Have you ever thought that relationships can be good for your health or not? You probably know couples who have gained weight after marriage or who have noticed signs of problems in others who have experienced toxic or abusive situations. Those who are divorced or widowed also go through periods that affect their health.
Scientists have long been trying to establish a relationship between marital status, disease, and mortality. Several studies have shown that having a partner reduces the risk of various health problems.
It protects them from cancer and heart problems
An article published in the British journal Heart in 2018 used data from 34 studies and two million participants from various countries in Europe, North America, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Asia, among others. The results showed that people who were divorced, widowed, or never married had a 55% higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart-related deaths than married adults.
In 2013, the American Journal of Clinical Oncology published a study in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology that showed that single patients, including widows, were at higher risk for cancer metastasis. subcontracting and cancer death than married patients. Marriage was associated with a relative reduction in cancer deaths, ranging from 12% to 33%.
another study by the German Heart Failure Center in Würzburg (DZHI) Examined 1,022 heart patients who were hospitalized between 2004 and 2007 at the 2022 Heart Failure Congress. Of the 1,008 reported marital status, 63% were married and 37% admitted to being unmarried, 195 were widows, 96 were never married and 84 were separated or divorced.
Within 10 years, 67% of heart patients died. Unmarried people had a higher risk of death for all reasons and cardiovascular death. Widowed patients were at higher risk of all causes of death and cardiovascular death compared to the married group.
Health and disease support
But what is the difference between being a partner and a lower risk of getting sick? German research author, physician fabian Kerwagen explains that the link between marriage and duration shows the importance of social support for those with an illness, such as heart failure. Spouses agree to take the right and regular medication, provide motivation and act as role models in the development of healthy behaviors, which leads to increased life expectancy.
In the case of those who are not ill, the partner has another important role to play: maintaining mental health. “The experience of marriage has a positive effect on the health of the spouses, offering the development and personal fulfillment of the participants. This is only possible when the will and consent of both spouses are kept to themselves and presented by ongoing actions. Available at any time,” said Paulo Tessarioli, psychologist and Abrasex (Brazilian Association of Professional Health, Education and Sex Therapies) President.
In addition, people with happy relationships have a stronger immune function than those who do not. Research also shows that cortisol, a stress hormone that can impair immune function at high levels, is released in a lower amount compared to unmarried couples.
Damage to marriage: weight
Meanwhile In terms of illnesses, couples rely on mutual support to overcome difficulties, among the benefits of marriage is not a healthier BMI (Body Mass Index).
A study published in Germany in 2018 looked at 20,950 people between the ages of 19 and 100, with the aim of examining how changes in marital status affect GMI over time. As a result, there was a significant increase in weight gain in men and women compared to marriage. On the other hand, the post-separation BMI is the same as the previous bond. Exercise, healthy eating and smoking did not diminish the effects of the change state love in GMI.
According to psychologist, sexologist and couple therapist Camille Borges, it is important to observe the configuration and planning of this couple’s life. “Trying to share household chores so as not to overburden one person, eating habits for everyone, and regular physical activity before marriage is one of the factors to look at,” she says.
Research has shown that health habits are “contagious” in couples, and the improvement in a spouse usually occurs after a couple has made a healthy change.
Why are widows and divorce at the center?
In the separation process, Borges believes, there are couples who are unilateral in their decision and are not supported by other people, suffering for a variety of reasons: adjustment, judgment, and social demands, or a new family setting.
The decline in health among widows and separates requires attention. “It’s an unselected condition and they also present a clinical situation that needs attention, especially if the death of a spouse occurred unexpectedly,” she noted.
“The pain of the loss is overcome through a series of actions, such as accepting reality and adapting to the world without the deceased. The work is difficult to work on and requires psychological follow-up,” says Tessarioli.
when it hurts
Although marriage has a positive side, it is important to consider the level of stress, especially after the times of social isolation due to the pandemic. According to Tessarioli, some level of stress in unions is inevitable and useful for people’s development. However, very long periods of stress can lead to psychosomatic illnesses.
Another point is the situations of abuse that cause social harm to victims, when they are separated from significant people, and the damage to mental health, which can last for a long time. “Difficulties in trusting other people, abusive behaviors, and questions about self-esteem are some of the unfortunate things that can happen,” the sexologist listed.
For him, healthy relationships are a great way to have a good life when you want to live together. But this does not mean that it is impossible to have a quality of life without being unmarried. It is essential to look for meaning in two or more formats. It is very limited to believe that you are happy only when you are helped by love. “Relationships should be worth it. If not, contrary to Tom Jobim’s contradiction, it’s only possible to be happy.”