Marriage Is Good For Your Health

The topic of marriage seems to be coming up a lot lately. There’s a lot of discussion about how we should define marriage. A traditional marriage was originally defined in the bible to be a covenantal union between one man, and one woman, for life. (Genesis 2:24)

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A traditional marriage, has many benefits, including: emotional support, safe sex, and financial security. Homes with a traditional marriage are also the best way to raise children.

These facts are well established. However, a lesser understood concept is that marriage is good for your health. In terms of improving your overall health and well-being, your spouse is perhaps your greatest ally.

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Good News for Married People

A recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (1)  has some really good news for married people. Or, bad news for single people, depending on how you look at it.

Researchers found that lifetime, single men can be expected to die up to 17 years before married men! Single women didn’t fair much better, dying 15 years earlier than married women. Men had an overall 32% greater risk of mortality, and women a 23% greater risk.

This study is very significant because it was a meta-analysis covering 60 years, 641 risk estimates, 95 publications, and over 500 million people!

Why Such a Difference?

Many would say that there is nothing magical about a piece of paper stating that you’re married. They would argue that the reason married people live longer is because they engage in less risky behavior like rock climbing, or jumping out of airplanes.

This may be true, but it doesn’t account for all the health benefits we find. There are numerous studies that suggest that relational connectedness has a profound effect on our physical well-being.

For instance, researchers at the University of Chicago (2) found that extreme loneliness can increase the risk of premature death by 14%. This is twice the increase that obesity has on premature death.

These same researchers found that feeling isolated from others can:

  • Disrupt sleep
  • Elevate blood pressure
  • Increase the stress hormone cortisol
  • Weaken immune by altering gene expression in immune cells
  • Increase depression, and
  • Lower overall subjective well-being.
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We Are Created for Relationships

These results can only be explained by the fact that we’re created to be in relationships. When relationships suffer, so do we.

I often hear people say that all they need is Jesus. Well, before Eve, Adam had an intimate, relationship with God. He walked, and talked with God in the Garden of Eden. It seems that Adam had it all.

But, what did God say?

“It is not good that man should be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

(Genesis 2:18)

There was something missing. Adam needed a wife. Later we see in Proverbs a confirmation of this fact.

“He who finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”

(Proverbs 18:22)

If you’re married, you’re blessed, and, there is no doubt about it; marriage is good for your health. However, unresolved anger and strife will negate many of these benefits. (Ephesians 4:26)(Proverbs 17:1)

Tips for a Better Marriage

It’s no secret that most marriage people desire greater relational connectedness. The following are my suggestions for a closer relationship with your spouse:

  1. Treat your spouse more like you did when you were dating. (Proverbs 5:18) Women don’t loose their desire to be pursued, just because they get married. Neither do men get tired of being their wive’s knight in shining armor. I know kids complicate things (we have 4) but making time in your schedule for the two of you will pay big dividends.
  2. Communicate without being defensive. (Proverbs 15:1) Resolve to create an environment that is safe for your spouse to share feelings. Each spouse must be able to share how we they feel, without fear of retaliation. It’s amazing how much better we can feel about a given situation, if we just feel like we’ve been heard. A little empathy goes a long way.
  3. Learn from the experts. (Proverbs 1:5) Don’t try to blaze new trails. There’s a lot of smart people that have figured a lot of this out. Read some good books on marriage and relationships. My top recommendations are: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Intimate Encounters by David Ferguson, and Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.

In terms of improving your health and well-being, your spouse is perhaps your greatest ally. Marriage is good for your health, and, a good marriage is even better, and a lot more fun. I suggest making your relationship with your spouse your highest earthly priority. You won’t regret it.

If you’ve found this post helpful, I encourage you to share it on social media.

 

About the Author David Sandstrom

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