Debunking the “Ball and Chain” Myth

The common “ball and chain” perception of marriage among men is that it is an “expensive encumbrance on their freedom and their sex lives.” However, new research released by the Institute for Family Values finds that married men have more money, better sex and longer lives than their single and cohabitating peers.

Researchers Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and Nicholas Wolfinger, a professor at the University of Utah have debunked the “ball and chain” perception of marriage and found a clear takeaway: Marriage is good for men in “every conceivable measure.”

Three specific benefits to men in a monogamous, marital relationship:

  1. Married men make about $16,000 more per year in salary than their single peers. Men with otherwise similar backgrounds have three times the accumulated wealth by their 50’s, an average of $167,719 compared to $48,528 for single men.
  1. Married men report the most satisfaction with their sex lives. Over 50 percent of married men indicated that they are extremely satisfied, compared to 39 percent of cohabiting men and 36 percent of single men.
  1. Men who are married live up to 10 years longer than those who are unmarried or divorced.

Now we must consider how to debunk the “ball and chain” perception in the wider culture, something Wilcox and Wolfinger say should be a priority, given the “adverse consequences men, women and children have suffered in the retreat from marriage.”