The advantages of marriage or cohabitation (living together) are often also the disadvantages of staying single and unattached. Although I tend to be an advocate for the single lifestyle, especially in your 20’s and 30’s, there are clear benefits to being married after 40 and especially after 50.
This assumes that you have a healthy relationship, however. If you don’t and the love is gone, then living someone who does not care about you can be unimaginably painful. I’ve witnessed this situation with a severely ill man and an uncaring wife in their late 70’s. It was heartbreaking to watch. But if you have a loving partner, their presence and support can provide psychological nourishment, healing, and joy!
Here are the advantages of marriage or cohabitation, which also happen to be the disadvantages of staying single.
Support During Hard Times
If you get sick, have a downturn in your business, or lose your job, there is a loving person nearby to care for you and encourage you. The need for support in each of these areas increases as you age.
Other people can be helpful, but only the person you live with will have full knowledge of your daily struggle. Therefore, they will be in the best position to give you the support and encouragement you need.
Cheering and Encouragement
Having someone near who inspires you with just a look, a smile, or a kiss each morning makes a huge difference in how you’ll perform at work. It’s also motivating to know that you’ll get the same treatment when you return home.
It is often noted that women and especially men go further in their careers when they are married. They are inspired to strive even further if they have children. This is not to say that unattached singles do not go as far in their careers because many have extraordinary success. But on average, people who have the responsibility of a marriage and children tend to go further.
When I use the term “life partners,” I am referring to two people in a committed romantic relationship who live together (cohabitate).
Sharing Joyful Moments
Moments of victory are sweeter when you have a person nearby to share it with who knows every aspect of your journey. Other people may be happy for you, but only the person who lives with you will truly understand and appreciate what it took for you to accomplish the goal.
If you’re working toward a common goal with your spouse or life partner like retiring in Costa Rica, then each accomplishment made individually toward that end will be cause for both to celebrate.
Fills in Social Network
When you’re young and healthy with years of opportunity ahead, it’s difficult to imagine needing the support of a spouse when your parents, siblings, and childhood friends are still around. After 40 and especially after 50, a person’s social network is usually much less. A loving spouse or life partner can fill in these holes. An unloving one can make the holes bigger.
With a spouse or life partner, you can also merge your social networks. So once you’re married or living together your social network can instantly increase in size.
It is nice to know that you always have a person to go out to dinner with, go on a vacation with, or shop for a new refrigerator with. It’s comforting to know that you’ll never spend a holiday alone, go to your company’s annual holiday party alone, or recover from an illness alone.
Whether you’re going through bad or good times, you will always have a companion to share your burden and your joy! There will rarely be lapses in receiving support, encouragement, and love.
When you’re single, getting the things described above from a romantic partner, a friend, or even a family member usually requires planning, advanced notice, and sometimes negotiation on times, dates, and location. Holidays for singles can be an unappealing choice between attending events as the only single person among dozens of couples and their screaming children or being alone. During times of celebration or difficulty, there may be phone calls or lunch with a friend, but eventually, you’ll end up alone at the end of the day.
There are of course advantages and disadvantages to both. When you’re married or living with someone, there are unwritten rules of obligation. You’re obligated to help even when you don’t have the time, go on a cruise when you’d prefer a quiet vacation in the mountains, or attend a dinner party with people you do not like.
When you’re an unattached single, you make all the decisions on what you will and will not do. This is not so easy to do when you’re are married or living with someone, unless they are a very evolved and secure person.
The value and the importance of the advantages and disadvantages of each lifestyle are determined by the psychological make-up of the individual. If you like a lot of freedom and alone time then being single has more advantages. If you like a lot of daily support and companionship then being married or cohabitating has more advantages for you.