Updated: Apr 3, 2020
"Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord"
“Why in the bloody hell would you go and do that?” was one response to the information that I married at age 22. “Best way to ruin a good relationship!” was another. “not a chance” is the almost scripted response when I ask other young fellows if they intend to be married soon. By no means will I attempt to say that all should marry for the sake of marriage, or that all should remain in a marriage that is destroying them. But the now long accepted and normalised promiscuity of our society’s young men and women is presenting a threat to the moral and cohesive fibres of our society. But who am I to say that young people can’t live and do as they please? It is true, I cannot. But I will in every capacity available to me stress the consequences.
Almost half of all children in the United States grow up without meaningful contact with their biological father. I would confidently venture to guess that the situation is somewhat similar in Australia, the consequences of which are in desperate need of being taken more seriously.
Children who grow up in a home environment without meaningful and loving contact with their biological father, are more vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse, more academically disadvantaged, more likely to come into contact with the justice system, more likely to abuse alcohol and narcotics, more likely to end up in gaol, and the list could go on. Still, this information is available in better detail elsewhere. It must be noted that the increase in the likelihood of these things is by a massive margin in all instances; all by well more than 50% at least. It is said to be the most damaging demographic trend of our generation. The ease with which a divorce can be settled and the proclivity of the family court system to decide in favour of mothers at the financial, emotional, spiritual and often physical expense of fathers, is fuel on the fire that is slowly burning away at the pillars of the most base institution of any society: the family.
The day that I married my wife, I made a vow sealed legally, spiritually and symbolically, the wedding band I put on her finger signifying the eternity of that vow. It was a promise to love her despite circumstance, feeling or emotion. It was a proclamation of choice to love more than it was an expression of a feeling of love. Feelings waver and are inconsistent, where actions have the capacity at least to be consistent and truthful. It is an empirical truth on the matter that the feelings of love are the result of acting upon a choice to love. A principle to live by is this: a wife is another man’s daughter. If you are worth your salt, you will treat her in the same way precisely that you would expect a young man to treat your own daughter. That means making good and acting upon your promises.
That vow established the security of our future children. It built for them a firm foundation and the opportunity for them to be nurtured in and by an environment containing two parents in the context of a lifelong commitment to one another. It gave them the best chance that we have the power to provide them in such a fractured world.
Not only is marriage beneficial to children but to men as well. There exists fascinating research indicating that there are health benefits of being married (even more intriguing is that this discovery is especially true of men). Research has shown that married people:
have fewer strokes and heart attacks
have lower chances of developing depression
have less severe cancer at the time of diagnosis and are more likely to survive for a more extended period
survive significant operations more often.
There are many theories which attempt to explain why these health benefits are particular to marriage. One theory suggests that cortisol (an indicator of high stress) is produced at lower levels within a happy relationship. High cortisol levels can reduce the function of the immune system. It is also posited that behaviour improves in marriage. Married people tend to take less risks, eat better and exercise more frequently than non-married people. An interesting theory is that healthy people are more likely to get married in the first place, explaining the connection between marriage and better health. However, there are studies which show that unhealthy people are actually more likely to get married and even stay married longer (although their health usually improves!).
So, “why in the bloody hell did I go and do that?” Not only because it makes for a better and more abundant life for my wife and myself, but also because I will not lay on my death bed, wishing I had been more promiscuous. I will not die regretting that I had done the best damn job I could of carrying a family toward eternity. I will not die, having made a terrifying statistic out of my children. I will not leave this world having not made good on what it really means to tell a woman that she is loved. That is why in the bloody hell I went and did that.