It may please you to know that there are health benefits of marriage. This is not to say that you should run out and get married solely for such perks, but it’s something to consider!
You may already know that love and partnership can feel good and be comforting and supportive. Let’s discuss six surprising health benefits of marriage and the research behind them. See for yourself what advantages being happily married can have for you and your spouse.
Reduces Risk of Fatal Heart Disease
A leading health benefit of marriage is the reduction of heart disease. You may feel like your heart is full of love for your husband or wife, but your heart may actually be healthier due to marriage. One study shows that married participants were 14% more likely to survive a heart attack. This is quite significant when you think about it. Out of 100 people, 14 fewer married people would have passed away from a heart attack compared to singles.
There are many other factors to consider. However, the evidence is still promising–especially when you consider some additional research on the topic from 2007. The study found that even when accounting for age, blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol, and lifestyle, married men are almost half as likely to die within ten years of being diagnosed with heart disease.
The same study also included survey questions to determine whether the relationship was positive and healthy or not. Questions included factors like stress caused by the person’s partner, their ability to confide in their spouse, and whether talking to their husband or wife made them feel better.
Over the next 12 years, participants with the most negative scores had the highest risk of death caused by heart problems. They even accounted for other factors like obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking.
As you can see, the evidence is staggering. Your happy, healthy marriage benefits may end up saving your life! Who would have known that the heart as a symbol of love would end up being so accurate?
Makes You Happier
There are mental health benefits of marriage that can be quite profound and keep your well-being high. The reasons for this are complex, but we are social creatures who crave relationships. Having a spouse means you have someone to depend on and can share the positive and negative aspects of life.
While any social relationships can make us happier, deeper relationships are more likely to have a strong impact on our well-being. There are few, if any, relationships deeper than marriage.
There are several studies that indicate that married people are generally happier than their unmarried counterparts. One trial shows that happy people who get married end up happier than happy people who do not get married.
More about psychological benefits of marriage
These psychological benefits of marriage are only present in happy relationships, though. Relationships in which you have to live up to an ideal or conform to a role can make you less happy. Furthermore, seeking out marriage as a way to be happier can have the opposite effect as well and actually end up hindering happiness and satisfaction.
In addition, those who stay in relationships that are no longer healthy and happy can also hurt happiness levels. This is true whether someone tries to continue the relationship and marriage for appearances, kids, sustenance, or any other reason. This is why divorce isn’t always a bad thing, and it can be emotionally harmful to stay in a marriage that you aren’t satisfied with. That being said, divorce can still have a negative impact on your mood.
However, you may prevent depression and have more happiness than if you were unmarried or in a marriage that was not positive. That could explain why you smile so much when your spouse walks into the room!
Boosts Immune System
Nobody likes being sick, but when you do get sick as a married couple, it often happens to both husband and wife. But even though getting sick is inevitable, married people may recover from illnesses quicker and may not even get sick as often.
This could even be true of serious illnesses because research indicates that married cancer patients are less likely to have the disease spread. They were also more likely to recover and less likely to die as a result of their treatment.
The result was substantial, with 20% better survival rates compared to separated, widowed, never married, and divorced participants. While this benefit of a healthy marriage may be associated with an improved immune system, the likelihood of seeking medical care and recognizing illness also improves when someone is married.
People who are married have higher emotional resilience as well, which could play a part in recovery from illness. Higher self-esteem and life satisfaction can cause someone to emotionally bounce back after a difficult diagnosis, which could be a catalyst for faster, easier recovery.
Another health benefit of marriage is a reduction in stress levels. Everybody gets stressed, but married people may have more resilience to stress, according to some research. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is found in lower concentrations in married people when compared with single populations. Lower cortisol also means less inflammation that can be a pain in the butt or elsewhere.
There is more evidence that being happily married could reduce stress levels. In one study, married couples had to complete a difficult task or watch a horror movie clip while biological signs of stress were measured and examined. Some completed the stressful tasks individually, while others had their partner by their side.
The participants with their spouses by their side still showed signs of stress, but those who sat next to their loved ones were able to calm down quicker. They also had lower levels of stress throughout the entire process. This could be because we feel like our spouse shares some of the burden of difficult stressors.
Advantages carry to other parts of your life
That idea carries into many portions of life. When we are married, our financial, emotional, and other burdens are shared. A couple will typically have a higher income which means less concern over rent, bills, and financial stress.
Additionally, if you feel stressed out, then you may want to grab your partner’s hand. Doing so can sync brain wave patterns and relieve pain, both emotionally and physically. This accentuates earlier research that found that marriage benefits could help to lower your blood pressure, BMI, and cholesterol.
So let your partner shoulder some of your load and do it for them. Being less stressful may coincide with a happier marriage and a happier life for both of you. Next time you want to relieve stress, you may want to do it with your partner.
One of the greatest health benefits of marriage is an increased lifespan. Most people wouldn’t mind living longer, at least if they were healthy for most of the time. Increased lifespan is yet another one of the health benefits of being married. While getting married at a young age has advantages and disadvantages, this is something that could allow you to grow older with a young bride or groom.
Several studies from various cultures show that married people live longer than their unmarried peers. This is true for both men and women, and not having a spouse means higher death rates. One of the most surprising is the fact that this is true whether unmarried individuals die from illness, suicide, accident, or something else.
There are disagreements on the reasoning behind this benefit. Some think that it could relate to the reduced stress and shared finances. Conversely, other experts believe it is more likely to do with lifestyle and encouragement.
As mentioned earlier, married people tend to live healthier lifestyles. They are less likely to smoke and drink heavily. They also get more exercise and catch illnesses faster than those who are not married. While married men are more likely to be overweight or obese, they are also more likely to have a healthier overall diet.
