There are all sorts of reasons to get married. Maybe you’re in love. Maybe you want companionship or stability. Maybe you want children and someone to help you raise them. One reason people usually don’t give is their health. But perhaps they should think about it. There are, in fact, a number of proven health benefits to being in a happy marriage.
- Longer Life. There’s an old joke: Do married people have longer lives? No, it just seems longer. But studies show that people who are happily married may actually have an increased lifespan over single people. Particularly in men, those who get married—and stay married—are found to live longer lives. Furthermore, those who got married over the age of 25 generally live longer than those who wed young. So take the extra time and make sure you’ve found the right one.
- Reduced Risk of Diseases. There are several diseases that married people seem to be at a lower risk for than single people. For one thing, studies show that if you have a spouse, cancer is more likely to be detected earlier, and you’re more likely to seek treatment sooner. This could simply be the result of having someone to remind you to go to the doctor. Similarly, married men with heart disease are half as likely to die from it within 10 years as single men—possibly because they have someone in their lives to help them make healthier choices. Even strokes carrier a lower risk for the happily married. If you’re not satisfied with your marriage, studies show that you may be as much as 64% more likely to have a stroke than if you’re content with your spouse.
- More Successful Surgery. In the case of cancer and heart disease, we can only speculate as to why married people fare better than single people. But when it comes to surgeries, there’s a little more evidence on the matter. If you have heart surgery, you’re three times as likely to survive for at least three months if you’re married. Experts speculate that the reason is because your spouse will help to take care of you and guide you through the recovery process.
- Better Health Overall. When you’re in a happy marriage, you support each other. You guide each other through difficult situations, comfort one another after a bad day, make sure you stick to your diets, etc. These simple acts lead to better overall health and reduced risk of disease in married people. They’ve been found to eat better, sleep better, drink less, exercise more, and make generally healthier choices.
- Increased Happiness. As you get older, you tend to be less happy. Perhaps it’s the stress of adulthood, or maybe it’s some sort of chemical imbalance that increases with age. Whatever it is, marriage has been shown to halt this decline. If you’re in a happy marriage, you can halt, or at least greatly slow down, those encroaching negative feelings, and remain happy in other aspects of your life as well.
Companionship and socialization are essential to anyone’s health. When you’re in a happy relationship, your partner can provide you with those things, practically by default. There are plenty of practical ways in which marriage can improve your health, and plenty of well-documented benefits. But don’t just get married for the sake of your health, or because you feel obligated to have a relationship. Make sure you’ve really found the right one: someone you can be happy with for years to come. That’s the only way to ensure that you’ll have a long, healthy, happy life together.