How's your marriage?

Studies have revealed that men value marriage more when their health is at risk. Men who have developed a health problem and a resulting weaker financial position tend to regard their partners more. In part it is due to the additional income and support a partner brings that helps make the health problems and money concerns seem less urgent.

This is held to be true because of the more traditional role of a man, usually the one with the bigger income. The wife brings loving support in the form of care and comfort when illness or during financial duress. The wife is usually the one to look after the savings and investments as well as the children at home.

The way men perceive the value of marriage changes with age. The younger man who has less in the way of assets will want to marry earlier in life and will have a strong commitment to his marriage. Since he does not have savings due to his lesser earnings the marriage gives him a cushion if something goes wrong with his health or work.

Things turn around once a man gets to his 50s. These men have good earning power and likely have savings. This gives them a confidence that they are not looking for the wife for that support. This is why you will see divorce in this age group.

Then we get to the men who are of higher health risk as they approach retirement. Now they tend to stay loyal to the wife. Health problems or money problems can occur and this is when that spousal partner becomes very important again.

So the middle-aged man crisis point actually has some validity. Men who marry early in life will value their partners for the stability they provide both financially and for the good of the family. The middle point is dangerous when a man might tend to wander if the marriage is not stable. As a couple puts in more years together as they approach retirement the commitment grows and is more likely to last into retirement and beyond.

Where are you in your relationship? Though we have used the traditional man and woman relationship as our example it would not change for a same sex marriage. The pattern of dependence, independence and co-dependent will stay the same.