Why Married Women Are Happier Than Single Women

Husband Kissing his wife
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After reading the University of Virginia’s study of nearly 3000 people to evaluate what makes marriages work, I was delighted to get validation for most of my theories that I espouse on this blog.

Among the highlights of the comprehensive report:

Women who are married are twice as likely to report they’re very happy than single women. 50 percent of married women say they’re “very happy” vs. 25% of single women.

65% of cohabiting parents break up vs. 24% of parents who had a child while married.

People who are married with kids are 8% less very happy than childless couples, but both relationships end up with the same marital satisfaction after 8 years.

People without college degrees get divorced 3x more within the first 10 years of marriage than people with degrees. Divorce has more to do with lack of employability and financial stress than education itself.

58% of married women prefer part time work once they get married. 78% of married men prefer full time work.

Regular church/temple attendance increases “very happy” reports by 9%. People who feel “God” is the center of marriage goes up by 25%. This has more to do with these people being commitment oriented than religious, per se.

Top 5 Predictors of Marital Success are almost identical.

Women:

1. Above average sexual satisfaction
2. Above average commitment
3. Above average generosity to husband
4. Above average attitude toward raising children
5. Above average social support

Men:

1. Above average sexual satisfaction
2. Above average commitment
3. Above average generosity to wife
4. Above average attitude toward raising children
5. Above average marital spirituality

Thus, this report suggests that one path to wedded bliss may be found by embracing an ethic of generosity that encompasses a spirit of service, frequent displays of affection and a willingness to forgive the faults and failings of one’s spouse. This spirit of generosity is all the more important as couples confront the challenges of parenthood together.

Remarkable, it’s everything I’ve been writing about for five years (apart from the God thing) and I didn’t even have to interview 2870 people!

So, to all you people who are perfectly happy being single, I’m thrilled for you – but the reason that people keep coming back to romantic love is that it has the capacity (not the guarantee) of giving your life greater meaning and satisfaction. There’s nothing wrong with being “single and happy” (since, of course, ALL of my clients are single) but, according to this study, women who are married are twice as likely to report they’re very happy than single women.

Why do you come back to the possibility of love, despite its chance to hurt you?

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Comments:

  1. 141
    Marika

    Not to add to the vitriolic nature of some of these comments, but why do people use their own experience to question survey results? It would be like if you read a survey saying that 50% of Americans vote Democrat (random example) and then got all hot & bothered and wrote into the survey people saying “well I don’t vote Democrat and neither do my 4 best friends or my mother, so the survey MUST be wrong”…sounds a bi silly, yes?..

  2. 142
    Dave

    Evan,

    I apologize for seeming offensive. In my view I was simply defending myself against what I felt to be very insensitive and insulant replies to my previous posts.

    You are right. The best way to hope to changes another person’s view when they are mean and insensitive to you is to try to use reason, rationale and clear-headedness – not to respond in kind.

    I have always had a very assertive spirit. I am not blind to my flaws and realize that sometimes I can get overly assertive when I feel that I am standing up in my own behalf and my own defense  to someone that has outright insulted me. I believe that some of the comments directed toward me in recent responses to my posts did indeed warrant redress. However, you are absolutely right. It is far better to keep a cool head in response  than to react insult for insult, thereby exasperating the situation.

    As I have repeatedly stated, there are lots of good women out there. I apologize if I have offended any of them.  I apologize for offending you, also. I realize you’ve got a business and several websites to run and you don’t need childish  conflict taking  place between people posting on your sites.

    1. 142.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Bud, that’s all I ask. I hear your complaints and I would encourage you to adopt the same attitude that you’re encouraging women to adopt – don’t paint the opposite sex with the same broad brush, complain about “women” or “American women” or “entitled” women anymore than you’d like to be lumped in with “angry white men who sound bitter and vaguely misogynistic.” Hope you can stick around and not just teach women what men think, but try to listen to their views, which are, honestly, just as valid as yours.

