Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a successful book justifying her divorce, Eat, Pray, Love. Having written about how terrible marriage is for women, she had to write a new book, Committed, to justify her second marriage. Family scholars have been worked up about this book because Gilbert claims that sociologists take as a fact “the ‘Marriage Benefit Imbalance’—a tidy name for an almost freakishly doleful conclusion: that women generally lose in the exchange of marriage vows, while men win big.”
Not true. Family sociologists now show the many ways that marriage benefits women as well as men. Gilbert reaches back to some of the most discredited findings in family sociology to support her conclusion. She cites Jesse Bernard's claim that marriage makes women depressed in the book Bernard wrote to justify her divorce.
What is most striking to me about Gilbert's ambition in her new book is that she misses the main point of marriage as a social institution: to protect and raise children.