Reasons to Stay Married

Health Writer

Sylvia is in a rocky marriage. For the past few years, her and her husband have had more downs than ups. She isn't sure what to do. In her own words, "Every day I can find about 10 reasons to get divorced and only about two reasons to stay together." Even so, Sylvia and her husband are reluctant to separate. They know each other, they have history together and she believes that somewhere, deep inside, they both still love each other tremendously.

There are some relationships that shouldn't continue; marriages where there is abuse (physical or emotional) or multiple (or unending) affairs for example. Even so, each marriage is different; there is no simple answer to the question "Should we stay together" and for each couple, the answer is different. Choosing to divorce is a usually a hard and painful decision, no matter how bad the marriage is. Choosing to stay married, despite the obstacles and hard work, sometimes  is the best choice.

If you need to add to your "why I should stay married column" read through the following reasons. If you already, as Sylvia did, found two reasons to stay married, adding these brings you up to eight. Now, you only need two more to have 10 reasons to stay together. It shouldn't be too hard to come up with two reasons why you love your husband.

Marriage makes people happier. While many single people, men and women, are happy, research shows that those who are married rate themselves as happier than those who are unmarried. Studies show that "divorced individuals had lower levels of happiness, more psychological distress, poorer self-concepts and felt more alone.". [1]

Married couples are better off financially. According to the guidebook, "Should I Keep Trying to Work it Out?" "Divorcing individuals would need more than a 30% increase in income, on average, to maintain the same standard of living they had prior to their divorce. About one in five women fall into poverty as a result of divorce." [2]

Marriage conflict doesn't always end at divorce, especially if there are children. Research actually suggests the opposite, that conflict with your spouse increases after divorce. [3]

Your children are more likely to get divorced. Children of parents who are divorced are two to three times more likely to get divorced themselves as compared to children who did not experience divorce when growing up. [4] This may be because children of divorced parents see divorce as an acceptable option to resolve marriage problems.

Your children might be unhappy. "MIght" is there because children from high-conflict marriages - those with abuse or in a constant state of conflict - might actually do better off outside of the marriage, but for those low-conflict marriages, children are often torn between two parents and have a harder time adjusting to the divorce.

Divorce is expensive. Many divorces require an attorney and the higher the conflict, the more you and your spouse will rely on your attorney for communication, which means high attorney fees. The longer your divorce drags out, the more money it is going to cost you.

It is nice to have a partner in life. Most married couples go through ups and downs. Those that stick it out through the down times may end up with a stronger, happier marriage. For most people having a partner to talk to, do things with and have fun with is worth getting through the trouble spots.


[1] [2] [3] [4] "Should I Keep Trying to Work it Out?" 2009, October, Alan J. Hawkins, Ph.D. and Tamara A. Fackrell, J.D., University of Utah