W. Bradford Wilcox


This brief video highlights the speech given recently at BYU by W. Bradford Wilcox where he discusses the necessity of adopting a marriage mindset in America. Wilcox, the director of the National Marriage Project, delivered this forum address on November 28, 2023.

Drawing inspiration from Greek mythology’s tale of King Midas, who, dissatisfied with his life, inadvertently turned his daughter into gold, Wilcox shared the story during a forum at Brigham Young University on November 28. He argued that contemporary society is plagued by a “Midas mindset,” where careers, education, and money take precedence over marriage and family.

Despite various articles advocating for freedom from family life as the key to happiness, Wilcox presented research indicating that married individuals tend to be happier than their single counterparts. Citing data from the General Social Survey, he emphasized that while education and satisfying jobs contribute to happiness, being married is a more potent predictor of happiness for ordinary Americans.

Wilcox highlighted additional benefits of marriage, such as married people in their 50s having ten times more financial assets than their single peers and happily married individuals experiencing longer lives. He asserted that the connections we form with others are more crucial to our well-being than material wealth, countering the priorities associated with the Midas mindset.



Despite the profound happiness that marriage brings, Wilcox expressed concern over a 65% drop in marriage rates since 1970, indicating that one in three young adults today may never marry. However, he identified four groups—Asian Americans, conservative people, religious people, and college-educated people—who consistently forge strong, happy marriages despite societal trends.

Wilcox outlined five key pillars for successful marriages: Communion (a “we before me” mindset), Children (recognizing their dependence on parental stability), Commitment (emphasizing fidelity and loyalty), Cash (acknowledging the practical importance of money), and Community (surrounding the couple with supportive relationships).

Contrary to popular opinions that frame tradition, especially religious tradition, as a hindrance to happiness, Wilcox presented survey findings showing that couples attending church together are almost 20 percentage points more likely to be very happy in their marriages. He urged the promotion of a “marriage mindset” in high schools, colleges, social media, churches, and homes to build a culture centered around the importance of love, rather than the illusory pursuit of gold.

About William Bradford Wilcox

William Bradford Wilcox is an American sociologist. He serves as director of the National Marriage Project and professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
Wilcox is the author of a forthcoming book “Get Married: Why Americans Must Defy the Elites, Forge Strong Families, and Save Civilization,” due to be published on February 13, 2024, by HarperCollins.[3] New York Times columnist David Brooks called the book “vitally important.” “As a culture, we could improve our national happiness levels by making sure people focus most on what is primary — marriage and intimate relationships — and not on what is important but secondary — their career,” Brooks writes (Wikipedia)



Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)