To those of us in an unhappy marriage, or to those of us happily confirmed as bachelors and bachelorettes, this may cause an eye roll or two.
But research from the University of Chicago has shown that married people tend to live longer (although don't we all seem to have that never married aunt or uncle who seems to live on...and on...?), and suffer less from many health issues - from heart disease, many cancers, back pain and emotional or mental illnesses, to name a few.
The study involved several thousand subjects, some who were never married, some who were in long term first marriages and others who married, became divorced or widowed, and then remarried.
In fact, the study reports that people who lose a spouse through death or divorce had 20% more cancers and heart disease and had 23% more problems with walking and moving. Interestingly, both women and men suffered in the same numbers.
Women and men also suffered in the same numbers from emotional and mental health problems.
The healthiest of all participants in the study were people in long term, first marriages. Although those who remarry were of better health than those never married or never remarried, researchers saw evidence of "scarring" that remained from the trauma of a spousal death or divorce.
And from a practical standpoint - the act of living with someone and having them watch out for signs of sickness is an obvious way to keep an eye on one's health. When a partner points out that you seem constantly in pain or seem unwell, and 'nags' someone to see a doctor, a person is more inclined to get help.
So although many of us will gripe and complain about our spouses (some of it genuine, some of it an excuse to let off some steam when we realize that nothing, not even marriage, is always movie-like perfect) this study ascertains that marriage is good for our overall health and that married people can generally look forward to a healthier and happier life.
This study can be read in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in September.
Do you believe that married people seem happier or healthier than those who are not? What is your experience?
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