Published April 28, 2011
Unless you have been living on another planet, you know there’s a royal wedding about to happen. The world is waiting for the moment when the bride steps out of her carriage at Westminster Abbey on her way to wed her prince. I can’t help but be drawn to such a fairy tale, and neither can many others. Despite forty years of feminism telling us otherwise, most women still want to marry their handsome prince.
And that’s a really good thing, even though we know that what happens after the big day sometimes doesn’t end with “happily ever after.” Look at Princess Diana and Prince Charles, or the millions of other couples who walked down the aisle in love and walked out of the house soon after in divorce.
Most everyone knows that the national rate of divorce hovers around 50 percent, but there are several factors that can lower the likelihood of reaching that point in marriage. According to the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project’s latest report, if you make over $50,000 annually, haven’t had children or gotten pregnant before marriage, if your parents are still together, and if you go to church, your chances of a successful marriage are significantly better. Even having just one of these qualities will lower the chances of divorce.
Unfortunately, many couples go into marriage with the state of mind that the relationship is a revocable contract, one that can be severed if things just don’t work out or if they can’t get past their “irreconcilable differences.” However, marriage is not a contract but rather a covenant, as viewed by people of faith. Big difference! Unlike a contract, a covenant cannot ever be broken and is not conditional on the other person keeping their promises. Instead, it a promise you make with three people — you, your spouse, and God. Thus, it doesn’t merely have earthly implications; it also has spiritual ramifications.
The reason marriage is such a big deal is that it is the most crucial institution in sustaining our culture. Women are smart to hope for their handsome prince. In her book, Children at Risk, Janice Shaw Crouse, of CWA’s think tank, the Beverly LaHaye Institute, reports that marriage is by far the safest place for men, women, and children physically, socially, and economically. Statistically, a married woman is less likely to be poor or a victim of violent crime. For women, marriage helps to combat depression and lessens the risk of suicide. Additionally, it provides significant physiological benefits.
Crouse also reports that because more women are going to school today than thirty years ago and are occupying a greater piece of the pie in the work place, married men have benefited significantly more in economic ways than unmarried men; plus they live longer. I’m guessing it’s due to fewer Big Macs. And finally, children raised in intact marriages are physically and emotionally healthier, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, are more likely to attend college, and have a decreased risk of divorcing than children raised in broken families.
Yes, even with the loss of autonomy and the television remote women are better off married. Marriage is an institution that is the foundation for family, which is itself the foundation of our nation and should be protected by society and by the government.
Now, before we all go out and buy tiaras, there are certainly risks in taking the plunge, and women need to enter into the arrangement fully aware of the dangers. But the lure of a promise-keeper is just as relevant today as it was when we read Cinderella as children. A fish may not need a bicycle, but women still need their fairy tale ending.
Penny Nance is CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s group.