Does Marriage Make You Healthier? Readers Share Their Stories

Cheerful young interracial couple with coffee playing with chihuahua dog at home
Does Marriage Make You Healthier? Readers Share Their Stories
Emma Yasinski
Emma Yasinski Staff Writer
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It’s well-known that we tend to adopt some of the health behaviors of the people we spend the most time with in our daily lives. When we’re young, our parents may dictate much of our diets. If our siblings and friends are physically active, so are we. If they prefer movie nights on the couch, so do we. The same goes for our romantic partners. As we enter adulthood, our spouses and our marriage and significant others can have some of the most powerful impacts on our healthy habits.

Marriage can make you healthy. Not only does the emotional support from your loved one likely reduce your stress and improve your mental health, but researchers have found that married individuals are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than their unmarried counterparts.

Even the concept of marriage itself might help mental health. High-schoolers living in states where same-sex marriage was legalized were less likely to attempt suicide than those living in areas where it was illegal, according to a 2017 study. The effect existed whether the teenagers identified as part of the LGBTQIA+ community or not, but was especially pronounced among those who did.

Still, it’s not all rosy. While some studies suggest that marriage can improve your health even if the marriage has room to improve, others show that it’s important that the relationship is a healthy one. Men in unhappy marriages are at higher risk of sudden cardiovascular death than those who are happily married. Women may have similar experiences, since couples tend to have similar levels of cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol.

This Valentine’s Day, we asked readers to share some of the ways their relationships have impacted their health. Some research suggests that while both men and women tend to be healthier in marriage, the benefits are more prominent for men married to women than they are for women married to men, potentially because women are more likely to encourage their partners to adopt healthier habits. In our very tiny sample size that seems to be true, since most of our stories below came from men sharing the positive influences their spouses had had on them! (Editor’s Note: we cannot draw conclusions from the small number of people who responded to our call for stories.)

Read along, and share your own stories in the comments!

Stress-Busting Spouses

Eugene Klimaszewski says his job used to cause him intense stress. To relax, he and his partner took up yoga together.

“It has a strong emphasis on breathing and mindfulness, which helps me become more flexible and strong physically as well as focus more clearly and feel less stressed.” But that’s not all. Since taking up yoga, Klimaszewski says he’s been sleeping better and has far more energy than before the exercise.

Deon Black says his partner loves hiking and yoga. When they started dating, they “became one of those annoying couples that jogs at 6 a.m.” But one of the biggest benefits he’s found is in how he manages stress. When tension inevitably arises in the relationship, he starts meditating.

“It helped me stay calm and collected even when things were heated between us – kind of like being in the eye of a hurricane,” he says. Between the early morning workouts and the stress-busting meditation, both his blood pressure and cholesterol have improved.

Matrimonial Meals

Tim Connon’s new girlfriend loves to cook seafood.

“My favorite is the salmon chowder she showed me,” he says. The two often prepare tuna sandwiches for lunch together, hoping to increase their intake of healthy fats and protein. Since incorporating more seafood into his diet, he says his blood pressure and cholesterol levels have never been better.

Russell Noga also cooks with his spouse. They both enjoy cooking, but when he was on his own, his meals were “not that inspiring.”

“But when we got together, we began experimenting with healthier products, trying out new recipes, and really getting into the cooking mood,” he says. They currently aim for a Mediterranean diet, known to have myriad advantages, including improved cardiovascular health. Not only does he have a newfound appreciation for mealtime as a shared activity, but he’s found his energy levels higher than ever.

Active Accomplices

Michael Benoit’s health improved when he traded working on paperwork and brainstorming after-hours for hikes with his partner.

“It started with short, local trails, but soon, we were planning vacations around hikes in national parks,” says Benoit. He says not only are they both more energized than they were before, but his routine health checks have suggested improvements, as well.

When Vincent Iachetta Jr. started dating his partner, the two spent most of their time cozying up for movie nights. While he enjoyed that time, he started to gain a little weight and lose a little energy. In an effort to reverse the trend, the pair started playing video games that include physical movement.

“We challenged each other to dance-offs or sports competitions right in our living room. This playful pivot not only boosted my energy levels but also brought us closer, adding a new layer of fun to our relationship,” he says.

Whether you’re coupled up or flying solo this Valentine’s Day, check out some of MedShadow’s resources for a healthy lifestyle such as:

Mediterranean Diet Guide
Exercise: A Prescription for Almost Any Condition
How to Manage Stress


DISCLAIMER: MedShadow provides information and resources related to medications, their effects, and potential side effects. However, it is important to note that we are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content on our site is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Individuals dealing with medical conditions or symptoms should seek guidance from a licensed healthcare professional, such as a physician or pharmacist, who can provide personalized medical advice tailored to their specific circumstances.

While we strive to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented on MedShadow, we cannot guarantee its completeness or suitability for any particular individual's medical needs. Therefore, we strongly encourage users to consult with qualified healthcare professionals regarding any health-related concerns or decisions. By accessing and using MedShadow, you acknowledge and agree that the information provided on the site is not a substitute for professional medical advice and that you should always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for any medical concerns.

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