The importance of marriage to health

We hear nowadays that the new generations avoid marriage under the pretext that, he is young or that he needs some time to enjoy life without the responsibilities of marital life without realising that the age passes quickly. Of course we cannot blame here those who could not settle because of financial circumstances, which is one of the reasons for the delay in marriages these days.
A research with various arguments indicates that the health benefits of wedded bliss have been decreasing from generation to generation. Sadly, short marriages were no more than four years, medium-length marriages were five to nine years and permanent marriages were 10 years or more. However, for older generations, there may be a greater lifestyle difference between married and single, in favour of marital health.
The health advantage of marriage seems small, but significant, roughly equivalent to that of a healthier diet or regular exercise. Different studies have supported above point it explains that it is not good for man to be alone, nor for the woman. In virtually every way that social scientists can measure, married people do much better than the unmarried or divorced: they live longer, healthier, happier, and more affluent lives.
Perhaps not only that, marriage makes children healthier, live longer if parents get and stay married. A new study has shown that marriage increases sexual fidelity. Cohabiting men are four times more likely to cheat than husbands, and cohabiting women are eight times more likely to cheat than wives. Matrimony is also the only realistic promise of permanence in a romantic relationship.
Also, married men and women are less depressed, less anxious and less psychologically distressed than single, divorced or even widowed. By contrast, getting divorced lowers both men’s and women’s mental health, increasing depression and hostility, and lowering one’s self-esteem and sense of personal mastery and purpose in life.
Another study has found that having a partner through middle and old age is a sort of protection against premature death, compared to those who never got married who more than twice as likely to die early than those who had experienced a long, stable marriage throughout the majority of their adult life.
Nevertheless, previous researchers have concluded that conflict in the relationship can lead to harmful responses in the body, such as inflammation, appetite changes and increased secretion of stress hormones, all of which can affect many aspects of health ranging from heart function to the immune system.
I know it could be challenging and the notion that marriage is always a good thing when it comes to health and wellbeing, but we do need to realise that not signing a marriage licence is also beneficial for health, it is in fact the way the couple treats each other after the marriage matters.
Finally, despite marriage could lower risk of developing cancer, having a heart attack and being diagnosed with dementia and some disorders, still research shows that unmarried people with active lifestyles enjoy their own health benefits. Everyone is different and every marriage is different. Marriage can be a great blessing if you are the marrying type and if you can manage to remain happily married.

Dr Yousuf Ali al Mulla, MD, Ministry of Health, is a medical innovator and educator. For any queries regarding the content of the column he can be contacted at: