By Iesha Pompey, BlackDoctor.org
The topic of marriage can bring about a myriad of emotional responses. Depending on the person and their experience, marriage can feel like the plot of a romantic tear-jerking novel or a grand horror story. In light of Valentine’s Day, we’ll keep it sweet and focus on the benefits of marriage. Because, as it turns out, there are some amazing health benefits to the old ball and chain.
Simply put, companionship is the good feeling that comes from being with someone else. Knowing that someone is there for you and ready to support you can make life’s transitions smoother. Companionship is especially beneficial in terms of emotional health, as one study shows that married women and men are less likely to experience mental illness such as dementia and severe depression.
- Stay healthy
According to the New York Times, contemporary studies show married couples are less likely to experience pneumonia, heart attacks, or be diagnosed with cancer. Married women and men are also five percent less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease.
- Sexual health
This may make some people laugh, considering the ongoing joke about the lack of sex in marriage. But, research shows that couples who maintain an active and healthy sex life tend to have better sleeping habits which can lead to a stronger immune system. Sex also burns calories, which can contribute to maintaining a healthy BMI, or body mass index.
- Financial health
For couples who choose to merge financially, marriage can mean huge savings. Sharing a mortgage can be far less expensive than renting two separate apartments. You can also save money by buying in bulk on pretty much everything from home items to cell phone plans and health insurance. There are also multiple tax breaks if you decide to file jointly. Keeping your financial health under control can prepare you for a smooth retirement.
- Share parental responsibilities
Sharing parental responsibilities can lower stress for you, your spouse, and your children. Typically, two-parent households provide better supervision, support, and resources for the entire family.
- Better memory
We tend to forget things as we age. But according to research from Celia Harris from Macquarie University, intimate couples develop an “interpersonal cognitive system” from which they can rely on to fill memory gaps. A high level of intimacy is crucial to the effectiveness of shared memories.
- Longer lifespan
Dr. Scott Haltzman, MD, clinical assistant professor at Brown University, said in an article: “The health benefits of marriage are so strong that a married man with heart disease can be expected to live, on average, 1,400 days longer than an unmarried man with a healthy heart.”
Teamwork makes the dream work, right? This saying not only applies to school and work environments. It also applies to your marriage. According to US News, married people are more likely to have stronger social networks because they have access to each others contacts, which can provide important connections and resources.
- In sickness and in health
Studies show that you’re more likely to recover from illness faster if you are married. Also, having someone to care for you while you are ill makes for a significantly speedier recovery.
- Till death do us part
Married couples are more likely to purchase life insurance to ensure that their family maintains the same standard of living in the event of a death. Having a spouse to act as the beneficiary of your belongings and funeral arrangements can put a slight ease on worrying about how your family will be taken care of when you are no longer here.
Though marriage isn’t the end goal for every relationship, it’s still regarded as a major accomplishment by many. To find someone who wants to spend the rest of their life with you, in spite of your “flaws” is a big deal. If your marriage is a healthy one, it’s likely to influence you to make healthier decisions that will, in turn, benefit your overall health.
However, if your marriage is unhealthy, it can be as damaging to your heart as a regular smoking habit. If you are in an unhealthy marriage, seek counseling from a spiritual adviser or marriage counselor to avoid the damaging health effects of marital stress.