In my practice, as I have helped and coached patients through bettering their health, I find that most people share a common belief. When it comes to the subject of their health and symptoms, my patients expect me to talk about their diet, physical activity, mental health, medications, and other similar subjects. And I do. But when I begin to ask them about their social and married life, they seem surprised. “What does that have to do with my health?”
Actually, a lot more than you think.
We have known for quite some time that a person’s social life has an effect on their health in many ways, and since marriage is a large part of your social life, it’s no different. The quality of your marriage and the relationship you have with your spouse affects your mental health, health behavior, physical health, and even your mortality risk.
Further study has shown that marriage proves to positively affect men and women in a number of health-related ways, and ultimately extends your life in the long run.
5 Benefits Of Being Married
As stated, research has shown that your marriage has a huge impact on your life and health. Here are a few specific ways in which being married can even help the longevity of your life!
1. Stable Mental Health
Studies have shown that married men and women have a lower risk of developing depression than their unmarried peers. This same result was also true for better cognitive function and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This first point doesn’t usually surprise most people, because it seems to stand to reason that healthy relationships have an impact on a person’s mood. But it’s still definitely something worth mentioning. (2, 3, 4)
2. Healthier Standard of life
Marriage also seems to have a connection to a person’s quality and standard of life. Married individuals were found to eat better, exercise more, and maintain an overall healthier lifestyle than those who were unmarried. Healthier relationship lifestyles can lead to a healthier life! (5, 6)
3. Reduced Inflammation
People who have close, supportive marriages showed lower levels of systemic inflammation. This, in turn, affected the longevity of their life because high levels of inflammation usually predict disease. The lower the inflammation, the lower the risk for other diseases. (7)
4. A Healthy Heart
No one ever doubted that marriage should involve the heart, but many don’t know to what extent this rings true. Married individuals showed a lower risk in cardiovascular diseases including coronary artery disease, cardiac arrest, and heart failure. Investing in your married life can positively affect your heart inside and out. (8, 9)
5. Surviving Cancer
Although marriage has little to do with whether or not you are diagnosed with cancer, it has proven to affect the outcome. Married patients with cancer showed a higher probability of survival than those who were unmarried or separated. (10, 11)
In summary, marriage can affect your health in many positive ways. That being said, marriages that are left in complete discord can end up negatively affecting your health as well. Added stress or inner turmoil can have a huge impact on your physical being. For this reason, I often advise my patients to put just as much effort into improving their marriage as they do in improving any other aspect of their lives. Because in the long run, your marriage may just save your life!