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Should Married People Stay Married No Matter What?

The most recent issue of Time magazine features a cover story titled "How to Stay Married (and Why)." The article suggests that married people should stay married, except in situations in which there is the threat of physical harm. Furthermore, it also seems to suggest that married people are somehow better off than divorced people.

A response from Psychology Today argues that Time's pro-marriage and anti-divorce piece is not only inaccurate, but potentially dangerous.

There Is No Research To Support Time's Assertions

The Time article makes some bold statements, including: "Studies suggest that married people have better health, wealth and even better sex than singles, and will probably die happier." While the response from Psychology Today concedes that married people tend to have an advantage in the wealth department because of combined incomes and benefits available only to married people, it states that claims of better health are unsubstantiated.

There have been no studies that definitively show that married people have any health advantage over divorced people. A study that could accurately reach such a conclusion would require a sample of couples considering divorce. Half must be forced to stay married. The other half must get a divorce. Then research could determine which group was healthier. Of course, that is simply not ethical.

Time's article wants people to believe that good health is the result of staying married. But what if those who remained married were in marriages that were less threatening to their health? The flaw in Time's position is that it attributes staying in a marriage as the cause of good health and leaving a marriage as the cause of health issues, and that is not backed by evidence. In fact, Psychology Today cites several long-term studies that would seem to run contrary to what Time is trying to say about marriage.

Sometimes Divorce Is The Right Choice

Time's stance that marriage is supposedly superior is dangerous in that it could deter people who really would be better off getting a divorce.

Aside from the exception offered in domestic violence cases, Time does not acknowledge that marriages can be unhealthy. If someone in such a marriage reads the article and makes the decision to stay married, Psychology Today argues "It is entirely possible that they will end up even less healthy than they would have if they divorced." Maybe the problems that led to them considering divorce were negatively impacting their health, and getting a divorce would actually be a step toward recovery.

There are times when marriage may be worth fighting for, but you should trust yourself. You know your spouse and you know your marriage. If the situation is unhealthy, you should not stay in it for the sake of scientifically unsubstantiated health benefits attributed to being married. You should carefully review your options. For many people, divorce is the right step toward a happy and healthy future.

At Scardina Family Law, we can provide you with information about the divorce process and answer any questions you need answered to determine whether it makes sense for you.

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