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Happy Ever After Helps You Live Longer — If You Do it Right

By HERWriter
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Happily Ever After Helps You Live Longer — If You Do it Right Olga Zaytsev/PhotoSpin

Eat right, exercise and get hitched for a longer life. A study of 1,200 men and women conducted by the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project revealed that single people die younger than their married counterparts.

Even if it doesn't last, the health benefits do. Confirmed bachelors and bachelorettes who never married fared worse than people who were widowed or divorced.

Younger unmarrieds, ages 18-44, seem more likely to die of infectious diseases or “external causes” (think accidents and injuries) while older people who don’t marry tend to die of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.

While we’re on the subject of heart sickness, not just any marriage will do. Science Daily reports that a bad marriage may actually harm the heart, especially among the elderly.

While marriage preparation classes and marriage counseling tends to address couples in their early years together, a couple that flounders into their golden years can face serious health consequences.

“Over time, the stress from a bad marriage may stimulate more, and more intense, cardiovascular responses because of the declining immune function and increasing frailty that typically develop in old age,” said Michigan State University sociologist, Hui Liu.

Liu’s study illuminates the need for couples to continue marital counseling after the silver anniversary, when the accumulated stress of many years starts to take it toll on heart health.

While the study showed that single men are more likely to have a shorter life than single women, Liu’s study showed than unhappily married women tend to experience more cardiovascular problems than their husbands. Perhaps, Liu postulates, this is because women tend to internalize their negative emotions.

A study by Harvard University found that for married persons diagnosed with many types of cancer, including prostate, breast, colorectal, and esophageal, their chances for survival were greater than the published survival benefits of chemotherapy.

Be married, stay married, and be happy ...

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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