I’ve blogged before about the many financial benefits marriage brings to couples, families and society. Along those lines, a recent article by the respected economist Lawrence Kudlow underscores the vital role of marriage in achieving a robust national economy.
In “Marriage Emerges as Key To Economic Growth,” Kudlow describes how the American economy has slowed from a previous average of 3.5 percent per year to a mere 1.8 percent annually – under both Republican and Democrat presidents and congresses.
So, setting aside partisan explanations, Kudlow cites marriage as the “key element of a stronger economy.”
His basic take is this: an economy doesn’t exist without people – and marriage makes for stronger citizens. He cites expert after expert to show the benefits of marriage to children.
Even beyond providing the best environment in which to raise children, the reality is marriage is a “formative institution” for husbands and wives.
Here’s what Glenn Stanton, my colleague and friend and one the nation’s leading experts on the institution of marriage, has to say about the topic in his provocatively titled article, “Marriage as a Feminist Institution:”
Marriage helps married adults look very different than their cohabiting or single peers in most of the important measures of personal and community attitudes and behaviors: living longer healthier lives, physically and emotionally; being and staying employed; missing fewer days of work; earning and saving more money; having fewer run-ins with the law; greater overall life happiness; less likely to abuse alcohol or illegal substances; being abusive or abused; volunteering in the community; attending museums, symphonies and cultural events at higher rates; being more involved in church life; and being actively involved in the lives of children, their own and others.
But don’t just take the opinion of Mssrs. Kudlow or Stanton.
In “America’s Women,” Gail Collins, the editorial page editor for The New York Times, wrote a fascinating piece about the impact marriage had on the settling of America.
When the Virginia Company of London first settled Jamestown in 1607, the new community consisted solely of 200 males. According to Collins, without women present, the men weren’t very productive, with some even suggesting they basically “goofed off.” When the women did finally arrive beginning in 1608, Collins describes them as being “marooned in what must have seemed like a long, rowdy fraternity party, minus food.”
But soon the women became wives. Within a few decades the colonies, thanks to the influence of women and the impact of marriage, were flourishing.
Marriage inspired a ragtag group of men to help lay the foundation for our nation. Similarly, a healthy marriage culture will be critical moving forward if our economy, and our entire society, is to thrive into the future.
Lawrence Kudlow is right: “While restoring economic growth may be the great challenge of our time, this goal will never be realized until we restore marriage.”
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