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Lauren and Rob Hudson: Postive messages for youth about our exceptionalism and marriage


Columns for families based on the book It Can Be Done @studentsleadusa

Marriage is a union that many Americans consider central to their lives, with about half of American adults choosing marriage. Most people choose their partners for love, but hopefully not blind love. Several practical things about marriage, beyond love, can make a big difference.

If we choose an unwise partner, there’s a good chance we’ll spend much of our time cleaning up their life messes rather than becoming exceptional. Their life messes will become our life messes. It can be the difference between thriving and just trying to survive.

On the other hand, in a healthy marriage we will have somebody who can help. We will have a shoulder to lean on – someone who loves and listens to us. We can share or divide day-to-day responsibilities. We decide, together with our partner, how we will spend our money. We can share moments and have fun together.

Any husband and wife who have had athletic events for two children at the same time but at different places can tell you all about how it helps to be together. Without both partners, it can be harder to make even the logistics of life work. Plus, two good heads – partners – can be better than one.

A healthy marriage can also free up time and energy to pursue dreams. For example, a person with a spouse who shares household responsibilities may be able to spend more time starting her own business or pursuing hobbies like writing or athletics. American writer and artist Joe Murray described it well. “Marriage should be a duet – when one sings, the other claps.”

We could go through our lives as single people, but we might end up spending more time trying to keep up with day-to-day life while having somewhat less time to pursue dreams. For example, laundry, dishes, mowing the lawn, fixing things, and cleaning the house take time! Four helping hands can get things done quicker than two.

Economists at Dartmouth College and Warwick University tried to put a price on marriage. They determined a lasting marriage to be “worth” $100,000 a year. Data and studies have indicated, on average, better health, higher earnings and lower poverty for married people. Being together – financially, emotionally, and socially – can work better.

Of course, it’s not just about money. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found husbands and wives to be, on average, healthier than single people. This is not to say that single people cannot be healthy, happy and successful. Of course they can, but a 2008 survey from the PEW Research Center reported nearly twice as many married people described themselves as happy.

No marriage is perfect; in fact, many marriages end for one reason or another. People can remain single or divorce and do very well as a single person or a single parent. We know families often look very different, with stepparents, grandparents, and others helping. There is no one size fits all approach to life in America, but imagine what could happen in America if most people found a happy lifetime partnership.

In a few years, today’s youth in America will have the opportunity to find their own way, which can include sharing life responsibilities with someone. The choices we make with marriage can help us along a path to an amazing life.

Join us next week when we explore the common ground of family. Frost Brown Todd Member LLC Rob Hudson is a Past Chair of the Northern Kentucky Chamber and a recipient of its Frontiersman Award. 2018 Independent Author of the Year Lauren Hudson is a Singletary Scholar at the University of Kentucky.


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