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Marriage is a sexual union. Marriage elevates sexual desire into a permanent sign of love, turning two lovers into “one flesh.” Marriage indicates not only a private but a public understanding that two people have withdrawn themselves from the sexual marketplace. This public vow of fidelity also makes men and women more likely to be faithful. Research shows, for example, that cohabiting men are four times more likely to cheat than husbands, and cohabiting women are eight times more likely to cheat than spouses.
(Reference: Tabulations by Linda J. Waite and Kara Joyner from the National Health and Social Life Survey. See Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher, (in press) 2000. The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better-Off Financially (New York: Doubleday): See Chapter 6.)