4 Proven Health Benefits of Marriage

By , SparkPeople Blogger
From our partners at Woman's Day

Sure, marriage is hard work, but if yours is a happy one most of the time, both you and your spouse will reap major health benefits. “People who are married can have a built-in support system and social network. One of you might encourage the other to eat better or join in a workout, or nag until the other stops smoking,” explains Alice Domar, PhD, coauthor of Live a Little!

Married folks are less likely to...

…develop diabetes. Women with higher-than-normal blood glucose readings were more apt to end up with full-blown diabetes if they lived alone rather than with a partner, says research published in the journal Diabetes Care.

…have hypertension. Researchers from Brigham Young University found that happily married people had the healthiest blood pressure levels. The catch: Unhappy couples had the worst readings. “I have counseled some patients to get divorced,” says Dr. Domar. “A bad marriage is worse for you than being single.”

…smoke or drink too much—compared with people who never married, are divorced or are widowed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

…die prematurely. People who never married are 58 percent more likely to die early, according to a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Related links:
8 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex

The Secrets to Staying Married

9 Marital Bad Habits and How to Break Them

What do you think about these side effects of marriage?

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See more: woman's day


The key here is that these generalities apply to a happy marriage. Being happily single is better for your health than being unhappily married. Report
I think the key is to a happy marriage, minimally a stable and committed marriage. However I am living proof that high blood pressure can come with the single state and so is the risk of diabetes. My blood pressure and sugar count climbed enormously after my husband died 5 yrs ago. It did not go down until I started SP and developed a small group of encouraging friends.
I feel sorry for my single friends that they are more likely to die early. Report
While this article is generic, there are numerous studies that have shown significant effects regarding the postive effects of marriage. This has nothing to do with values or antiquated thinking... just science. Obviously this doesn't preclude exceptions and it's not an absolute... it just means that there is a significantly significant effect size. Report
In terms of the article attached to this blog (and some comments in this blog, regarding the article), sexual benefits is a pseudo-science. The benefits are based on subjective feedback rather than solid physical science. That aside, one doesn't have to be in a committed relationship to engage in regular sex - despite the article unspoken assumption that this is necessary. One can also achieve the physical benefits of orgasim without a partner. I fail to understand why SP feels it's necessary to put these articles up on the site, under the guise of healthy living.

It may make more sense if there was depth to the articles, however, all the articles are is fluff pieces.

In terms of comments and the blog that those happily married live longer and healthier, there appears to be an underlying assumption that living as a single person means one is totally isolated. As a single person I am very capable of making my own doctor appointments, getting myself to the dentist and living a healthy life. As for "living with my best friend who I married", I have tight relationships that include best friends - male and female - and very close family ties. My best friend and I plan to retire together. I have amazing support in my life. There are many solid examples of people living single lives into their 100th year, they are active, healthy and *gasp* engage in healthy strong relationships. The examples are not simply in my life, it's in the lives of others around me and in society. It's time this antiquated way of looking at society ends as it simply doesn't hold water. Report
and how about those of us in long-term committed, unmarried relationships? Report
I agree, that married couples do better than single people. They probably eat better, see the Dr. more, have a social life.You do have a good friend, if you work at your marriage. It certainly doesn't come easy. I honestly agree that sex does a lot for you.. Not all marriages are good, and if that's the case, I wouldn't think being married would benefit you. I believe happily married people live longer. Report
I think what people are misunderstanding is that it talks about happly married. If you are unhappy in your marriage thn you may not worry so much about your health. Thats why divorces are much healthier thn the unhappyly married Report
What...this is a blog approved my Spark...ROFL...so just coz I am not married I am gonna be fat forever and I will die prematurely...hahahahahahaha....REA

I have seen single people actually my grandmother's sister was single and she lived to be a ripe age of 95 and was super healthy compared to my grandmother who passed away at 67 (god bless her soul) with all kinds of ailments...etc etc...Now generalizing on people's marital status is just appalling. Report
With the direction Spark seems to be going lately I can not say I am surprised that this type of article was posted as a blog. And I would be willing to guess that the management is shocked at the response. That most married and singles find it less than helpful and encouraging. Report
I wouldn't expect Woman's Day to publish good, in-depth analysis, so the shallowness of this article doesn't surprise me. I have been married twice--& have been healthiest during my single years, when there is more time & emotional space to take care of myself. A GOOD marriage, in which both partners work hard to care for each other, is a great blessing. I wish it were not so rare. Report
I wonder what is the purpose of SparkPeople posting such as simplistic snapshot of marriage? Is SparkPeople advocating that one should marry in order to be healthy and lose weight? If not that, what? Why isn't there a subsequent snapshot of living single? There was a comment in the article that stated living in a bad marriage is worse than living single....so show the snapshot of the benefits of living single. Personally I feel articles like this have no place in SparkPeople. Poorly written, unsubstaniated snapshot and generalization for no specific purpose.

