Is Marriage Is Good for Your Health?

Couple
Love

Happy marriages can make you healthier, but bad ones can be deadly.

Most of us aspire to get married for long-term love and companionship. We are raised to believe that it is our national and societal duty to procreate to bring forth a new generation. We are led to believe that marriage will bring eternal happiness and that we will be better for it. Studies in the past have suggested that married people are healthier than those who are single, divorced or widowed. Is this still the case? Is marriage really good for your health? These are grandiose questions that have sweeping ramifications. Is this so called “Marriage Advantage,” which implies that the happiness that marriage brings is positively connected to health and well-being, really true? What if your marriage is not a happy one? What happens to you then? Should you stay in a bad marriage in order to reap the benefits? These plagued relationships may leave the individuals involved feeling stressed, depressed and feeling drained.

So, what is better? One study finds that a stressful marriage can be as bad for the heart as a regular smoking habit. The researchers of this study suggest that stress can make people miserable and also affect their physical health. Stress may elevate the hormone called cortisol which may interfere with learning, cognition and memory; lead to lower immune function and depression, increased weight gain; elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels and even make you prone to heart disease.

In a contrary study, researchers tested participants across the three days and found that married participants had lower cortisol levels than the never married or previously married people. The researchers also compared each individual's daily cortisol rhythm. The findings support the theory that singles face more psychological stress than their married counterparts and were 10%-15% less likely to die early. Increased levels of cortisol can also interfere with the body's processes and pathways of regulating inflammation, leading to the progression of many diseases.

Another study suggests that individuals that suffer with heart disease and are married seem to do better than those who are unmarried. In this study, researchers monitored more than 6,000 individuals with heart disease for an average of 3.7 years. The findings highlight that compared to married people, people who were divorced, separated, widowed, or never married, were 52% more likely to experience a heart attack. Singles also had a 45% higher risk of dying from heart disease. This higher risk seems to stem from poor lifestyle choices that endangered their health. That is not to say that being married protects your health. But it does imply an increased element of social support and care. In other words, having a supportive spouse who provides companionship and encourages healthy lifestyle habits may improve your health.

Does that mean that if you are not married you are destined to live a life of ill health and unhappiness? Not at all. Yes, the happiness of a marriage seems to be an important factor but as has already been mentioned a stressful marriage can also cause health issues.

So, what should you do? If you’re married and happy that’s great. If you’re single and happy that’s great too. Don’t compromise your health or happiness to stay in a bad marriage.

The Bottom Line

If you’re happy in your marriage, you will definitely benefit. But don’t stay in a bad marriage in order to test the “Marriage Advantage,” it will not apply to you. It is better to part ways and find your own path to happiness. These studies are good indicators at how marriage affects health and explaining the multiple mechanisms that these social relationships bring.

For more informative articles like this one, visit Authority Health.

Author
Expert