Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Marriage Makes You Happy, But Some Would Still Rather Be Unrestricted

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?

1 comment:

Marty said...

Restrictions have a way of inducing... "happiness" ... on their own.

Any creative/artistic person can tell you that it is often the restrictions of a particular medium that drive out the more creative solutions and original works. Learning to work within the given constraints forces one to think outside the box.

Having no box -- no constraints -- typically only causes one to be constructed, poorly, out of whatever materials are on hand.