Survey Off the Grid
Today, I turned to IRL people for the answers (and intentionally refused to gaze at the email). I discovered some pretty amazing things about marriage from some interesting sources.
My survey participants included singles, shack-ups, happily marrieds, not-so-happily marrieds and some still in the aftershock of divorce. The age ranges were from 16 to 67. They ranged the religious spectrum from devout to “no thank you”. Ethnicity and nationality were broad.
The question was a Red Special:
Name your three top benefits of marriage.
This was an exercise in creativity and individuality. The answers were as diverse as the participants. Some were funny. Some were very touching.
Only four answers were given by more than six participants: Companionship, Strength, Growth and Stability. The remainder of the answers, in no particular order were:
- Financial stability/advantage
- Better health/longer life
- Dream creation/fulfillment
- Emotional stability
- End of dating
- Safe sex
- Having someone to care for/about
- Having caregiver
- Having someone to test boundaries
- Help mate
- Having someone to complete self
- Sharing joys and tragedies
- Having someone be everything
- Having someone to grow old with
- Having someone to submit or submit to
- Having someone to support opinions
- Best friend ever present
- Physical closeness of beloved
- Reflects God’s love of humanity
In the grand scheme of things, marriage is sounding like a beneficial institution. Very few of the answers were about what a spouse can do for the other.
The Big Four
Far and away, the most commonly named benefit of marriage was companionship. While some answers were similar, the disqualifiers were in the explanations. Partnership, friendship, sharing joy/tragedy and best friend all came with statements making them different from the companionship couples employ in marriage. Stability was the other answer which was similar to, but became vastly different from, others which made the list.
While also cited as a reason for divorce, companionship as a benefit of marriage is the day-in-day-out presence of Mate; the ability to talk about anything at the drop of a hat; the fun; the sounding board of ideas; the partner-in-crime secrecy; the acceptance without judgment; and the steadfastness associated with ’til death do us part.
We have delved deeply into strength on M3. The strength of marriage takes personal strength to a new level. Two are stronger than one and can fulfill the weaknesses between them. The strength is not only being about to stand shoulder-to-shoulder against adversity but also enmesh in one another to forge a unit stronger than the sum of its components.
Marriage makes celebratory the mundane. The beneficial stability of marriage comes in knowing how Mate will react to certain stimuli; when events will happen; what events will never happen; what to expect from certain behavior; peace in knowing Mate will take care of certain things; and the ability to withstand outside forces, such as family, peer pressure and encroaching suitors.
As with strength, the beneficial growth in marriage goes far beyond the personal growth anyone attains on a solo trip through the world. Mates help one another grow spiritually and emotionally; they mature; they teach one another; they challenge each other’s beliefs and opinions; they open minds; they find solutions; they bring hope; and they help one another attain and maintain harmony.
Next: We will explore some of the other benefits of marriage over the end of this series.
What are your top three benefits of marriage? What would you add to the explanations given to the top four? Did the surveyed couples miss some important benefits which do not make your top three?