Drinking and smoking too much - lower in married couples. Really. I'd like to know where the study was done, how many were involved, what were the demographics etc. I work in a field where I see this all the time - marriages, common-law relationships, committed relationships that are steeped in heavy drinking and drug use. (and one wonders why they didn't include drug use but that's aside). Smoking is as heavy in marriages as outside of marriages - nicotine addiction doesn't care if you are committed or not. My aunt's hair is permanently nicotine blonde from the heavy smoking her spouse(s) have done over the years - as she has been widowed twice and now in a committed relationship, he smokes and she doesn't. Plus all 3 of the men in her life were heavy drinkers...and she's not alone with this pattern. It's very common.

Contrary to what the article suggests, us single people aren't out running around, smoking and drinking and doing what nots that end our life early.

The thing is, there are healthy couples in committed relationships and unhealthy couples in committed relationships. There are healthy people living single and unhealthy people living single. I don't need regular sex or a man in my life to be in a relationship, as I have many friends and family (of blood and heart) in my life. I am surrounded by relationships that I am an important part of.

Bottom line, I was most lonely, unhappy and not healthy in a committed relationship than I ever have been living single. But of course, the article won't focus on that...it wouldn't make for nice reading. Report
I agree with Sergeantmajor. Also a crimes against spouses and children are reported more than ever before who would want to get married.? It is just Domestic Terrisom and Servitude. I was actually offended by this article--the so called Science is extrapulated and therefore false to push an agenda! Report
The problem with the study is that it presumes that all committed relationships are based on some legal contract created by the state or a religious organization. Committed relationships are a covenant between two people irrespective of affectional preference or any other external mechanic. This is using facts selectively to promote an agenda not to educate. Report
I have a feeling that what's really going on here is that the healthy peolple in this "study" were happy, and felt like their health impacted other people in their lives, so they felt that an even greater need to take care of themselves. That's something you can get from any kind of healthy, committed relationship, deep friendship, or family situation. Report
I certainly agree with ZORBS13. Most people let themselves "go" after marriage since they no longer have to impress anyone, Report
I think that people who are happy maintain healthy habits and, partially as a result of that, live longer. I don't like the marriage emphasis of this article either. I am much happier single than I've ever been in a relationship. Many of my friends are in healthy committed relationships that aren't marriages, not a few of them because marriage is an option that's not available to them. We all know unhappily married people who are not healthy. I agree with other's who've said that to label things as benefits of marriage because the healthier and/or longer lived study participants were married is faulty science. Report
While I'm not offended like JWELL, I do think it's a bit silly. Some of the longest-lived people in the world are nuns, who, by definition, are rarely married. I'm not married, enjoy excellent health (except for overweight, and, since that predated my being marriageable, I see no reason to connect the two). The article is, unsurprisingly, given the source, simplistic. It does ask some interesting questions, but there's no DEPTH to the response. Report
Speaking as a married woman: science, my fanny! This so-called study doesn't take into account all the other living arrangements and circumstances in life. There are plenty of nonmarried/single people out there that live long, fulfilled, healthy lives without ever saying "I do." There are also plenty of married people who live short, miserable, unhealthy lives (or long, miserable, unhealthy lives as the case may be). Being married is not an automatic free pass into good health, just like you're not destined to die young if you remain single. You still have to be responsible for yourself, whether anybody nags you or not. Yes, a support system helps, but you don't have to be married to have a good support system, either. I vote this study off the island for gross misrepresentation of the scientific process. Report
What's the cause and effect here? If a married person is drinking too much, their marriage may not last. Otherwise, a married person's health likely depends on the health of their marriage; i.e., the husband and wife are committed to the marriage and to taking care of each other and themselves. Report
Some of this seems like poor science to me. People who drink too much are probably more likely to have never married or to be divorced, so the drinking causes the single state, rather than the other way around. As for dying prematurely, are they including young, never-married teen and twenty-something men, notorious risk-takers, men who die in military service, etc.? I'm sure a happy marriage does contribute to longevity in many cases, but without an idea of who their statistical sample was, this comes off as junk science. Report
This article really offended me. I am not married and don't necessarily have a choice. I don't know what the purpose of this article was. Was it to make married people feel better about themselves? Was it to make unmarried people feel doomed or like we should run right out and get a spouse? I, personally am healthier and live a more active lifestyle than any of the married women I know. I think there are also studies out there that support the single lifestyle as healthy. Report
This article (in my opinion) should have been called "4 Proven Health Benefits of Marriage for MEN". A single man lives only marginally as long as his married counterpart.... there's always a good woman behind a good man! In my experience, men don't think of their health the same way women do! Report
@ZORBS13 - I don't now if that's really a fair comment.
You don't have anyway of knowing whether the same people would have gained wait, or "let themselves" go if they had remained single. Many people gain wait and become sedentary as they grow older, regardless of marital status. Report
I am 31 and my awesome husband is 33! I have been with my husband for 14 years and married to him for 5....he is my best friend...I feel like we have a very solid relationship and communcation is VERY important along with staying on the same page when it comes to parenting! we laugh and joke alot I think that keeps us level headed! Marriage is hard work everyday it doesnt just come easy most things in life that are worth it in the end are NEVER easy!! Report
My parents are an example of a good marriage. They have been married for over
55 years. They started out as good friends and still are today. They are so close that at times they know what the other is thinking. If my husband and I are lucky, we'll have a long and happy marriage too. It takes work like all good things. Report
really. Most people I know let themselves go after marriage. Report
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