happier. It's my further guess, based on observing my friends, that gay men, at least, are extremely unlikely to cultivate that frame of mind, whether they "marry" or not.

It's my further observation, again of my friends, that any gay man who says he wants marriage is self-deluded or lying. What he really wants is a wedding.

Hunter Baker said...

Kathy, that is one of the more perceptive comments I have ever read.

Tom Van Dyke said...

You can't say that, can you, Kathy?

Love is love, regardless of the plumbing involved. The American Psychological Association says so, so it's an established scientifical fact.

Hunter Baker said...

And I think they even held a vote, so you know it was scientific!

Tlaloc said...

"Because marriage, by definition, is the legal, sexual, social, etc. union of men and women. "

Your definition is chosen to support your position instead of vice versa. There are plenty of ways to define marriage that don't require discrimination against gays.



"We don't actually know what sort of sociological results we'll get from same sex unions. It will be interesting to find out."

We could look at MA or any of the various countries where they've had gay marriage or marriage like civil unions. So far the result seems to be no real change to the overall society but a big difference to individual homosexuals.

Tlaloc said...

"It's my own completely non-scientific guess that it's not being married that makes you happier, but attaining the frame of mind necessary to getting and staying married that makes you happier."

Very good, which is why such a study is of course taken to mean something other than it means. The implicit is that marriage itself is the causation of the happiness whereas the truth is simply that stable marriages are correlated with happiness because both derive from fundamental compatibility.



"It's my further guess, based on observing my friends, that gay men, at least, are extremely unlikely to cultivate that frame of mind, whether they "marry" or not."

And the point is? Does it matter if only a small percentage are allowed to marry?



"It's my further observation, again of my friends, that any gay man who says he wants marriage is self-deluded or lying. What he really wants is a wedding."

Well now you've just gone off the reservation into blatant prejudice. There are plenty of gay couple who have stayed together for long periods and who just maybe want to get married for the health benefits, the tax benefits, or social benefits (as in being considered family at hospitals), or just plain old feeling equal to their hetero neighboprs and friends. To reduce that to a joke about gays liking festivities is pretty damn shallow Kathy.

Tlaloc said...

"Love is love, regardless of the plumbing involved. The American Psychological Association says so, so it's an established scientifical fact."

Good, Tom, you've finally learned to listen to expert advice on a subject. I'm so proud of you.