Is Marriage worth it? Should we hunt for a Husband?

Well certainly the Australian women of Genevieve Gannon’s book called the ‘Husband Hunters’ had no doubt that they should be actively looking for a husband and thus made their plans.

They were successful women in their own right and yet felt that their lives were unfulfilled without that final addition – the husband. Some of them because they wanted children, others wanted to make a ‘home’ – design a great house for themselves and their family. They went about it by making a list of what they needed a husband for: companionship; children; life partner so they are not single at 65; someone to share things with. After all, it is only recently that the idea that marriage was about love and you married because you fell in love has come about. Indeed, marriage itself was not undertaken by many couples because they couldn’t afford it, or the opportunity didn’t come their way eg in remote areas. The marriage of convenience has always been the rule for certain classes. and this is nicely illustrated in the second book that is about marriage which is ‘The Earl’s Defiant Wallflower’ by ***. Here we see the upper classes deciding who to marry because of their title; their wealth; their land and so on. Marriages were often political alliances (see Mother Ocean, Daughter Sea) and were designed to ensure the lack of war, or support for position or favours or…

Then of course we also see marriages of convenience to cover up sexual orientation or to provide a person with a passport! In addition there are financial benefits to marriage that just living together – after all the common law marriage doesn’t really exist – that our laws attempt to force according to the political persuasion of the ruling political party. One can also argue, that from the male’s point of view, marriage also provides a health benefit as most married men live on average longer than unmarried. The statistics on women are not as clear – but in the older age ranges say over 70, spinsters do better and have a longer life than married women.

A major survey of 127,545 American adults found that married men are healthier than men who were never married or whose marriages ended in divorce or widowhood. Men who have marital partners also live longer than men without spouses; men who marry after age 25 get more protection than those who tie the knot at a younger age, and the longer a man stays married, the greater his survival advantage over his unmarried peers. But is marriage itself responsible for better health and longer life?

Although it’s hard to be sure, marriage seems to deserve at least part of the credit. Some have argued that self-selection would skew the results if healthy men are more likely to marry than men with health problems. But research shows the reverse is true: unhealthy men actually marry earlier, are less likely to divorce, and are more likely to remarry following divorce or bereavement than healthy men.

Another potential factor is loneliness; is the institution of marriage linked to better health, or is it simply a question of living with another person? Although studies vary, the answer seems to be a little of both. People living with unmarried partners tend to fare better than those living alone, but men living with their wives have the best health of all.

Numerous studies conducted over the past 150 years suggest that marriage is good for health. More recently, scientists have begun to understand why married men enjoy better health than their single, divorced, and widowed peers. But before we turn to the why, let’s look at how marriage affects specific diseases, including America’s leading killers, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

…….marriage appears to have a positive effect on a variety of health outcomes. Mental health is the most prominent; married men have a lower risk of depression and a higher likelihood of satisfaction with life in retirement than their unmarried peers. Being married has also been linked to better cognitive function, a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, improved blood sugar levels, and better outcomes for hospitalized patients ….(http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/harvard_mens_health_watch/2010/july/marriage-and-mens-health)

So certainly from a man’s point of view, being married is very beneficial. So they should hunt for a wife. There is also evidence for women that the survival rate from heart disease and hospitalisation as a result is better when a woman is married, so perhaps they should check their likelihood of this health risk as a reason for marriage?

So there we are, as women we provide men with a better survival rate. Is that therefore a good reason for marrying, even when we are not in love? And just what do we mean by love here? Is that lust and infatuation we feel or a lasting love that will take us through the trials and tribulations of 40 plus years of marriage, including child rearing and the sleepless nights until all of them are past 5 years old? And then the sleepless nights when they are teenagers? And then when they are students? And when they are driving your car? – Here’s a tale from my family – we went away for a weekend, just my husband and myself, and left the older teenage children at home together with our brand new car. They were to take us to the station and back. When they arrived to pick us up there was no new car. Well it seems that in his joy at driving our new, and faster car, our son at taken a humped back bridge at significant speed and broken the suspension! Imagine our reaction. Luckily no-one was injured but .. Still want children?

And if the divorce rate is so high, why do we bother?

So going back to the two books: Husband hunters and The Earl’s Defiant Wallflower, what did I think of them?

I liked the Husband Hunters – not so much the topic, but the writing style and wit. The Defiant Wallflower was a more traditional historical romance style and content whereby it all ends happily. Not that the other book didn’t end happily either but…. Overall the style of the Hunters is more modern and would appeal to a chick lit audience, the Wallflower not so much. So a 4 star for the Hunters and 3 star for the Wallflower which was really a very light read.

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