Happily married couples are more likely to enjoy better mental and physical health than their single friends, a new study shows. And those in good marriages are more likely to rate their health as better as they grow older, meaning aging adults in poor physical health could benefit in particular from improvements in their marriages.
Christine Proulx, assistant professor in the University of Missouri Department of Human Development and Family Studies, examined the long-term relationship between self-rated health and marital quality, and found that — no matter what stage of marriage — positive or negative relationships impact a person’s health.
She said that spouses should be aware that how they treat each other and how happy they are in their marriages play a role in both partners’ health, meaning they should consider the maintenance of their personal relationship as key to feeling good both mentally and physically. Happily married people are also found to enjoy better health than those who are unhappy in their marriages.
“We often think about the aging process as something we can treat medically with a pill or more exercise, but working on your marriage also might benefit your health as you age,” Proulx said in a press release. “Engaging with your spouse is not going to cure cancer, but building stronger relationships can improve both people’s spirits and well-being and lower their stress.”
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