A Bend Marriage Counselor Says Being Married is Good for Your Health

October 6, 2011 by

As a marriage counselor in Bend, Oregon, I know my clients often focus on the bad parts of marriage – they’re feeling trapped or unappreciated, they can’t communicate, they fight all the time. When I hear things like this, my response is also to remind them about the good parts of marriage and love – after all, there’s a reason they decided to get married in the first place!

I also give my clients a piece of marriage advice I wish more people knew: a happy marriage is good for your health.

Bend, Oregon Marriage Counselor: There Are Many Health Benefits to Marriage

Studies have shown this for years, and it’s frequently been reported in the media, but for some reason, people tend to forget it and focus on the negative. I refuse to let my clients do this in my work as a Bend marriage counselor.

Partners in a happy marriage are more likely to encourage each other to see the doctor and dentist, and reinforce healthy behaviors like eating well and exercising, while discouraging things like drug and alcohol abuse. In a more abstract sense, happy marriages often give meaning and purpose to a person that can make them less willing to take stupid risks. Here are just a few health benefits a happy marriage can provide you:

Live Longer. Statisticians have found that "being unmarried is one of the greatest risks that people voluntarily subject themselves to." Proof? Based on life expectancies, nine of ten married men and women alive at age 48 are alive at 65, while only six of ten single men and eight of ten single women make it to 65. (Cohen et al, 1997)

Lower blood pressure. No one knows why, but happily married people consistently have lower blood pressure than their single friends – even those happy in their singlehood.

Increase chance of surviving long term disease. Married cancer patients have an 8 to 17 percent better chance of a cure working than their single counterparts because of the support a marriage provides.

Better mental health. Even for a Bend marriage counselor, it’s a cliché that spouses drive each other crazy, but married couples actually have much better mental health than their single friends as long as the marriage is generally happy. Want numbers? Depression in unmarried men is 9 times higher, and it’s higher for unmarried women, too.

So, my real marriage advice? Get married and stay married. As long as you and your spouse are generally happy with each other, you’re doing yourself a favor! If you’re having trouble, seek help from an experienced Bend, Oregon marriage counselor.