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Stop Saying Marriage Is Just a Piece of Paper!

by Danielle Wright

Studies show that almost 90% of the world’s population now live in countries with falling marriage rates. In the U.S., marriage has declined by 60% since the 1970s, while the median age for first marriages has increased for both men and women.


The changing economy can be deemed the culprit as the wage gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen. However, once married, money does not seem to be the top cause of concern, with extra marital affairs being the number one reason for divorce and response for the 20-40% breakdown of most marriages.


Attorney John Henderson says, “Marriage is more than just a piece of paper. Studies show people who are married are physically healthier, more affluent, and happier.”

Related articles: What is the 4B Movement?


WHAT DO PEOPLE REALLY THINK?

With the constant talk of 50-50 relationships, more women are finding it difficult to aspire to marriage. 50-50 in relationships means splitting things down the middle, keeping a tally if you will, he does this, she does that. Rent/mortgage is split equally and so are the other bills in the house. If and when the wife gets pregnant, she must still go to work to assist her husband with providing for the household.


Yes, some women still do dream of walking down the aisle in a big white dress and dancing the night away in their husband’s arms, but with this comes a huge financial burden that most would rather avoid. Men in particular are likely to tell their partners that marriage is just a piece of paper in hopes of avoiding the legal aspects of marriage altogether. With this new fear—mostly spoken by African American men—that in the event of a divorce, their wives will be entitled to half of their assets.


Most men prefer women who are independent of them because marriage is associated with increased responsibilities and with greater financial loss. Studies reveal that on average within 42 minutes and 29 seconds of a first date, most people know whether they would progress to a second date or not, proving that the first impression does count. She’s SINGLE surveyed over 2,000 people and uncovered some of the most common red and green flags.

Red Flags:

Not Independent: 78.9% being the highest and;

Doesn’t Tip: 56.8% being the lowest.


Green Flags:

Active Listener: 59.7% being the highest and;

Responsive/Good Communication: 27.0% being the lowest.


So, while some men may resist marriage more than women, primarily because they believe marriage requires a substantial increase in their behavioral commitment—and they don’t always feel ready for that transition—women, on the other hand, may see it as an emotional and physical burden: cooking, cleaning, raising children.


HOW IS MARRIAGE BENEFICIAL?

Dr. Connie Omari tells us, “Marriage offers numerous benefits, and three of the most notable ones are:

Emotional Support and Companionship – Marriage provides a deep and intimate bond between two individuals. Having a partner to share joys, sorrows, and everyday experiences can contribute to a stronger sense of well-being and happiness.


Legal and Financial Benefits – Marriage often comes with legal and financial advantages, such as tax benefits, inheritance rights, and access to healthcare and insurance coverage. It can also provide financial security through shared responsibilities, pooling resources, and joint financial planning.


Lastly, Improved Physical and Mental Health – Studies have shown that married individuals generally experience better physical and mental health. Marriage can promote a healthier lifestyle, reduce stress and offer a support system that contributes to the overall well-being.”


But like most things in life, there are always drawbacks to consider with Alex Davis, Co-Creator of Ryan and Alex Duo Life sharing, “Yet, the kicker is that this goes both ways. If you have an unhealthy marriage, your risk for hypertension and depression is higher than your single counterparts. So, you risk dementia, and you can be far unhealthier than if you had remained single. While a marriage certificate is just a piece of paper, it has far wider implications—mostly good, but some risk.”


WHAT IS ALIMONY?

Michael Callahan, Founder & Lawyer at The Callahan Law Firm shares, “Alimony, also known as the spousal support or maintenance, is the financial support one spouse may be required to provide to the other after a divorce or legal separation. Numerous variables, including the length of the marriage, the financial circumstances of each spouse, their contributions during the marriage, and their prospective earning potentials, influence the determination of alimony.”


We see celebrities such as Kelly Clarkson ordered to pay her ex, $150,000/per month, or in cases where a settlement is reached, like Jennifer Lopez and Chris Judd, where she was ordered to pay him $14 million.


Maintenance fees are associated with alimony payments as Nicole Young detailed during her divorce from Dr. Dre, citing:

  • Laundry and Cleaning for $10,000 a month

  • Phone, Cell, and Email for $20,000 a month

  • Mortgage for $100,000 a month

  • Charitable Contributions at $125,000 a month

  • Education (tuition and living expenses) at $60,000 a month

  • Clothes at $135,000 a month

  • Entertainment at $900,000 a month

Keep in mind, these are extreme cases and most likely a prenup was not involved. Plus, many of these celebrities were married for a long time, share children, and more. But, for the average man or woman thinking of marriage or believing it to be a piece of paper because we hear stories like the ones above, just know those scenarios are not common.


“The real benefit of marriage at any stage is that it signifies a step forward in the relationship. Each step—moving in together, having kids, moving to a new city, changing careers—is a renewed commitment to the relationship. This is the true value of marriage, especially for couples where both people are highly interested in personal growth and development,” says Daniel Boscaljon.


Hopefully, this article helps shift your perspective on marriage, whether you are male or female. Remember, prenuptial agreements exist, and marriage is more than just a piece of paper.

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