Marriage is good for your healthResearchers have known for years that marriage is good for your health. Recently more than 13,000 cardiovascular experts met in Washington to discuss their findings. One of the new studies presented by one research team found that those who were married "had less heart disease and healthier blood vessels throughout the body than people who were single, divorced or widowed." The new study screened 3.5 million adults for cardiovascular problems.
Researchers, Dr. Jeffrey Kuvin, spokesperson for the American College of Cardiology, was quick to acknowledge the best benefits for marriage were found in strong marriages where there was less conflict and stress. Researchers were also not sure if it is the marriage which is producing the benefits or whether marriage gives you someone who is more likely to help and encourage you to go to the doctor, exercise, socialize and take your prescription medications.
Greatest benefits in younger couples
Researchers also noted they saw the highest benefits in increased health for couples who were under the age of 50. In this group, if a couple was married the incidence of vascular disease decreased by 12%. In those over 60, the risk was reduced by 4%.
There are downsides for your health in marriage. Specifically, the stress a spouse feels when the other spouse dies. Researchers have found that spouses who lost their mate were more likely to die from what they term a broken heart or stress-induced cardiomyopathy.
Consider your role in marriage
So if we know we are healthier in a loving marriage and our spouse is also healthier, maintaining our relationship should become as important to us as say what we eat, maintaining our weight and making sure we get exercise.
Christine Proulx, assistant professor in the University of Missouri Department of Human Development and Family Studies, believes, "We often think about the aging process as something we can treat medically with a pill or more exercise, but working on your marriage also might benefit your health as you age. Engaging with your spouse is not going to cure cancer, but building stronger relationships can improve both people's spirits and well-being and lower their stress."
Although there's research which supports that unmarried adults with active lifestyles enjoy their own health benefits, it's interesting to note more and more research today supports the idea that strong marriages help lower our risk for developing cancer, having dementia or experiencing a heart attack.
So how do you have a great marriage?
There are certain steps you need to take to have a strong marriage. First, be friends and lovers. This will require you to create loving feelings by acting in loving ways. Next, fight fair and spend time together. Date night is essential so schedule romance. You schedule everything else. Why not schedule the most important thing for your relationship? Finally, focus on meeting your spouse's needs and not causing pain. Remember: Everything you say or do either brings you and your spouse closer together or pushes the two of you further apart.