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55 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sex in the Suburbs?
Although we are watching "Sex in the City," we should be reading "The Case for Marriage." Based on sound social theory and overwhelming empirical evidence, Waite and Gallagher remind us that marriage is a vital social institution that needs our support to make us better off individually and collectively.
The authors debunk many myths about marriage to reveal that...
Published on October 3, 2000 by Karen E Maguire

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28 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading but questionable conclusion
I was impressed by the volume of data supporting the overall conclusion and was pleased that the authors chose data that was adjusted for other factors (age, etc) but I agreed with a previous reviewer that they failed to show cause and effect. Many of the downsides of not being married (domestic violence, eg) may result in not being married instead of vice versa...
Published on December 5, 2004 by K. Haught


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55 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sex in the Suburbs?, October 3, 2000
By 
Karen E Maguire (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially (Hardcover)
Although we are watching "Sex in the City," we should be reading "The Case for Marriage." Based on sound social theory and overwhelming empirical evidence, Waite and Gallagher remind us that marriage is a vital social institution that needs our support to make us better off individually and collectively.
The authors debunk many myths about marriage to reveal that married people report being happier overall and more satisfied with their sex lives. Married persons also earn more, are in better physical and mental health, and have more well-adjusted and successful children. Waite and Gallagher explain the how and why for these results by translating social science theories into layman's terms and weaving in illustrative anecdotes from research interviews.
While 93% of Americans rank "having a happy marriage" as a priority, sadly, we are increasingly pessimistic about our chances of achieving that goal. Most of us are either scared by divorce statistics, lack healthy marriage role models, or don't fully understand the benefits of marriage, among other reasons. This fear also translates into an unfortunate self-fulfilling prophesy of failure. By entering into marriage fearing divorce, if we are even willing to make the leap, we do not make the investments required to produce successful marriages.
To address the challenges for healthy and lasting marriages, the authors make specific recommendations to policymakers, religious leaders, researchers, and anyone touched by marriage as to how to build a more "marriage-friendly America." They are careful not to invoke any particular political or religious ideology. They simply examine the evidence to provide what they perceive to be the logical next steps. Perhaps readers will come up with additional suggestions.
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70 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not our fault. Who knew!, October 3, 2000
By 
Diane Sollee (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially (Hardcover)
This book turns conventional wisdom on its head. It will be THE topic of conversation at dinner parties and in singles bars. Don't read it, and you risk spouting off out-of-date cynical info - and losing a lot of bets. No, women don't do better single than married. Yes, married men have more satisfying sex than single men -- and, more often. Yes, married women experience far less domestic violence than their single counterparts.
It turns out the reason we're so stupid about marriage - and divorce like lemmings -- is that we've been operating on woefully inaccurate information. For 30 years, the experts have told us that marriage makes no difference. Or worse! -- that our kids will be "just fine" without it - that they do just as well in single-parent or remarried families. We've been told (in graduate school, no less!) that women are better off single than married. None of which is true!
We should be outraged! We've been making our decisions based on a barge load of myth and misinformation. NO WONDER marriage is at an all time low and divorce is rampant. We've had a 50% divorce rate for 30 years - and it turns out it's not our fault. Who knew!
"The Case for Marriage" sets the record straight. It turns out that marriage makes a huge difference in the health, wealth and wellbeing of men, women and children. And as for women and those "sex in the city" girls -- they'd be better off married on everything researchers can measure including less violence, more money, more successful kids, and more -- and more satisfying -- sex. Yep, sex is better for BOTH married men and married women than their single friends who are racing around looking for it.
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64 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Marriage Matters, October 24, 2000
By 
Amazon Customer (Melbourne Australia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially (Hardcover)
For quite a few years now research findings have demonstrated the truth that marriage has positive effects on those who partake of it. Indeed, so much research on this subject exists that about six years ago I wrote an article called "The Case for Marriage" in which I summarised the available data. In this new book the massive amount of data on the benefits of marriage is collected and brought up to date. What emerges is a comprehensive and intriguing look at the importance of marriage.
The authors summarise the data from the social sciences in this fashion: "The evidence is in, at least for the ways in which marriage is practiced today: Both men and women gain a great deal from marriage. True, marriage does not affect men and women in exactly the same way. Both men and women live longer, healthier, and wealthier lives when married, but husbands typically get greater health benefits from marriage than do wives. On the other hand, while both men and women get bigger bank accounts and a higher standard of living in marriage, wives reap even greater financial benefits than do husbands. Overall, the portrait of marriage that emerges from two generations of increasingly sophisticated empirical research on actual husbands and wives is not one of gender bias, but gender balance: A good marriage enlarges and enriches the lives of both men and women."
A few examples (of many) can be noted: Unmarried people (be they widowed, divorced or single) are far more likely to die from all causes of death, including cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke and pneumonia. Married men are only half as likely as bachelors, and about one-third as likely as divorced men to take their own lives. Married people consistently report less depression, less anxiety and lower levels of other types of psychological distress than unmarrieds (of whatever variety). Married couples are far less likely to slip into poverty than are single people.
What about cohabitation? Isn't it the functional equivalent of marriage? The evidence clearly suggests not: "On average, cohabiting couples are less sexually faithful, lead less settled lives, are less likely to have children, are more likely to be violent, make less money, and are less happy - and less committed - than married couples."
If marriage is so good for adults (let alone children), what public policy implications arise? The authors offer nine steps to rebuild a culture of marriage and to resist a culture of divorce. They include the creation of a tax and welfare policy that is pro-marriage, reform of no-fault divorce laws, restoration of the special legal status of marriage, and discouragement of unmarried pregnancy and childbearing.
Such proposals will not go down well with libertarians, feminists and other detractors of marriage, but they will do much to protect our children, strengthen our societies, and improve adult lifestyles.
For over three decades now the institution of marriage has come under sustained and severe attack. If the evidence presented in this book is at all accurate, then the guns should be redirected - it is the culture of divorce that needs to be assailed.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book Documents That Marriage Is Good Medicine, January 12, 2006
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Wow. This book can leave the reader speechless. It documents that, "Both married men and women live longer, healthier lives...When it comes to money, marriage makes both men and women better off...When it comes to sex and sexual satisfaction, once again husbands and wives are better off...marriage provides some protection from domestic violence, at least compared to women in cohabiting relationships..." (p. 170), and, "In fact, virtually every study of happiness that has ever been done has found that married men and women are happier than singles" (p. 168); the authors' address the antiquated and misinterpreted 1972 study done by Bernard claiming otherwise.

