Of course, no one enters into a marriage with the intention of their union being anything other than perfectly happy, but it's unlikely that even the most compatible couples will experience sunshine and roses 24/7. If you and your spouse consider yourselves to be happy overall, good for you! Not only does this signal that you have a healthy relationship, but it also might predict how long you'll live, according to new research.
Yes, we're serious! A recent study published in the journal Health Psychology found that couples who reported being happier in their marriages were about 20 percent less likely to die early than their counterparts who reported being in "not too happy" marriages. The results were based on a survey of more than 19,000 married individuals of all ages, genders, races, and geographical regions.
Of course, there are several factors, many beyond an individual's control, that predict longevity, but the results are no doubt interesting. In fact, according to Paulette Sherman, Psy.D., relationship expert and author of Dating from the Inside Out, the idea that a happy marriage could impact health make a lot of sense. "Research has shown a connection between your environment and its impact on health and your biology for quite some time—plus, when you are relaxed and in a state of well-being you're in your relaxed nervous system and this is good for your body, health, and immune system," she says. "When you're in a bad marriage and are chronically stressed and unhappy, it takes a toll on your immune system, cortisol levels, and often your eating and sleeping habits."
Additionally, she points out that past research suggests that having meaning and a good reason to live (like a great marriage) affects longevity as well. Fascinating stuff! While the results of this study are by no means a single reason to race to the altar, it's good news for anyone who's gearing up to enter married life.