The clearest advantage to getting married is sharing your life with the person you love ’til death do you part. When you really get into the numbers, though, there are many logical reasons to get married, and recent research has found some considerable health benefits to getting married earlier, staying together longer and growing into old age with one another. In fact, a new study suggests that if you want to make it to 60, marriage might be the key.
Image credit Dr. Wendy Walsh
Perhaps not. But it can buy you a sense of mental ease and comfort, and prevent you from engaging in the number one headache that couples argue over. Topics from unexpected expenses to undisclosed costly purchases will cause a row between lovers. On the other hand, there are quite a few tax advantages to getting married that people might not realize. For instance, a partner with a lower salary than his or her spouse can actually save their spouse money by drawing them into a lower tax bracket. Benefits like this only apply to couples who file jointly, which means even cohabiting couples wouldn’t be offered these same benefits.
It makes a lot of sense that being around the person that you love can have an uplifting effect, but new research shows that it may also have positive mental health effects for your long-term well-being as well. Surgeon and scientist Dr. Rahul Jandial recently explained how women with bipolar disorder report less drastic mood changes than unmarried women with bipolar disorder. Other recent research shows that the positive condition of a marriage can be reflected in the positive attitude of its spouses. In line with the first point, this is shown to have increasingly positive effects on aging couples.
Marriage is inarguably a joyous occasion. Research shows, however, that it could also mean a joyous, more fulfilling life. TwentySomethingMarriage.org reports that 24-29 year-olds who are single admit to regular drunkenness at a much higher rate than their married piers—46% vs. 28% for men, 28% vs. 16% for women. Oddly, cohabiting couples reported startlingly similar numbers to singles for this questionnaire (41% men, 27% women), perhaps implying some causality between satisfaction and commitment. The one statistic that didn’t skew lower for married twentysomethings? Those who said they were highly satisfied with their lives: 52% men and 47% women, beating out singles by about 15 percentage points each.
What causes this drastic increase? The scientists from the same study suggested that the phenomenon known as “chronic loneliness” might be to blame. Apparently, people who lack social interaction and connection will experience more stress than their more social contemporaries when exposed to the same stressors as those with better support systems. Since marriage is the most intimate connection two people can share, it can easily spell the difference between lonely heartache and mutual contentment. But without this connection, one could see why single people experience greater stress as they age.
In recent research conducted by Duke University Medical Center, scientists found that people who hadn’t married by 40 were almost three times more likely to die than those who had married. Even if you include unhealthy behaviors like drinking and smoking, married middle-aged people are 2.3 times as likely to see 60 as their single counterparts. Fatality statistics also included those who had lost a partner without remarrying, suggesting that being alone is in fact hazardous to your health.