Are People Happier Being Married or Single?
by ChristianCrush Team
While researching a blog last week, I ran across a Yahoo Answers thread titled “What’s it like to live in Colorado?” Being a native myself, I had to check it out; I was rewarded with gems such as “So how many days out of the year do you ride sled dogs to school?” or “At what elevation do elk turn into moose?” While I’ve gotten a great laugh out of these questions, it’s taught me a much larger lesson: Much of what we think about one another is based on stereotype.
Whether you’re dating, married, or unattached, take a minute right now and picture a “typical” single person. What kind of image do you come up with? It may not be as accurate as you’d like to think. According to Business Insider writer Laura Friedman and psychologist Bella DePaulo, what most people think of singledom is far off the mark.
In an article by Friedman, she states that singles are healthier, have better friends, aren’t forced to settle, and get much-needed alone time. When things are put that way, I’m hardly surprised it sounds like it’s better to be single. However, the world seems to be at odds with itself. Many married people tout the coupled life, saying they’ve never been happier and are so glad they saved their lives through marriage. On the other side, many singles triumphantly declare that they have never been happier and they are incredibly happy to have saved their lives by not getting married.
So who’s right? The permanently hitched or the free birds? When you really get down and look at the details, the data doesn’t necessarily point at being single as the be-all-end-all to a happier life. Friedman’s first point, having a lower chance of heart disease, could easily be achieved by married couples who stay together long term and communicate well.
I find it hard to believe that all singles are happier than married couples or that all couples are happier than singles. There are weeks when the single life feels like the weight of Atlas, and there are weeks when it’s like being on top of the world. If you’re skeptical, just look at what the Bible says. There isn’t a verse in all of those 66 books that says you have to get married to be happy. In fact, Paul says that if you can handle it, you shouldn’t get married (1 Cor. 7:8-9).
According to Paul, you should get married if...
1. You can’t control yourself.
2. God brings you a spouse.
On the other hand, he says you should remain single if...
1. You can control yourself
2. God hasn’t brought you a spouse.
He doesn’t seem to say a lot about being happy. In fact, this chapter in 1 Corinthians is more about being holy than being happy. Paul doesn’t say that everyone should do this or that – he purposefully says that everyone “has a special gift from God, of one kind of another” (verse 7b). So, instead of focusing so much about our relationship status, we need to focus more on the gifts we’ve been given and how we can use them to honor God and honor others.
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What do you think? Are married people or singles happier and why?