Swiss economist Bruno Frey conducted a massive study of whether marriage makes people happy, or whether happier people get married. To his surprise, he found that marriage really does make people happier.
What struck me in the news accounts of his lectures on this study was a side point. The woman with whom he lives, also a professor, still does not want to get married. She "doesn't think it contributes anything additional and is only putting restrictions on you."
I have argued before that marriage as a social institution does make most people happier even when it just concerns a young couple. Marriage really comes into its own, though, to protect children. It is also a helpful structure for couples who are not so young. Marriage is best when making something that lasts is more important to you than keeping your options open.
Prof. Frey's non-wife's response, though, raises an interesting question: would you forgo happiness in order to avoid restrictions?