You may have thought or said that you want to be with your spouse forever. Well, turns out walking down the aisle could make that forever just a little bit longer. Alongside the other health benefits like the fact that marriage reduces stress and makes you happier, you may have a longer life that is also better in other ways!
Most people have those days when they feel like their life lacks meaning. It can be easy to feel unfulfilled, regardless of marital status, but you may be less likely to feel that way when your spouse is around! Living for a community or for others can add meaning to your life and outlook, so having a spouse to live with and care for is probably able to do the same.
Marriage can help us feel satisfied and fulfilled in addition to some of the other benefits. Having a partner in matrimony can help you feel valued and understood, which can impact your fulfillment and well-being in the long term. Married people may feel that their partner is responsive (well, some of the time at least) and that they have meaning in being there for their spouse.
Plus, you have someone to share your thoughts and experiences with. Whether you just want to tell your partner about the donut you had at work this morning or explain your complicated hopes and dreams, you may find that you feel more satisfied and fulfilled.
Marriage can help us achieve our needs, desires, and potential. There are two standard views for examining your own life. The hedonic view is the perspective on how your life is going currently. On the other hand, the eudaimonic view looks at how we are fulfilled from things that are merely pleasure. The eudaimonic view accounts for things like character growth, responsibilities, generosity, and meaning that can indirectly influence well-being.
Having a partner in life can help to support both views. However, we may disregard the eudaimonic perspective, especially when we are upset or angry and only focus on our current needs and feelings. If you can find a partner that you love and who loves you, then you may end up being more satisfied and fulfilled with your life.
Why Does Marriage Offer Health Benefits?
As you can see, there are some great physical and emotional benefits of marriage, but why is that so? Let’s look at some of the possible reasons.
This is the theory that correlates with the direct physical health benefits of marriage. People in happier relationships have a better immune function, as we discovered in our list above. Plus, lower levels of cortisol and reduced stress can play a role in both physical and emotional well-being. This theory seems to have significant scientific evidence. However, it may not account for all of the benefits of a healthy marriage.
We all know that eating healthy foods, exercising, and taking care of our own needs are critical for overall health. Could this be at the root of the many benefits to married people’s health? Married people do take fewer risks and maintain lifestyles when compared with single individuals. They may keep doctor’s appointments and follow recommendations they receive more strictly as well. We can see why that would lead to many, if not all, of the benefits on our list.
Having a spouse to support you in your ups and downs is wonderful for many reasons. Some of them may be related to a healthier mind, body, and soul. Not having enough social support can lead to isolation, depression, loneliness, and other mental health conditions–leading to poor physical health. There is no greater support than a loving husband or wife, so this factor could make a lot of sense for healthy marriages.
What About Close Unmarried Relationships?
You may wonder whether merely close relationships, romantic or otherwise, can lead to these benefits without getting officially married. Well, there is some evidence that marriage is actually an important factor, although strong social connections are important for health and wellness in their own way, so this doesn’t mean you should forego friendships or dating if you are single.
Not only can close romantic relationships not lead to the same benefits as marriage, according to some research, but cohabitation without marriage may have unhealthy unintended results. Unmarried people who live with their significant other tend to have poorer mental health when compared to married couples. They may also be less financially stable and live riskier, unhealthier lifestyles.
Theories of marriage benefits
According to some of the theories for why marriage offers benefits in the first place, it doesn’t always make a lot of sense that married people would be the only ones to reap the great well-being benefits. Researchers believe healthier people get married more often. However, some evidence refutes that idea as well.
The question of whether other close relationships offer health benefits brings divorce to mind as well. After all, before divorce, those people should obtain the healthy upsides to marriage as long as their marriage is happy and healthy at some point. Divorce can have a profoundly negative effect on health because it is one of the most stressful life events.
This could leave people in worse health than those who have never married before. The same goes for those who lose a spouse to death, which can have a major impact on overall health, including mental health.
Tips for a Healthy Marriage
How can you keep your marriage beneficial to your health and your spouse’s health? A healthy marriage requires effort. However, here are some things you can do to try to keep it healthy as well.
Spend Time Together
As some of the research shows, being with your spouse can make a difference in whether you reap the rewards for your health. Plus, it can just be fun and exciting. Make sure you spend plenty of time together so that you can offer support. This includes fun things like date nights but should also include shared responsibilities and other less fun activities. When you spend more time together, you will know how to communicate more effectively.
Spend Time Apart
This may seem strange to include after reading that you should spend time together. However, your own needs are important too. Time to yourself allows you to practice self-care, cultivate other relationships, accomplish your individual goals, and cherish the time together. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Consider spending some time apart to create healthier boundaries.
Communication is key to a healthy marriage. Improving communication can be highly important. However, remember that you should not hold your thoughts inside and should always talk to your partner about any concerns. Also, it is not only verbal communication that is important, but nonverbal and listening skills are also essential.
Be Grateful and Forgive
It is important to be grateful to your spouse and show them that you appreciate them. It is also critical not to hold grudges and to forgive when you can. These things can improve your physical and mental health as well as the health of your partner. Just start by saying thank you for the things your spouse does. However, there are other great ways to show appreciation for your husband or wife such as giving compliments or being helpful.
Being intimate, whether sexually, romantically, or emotionally, is crucial for a healthy marriage. It creates comfort and alleviates worry. It allows you to feel closer to your partner. This is a recipe for married success as individuals and as a couple. Knowing that intimacy does not only refer to the bedroom is necessary to foster deep, meaningful connections.
Happy marriages can be beneficial for lots of reasons like comfort, support, shared finances, and more. However, there are many health benefits of marriage for you and your spouse. You may be happier, less likely to develop heart disease, and live longer. This is not true for unhealthy and unhappy marriages that may have the opposite effect on health. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!