Included in this week’s issue:
Marriage’s Surprising Benefits
- Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia and Director of the National Marriage Project and Robert Lerman from the Urban Institute offer some important findings on the intimate connection between marriage and personal well-being in a major report from the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies. It deserves some specific attention because of the uniqueness of the topics examined and how Wilcox and Lerman addressed them. They report:
- Median family incomes would be at least 44 percent higher today in the U.S. if the 1980 level of married parenthood had been maintained.
- At least 32 percent of the widening family-income inequality among families with children since 1979, as well as the 37-percent decline in male employment rates, can be linked directly to the decreasing number of adults forming and maintaining enduring marriages.
- Adjusting for family size, family income is 73 percent higher for married women compared to that of their unmarried peers.
- Young men and women who grew up in intact families benefit from a substantial annual “intact-family premium” ranging from $4,700 to $6,500 compared to the peers from single-parents families, with all other factors being equal.
- Men who are married benefit from an average annual marriage premium of at least $15,900 per year compared to their unmarried peers.
- Combining these two measures, they find that men and women who grow up with married parents and then go on to marry enjoy a “marriage premium” of at least $42,000 annually over their unmarried peers from single parent homes.
This “marriage premium” is even more substantial for the most disadvantaged.
The advantages of growing up in an intact family and being married extend across the population. They apply as much to blacks and Hispanics as they do to whites. For instance, black men enjoy a marriage premium of at least $12,500 in their individual income compared to their single peers. The advantages also apply, for the most part, to men and women who are less educated. For instance, men with a high-school degree or less enjoy a marriage premium of at least $17,000 compared to their single peers.
All things being equal, cohabiting men and women have incomes closer to their truly single peers than their married peers. Marriage matters in very important and practical ways to women and children.
 Robert I. Lerman and W. Bradford Wilcox, “For Richer or Poorer: How Family Structures Economic Success in America,” American Enterprise Institute/Institute for Family Studies, 2014), p. 3-4.
The Crucified Christ as a Son
As the cross is the center of the Christian story, the place that was both a great tragedy and victory, there were also crises of parenthood and sonship. Consider what these are and why they matter in the nature of Jesus as the God-man. What do they tell us about the importance of family itself?
John Cotton on The Immeasurable Love of Christ our Bridegroom
The Reverend John Cotton was a puritan pastor, magnetic evangelist, and the most respected and influential minister in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was also one of the most illustrative Puritan Divines teaching that marital love and union is a powerful icon indicating God’s divine love for His people. In Christ the Fountaine of Life, Cotton exhorts his reader in evocative language to realize the wonderful life- and grace-giving love our Savior has for each one of us:
And look what affection is between Husband and Wife, hath there been the like affection in your souls to the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you a strong and hearty desire to meet him in the bed of loves, whenever you come to the Congregation and desire you have the seeds of his grace shed abroad in your hearts and bring forth the fruits of grace to him, and desire that you may be for him, and for none other?
 John Cotton, Christ, the Fountaine of Love, (Quinta Press, 2007) p. 30.