Is it possible that being married has an impact on the quality of your health? Taking it a step further, does a happy marriage actually result in better health?
The answer, according to several studies, is a resounding “yes!” to both questions. Simply being married can have a few positive benefits for our overall health, and it’s not hard to see why.
The personal connection that exists within a marriage offers a social bond that can have a positive impact on your health, namely in the form of support. This manifests itself in two ways:
1. When you’re married, you’re less likely to engage in risky behavior. If you are considering your spouse’s wellbeing, you may think twice about taking a risk or doing something dangerous. Simply thinking about the other person makes you less likely to put your own health in jeopardy.
2. Married couples can act as a “health helper” for one another. This means reinforcing healthy behaviors like diet and exercise regimens, as well as acting as a voice of reason when it’s time to seek medical attention or change unhealthy behavior. Having each other to count on means that two minds are looking after the health of each person, and one of them has the benefit of outside perspective. Research also indicates that married people are more likely to follow their doctor’s advice.
Just having someone you love in your life is a reason to stay on top of your health, and the studies show that people tend to do just that, whether they know it or not!
Now, what about the level of happiness in a marriage? Many of these same studies looked at the marital satisfaction as a matter of health, and it turns out that being in an unhealthy relationship can have negative impacts on your health as well.
Couples who argue constantly, who treat one another unfairly or with malice, tend to have much higher stress levels than couples in happy marriages, and this means a higher risk of heart disease and reduced immune system function.
An unhealthy relationship can also lead to depression, which in turn can cause unhealthy lifestyle choices. Unhappy marriages can also lead to obesity and hypertension, as well as the host of health problems that accompany those conditions.
This shows that it pays to work on your marriage to make it the happiest it can be, not just for the relationship itself, but for your own health as well!
When you’re happier, you tend to be healthier, and having a supportive, connected spouse will only help you both stay that way. Build a healthy, happy marriage and it will help you lead a healthy, happy life!
Wishing you a lifetime of love and happiness!
Dr. Dana and Amy