  3. 143
    James

    Well if there weren’t so many very horrible women nowadays that like to cheat so much since they like sleeping around with all different kinds of men every chance they get since the divorce rate is over 50 percent now thanks to these real pathetic low life losers since this did happen to me already unfortunately.   Oh by the way which i was the real committed one in my relationship since i really loved my wife very much as well as being very committed to her and i showed her a lot of respect as well which it still wasn’t good enough for her at all since she turned out to be a real loser altogether that i never knew.   And i also feel sorry for the other men that were committed to their wives and had this happened to them as well which is very sad that the great majority of people that cheat these days are women unfortunately especially the ones that have children.   It is the children that always suffer the most especially when they’re so young and they really don’t understand at all what is going on which my heart does go all out for them as well.   So for me staying single now is the best option since it would be very hard to trust another woman again since i was very hurt at the time when i had this happen.   And what makes it more sad for me is that i always wanted a family as well which unfortunately it never works out that way even though you hope that it will.

  4. 144
    James

    To add a little more truth to my comment is that the women that are married and have their families which they most likely are very happy being married as well instead of being alone especially if they’re very compatible, loving, caring, and very committed to their husbands which really would make their marriage last as well.   And i am sure that many women are very happy in their marriage unless they have their men that treat them very horrible and are abusive which then it is time to get out of that marriage as fast as possible which you would be much better off if that is the case.

  5. 145
    Jamison Hatfield II

    A similar study was done on an Island in the Mediterranean about 40 years ago. And we need to be cautious about “studies,” as the so-called ‘scientific method,’ can be used to prove anything. Real science is simple observation.

    If I was given enough money and enough time, I could set out to prove gravity doesn’t exist, and it would all begin with a hypothesis, etc. Yet within a day or less, I could make 100’s of observations that prove its existence and many or most of its properties.

    Now to marriage. I just returned from Disneyland. 90% or more of the 1000’s of the park-goers were couples or families.   Very few singles. In three days, I saw 3 or maybe 4 individuals get on a ride alone. They looked sad and unhappy. Disney is filled with couples and families, 55,000 a day on average.

    Who would ever go by themselves?   Boring! People have a mixed-up sense of what love and happiness are.

    Love is not a feeling, we’ll, it is, but it’s commitment first to another individual-a spouse of the opposite gender. After commitment, after sacrifice, then the feelings come. They come after one begins thinking about the other person–wanting to be together more and long term, to see that person smile, to see them succeed, grow, and develop into the best they are capable of. That takes commitment.

    If commitment is difficult to see, use something more familiar:   sports, or music.

    If you want to become an Olympic medalist, you start early and focus on one sport with daily committed effort. The person who jumps from one sport to another, every year or 2, never grows, never develops the speed, skills, noe the finess requires to become an Olympic champion. (By the way, those gold medalist always look so miserable on the stand after all that commitment, years of toil, ups, downs, injury and recovery?)

    Have you learned to play a musical instrument to the level where you were one with that instrument and one of the best, if not the best in your school, state, or region? When you can think and it happens through the instrument? Subtle nuances almost effortlessly flow in just the right moment, in the perfect instant. That is an incomparable experience. It also comes only to the committed. I’ve had that experience numerous times in a concert, for instance, which is fun and thrilling. But I’ve asked myself:   was it more fun on stage or at home while practicing 6 hours a day for years on end? I honestly think I have more joy in the quiet of a practice room, not our in public, which only comes every several weeks at a time. But the joy, the daily joy, is found in the daily commitment to that one instrument.

    By contrast, I have a friend, a junior high school band director. He plays 7 instruments–but none of them very well. He’s the same age as many now who are world class on one instrument, but that was his choice. He will never know what it feels like to have mastered one, single instrument, by practice.

    So it is with marriage. Someone said sex is raising a child to adulthood–the ups, the downs, the worries, the victories, the faith, the pull through, the awkward times, etc., but always being commited to and believing in that child’s potential. If you, the parent of your child doesn’t do it, who will? Who else really can? Those joys are meant for you and your child to share–both parents and their children.

    You can be like the dog who runs the neighborhood, mating with any and every other dog in sight. No commitment there; no family joys.

