Marriage & Health: Is There A Correlation?

There isn’t enough that I can say about my wife. She’s the love of my life and my best friend. When dealing with my Chron’s, my wife stands by my side and is very patient with me. Even when her was father battling cancer she always made sure that I was okay. When I look at my wife and kids, they provide me with the motivation to try to take care of myself as best as I can.  I don’t want to make my children fatherless and my wife a widow by practicing irresponsible health practices.

There’s a health movement taking place in America. People are becoming more aware of how poor eating, lack of exercise, stress, and environmental factors are negatively impacting their health. However, we must look at the condition of the people to understand why they finally had this revelation. Obesity is at an all time high. Cancer is as normal as a common cold. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and many other conditions are affecting younger people in the same manner as older people.

Though this idea isn’t applicable across the board, I consider how marriage plays a role in the health of the nation. Marriage is an institution that is no longer valued. Whether it’s people putting careers first or just wanting to live the single life people aren’t getting married. Even when people get married they quickly become divorced thus increasing the statistics of failed marriages in this modern era. It appears that as less people are getting married the behaviors of people are becoming more reckless.

So my ultimate question,”Is the decline in marriage playing a role in the decline of our public health?” According to Robert H. Schmerling of the Harvard Health Publication, research shows that people in a happy marriage are healthier than single people. Married couples enjoy:

  • live longer
  • have fewer strokes and heart attacks
  • have a lower chance of becoming depressed
  • be less likely to have advanced cancer at the time of diagnosis and more likely to survive cancer for a longer period of time
  • survive a major operation more often.

Researchers are still studying how this works but here are some theories gathered by Harvard researchers:

  • Your behavior improves with marriage. Married people may take fewer risks, eat better, and maintain healthier lifestyles, on average, compared with single people. There is also evidence that married people tend to keep regular doctors’ appointments and follow doctors’ recommendations more often than single people.
  • Mental health is better when you’re married. Poor social supports (as might be more likely for those who are single) have been strongly linked with higher rates of depression, loneliness, and social isolation, which have in turn been associated with poorer health outcomes.
  • Married people have better health before getting married. It’s reasonable to wonder whether people with medical problems (or who are prone to them due to unhealthy habits) are less likely to get married; that would leave healthier people getting married and that could account for the “marriage health benefit.” But, some studies have actually found that unhealthy men tend to marry at a younger age and divorce less often than healthy men.

Now, I can’t speak for anyone but myself. My health is better at 35 than it was at 25. I feel the huge reason for me is that I have something larger than myself to live for. I’m not going to be reckless with things because my family comes first. The minute that you find something worth dying for is the moment that you truly want to live. But not just simply live, but live a quality life pushing to become the best version of yourself. When you have a partner that’s sharing the journey with you then the teamwork makes the dream work. There’s balance and a spiritual oneness with your partner and The Most High.

You’re planning on a future that includes grandchildren and retirement. I can’t do that if I’m dead or in piss poor health. The numbers show that as a black man I will be lucky to reach retirement age, but Death better think again if it feels that I’m not going to fight like hell to stay alive.

There’s nothing wrong with being single and enjoying your life, but take care of yourself and think about building long term, everlasting, and loving relationships.

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