Marriage: When it’s good, it’s very good. But when it’s bad, it’s… deadly?
New York Times Magazine recently published this long piece on whether marriage is good for your health or not. Very early studies into the matter, circa 1858, concluded that marriage is a healthy estate and that single people died from disease “in undue proportion” to their married counterparts.
New, updated research is being carried out on the subject of marriage and health at the moment, with researchers finding that it is not simply the act of being married that ensures you better health, but whether the marriage is a happy one or not.
Says the article:
“While it’s clear that marriage is profoundly connected to health and well-being, new research is increasingly presenting a more nuanced view of the so-called marriage advantage.
Several new studies, for instance, show that the marriage advantage doesn’t extend to those in troubled relationships, which can leave a person far less healthy than if he or she had never married at all.
One recent study suggests that a stressful marriage can be as bad for the heart as a regular smoking habit. And despite years of research suggesting that single people have poorer health than those who marry, a major study released last year concluded that single people who have never married have better health than those who married and then divorced.”
So happy married people are better off, health-wise, than single people. But if you’re going to be in a bad marriage, you may as well be single for the sake of your health. And if you’ve gotten divorced once, the research suggests that we find that experience so stressful that it’s hard to recover from.
This research is all borne from the emerging area of science known as psychoneuroimmunology, which concerns the interplay between behavior, the immune and endocrine systems and the brain and nervous system. Spiritual types have been onto this “you are what you think” field for years, seems like science is catching up now.
A bad marriage can be as bad for your heart as a smoking habit. Quite literally, if you have your heart broken you won’t ever fully recover?
What do you think?