    Or like the lady I heard say very regretfully, “When I was in college, they said, ‘You have potential [as   a woman]. Don’t let silly family commitments hold you back and get in your way. Go it! Be the best in your career. Forget children; marriage!’ But you know, I would give it all away just to hold my own child. When I see a young mother with a newborn, I envy her. I yearn to hold an infant in my arms and to look into her eyes and to have her know I will he there for her through it all–thick and thin. I will be her mommy and she, my little girl, and we’ll get through it– together.”

    Then she said, “I feel cheated and lied to, because for me, this will never be. I believe a lie. But you can still decide–and you are young enough. She was speaking as a professional, having reached the top of her career, but feeling she would give it all away just to be able to have a family, a child of her own to love, nurture, care for, one to call her mommy, to cry and to let her comfort the child’s concerns, to thrill as it takes those first steps.

    Then she said, and this was blowing me away, because she said, “They don’t tell you this and very few women who get to the top will admit their sorrow and regrets. They told me I could have it all, but this is what I really wanted.”

    Then she went on about various careers we could get trained for, but her heart wasn’t in it. She did it mechanically, methodically, almost drudgingly. She took responsibility for her decisions, but the consequences were very tough to live with, I observed.

    I will never forget her haunting words, “They told me I could have it all, but they never told me about this,… that my arms would ache to hold a child of my own, and that I would never be able to raise that child to adulthood.”

    “You girls–don’t believe them when they tell you that you can ‘have it all’ by foregoing your family and that of becoming a mother. Yes, if I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t have done this.”

    I guess I could go on, but the point here was made very clearly by this 60 year old career success,…alone, without a husband, without any children–alone.

    Now let’s send her to Disneyland. Will that solve the yearnings of her heart? We all have a choice, really the choice of a lifetime.   It is to be a mother, a father, to be parents to our children, and raise them to adulthood. Don’t believe the lies. Because even the liars very rarely tell the truth, even in their later years.

    Ive only heard one woman tell of these regrets, but I’ve heard others say they have heard it said, as well. The rest are too embarrassed, too ashamed that they believed THE LIE. Most of them are drinking away their troubles, not even really sure why they’re not happy, or seeing their psychologists just to cope.

  6. 146
    i k

    i’m   a single woman that never married or had kids. I always wanted kids and

    a husband but guys never wanted to give me the time of day.   I was always seen

    as too much of a good girl and not worth their time.   after reading a lot of the posts I always felt that married women had a better life then me and I got cheated

    out of some thing good.   now I realize that being married is not all what it is cracked up to be

     

    anyway I think its too late for me anyway, the only men that I can get

    are the ones that are divorced with kids. and the last thing I want is to end up

    with someone who has kids and a ex wife.   I deserve better then that.

  7. 147
    tonysam

    Your post isn’t in accordance with the facts. Even if it were, there is a stigma attached to married people admitting they are miserable.

    People lie all the time in opinion surveys. Marriage is no guarantee of anything.

    It is known that married women are actually less happy and healthy than single women. Why is this? It is pretty obvious. Women get sick of being stuck with the caretaker/homemaker nonsense that men go out of their way to avoid.

    In an unrelated note, WHY do you NEVER date your posts? Nobody else does this in their blogs. It is important to know when these posts were created.

    1. 147.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      a. You don’t like the results of the post, so you’re arguing with the methodology. After all, “people lie all the time” in opinion surveys. Glad we established that your opinion of studies is more valid than the studies themselves.

      b. “It is known that married women are actually less happy.” That’s almost Trumpian in its feeling-based brazen-ness and lack of factual grounding. Bravo!

      c. I’ve been blogging for ten years. I used to date my posts but removed the dates when I redid my site in 2013. The content is evergreen and I don’t want people to tune it out because it may have been written 8 years ago. The fact that “nobody” else does this only makes me feel more secure that this was the right path to take.

      Thanks for playing, tonysam. This was fun.

  8. 148
    Chops

    “Women who are married are twice as likely to report they’re very happy than single women”

    How about actual happiness, though? Married people are under pressure to say they’re happy. What are the results if we measure happiness rather than measure people saying they’re happy?

    1. 148.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Um, literally every poll is self-reported. You can second guess all you want but it doesn’t change the gist of the study or the piece.

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