The effects of marriage on mental health can be profound, both for the better or for the worse, depending upon the state of your marriage. The difference is so vast that it’s easy to see why some love to be married and dream about the day that they will marry while others want to run for the hills at the very notion.
Here are some of the effects of marriage on mental health.
If the marriage is positive and healthy
The advantages of being in a positive, happy and healthy marriage will have huge impacts on mental health particularly on the well being of a person. Especially since you’ll be benefitting from all of these wonderful marriage related experiences.
- Fulfilled dreams
- A lifetime friend and confidant
- Somebody to help you face your battles
- Emotional, mental, and physical security
- Higher esteem and confidence
- Reduced anxiety or depression
- Healthy sex life
- A stronger sense of self
You don’t need a psychologist to tell you that all of these benefits of a healthy marriage are going to bring profound benefits of marriage on mental health.
Even sex is good for you – it has hundreds of health and psychological benefits!
What if the marriage is unhappy, or unhealthy?
But what happens when the tables are turned? Well, the effects of marriage on mental health are reversed and if you are experiencing the flip side of the coin – in this case, you might expect;
- Dashed dreams
- Having to face life alone
- No support system
- Low esteem
- The consequences of emotional manipulation
- Insecure environment
- Lack of intimacy
- Potential lack of money and resources
- Being in danger
Let’s face it; nobody wants to face life alone, so even if you never get married, and live alone without having to deal with a break up you still face the challenges of having to face the ghosts of what never was.
If you are in an unhappy or are in an unhealthy marriage, you can hold onto dashed dreams too about the happy marriage that never occurred and this can have a huge and often ignored impact on your mental health.
Carl Jung refers to this problem as us having a shadow side. He claims we all have a shadow existence where we live with everything that is part of us, but that never was. Whether that be experiences we wanted but never realized such as the happy marriage, or children, or even repressed desires that in some cases we couldn’t express because it’s not socially acceptable.
Dashed dreams resulting in mental illness
The mental effects of dashed dreams are real and can result in anxiety, depression, OCD as a way to be able to come to terms with or control this shadowy world that exists only in the hearts and minds of the individual.
Of course, you don’t need to be dealing with marriage or lack of it to have to face dashed dreams and a shadow world. We all have one, but a happy marriage is sure to be one distraction from our shadows that might just save us. Those who are not happily married have to face their shadowy world which in some cases can bring about a profound and damaging effect of marriage on their mental health.
Providing for yourself not just physically but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually to is no mean feat. You’ll need bones of steel to navigate this territory, or to find the courage to face, work through and embrace these challenges.
Some people, even if they are married still have to face life alone, perhaps because of a distance between them, because of addictions or mental illness, or also because they are living in an emotionally, mentally or physically unsafe marriage. Having to be alone when you are alone is one thing but dealing with that prospect while having to deal with severe and sometimes serious safety problems in your marriage can bring the strongest of people to their knees.
Not least because they will not feel secure in any way, their marriage is bad; if they live with their spouse which is highly likely, then their basic human needs are compromised such as the roof over their head and their future and in some marriages their safety (if the marriage is dangerous).
Effects of a bad marriage on mental health
This is one example of how the effects of marriage on mental health can have dire consequences and can bring people down. Either through creating mental illness such as anxiety, PTSD, depression, or even a psychotic or nervous breakdown. And if your spouse is experiencing mental health problems also, that are causing problems in the marriage then the challenges can multiply and in some situations, cycle can become dangerous either for the sanity of the originally healthy spouse, or for their physical safety (depending upon the circumstances). The effects of marriage on mental health is no joke.
When you are faced with challenges such as the above and you have to fight them, while probably experiencing a lack of security, safety, confidence, low esteem, lack of practical resources, a lack of trust and potentially no support system then there is only so much that somebody is going to take before they crack. The effects of this marriage on mental health are not going to be good which is why the negative effects of marriage on mental health can result in (this is just a few examples):
- Psychotic Disorders
- Nervous Breakdown
- Physical Health Issues (manifested from psychological issues).
So if you find yourself in a bad marriage, and you can relate to anything discussed here, maybe it’s time to get some help and get out while you can. It will be much harder to do so if you lose control of your mental health completely.
Getting out should be a priority if you are experiencing physical, emotional or psychological abuse or if you feel that you are in danger at the hands of your spouse in any way. If this relates to you, seek help from a local charity which specializes in domestic abuse and gets out.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
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.