Is marriage healthy? There is an intricate connection between marriage and health. Positive and negative effects of marriage vary depending on whether you are happily married or unhappily married.
Numerous studies have been conducted along these lines, and the scientific findings of the effects of marriage on health have been very revealing and surprising in some instances.
These findings confirm to a large extent what we all know instinctively at a gut-level: when you are in a good and happy relationship, your general health and wellbeing improve. And of course, the opposite is also true.
Research shows that married people tend to think twice before engaging in risky behaviors. When a person has a spouse and possibly children to care for and provide for, people often feel they need to be more careful and responsible.
Bad habits like smoking and excessive drinking or reckless driving are sometimes abandoned for the sake of a loving spouse who encourages his or her partner to strive to be the best that they can be.
Due to the better general health and better lifestyle choices, it is understandable that the survival of happily married couples can be longer than those who are either unhappily married or single.
If a couple gets married when they are both still young, the effects of early marriage on health can be either positive or negative, depending on their maturity and commitment to each other.
A loving couple who seeks to bring out the best in one another can look forward to a long and fruitful life, enjoying their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren together.
4. Married people age more happily
Happily married couples generally don’t have as many insecurities about aging as unmarried people do. People in happy relationships know that their partners love and care for them, even if they don’t remain as attractive as they once were.
Their relationship bond is strong, and their physical appearance makes a little difference. Therefore aging is not something that happily married couples frown upon.
5. Recover from ailments more quickly
Another positive effect of marriage is that you always have someone to care for you when you get sick.
Couples in happy relationships recover quickly from ailments as they have their partners by their side to take care of them, comfort them, give them medicines, consult the doctor, and do whatever is required.
The emotional support that healthy couples give to each other is also something that helps them get well soon.
Negative physical effects of a stressful marriage
Being in a strained and stressful marriage is not only detrimental to mental health, but this is also where negative physical effects of marriage on health can be observed.
1. Weakened immune system
How can marriage affect you physically?
The immune system of both men and women tends to take a battering in times of stress, and especially the stress caused by marital conflict.
With germ-fighting cells in the body being inhibited, one becomes more vulnerable to diseases and infections. Chronic stress and anxiety in a marriage can be caused by always wondering if your partner loves you, or by having to walk on eggshells around your spouse.
This kind of stress takes a severe toll on the T-cells in the immune system, which fights off infections and increases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
2. Heart disease rate increases
Another side effect of marriage observed is that people in stressful or unsatisfying marriages seem to be particularly prone to heart disease.
Your body changes after marriage, with a rise in blood pressure, higher cholesterol levels, and increased body mass indexes all contribute to the risk of heart disease.
Cardiovascular health seems to be directly linked to stress levels, and women who are unhappily married seem to be especially affected.
This may be due to women’s tendency to internalize their anxiety and stress, which takes a toll on their body and heart, over a prolonged period.
3. Diabetes risk increases
Stress in a marriage can also be the cause of increased blood sugar levels and the increased risk of developing type two diabetes.
Prolonged periods of psychological stress or unresolved conflicts can result in the blood glucose levels being increased over an extended time frame.
In such cases, the body may not be able to make enough insulin to counteract the extra glucose in the blood system. People who are in a stressful situation may also tend to exercise less and neglect good eating habits.
4. Slower healing from illness or injury
The impairment of the immune system also results in the body, taking a long time to recover when sickness or physical wounding occurs.
If there has been surgery or an accident, the recovery time for a person in a stressful and unhappy marriage would generally be longer than for someone who has a loving spouse to take care of them and encourage the healing process.
5. Harmful habits
For someone who is entangled in an unhappy or abusive marriage, the temptation to indulge in harmful habits can be overwhelming.
This can be an attempt to alleviate the emotional pain of the failing marriage by taking drugs, smoking, or drinking alcohol.
These and other negative pursuits are harmful to health and ultimately add to the stress of the situation. In extreme cases, suicide may even seem to be an option or a means of escape from an unhappy marriage.
The positive and negative effects of relationships or the advantages and disadvantages of marriage depend upon how happy or strained your marriage is.
If you have recognized any of these health concerns discussed above, you may want to consider getting help for your marriage relationship, thereby addressing the root cause, as well as seeking medical attention for the symptoms.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.