Social science has shown that married people are less likely to get cancer, pneumonia, have surgeries, or experience heart attacks. Research in Sweden suggests that at mid-life, living with a significant other even lowers the overall risk of dementia. All over the globe, it is common knowledge that loving human attachment to a significant other is good for the body, mind, soul, and wallet.
The salubrious health effects of being married are also common knowledge to government policymakers. Research from couples therapy has helped to explicitly shape government policy in the Netherlands, Norway, and other European nations. Many countries have their version of our “Healthy Marriage Initiative.” Marriage and health are increasingly being recognized as public goods.
This recent recognition of the importance of marriage and health is shaping public policy. The Healthy Marriage Initiative and similar programs are administered by governmental agencies such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The United States initiative was funded from 2006 to 2010, with a $150 million annual budget. Projects like “divorce reduction,” monetize the health benefits of marrying and staying married. Marriage and health programs are no longer perceived as an intrusive “cradle to grave” European sensibility. Marriage and health are the foundations of a prosperous and productive society.
And in an epic cultural battle to promote marriage and health, and improve a 40% divorce rate, the Norwegian government went as far recently as to extol the virtues of “Date Night.“
The science is in. Marriage and health are deeply correlated. Happy marriage increases health and overall well-being. But new research is stacking pretty high that is giving us a view of the cloud behind this silver lining.
You really, really, lose the marriage and health bump if you are in a bad relationship….. In fact, you can be a lot less healthy than if you had never married period. A recent study even suggests that a stress-laden marriage is as impactful on the cardio vascular system as smoking a pack of cigs a day. A major study last year tells us that the married and then divorced cohort was in overall poorer health than single people who never married.
A recent study even suggests that a stress-laden marriage is as impactful on the cardio-vascular system as smoking a pack of cigs a day. A major study last year tells us that the married and then divorced cohort was in overall poorer health than single people who never married.
Marriage is magnificent for you when it works…..dreadful for you when it doesn’t.
But you knew that already.
Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist. He currently sees couples at Couples Therapy Inc. using EFT, Gottman Method, and the Developmental Model.