As if singles didn't have enough anxiety about finding a mate, here comes a book that uses cold, hard statistics to prove that life outside marriage is a toxic hell. The authors draw on a wealth of social-sciences research to demonstrate that married couples earn and save more, are less prone to domestic violence, have better sex and better adjusted children. For good measure--and little wonder--they are healthier both mentally and physically than single or divorced people.

While the orderly lifestyle, financial stability, and emotional sustenance of marriage help both sexes, men--for whom "being unmarried can be a greater risk to one's life than having heart disease or cancer"--particularly benefit from being rescued from dissolute, reckless bachelorhood.

The authors blame high divorce rates on our society's notion of "privatized marriage," which exalts romance and ignores the social utility of marriage. They argue that even a loveless marriage (though not an abusive one) is better than no marriage, especially for kids. They advocate mild state intervention, like covenant-marriage options and mandated waiting periods before divorce, to help bolster the institution. Clergy, relatives, and therapists are urged to help troubled couples stick with it. The authors' case for a more dutiful approach to marriage is well supported, but in a society as individualistic as America's, perhaps a little quixotic.

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