The 2011 edition of The State of Our Unions has just been released by the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values. This year's report, by Brad Wilcox and Elizabeth Marquardt, has the wonderful subtitle "And Baby Makes Three: How Parenthood Makes Life Meaningful and How Marriage Makes Parenthood Bearable."
Among their findings, drawn from a new Survey of Marital Generosity, is that married people are more likely to think that their lives are meaningful than are unmarried people. Even more interesting, as this table shows, is that among married people, parents are more likely to think that their "life has an important purpose" than are childless husbands and wives. In fact, a majority of married mothers, and a near majority of married fathers strongly agree that their lives have an important purpose.
Believing that your life has an important purpose is one of the strongest components of a happy life.