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5 Science-Backed Reasons Marriage Makes You Healthier

It's true! Being in love can actually help you stay alive.

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: KT Merry

In need of another reason to get excited about your walk down the aisle? Those who say "I do" benefit from more than just lifelong companionship. In fact, research has found that marriage can improve people's health in a myriad of different ways. In other words, don't listen to your grandfather's tales of how your grandmother's nagging almost killed him—the reality is that he's probably a healthier, happier individual thanks to having her by his side all these years. Don't believe us? Check out these surprising, science-backed reasons why your marriage might keep you alive in the long run.

 

Related: Relationship Goals for Your First Year of Marriage

 

It can lower your stress levels.

This might sound quite the contrary, especially for those who've been married a while, but it's actually true. One study from the University of Chicago and Northwestern found that people who were not in a married or committed relationship did not respond as well to stress as their married and relationship-committed counterparts. And, don't forget that stress, and the hormone it produces called cortisol, can lead to a slew of health problems. In short: Marry up and stress less!

 

You're less likely to develop chronic conditions.

Your risk for chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis, increases dramatically as you age. But it seems as though one way to reduce the chance of developing them is to get married. One study by the University of Missouri's Department of Human Development and Family Studies analyzed the long-term relationship between self-rated health and quality of marriage and found that folks who were married tended to report less chronic conditions than those who were not in relationships.

 

It can lower your risk for fatal cancer.

Although many of the culprits that cause someone to get cancer are hereditary or environmental, one factor that can impact a person's ability to survive a diagnosis is marriage. One study published in the journal of Oncology, which looked at more than 700,000 Americans diagnosed with deadly cancers, found that those who were married were more likely to detect the disease early, survive treatments, and potentially live longer than those who were unmarried.

 

It lowers your risk for preventable death.

It's not a pleasant topic, but it is interesting to consider the fact that people who are married are less likely to die an accidental death (from things like smoking, a fire, unhealthy diet, and reckless driving). In fact, one study published by Rice University analyzed more than 1.3 million adults aged 18 and older who had survived or died from accidents over the course of a 20-year period (1986-2006) and found that divorced people were less likely to survive an incident than their married counterparts.  

 

You may recover more smoothly from surgery.

Chances are at least one of you will have to have some type of surgery over the course of your lifetime—hopefully not an invasive one. But even if it's serious, your chances of surviving and recovering more smoothly are far higher if you're married. In fact, one study by Emory University found that marriage boosted survival rates in heart surgery patients for both men and women. Pretty fascinating, right?