If you’re happily married, you may soon be thanking your spouse for more than just those Valentine’s chocolates and flowers.
Researches in Europe have found that marriage makes people healthier, and may help to reduce the risk of premature death by as much as 15%. The study, by the Cardiff University’s School of Medicine in Wales, shows that people who are married are generally happier, eat better, and live longer overall than their single counterparts, or even those who have had multiple committed relationships.
Those performing the study were unable to pinpoint the precise reasons that marriage promotes health and well-being. It could simply be that married people have someone to care for them when they are ill, or it could be that the correlation works the other way, and that people with better emotional and physical health are more likely to stay married.
Whatever the reason, other studies have demonstrated that loneliness can be dangerous. For instance, researchers at Brigham Young University have found that poor social relationships are as strongly correlated with premature death as smoking, not exercising, or drinking excessively.
If you’re not married, this news isn’t necessarily anything to worry about. While the study in Wales was specific to marriage, other studies have shown that strong friendships, and even having a pet, can improve health and help people live longer.
So, if you’re married, or about to be, and you want to stay healthy, do everything you can to keep your relationship healthy. And if you’re single, make sure to value the friendships you have, and work to cultivate new ones. Joining clubs or taking up a new hobby are great ways to meet new people and fill your life with positive, health-promoting relationships.