Health Benefits of Marriage
Fri, 6 Jan, 2012
Marriage makes you happy
For all you cynics, here’s a piece of news —marriage has been shown to increase general happiness. Overall, 40 per cent of married people, compared with just 25 per cent of single people, say they are happy with their life. The survey at the University of Warwick, UK, likens the benefits of marriage on our happiness levels to the equivalent of an annual cash injection of £60,000 (Rs 47 lakhs) into our lives. The reason why your nuptials can make you happy is simply that getting married fulfils what we all need in order to be happy —someone to take an interest in us, to look after us and someone to prioritise our needs. If we feel we are the most important person to at least one other person (and vice versa) then we’re guaranteed to be happy.
It keeps depression away
Wedded bliss can also give you a powerful mental health boost, which means on the whole, you’ll be less depressed, less anxious and less psychologically distressed than single, divorced or widowed people. “The reason is that marriage often provides couples with a sense of meaning in life, as well as company and a shared aspiration,” says Dr Linda Waite, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago. “This, in turn, gives couples a more positive focus as well as a handy cocoon to shelter themselves from the big nasty world outside.”
You’ll live longer
A 2011 study in the US has shown that married couples are at a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, cancer and even pneumonia. The National Longitudinal Mortality Study, which has been tracking over 10 lakh American subjects since 1979, showed that married woman are 20 per cent less likely to die of a variety of causes, including ovarian cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. Another study from the University of Chicago, US, discovered that married men live on average 10 years longer than non-married men, and married women live approximately four years longer. The reason is all down to the fact that being married means better lifestyle habits, a better functioning immune system and someone to nag you to go to the doctor. “Marriage is sort of like a seat belt when it comes to improving your wellbeing,” says Dr Waite. “We can put it in exactly the same category as eating a good diet, getting exercise and not smoking.”
40% of married people, compared with 25% of single people, say they are happy
But…unfortunately, studies also show that married people weigh more and have higher rates of obesity than singletons! One study at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, US, found that the average person gains 14 to 15 kg over a two-year period after tying the knot. It’s because married people eat more regularly, exercise less, and lead a more a sedentary lifestyle than single people.