Photo: Woman and Money Fan. Courtesy of Petr Kratochvil
Woman and Money Fan by Petr Kratochvil

 

Marriage Makes Us Richer: Commandments, Marriage and Prosperity, Part 1

By Stephen M. Bird. Posted May 6, 2011   Print this Article

At the library I browsed Money magazine and noticed an article “Do You Have What It Takes To Be Wealthy?” I wanted to be wealthy so I read the article which, presented 15 questions designed to tell me whether or not I had the potential to become wealthy. The eighth question asked if I was married and the article's explanation for the question caught my attention:

“Q8 Married people are richer. Ohio State's Zagorsky found that boomers who got and stayed married accumulated 93% more wealth per person than their unhitched counterparts, partly owing to the economies of scale. Divorce reduces wealth by 77%.” (See David Futrelle, with additional reporting by Susie Poppick, “Do You Have What It Takes To Be Wealthy?Money, September 2010, Volume 39, Number 8, 82-85)

93% more wealth per person makes it seem like marrying might nearly double my personal wealth. If divorce reduces wealth, on average, by 77%, and if my personal wealth in a marriage was $80,000, then after divorce it would be $18,400. That's quite a reduction. Perhaps there is greater wisdom in the Judeo-Christian ethic of the divine nature of marriage. As Christ taught:

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Mark 10:7-9; see also Matthew 19:4-6)

Today, in our divorce culture, we would usually think of these strong proscriptions against divorce as limiting our freedom and our future. And yet marriage, in general, appears to make us richer. Maybe God didn't give us this commandment to limit us, but to protect and bless our lives. For example, we are commanded not to commit adultery. Is that a limit to us? or is it to ensure we don’t harm our spouses, others’ spouses, ourselves, our children, and other spouses’ children, etc. Isn’t it to help us keep our marriage? Isn't it to help others keep their marriages? Hasn’t God given us this commandment to protect our love for our spouses and our families?

Commandments Are Given to Bless Our Lives

As I study the commandments, I am becoming more confident God has given them to bless our lives. “The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver” (Psalms 119:72). Jesus told Peter to forgive till seven times seventy (Matthew 18:22). Forgiveness is oil in the engine of human relationships. Since marriage is the most intimate of all relationships, it requires more oil of forgiveness. These are just examples of how the commandments were designed to protect and nourish our marriages, our families, our friendships and our communities.

In the entire 28th chapter of Deuteronomy of the Old Testament, Moses listed the blessings the Israelites would receive if they kept God's commandments and then he listed the curses the Israelites would receive if they broke the commandments. The Lord told Joshua to be “very courageous” to keep all the commandments “that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.” He said in the next verse, “for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:7-8).

We are not obedient because we are blind. We are obedient because we can see.

It’s smart to try and keep God’s commandments, each one. When we try and succeed we are blessed. When we try and fail, we can seek His grace, forgiveness and strength to do better. As one keen observer noted: “We are not obedient because we are blind. We are obedient because we can see.” (Boyd K. Packer, "Agency and Control," Conference Report, April 3, 1983)

So why, generally, are married couples richer? Here is a post by Michael Koretzky about his own 12-year marriage and the ways it has blessed him financially. I don’t think that these are the only ways that we are blessed in a good marriage, but I do think this list is a start. 10 Ways Getting Married Will Make You Richer by Michael Koretzky at MoneyTalksNews. For more reasons about how or why marriage can bless us, read: Marriage Makes Us Richer, Part 2.

 

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