Marriage And Health: Damned If You Do And Don't

Research suggests married people are healthier. Without death and divorce, that is.


In a classic case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" new research suggests that marriage initially improves one's health, but then quickly deteriorates it with divorce or spousal death. Marriage Advice for Guys

Based on data from more than 9,100 Americans age 50 and older who took part in a national health survey in 1992, those who were married reported feeling healthier than those who never married. However, recently divorced or widowed responders were on average 20% more sickly than the lifelong bachelors of the group. Remarried folks were healthier than the singletons, but once again, if the bond is snatched away then it's back to the doctor's office and cold/flu line at Rite-Aid.


"We argue that losing a marriage through divorce or widowhood is extremely stressful and that a high-stress period takes a toll on health," researcher Linda J. Waite, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago said. Marriage: Sacred Or Smashed Institution?

Which feeds me, destroys me, indeed. Or for the more pragmatic, divorce or death is a hefty credit card charge on your health's fragile bank account.

"Think of a marriage as a mechanism for 'saving' or adding to health," she said. "Think of divorce as a period of very high expenditures."

Fair enough, but what does one take away from the above information? Ailing health is inevitable but it helps to have someone spoon feed you soup and take your temperature? But God forbid they die or divorce you.


Of course one isn't going to stave off marriage due to health fears, which is why (since we've been on a roll with analogies) this sort of reminds us of drinking.

We'll always go for that last glass of oh so worth it wine, regardless of how we'll feel the following morning.