Posted on May 12, 2010
Studies going back for hundreds of years have established that being married can lead to a longer, healthier life – a life with lower rates of cancer, surgery, heart disease, dementia, and pneumonia. However, newer and better studies have found that having a healthier and happier life is not as easy as simply getting hitched; in fact, gaining the benefits of marriage necessitates a happy, working marriage, not just any marriage. Not only will a contentious or troubled marriage erase the benefits of a stable marriage, these new studies have found that a stressed marriage can harm one’s health significantly.

In one study, scientists and psychologists have found that there is a deep connection between a person’s immune system and their stress and mental health state. The results were conclusive: women who were either unhappily married or still struggling with divorce had low white blood cell counts (weakened immune systems) while women who were in happy marriages or happily single had higher white blood cell counts. Another study found that even a fight between husband and wife will lower the immune system’s strength over the next day.

Others studies have found that staying in a bad marriage can lead to stress hormones, depression, mood swings, a weakened immune system, increased chances of developing diabetes, chronic illness outbreaks, and an increased chance of heart disease.

The bottom line, researchers say, is that while it is important to work through the issues in your relationship and solve your problems, it is not always better for your physical health to stay married in the long run.

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Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington