It has been a long established truism that married couples are healthier and live longer than single or divorced people. A study, by the British epidemiologist William Farr, in the 1850s found that married couples were overall healthier and happier than single people or widowed men or women. This study has been the basis of many of the claims that marriage is good for your health.
Contemporary studies have concluded the same – in broad strokes – but have expanded on the understanding of why and how marriage can be beneficial. The scientific evidence for the reasons behind the health aspects of marriage are still being debated, but studies have found that a happy marriage or relationship can lead to both people being healthier.
“These findings certainly shouldn’t drive people to get married, but it’s important to know that decisions regarding who one is with, why, and why not may have important implications for vascular health,” said lead researcher Carlos L. Alviar M.D., cardiology fellow at the New York University Langone Medical Center.
Since there is a flip side to almost everything, however, studies have also found that a person in a troubled relationship can be unhealthier than someone who has never been married. The quality of the relationship appears to be more important than just being in one.
“These results show that marital quality is just as important at older ages, even when the couple has been married 40 or 50 years,” Hui Liu, lead researcher said about the study.
So, although being married can make you healthier and reduce your risk for heart disease, as well as other health problems like dementia, the quality of your marriage or long-term relationship is more important than just being in one.