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Marriage Counseling: Marriage is Good for Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness

By on September 2, 2014 in Advice, Counselling, Marriage, Marriage Help
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This might seem strange — but according to a new study by the Center for Disease Control, married people are less likely to smoke, drink heavily or be physically inactive. They are less likely than singles, divorcees or widowed adults to be in fair or poor health and are less likely to suffer from headaches or psychological problems.

“It could by the ‘Nag Factor,’” according to Barbara Bartlein, author of Why Did I Marry You Anyway? 12.5 Strategies for a Happy Marriage. “ Spouses tend to nag each other about health related issues such as smoking, drinking, risky behavior and receiving regular medical care.”

Ironically, people have climbed the ladder of success by working long hours and taking on extra projects, often sacrificing time with family. Now, new research demonstrates that they would actually be healthier, wealthier and happier if they concentrated more on their marriage. There appears to be grave consequences for couples that call it quits too easily that have not been addressed in previous studies. We have created disposable marriages in a throw away culture with little regard to the personal costs for the individual and family.

If you are looking for a long and healthy life, marriage may be part of the answer. Married folks tend to live longer and healthier than their single, divorced or widowed counterparts. And while my husband would claim that it just feels longer, the statistics demonstrate this is true.

  • Non-marrieds have significantly higher rates of mortality; 50% higher among women and 250% higher among men.
  • For men, staying married boosts the chance of surviving to age 65 from about 2 out of three to almost 9 out of 10.
  • The unmarried are far more likely to die from all causes, including coronary heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, cancer, cirrhosis, automobile accidents, murder, and suicide.
  • Being married improves the mental health for both men and women—there is someone to talk to. Spouses discuss their worries, dreams and disappointments with their partners, which helps relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Researcher also found that there were positives effects from the “nag factor.” This is; the routine nagging that spouses do to encourage a positive lifestyle and decrease destructive habits such as smoking or drinking to excess.

A healthy marriage may also be the starting point for a growing net worth. Not only is divorce very costly in the short run, the long-term effects of not being married dramatically affect how financially secure you become. Consider:

  • The longer people stay married, the greater their wealth accumulations.
  • At retirement, a typical married couple has accumulated about $410,000 compared to about $167,000 for never married, about $145,000 for divorced and just under $96,000 for the separated.
  • Spouses have better health and life insurance coverage.
  • The married have increased access to pensions and social security.
  • Being married provides “insurance.” In case of death, spouses almost always leave their worldly goods—Social Security and pension benefits to their wives or husbands. By getting married, spouses create an “annuity value” that is equal to increasing one’s wealth by 12-14 percent at age thirty and by 30 percent at age seventy-five compared to staying single.
  • Married people behave more responsibly about money because they have more responsibilities. By pooling money, labor, and time, married people create far more opportunities for building wealth.
  • There also is a value to IN LAWS—They tend to help a family when needed. In laws also provide potential access to inheritance. About 29% of married couples received financial help from in-laws and about a quarter of families with children received financial transfers in the past five years.

In spite of the jokes and comedy routines, married folks also tend to be happier than their single counterparts. Married men and women report less depression, less anxiety, and lower levels of other types of psychological distress than do those who are single, divorced, or widowed.

  • Widowed and divorces persons are about three times as likely to commit suicide.
  • Marital status is one of the most important predictors of happiness. 40% of the married said they are very happy with their life in general, compared to just under a quarter of those who were single or who were cohabiting.

The commitment to make marriage a priority will have a tremendous impact on your life. The success prescription for health, wealth and happiness: Work as hard on your marriage as you do on your career.


References:

  1.  The National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), conducted by NCHS, collected detailed data on cohabitation, marriage, divorce and remarriage.  These data were published in Series 23, Number 22, “Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage in the United States” and in National Health Statistics Report, Number 49, “First Marriages in the United States: Data from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth”.
  2. Chapman and Compton: (2003) From Traditional Behavioral Couple Therapy to Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy: New Research Directions The Behavior Analyst Today, 4 (1), 17 -25 BAO
  3. Christensen A, Atkins DC, Yi J, Baucom DH, & George WH. (2006). Couple and individual adjustment for 2 years following a randomized clinical trial comparing traditional versus integrative behavioral couple therapy.J Consult Clin Psychol. 74(6):1180-91
  4. Christensen, A., Atkins, D.C., Baucom, B., & Yi, J. (2010). Marital status and satisfaction five years following a randomized clinical trial comparing traditional versus integrative behavioral couple therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78, 225-235.
  5. Couples Therapy.The Harvard Mental Health Letter.Gale Group Inc.2007

 

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