Click here to read a shorter version of this report.
Every marriage hits rough patches. And it’s understandable that couples in this state wonder whether persevering is worth it. Rarely advertised, the research shows that marriage benefits men, women and children, as well as the broader society. Acknowledging this research may contribute to building a culture in which couples seek help more readily and in which marriages thrive. The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada examines the aggregate statistics and research pertaining to marriage and family in a public policy context. That said, the personal pain many divorcing Canadians experience is deeply concerning to us. Therefore, a couple of caveats are in order: A person’s destiny is not controlled or determined solely by the kind of family they grew up in. Children from all types of families can and do thrive. Parents and children can, thankfully, recover from divorce or other forms of family breakdown. Neither do we presume everyone ought to be married. This paper’s scope is limited to presenting solid Canadian research showing economic, social and health benefits for adults and children. It is hard to deny that the family we’re raised in influences who we become. And it is hard to deny the pain of family breakdown, thereby making avoiding it an undeniable private and public good. Quality research should not be confined to academic towers. It is our hope that research showing the benefits of marriage might encourage those Canadians who are in non-abusive, low-conflict, but troubled marriages, to persevere.