Marriage has long been touted as improving health and extending the lives of spouses. Subsequent studies shed more light on that conclusion. Marriage itself might not have positive effects. Rather, it’s the quality of the relationship that matters.
When health is on the line, divorce can be the right step for improved well-being.
Researchers from the universities of Michigan and Nevada studied 373 couples over the first 16 years of their marriage. Couples with higher levels of discord reporter more health issues. Husbands and wives were both negatively impacted by the disharmony.
Frequent conflicts about children, money, and the in-laws affected well-being in various ways:
- Body Aches
Over time, the body’s inflammatory response goes haywire. Stress hormones become elevated, heart function is compromised, and the immune system is weakened. Rosie Shrout, one of the researchers, compared excessive fighting to smoking and drinking. Psychological well-being is directly linked to physical health.
Supportive Relationships Bolsters Health
A happy marriage tends to encourage healthier habits and offer emotional support, according to Brigham Young University researcher Rick Miller.
Miller tracked more than 1,600 couples over 20 years. The study compared marital happiness and satisfaction with marital problems. Spouses in higher-conflict marriages reported poorer health. Fewer marital issues were linked to healthier, happier couples.
Another study by the Journal of Happiness Studies concluded that happiness and health are particularly high in couples where they consider each other best friends.
Other studies further explain the connection between relationships and health:
- Lovesick: House Couples’ Relationships Influence Health
- Marital Quality and Health: A Meta-Analytic Review
- A Longitudinal Investigation of Marital Adjustment as a Risk Factor for Metabolic Syndrome
- Assisting Couples to Develop Healthy Relationships
Health on the Other Side of Divorce
Going through a divorce is stressful. Many of the consequences of an unhappy marriage will linger into divorce proceedings. Spouses can battle over custody, property, and spousal support. Getting through to the other side, though, can positively change mental, emotional, and physical outlooks.
Ways to lessen the negative effects of divorce proceedings include the following:
- Eat a balanced diet
- Establish regular sleep hours
- Lean on friends and support groups
- Find time to exercise
- Prioritize relaxation
- Consult with health care professionals
After the divorce is final, research points to potential health benefits:
- Decrease in body mass index (BMI)
- More frequent exercise and activity
- Better eating habits
Psychology Today posits that the health improvements of unmarried individuals can be due to their return to eating habits best suited for them (not a spouse) and listening to their own needs.
Getting Your Life and Health Back on Track
Counseling can sometimes help couples move beyond the bickering if both spouses are 100% committed. Effective therapy can teach partners how to end recurring fights and settle differences in a productive manner.
If steps to get the marriage heading in the right direction hasn’t worked, divorce may be the best option to safeguard your well-being. A strife-filled marriage can create problems that jeopardize your mental and physical health. The longer a couple stays in conflict, the worse the health problems get.
At the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC, we understand the physical, emotional, and mental tolls of a troubled marriage. Divorce is never an easy answer, but it is sometimes the proper action to reclaim your life and health. Our attorneys bring compassion, knowledge, and experience to every case we take.
If you live in New York’s Dutchess County area and believe your marriage is over, contact us today for a consultation. We can meet by phone or video conferencing. Call (845) 605-4330 to schedule.