This work is useful for anyone concerned about marriage: the person on the street, the young single, the counselor, the clergyman, the sociology prof, the individual considering divorce or the candidate for marriage. Despite a few quotations using offensive language, this work is ideal for all adults. It must be read slowly, because it is filled with facts, figures and statistics and you may want to do a lot of underlining (as I did).

There were a couple of points that would have made the work better. For example, the authors constantly refer to a near 50% divorce rate in the U.S. Although true, it is important to point out that only 27% of FIRST marriages end in divorce. [note: over just the last few years, new stats suggest a 41% rate, which still means that most first marriages succeed]. What brings the statistics up are the serial divorcers.

Their chapter titled, "Why Marriage is in Trouble" is weak. It sights a few possible reasons for the rise in divorce, but not the main one: people are more messed up than they used to be. People are less social, have a less realistic understanding of what is normal and realistic (partly because they believe TV and Hollywood, but partly because of THEIR upbringing), and the social push toward "demanding" our rights rather than being cooperative and compromising. They did get it right, however, when they stressed that too many people think about "their happiness" and not about the misery divorce will bring to them and to their children.

Let me share this one: "86 percent of unhappily married people who stick it out find that, five years later, their marriage are happier.... In fact, nearly three-fifths of those who said their marriage was unhappy in the late 80's and who stayed married....rated this same marriage as either "very happy" or "quite happy" when reinterviewed in the early 90's." We need to get the word out!

I would label this an important book and highly recommend it. If you are involved in "people helping," this book is not luxury, but necessity.
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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does marriage cause the positives or would they occur anyway, May 16, 2004
By 
Ksuzy (Washington DC) - See all my reviews
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First, I must admit that I really admire the scope of this book. It covers many bases, and reviews the literature on both men and women; many books on marriage cover only one gender when it comes to the research on marriage, and then pit men and women against each other. There is a caveat to this research, however, that anyone reading this book should think about. It is very difficult in social science research to prove that one variable "causes" a change in other variables. In this case, the authors try to prove that marriage "causes" people to be happier, healthier, live longer, have better sex, etc. etc. Yet, there is no way of measuring for selection bias: people who are physically and mentally healthier (and therefore happier and more likely to succeed financially anyway) may be more likely to marry in the first place because they are more attractive in the marriage market. For example, some research on whether individuals are likely to desist in crime commission if they marry looks at whether the spouse also engages in crime. The variables in Waite's book may be related to each other, but not necessarily in a causation model as she claims.
I still give the book four stars because it demonstrates how social science can be used to inform the general public, and it is a well-written review of the literature. If Waite and Gallagher had been more honest about their results (in terms of not misleading with the statistics), I would have given it five stars.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good, March 19, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially (Hardcover)
This book is an excellent work of sociology by a professor at the University of Chicago, strongly supporting the institution of marriage. It is not a political panegyric -- rather, it quotes studies and statistics in support of marriage. It should be read by everyone, but particularly by anyone questioning their own marriage, or marriage in general.
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24 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horray for marriages!!, October 3, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially (Hardcover)
One doesn't need to read the book to realize the title is true. I've lived all over the country and without a doubt, marriage is where it's at. Waite and Gallagher give solid statistics and proof to why cohibatating actually backfires for couples. If you want to have a blissful relationship, read this book and don't shack up.
You might also want to read The RoMANtic's Guide and Relationship Rescue -- I think these three titles are the best relationship books of the year.
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28 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading but questionable conclusion, December 5, 2004
I was impressed by the volume of data supporting the overall conclusion and was pleased that the authors chose data that was adjusted for other factors (age, etc) but I agreed with a previous reviewer that they failed to show cause and effect. Many of the downsides of not being married (domestic violence, eg) may result in not being married instead of vice versa.

