So, what’s so good about marriage? First, research shows that married couples have better mental and physical health. They’re less likely to suffer chronic diseases and long term illnesses and more likely to survive a catastrophic event, such as a heart attack. They also have fewer depressive symptoms. Even people who have had bouts of depression in the past have fewer episodes after marrying. When done well, the emotional security and stability that marriage provides helps us feel better about ourselves and makes us more effective in coping with stressful situations.
These health benefits stem from the unique characteristics of the husband-wife relationship — it’s not just about being emotionally involved or living with someone. Spouses tend to monitor each other’s behavior, making sure each has regular health check-ups, stays on their medications, and adopts good health habits, such as exercise.
Marriage is especially beneficial for men. Wives keep their husbands socially connected. Men have relatively few and less emotionally close ties with others, and can become socially isolated without their wives. And while women can’t rely as much on their husbands on such things, they’re still better off than those who are not married.