The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier and Better Off Financially

by Linda Waite

Other authorsMaggie Gallagher (Author)
Paperback, 2001



Call number



Broadway Books (2001), 272 pages


A groundbreaking look at marriage, one of the most basic and universal of all human institutions, which reveals the emotional, physical, economic, and sexual benefits that marriage brings to individuals and society as a whole. The Case for Marriage is a critically important intervention in the national debate about the future of family. Based on the authoritative research of family sociologist Linda J. Waite, journalist Maggie Gallagher, and a number of other scholars, this book's findings dramatically contradict the anti-marriage myths that have become the common sense of most Americans. Today a broad consensus holds that marriage is a bad deal for women, that divorce is better for children when parents are unhappy, and that marriage is essentially a private choice, not a public institution. Waite and Gallagher flatly contradict these assumptions, arguing instead that by a broad range of indices, marriage is actually better for you than being single or divorced- physically, materially, and spiritually. They contend that married people live longer, have better health, earn more money, accumulate more wealth, feel more fulfillment in their lives, enjoy more satisfying sexual relationships, and have happier and more successful children than those who remain single, cohabit, or get divorced. The Case for Marriage combines clearheaded analysis, penetrating cultural criticism, and practical advice for strengthening the institution of marriage, and provides clear, essential guidelines for reestablishing marriage as the foundation for a healthy and happy society. "A compelling defense of a sacred union. The Case for Marriage is well written and well argued, empirically rigorous and learned, practical and commonsensical." -- William J. Bennett, author of The Book of Virtues "Makes the absolutely critical point that marriage has been misrepresented and misunderstood." -- The Wall Street Journal… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member tsryan
Linda Waite is a well known sociologist who studies issues of marriage, family, and health. Many of the findings on the benefits of marriage that have been collected over the past few decades are pulled together nicely and simply here. At the same time, in their eagerness to support their thesis,
Show More
the authors ignore some of the down sides of typical marital arrangements. For example, they claim that in a household economy specialization is what allows the whole to function so well. They do not proscribe which partner specializes in which function (ie childcare, cleaning, etc. vs paid labor), so they claim to be neutrally pointing out the benefits of specialization. But by ignoring the very real social forces that shape the roles into which partners are placed, they fail to address some of the fundamental flaws of the institution they are defending. They make a strong case for marriage, but by engaging a bit further with the potential downside to marriage, they could have written an even more convincing book on the topic.
Show Less


Original language


Physical description

272 p.; 5.25 inches


0767906322 / 9780767906326
Page: 0.4552 seconds