Friday, December 2, 2016

The Economics of Marriage

Who you marry is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life.  While most products and legally-binding agreements have a set service life or contract time, it is exceedingly rare to find a circumstance where one puts money, products or services down "until death do us part."  If you are going to make a decision based on "forever", you had better have an understanding of what you are gaining and what you are giving up.  To explore this topic, I have included the following links.

Freakonomics Podcasts:
Why Marry? (part 1)
Why Marry? (part 2)

Additional Thought-Inducing Readings:
Hodgepodge of Marriage Phenomena
Marriage Increases Inequality
Marriage Benefits the Middle Class More

Some questions to think about:
1.  What benefits do you hope to gain from marriage?
2.  What are the consequences of getting married?
3.  What benefits do you hope to gain from not getting married?
4.  What are the consequences of not getting married?
5.  Do you think that men and women get the same things from a marriage?
6.  Is marriage really an equal partnership?
7.  Has marriage changed over the years?
8.  How does divorce affect your estimation of marriage?

7 comments:

  1. William, I think this is an interesting topic. I have been married for 15 years and have seen only the benefits. There is definitely a great deal to consider.


    What benefits do you hope to gain from marriage?

    When I was younger, I knew I would get married someday. The benefits I've seen are as follows:
    Companionship, support-emotional, financial, mental, the knowledge there is one who will be with you through life, love, and the wonderful tax benefits.

    2. What are the consequences of getting married?

    The consequences could be whom you are not marrying. Who would you be giving up if you are unsure. Another could be making the wrong choice. Perhaps someone has no work ethic, no integrity, no plans for the future, or maybe differing opinions on children.

    3. What benefits do you hope to gain from not getting married?
    Not applicable.

    4. What are the consequences of not getting married?
    The consequence could be many lonely years especially once you are older.

    5. Do you think that men and women get the same things from a marriage?
    I do think men and women get most of the same from a marriage. Men and women both live longer married than alone. Men and women may perceive marriage differently. Some are grateful and some are burdened. It depends on one's own outlook.

    6. Is marriage really an equal partnership?
    This is a loaded question. I do not think most are equal partnerships. I feel that my husband and I are equals. I could not be in a relationship in which I was not treated as one. There are those who try to control their spouse and so they are not equal. Each couple may believe differently based on cultural norms and the environment in which they live.

    7. Has marriage changed over the years?
    Most definitely marriage has changed through time just as our society has changed. At times it seens there are more changes than there are constants as society has rapidly changed, but the human desire for companionship is a constant. Marriage stills fits the bill for companionship.

    8. How does divorce affect your estimation of marriage?
    Divorce, although seemingly commonplace, has never been an option to me. This is despite almost every other marriage I have seen end for one reason or another. If you cannot commit to a marriage you will probably have commitment issues throughout other aspects of your life as well. Marriage, like many other commitments, requires a willingness to stick it out despite difficulties.

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  2. William, I think this is an interesting topic. I have been married for 15 years and have seen only the benefits. There is definitely a great deal to consider.


    What benefits do you hope to gain from marriage?

    When I was younger, I knew I would get married someday. The benefits I've seen are as follows:
    Companionship, support-emotional, financial, mental, the knowledge there is one who will be with you through life, love, and the wonderful tax benefits.

    2. What are the consequences of getting married?

    The consequences could be whom you are not marrying. Who would you be giving up if you are unsure. Another could be making the wrong choice. Perhaps someone has no work ethic, no integrity, no plans for the future, or maybe differing opinions on children.

    3. What benefits do you hope to gain from not getting married?
    Not applicable.

    4. What are the consequences of not getting married?
    The consequence could be many lonely years especially once you are older.

    5. Do you think that men and women get the same things from a marriage?
    I do think men and women get most of the same from a marriage. Men and women both live longer married than alone. Men and women may perceive marriage differently. Some are grateful and some are burdened. It depends on one's own outlook.

    6. Is marriage really an equal partnership?
    This is a loaded question. I do not think most are equal partnerships. I feel that my husband and I are equals. I could not be in a relationship in which I was not treated as one. There are those who try to control their spouse and so they are not equal. Each couple may believe differently based on cultural norms and the environment in which they live.

    7. Has marriage changed over the years?
    Most definitely marriage has changed through time just as our society has changed. At times it seens there are more changes than there are constants as society has rapidly changed, but the human desire for companionship is a constant. Marriage stills fits the bill for companionship.

    8. How does divorce affect your estimation of marriage?
    Divorce, although seemingly commonplace, has never been an option to me. This is despite almost every other marriage I have seen end for one reason or another. If you cannot commit to a marriage you will probably have commitment issues throughout other aspects of your life as well. Marriage, like many other commitments, requires a willingness to stick it out despite difficulties.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have to agree with Marisa in saying this is a great topic. At the time of writing this, I am currently engaged. Like anything, there are benefits and consequences to this kind of commitment.
    The benefits I hope to gain in marriage:
    In this engagement, leading to marriage, I hope to gain support. I think a marriage is about the people involved, and their lives intertwining. Benefits I hope to gain, other than tax related benefits, are a companion in whom I can confide in. I hope to gain a better understanding of the world around me, and grow alongside my spouse.
    The consequences of getting married:
    By entering a monogamous marriage, you are letting go of your opportunity to marry someone else. A slight exception to this is polyamory, but even then, it is impossible (and probably impracticable) to marry everyone. In this sense, the consequences aren’t entirely known. By marrying Joe, you could be giving up the opportunity to marry Joe 2.0, but you will never know. Other costs of getting married are financial, as weddings, as we all know, tend to be a bit pricey. Marriage can create a lot of conflicts, this is inevitable. It is up to the couple to make amends of these conflictions and disputes.
    There are also benefits and costs to NOT getting married. Those who chose not to get married, although they may face loneliness, tend to be more independent and reliant on themselves (Note: this is not inherent, i.e. the single 40 year old man who lives in the basement of his parents’ house). Although there are no marital tax benefits in the case of being not married, there are typically less expenses. When it comes down to it, you’re the only person in your life that is guaranteed to stay around no matter what.
    I think both parties benefit from a marriage (if it is healthy and thriving). In economic terms, a marriage is sort of like a trade. We only trade when we find ourselves better off, do we not? In this respect, I think that in most marriages, both parties/spouses get the same thing, benefits. The benefits may not be the same, but in exchanging rings and vows, there is an inherent mutuality, supposedly. A marriage CAN be an equal partnership, but it is not always.
    Through the readings and podcasts, it is obvious that marriage has changed over the years. Marriage has become more of a choice, at least in the US. Why marry? Couples in the past (arranged or by choice) would answer in a number of ways. However, if you asked a modern day individual why they would marry, there is a much wider range of answers. The reasons for people marrying have diversified, as it has become less of an obligation.
    Divorce is a statistic. Nobody wants to believe that their relationship will end. Whatever happens, happens.

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