I’ve been married for 36 years. And while I’m certainly not in the business of giving marital advice, I can tell you about some very interesting new science on the study of marriage.
It turns out—marriage is very good for your health.
In fact, according to a new, 14-year study conducted by researchers from Michigan State University, married people have a lower risk of developing dementia compared to people who are divorced, separated, widowed, or never married. (And, sorry Goldie and Kurt, cohabitation doesn’t cut it. You’ve got to be married—and in it for the long haul—to gain the protection against dementia.)
By comparison, divorced people have more than twice the odds of experiencing mental decline compared to married folks. And divorced men have the worst prognosis, with a staggering 260 percent higher risk of developing dementia compared to married men.
Though, the risk is less pronounced for divorced women. They have just a 30 percent higher risk of developing dementia compared to married women.
So when you look at those findings, men have the most to gain from staying in a good marriage.
And men married to highly educated woman are even more fortunate. In fact, in another interesting study, the more educated a man’s wife, the lower his risk of developing hypertension and coronary artery disease. And in a third study, men married to more educated women also had lower death rates than men married to less educated women. (Once again, it appears I hit the jackpot 36 years ago.)
According to other research, married people are also more likely to:
- Live longer
- Have fewer strokes
- Have fewer heart attacks
- Have less-advanced cancer at the time of diagnosis
- Survive cancer for a longer period of time
- Survive a major operation
Good marriages lower stress
Now, let’s be clear. Some of these benefits most likely result from seeking appropriate medical care earlier when needed, since a spouse helps look at, and look out for, the health of their partner. And other benefits are more intrinsic to a normal state of well-being and better health.
Plus—people in stressful, unhappy marriages probably don’t receive these remarkable health benefits. Indeed, stress itself is probably an intangible, underlying factor that impacts all this research.
And the science supports my line of thinking.
For example, we know that married people tend to have lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, compared to single folks. Which makes sense, as a good marriage provides a strong emotional support system, shares the burden, and keeps you connected to a social network. Married people also tend to eat better, exercise more regularly, and even have fewer money problems…which, again, all combine to reduce stress.
It’s pretty simple, really. People in good marriages have less stress, which in turn lowers their risk of developing chronic diseases, like heart disease, dementia, cancer, and depression.
All of this new research on the health benefits of marriage is great news for me. But if you aren’t married or in a happy marriage, don’t feel like it spells disaster for you. Just make sure to take these important steps to reduce stress. You can also type “stress” into the SEARCH box on my website to find dozens of articles on the topic. And while you’re there, why not become a subscriber as well?
And if dementia is a concern for you, I strongly encourage you to check out my Alzheimer’s Prevention and Repair Protocol. This online learning tool details all of the drug-free, cutting-edge strategies to prevent, treat, or even reverse devastating brain diseases. Click here to learn more or to enroll today!
“Marriage Can Lower Odds for Dementia.” Newsmax, 9/6/2019 (newsmax.com/health/health-news/marriage-dementia/2019/09/06/id/931523/)
“The health advantages of marriage.” Harvard Health Publishing, 11/30/2016. (health.harvard.edu/blog/the-health-advantages-of-marriage-2016113010667)
“Marriage and men’s health.” Harvard Health Publishing, 6/5/2019. (health.harvard.edu/mens-health/marriage-and-mens-health)