For Young Adults: Why Care About Marriage?

“Young love needs to keep dancing toward the future with immense hope.” Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia (2016)

Got questions about marriage? We have answers…

Living together has risks…

  • For those couples living together before marriage, statistics show that they are nearly 50% more likely to divorce.
  • 75% of children in cohabiting households experience the trauma of parental separation compared to 33% of children in married households.
  • Women and children are more likely to be abused in cohabiting environments than in marriage.
  • Children whose parents fail to get and stay married are at an increased risk of poverty, dependency, substance abuse, educational failure, juvenile delinquency, early unwed pregnancy, and a host of other destructive behaviors.

What makes marriage different? Commitment. Those who enter into a lifelong commitment to one another live a different kind of relationship than cohabiting couples.

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Marriage is one of the best predictors of happiness!

  • Married people report lower levels of depression and distress, and 40% say they are very happy with their lives, compared to about 25% in single people.
  • Married people were half as likely to say they were unhappy with their lives.
  • Sociology shows that its effects are powerful: Married adults have longer lives, less illness, greater happiness, and lower levels of depression and substance abuse than those who live together or are single.

In an uncertain world, the promise of permanence and a shared life create a rock-solid reality!

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Marriage is a great good for society!

  • Family is the first school of social life which becomes the animating principle for the broader community. It is from the family that citizens come to birth.
  • Without children, cultures die, nations die, and the human species dies. Nothing is more fundamental to the common good than children, and nothing matters more to the well-being of children than the health of marriage and family life.
  • When marital breakdown or the failure to form marriages becomes widespread, society is harmed by a host of social pathologies, including increased poverty, mental illness, crime, illegal drug use, clinical depression, and suicide.

Family is the first and vital cell of society. Strong societies are built upon strong families. Strong families are built upon strong marriages.

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Marriage seems to be a wealth-creating institution…

  • On average, married couples build more wealth than singles or cohabiting couples.
  • Married men earn more money than do single men with similar education and job history.
  • Married women are economically better off than divorced, cohabiting or women who have never married.
  • The modern economy and modern democratic state depend upon families to produce the next generation of productive workers and taxpayers.

Marriage realigns personal interests beyond the good of self, and reduces the tendency of individuals and groups to make rash or imprudent economic decisions. In families, young people develop stable patterns of work and self-reliance at the direction of their parents.

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Your happiness!

  • God wants to empower you to have a happy and holy marriage. He wants to protect you from the evils of divorce, to help you raise your children well, and to flourish as a family.
  • God does all these things through the Sacrament of Matrimony. Through His grace, He gives spouses the strength to love and grow and face the challenges of life.
  • God wants to surround you with a community that will help you to flourish in your marriage. The Body of Christ, the Church, is there to support you.
  • Having a successful marriage involves three things:
    1. Finding the right person,
    2. being the right person, and
    3. inviting God into your relationship.
  • Marriage has been designed by the Creator “from the beginning” to be the place where lifelong and life-giving love forms a family.

Jesus Christ, at the center of this union, makes it possible.

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Want to talk to someone about marriage and relationships?

Most universities have a local Catholic Campus Ministry office. Find yours.

For Engaged Couples

Engagement is an exciting and happy time in a couple’s life. With all the excitement of wedding planning, it is important not to lose sight of preparing for day-to-day married life. The wedding is one day, but marriage lasts a lifetime.


  • What is Love?

  • What is Marriage?

  • Preparing Your Soul for Marriage

  • Challenge & Hope for a New Generation

  • The Joys and Struggles of Marriage and Family

  • Outdoor Weddings and the Church

““[Young couples] need to be encouraged to see the sacrament not as a single moment that then becomes a part of the past and its memories, but rather as reality that permanently influences the whole of married life.” Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia (2016)
“In accepting each other, and with Christ’s grace, the engaged couple promise each other total self-giving, faithfulness and openness to life.” Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia (2016)


  • Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher, The Case for Marriage, (New York: Doubleday, 2000)
  • The Witherspoon Institute, Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles, (Princeton, New Jersey: The Witherspoon Institute, 2008), especially pp. 9–15
  • W. Bradford Wilcox et al., Why Marriage Matters, Second Edition, Twenty-Six Conclusions from the Social Sciences, (New York: Institute for American Values, 2005)
  • Robert G. Wood, Brian Goesling and Sarah Avellar, The Effects of Marriage on Health: A Synthesis of Recent Research Evidence, (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Office of Human Services Policy, June 2007)
  • Maggie Gallagher and Linda Waite, The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier and Better off Financially (New York: Broadway Books, 2000)
  • The National Marriage Project, The State of Our Unions, Marriage in America 2010. When Marriage Disappears: The New Middle America, (Charlottesville, VA: The National Marriage Project, 2010), pp. 104–106
  • Pew Research Social & Demographic Trends (February 13, 2006)
  • David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, Should We Live Together? What Young Adults Need to Know About Cohabitation Before Marriage, A Comprehensive Review of Recent Literature, 2nd ed., 2002