Healthy Marriage, Healthy Life
Studies have reported that people in unhappy marriages marked by frequent strife are likely to suffer from poor health. Other research has demonstrated that meaningful relationships in one’s life help a person live longer. Now, scientists at Brigham Young University have shown that the converse of the first finding is also true: people in happy marriages tend to stay healthier and live longer than people who are not in such relationships.
Traditional wedding vows emphasize a couple’s commitment to one another “in sickness and in health,” but the research suggests happily married folks can expect more health, and less sickness. BYU researchers gathered data from a 20 year study of married couples—one of the longest studies of its kind—to analyze marital quality. They looked at happiness and satisfaction, and reports of marital strife, such as arguing over money or in-laws, and compared those ratings with subjects’ self-reported health. People with greater marital conflict were more likely to report bad health. The implication is clear: marital strife can affect one’s health. The investigators recommend getting professional help when a marriage goes off the tracks. The good news for the blissfully married set: they can expect good health to continue.
Richard B. Miller, Cody S. Hollist, Joseph Olsen, David Law. Marital Quality and Health Over Years: A Growth Curve Analysis. Journal of Marriage and Family, 20 MAY 2013 DOI: 10.1111/jomf.12025