Married Life and Single Life
A Comparative Essay
The decision to marry or not to marry is one of the most important decisions in anyone’s life, maybe more altering than the choice of whom to marry. The fact that both are a form of “living” seems to be the only similarity among the two though the differences are numerous. Marriage as an institution is well established, more socially acceptable and older than that of the unmarried individual. For centuries being single was a social ambiguity, though any number of famous people who never married can be listed (Newton, Queen Elizabeth I, Leonardo da Vinci …). The situation has changed rapidly in the latter half of the last century and more so in this century, with more people opting to remain unmarried and cohabitation among couples becoming widespread. The main reason to marry or not to marry differs from individual to individual and era to era but the human requirement for companionship, life stability, sustainment of one’s’ lineage and even strategic alliances come into the picture. The choice is not easy and is definitely the topic of endless discussions – as was evidenced in the wealth of data that surfaced during the research for this paper – but no one has conclusively proven one to be better than the other.
Single living places all the responsibility of decision making upon one self while autonomous decision making can even be dangerous to a marriage. Individual freedom is lesser for a married individual than a bachelor. In marriage, a person has to be aware before making any major decisions that he or she should consider the consequences of that decision upon his spouse and children. This might be constraining to some while others welcome the opportunity to have a partner in whom to confide and confer. Similarly, the concept of ‘Emotional Satisfaction’ is also subjective. Marriage is considered a natural extension of the human requirement for companionship whereas being single was at one time widely considered an abomination. It should however be stressed that single people are socially outcast or that they are introverts by nature but they simply do not wish to be in so demanding a social commitment as marriage. The ability to plan one’s finances individually, the freedom to travel or change jobs at will are listed as the benefits of remaining unmarried while on the other hand, the support from one’s life partner, the economic benefits, emotional and sexual satisfaction are listed under marriage.
Children are better raised in marriage than as single parents. The responsibility of raising a child can be better shared by both the partners and various studies have found both the parents to be necessary for the well being of the child. Financial comparisons are important enough to merit consideration here. The cost of living for a married couple is substantially less compared to a single person. A single person pays 23% of their monthly income for rent, whereas a couple will only have to pay 9.3%. The expenditure on food too is 30% more for the single person than the married couple. However, the comparison does not end there. Retirement costs as well as mortgage expenses are higher for married persons than for bachelors and can account for as high as 40% of the net income of the couple. The money spent on raising children is an added expense and can substantially erode the benefits of scale mentioned above.
General health is reported to be higher among married people than unmarried ones; the stated reason being that there is constantly a person to monitor and regulate unhealthy behavior such as over drinking and smoking. But the purpose of getting married is not to maintain health in general. Neither side can claim victory over the other side as the choice is subjective in nature and will ultimately depend on the choices that a person makes for himself. Married people find company and a partner through their journey of life, while single persons find the freedom and the absence of responsibilities liberating. Anyway, it is beyond dispute that being single is always better than being in an unhappy marriage.
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