Famed economist Thomas Sowell has written: “Despite attempts to equate married couples with people who are living together as ‘domestic partners,’ married couples are in fact better off than unmarried couples, by almost any standard you can think of.”
When COVID-19 hit the United States in early 2020, it put life on hold in many areas. One of those areas involved couples hoping to experience the joy of marriage—with its lifelong love and commitment that results in the benefits that Sowell describes.
But sadly, many of those couples had to delay their nuptials if they wanted something more than an intimate backyard or beach wedding to celebrate their lifelong love and commitment. Many couples didn’t want a sterile ceremony with only a few socially distanced attendees keeping their joyous expressions hidden behind masks for them to start their life together.
Now, nearly 18 months later, many couples are literally doing all they can to get married as soon as possible. According to The Wedding Report, an industry research firm, marriages are expected to jump by more than 50 percent in 2021, leaving the wedding industry scrambling and couples paying premium prices for dresses, tuxedos, cakes, and so forth, because as always, prices are ruled by “supply versus demand.”
While the supply of wedding-related products may be tight and costs are high, what’s very encouraging is the supply of couples who have decided to tie the knot and start new lives and, in many cases, eventually new families. They’re choosing commitment, regardless of the present costs, because they’ve become aware that marriage is a wise investment—as Sowell points out—not only for themselves, but for our society.
It isn’t an accident that the decline in marriages—coupled with other factors that have lowered our national birthrate over the past few decades—has played a significant role in the aging of our population and the long-term problems that creates for our society. On the individual level, the marital decline has also resulted in other negative consequences, such as men, women, and children being less well off, emotionally and financially, than the married generations that came before them.
The lack of marriages has led to a spike in the percentage of people living alone and, in many cases, lacking social connections—which is never good for an individual’s and society’s well-being.
Additionally, government entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security, meant to provide for the eldest members of our society, require a large number of young, healthy workers to pay into the system in order to pay out benefits without racking up huge deficits.
But even more tragic, as our population ages, many families, especially in rural America, can’t sustain livelihoods without future generations to run their family farms or businesses.
So, the rise in marriages—with the full acknowledgment that many were delayed in 2021 with the advent of COVID-19—is a positive sign for the future well-being and restoration of the United States. Yes, some marriages were just delayed, but new ones have sprouted as people have reevaluated their priorities and are choosing marriage.
Perhaps the silver lining of COVID-19 is that many Americans—particularly young Americans—have realized that we aren’t invincible and there are more important things in life than chasing “experiences” and stuff.
Instead, COVID-19 has refocused us on those things with permanence—marriages, families, and communities, or the “greater good” instead of “you do you.” This new emphasis on the importance of lifelong commitment versus personal autonomy and on sacrifice instead of “personal fulfillment,” will hopefully be a key element in restoring a national fabric that binds us together as a people, rather than tearing us apart.
As it was once said: “What is good for General Motors, is good for America.” Well, in my view, “What is good for marriage, is good for America.” May 2021’s renewal to the altar be just the beginning of a trend that sees more couples at bridal shops, caterers, and standing in front of their family and friends to say, “I do.”
That fact alone helps ease the pain of the present pandemic and will create a brighter future for the United States.
And, as Thomas Sowell noted, the renewal of marriage in our society will also create a brighter future for men and women, as well as the children who will result from this most fundamental institution of human society. I raise a toast to those young couples who will enjoy the love and fulfillment that marriage brings.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.