This is especially true in reference to the section on how there is a full out war against marriage - yes, there is a lot of bad press on marriage but that's because there are a lot of bad marriages (and if you think divorce is bad for the children, try having one of the parents - or both - hating their home life). The authors show that their are several inherent values to marriage (eg, finance is easier with 2 people supporting one household)-and you want us to believe that people stay out or get of marriages because they others talking about how bad marriages are? In the end, people are going to make decision based on personal experience if available and I know very few people who haven't experienced marriage, either their own or their parents. Something's going wrong within the matrimonial institution that the authors completely ignore. What is it? I don't know and the book fails to give me insight.

Given that omission the authors' final conclusion - encourage marriage by giving financial breaks to married couples and marginalizing single people - will not solve the problem. If singles have trouble financially, shouldn't they be the ones getting tax breaks? If some singles are less likely to have affordable health insurance shouldn't we address the health industry? What about those singles who want to be married but haven't met the proper person - how is this going to help them? Bottom line is the authors' suggestions won't necessarily increase the proportion of happily married people but will make single people's lives more difficult.
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21 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Calling all Matchmakers, February 5, 2001
By 
This review is from: The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially (Hardcover)
The Case for Marriage validates what I have intuiatively known for years, that marriage is good for you. For years, I've been a voice in the wilderness, resorting to carrying assorted clippings around with me to prove my argument to disbelieving friends, cocktail party attendees and various unmarried family members. Maggie Gallagher and Linda Waite present a beautiful case for marriage. I applaud them. I can throw my clippings away! I bought three copies the first day it was released and gave them to two friends and my sister's boyfriend. My sister's boyfriend had been divorced for ten years and felt, "Why marry? Can't we just live together?" After being a bit put off by my gift, he read it and thanked me for giving it to him. He proposed two weeks ago. They're having an August wedding! Of the other two friends, one has asked me to look at engagement rings with him and the other has told me that she'll be celebrating Christmas with her own family by next Christmas.
Three for three! If you know of anyone who needs to separate the myths of marriage from the facts, please buy them this book. More people need to know the truth about marriage, that it is a vibrant and thriving institution that will provide us with stability, security and a brighter financial future.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative and Knowledgeable Authors, July 4, 2010
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The book is written in the third person by authors learned in their field, BUT I found the book somewhat difficult to read, not due to syntax or grammar, but simply the repetitive use of data from numerous studies. It clearly broke the train of thought of a narrative when such an abundance of statistics was thrown in. Being somewhat experienced in this field, I would think this made for a much better textbook or even a supplemental text for grad school than a book for popular consumption. I liked and agreed with what the authors said throughout most of the book, but disagreed with their sincere but proselytizing belief in marriage at all costs, which they believe is for the benefit of children; spouses be damned if they don't agree. I also believe that marriage is the best relationship form for couples, but believe there are more reasons for divorce than the authors state. In fact, excepting extreme physical cruelty [domestic violence of a severe nature] they could seem to find no other legitimate reason for divorce. On page 143 [first edition hardback] they try to give reasons for a divorce but can't quite state any without using the adverb MAYBE a total of ten times on that one page alone in referring to the possibilities of said divorce.

The authors give a plethora of interesting facts and points about marriage far too numerous to list, but let me give just a few examples: [1]only 8% of American women consider remaining single [2]dividing chores in a totally equal fashion is unproductive economically as it removes the benefits derived from specialization of labor [3]approximately 50% of Americans aged 35-39 are or have in the past been in cohabiting relationships [4] 80% of married couples see the relationship as permanent as opposed to only 50% of cohabiting couples who either break up or get married withing two years [5] women who felt a career was very or extremely important mere more likely to cohabit than those who didn't - not a big surprise on that one [6] between 1979-1981 of approximately 12k suicides, widowed or divorced persons were 3X more likely to commit suicide than married persons [7] 60% of never married and 51% of divorced cohabiting females had sex 2 or more times a week, while only 55% of cohabiting men had sex as often - YOU GO GIRLS! [8] at the same time cohabiting females were 8X more likely to cheat than married females - YOU STOP GIRLS! After just reading this last paragraph perhaps you can see how statistics can make for difficult reading. The book has slightly over 200 pages of narrative, with the rest being cites and references for further study.

I have little problem with what the authors said excepting the dearth of reasons to ever get divorced, but still think it would be worth your while to read the book and judge for yourself. This is certainly an area where we can all benefit from as much knowledge as we can get. In any case, I think the authors are most sincere in their beliefs regarding marriage and its benefits to children and society as a whole.
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