Most of us would agree that preparing for a wedding should have a government health warning attached! So how can marriage be good for your health? Surely that start to married life must be one of the most stressful things you’re going to encounter.
Until you have children. Or your marriage hits the rocks. Or someone close to you dies. Get the picture?
Well, I don’t suppose you’ll believe it, but, according to recent research, marriage may actually benefit your health.
[And that refers to women, as well as to men, by the way!]
A surprising fact
Studies have shown that people who are widowed, divorced/separated or unmarried are likely to die earlier than married people.
So why should this be?
There can be no single reason, and there may also be some very particular reasons – thus a rich couple may live longer simply because they are able to afford better health provision.
Talking of wealth, you can justifiably claim that the acquisition of wealth may well entail great stress (depending on how you acquire it!), but the reverse is also true: if both of you are earning a reasonable income, you are likely to be more relaxed and at ease. After all, finances are a major cause of stress. There is evidence that suggests that married men are likely to earn 40% more money than single men and security is a great stress-reliever.
Job security is another factor – and the fact that you are married can indicate trustworthiness and security to your employer, which can improve your prospects – and put you ahead of otherwise comparable competition at a job interview.
Health and Safety
As far as health is concerned, being part of a committed married couple reduces your risk of contracting sexually-transmitted diseases.
Couples tend to watch out for each other’s health and can often identify potential problems before they become serious. They may also encourage (nag?!) the other to have a “minor” issue checked out.
Married couples also appear to be less likely to get involved in potentially violent disputes between others. Moreover, single/divorced women are far more likely to be victims of violence than married women. Likewise, unmarried men are also at greater risk of violent crime than married men.
Solitude and Intimacy
According to evidence that must surely be a little anecdotal (!), considerably more married couples engage in sex each week as opposed to single or cohabiting individuals. This has health benefits (not just because exercise is praiseworthy), as sex releases endorphins that improve mood and can reduce stress (and encourage more of the same).
Various studies indicate that married men or women are far less likely to commit suicide than their single counterparts, and the same goes for indulging in alcohol and illegal drugs. In fact, an international study has found that married people are likely to be significantly happier than unmarried ones. (I don’t know how they quantify happiness, but these studies appear to have been carried out scientifically.)
Of course, there are unsuccessful marriages (the divorce rate alone indicates that) and, as I have said, some of the so-called evidence seems hard to demonstrate as hard fact, but there is enough here to convince me that I am doing the right thing as a civil celebrant by helping people get married! I gather that there are some massive fringe benefits for my couples!