Representative showcases positive effects of marriage

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OKLAHOMA CITY—The same day Oklahoma City ranks in the top five of most adulterous cities, lawmakers are focusing on the positive effects of marriage.

Monday morning, lawmakers held a news conference in honor of National Marriage Week at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Okla. Rep. Mark McCullough said, “A growing body of research suggests that marriage is good for you. It improves your health, wealth and longevity. The research also overwhelmingly shows the dramatic positive effects that intact families have on children.”

Over the last few years, McCullough has researched family fragmentation and divorce.

He says his studies found that children from broken homes are 12 times more likely to be incarcerated and three times more likely to be expelled and to receive lower grades.

McCullough said, “Even while we celebrate marriage, sadly the reality in our culture is that 40 percent of all first-time marriages end in divorce and 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. As policymakers and as citizens we should be very aware of the negative outcomes created by our trend towards failed marriages.”

According to “The Impact of the Family on Health: Decade in Review, unmarried individuals have higher rates of mortality, about 50 percent higher among women and 250 percent higher among men.

Organizers say married men are less likely to take part in risky and self-destructive behaviors and married women tend to focus more on their health.

Studies also show that unmarried couples that move in together did not motivate young men and women to reduce unhealthy behaviors.

According to “Social Causes of Psychological Distress,” married men and women report less depression, less anxiety and lower levels of psychological distress than singles.

Other studies show married families accumulate more money.

Married couples had a median net worth of more than $132,000 while those who were divorced had a median net worth of $33,670.

McCullough authored HB 1548, which would reintroduce limited fault into divorce law.

He has authored “covenant marriage” legislation that would require pre-marital counseling into the marriage process.