Marriage: Benefits and Problems that it brings to Our Emotional Wellbeing

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

Love can be felt in different ways, from friendship to marriage. Marriage is a life decision that can affect us positively or negatively. Have we wondered how this couple agreement interferes with our individual mental health?

Marriage “is the process by which two people make their relationship public, official, and permanent. It is the joining of two people in a bond that putatively lasts until death, but in practice is often cut short by separation or divorce [1] .” This is a social condition and such an important decision as a couple, that there are 25 types of it, such as [2]  civil and religious, common-law, monogamous, left-handed, same-sex marriage, arranged, zombie, group, etc.

According to U.S.News [3] ., almost 340,000 fewer marriages took place in 2020 than in 2019. Overall, the total number of marriages recorded in the U.S. in 2020 was the lowest it had been since 1963. In addition, the marriage rate, which measures the number of marriages per 1,000 people, plummeted from 6.1 marriages per 1,000 to just 5.1.

These numbers make us wonder for example, why do people make the decision to get married? According to Juliana Menasce Horowitz, Nikki Graf and Gretchen Livingston [4]  “the decision to get married or to move in with a partner is a personal one, but for most married and cohabiting adults, love and companionship trump other considerations, such as the desire to have children someday, convenience or finances”.

For Rachael Pace [5] , an expert blogger, among the positive health and psychological effects of marriage are better health; less risky behaviors as smoking, because sometimes they are abandoned for the sake of a loving spouse who encourages his or her partner to strive to be the best that they can be; longevity, a loving couple who seeks to bring out the best in one another can look forward to a long and fruitful life; married people age more happily and recover from ailments more quickly.

On the other hand, some negative effects of a stressful marriage are a weakened immune system, because “the immune system of both men and women tends to take a battering in times of stress, and especially the stress caused by marital conflict”, heart disease rate increases, diabetes risk increases, slower healing from illness or injury and harmful habits [6] .  

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation published a study called “The Effects of Marriage on Health: A Synthesis of Recent Research Evidence [7] ” where we can find that:

  • Effects on Health Behaviors: “Marriage is associated with healthier behaviors in some cases and less healthy behaviors in others. Studies consistently indicate that marriage reduces heavy drinking and overall alcohol consumption.” 
  • Effects on Health Care Access, Use and Cost: “The effect of marriage on health care cost exist independent of the effect of marriage on physical health”.
  • Effects on Mental Health: “Marriage reduces depressive symptoms for both men and women. In particular, these studies find that getting married decreases depressive symptoms, while getting divorced increases them”.
  • Effects on Physical Health and Longevity: “The strongest evidence of a positive effect of marriage on longevity comes more from the robustness of this relationship across many studies than from the particular strengths of any single study”.

If you want to have a healthy marriage, follow the ten advices of Wespath [8] : spend time with each other, learn to negotiate conflict, show respect for each other at all times, learn about yourself first, explore intimacy, explore common interest, create a spiritual connection, improve your communications skills, forgive each other, and look for the best in each other.

If you make the decision to get married, you have to think as a team. Remember that now it is no longer about you, now you have someone by your side, so, if your emotional wellbeing is stable, the other person will be stable too. 










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