In this age of equality, one would expect each marriage partner to receive the same benefits from the union. However, a new study suggests that there are greater benefits of marriage for men than for women, particularly health-wise.
Benefits of Marriage
The traditional benefits of marriage are well-cited in every wedding ceremony. Many studies have confirmed that marriage is beneficial to both husband and wife in terms of financial, psychological and physical support. Marriage or a committed partnership is also associated with better health, longer lifespan and fewer emotional issues.
A study conducted in 2011 found that people who were married had a 15% lower risk of premature death, while an earlier study by the World Health Organization found that married couples were less likely to be depressed and had less anxiety than those who were single.
In the past, financial inequality meant that men had to support their wife but with advancements in women's earning levels and education, men now have equal benefits in the economics of a marriage. It may not be a direct benefit of marriage for men, but it is one obligation they no longer have to shoulder.
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Study on the Health Benefits of Marriage for Men
This latest study investigates the connection between partnership status and health. Organized by the University College London, the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the information was collected from 100,000 people in the UK born in the same week in early 1958. They were all aged 57 at the time of the study and had undergone medical examinations in the past.
The study found that both single and married middle-aged women had the same risk of developing metabolic syndrome (diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity), which was much higher in single men. This was thought to be because one of the benefits of marriage for men was having a partner who encouraged healthy eating habits, regular exercise and doctor visits when necessary.
Similarly, researchers found that the biomarker indicating breathing problems was 14% higher in unmarried men than in married men, single women or married women.
Divorce and Health
Divorce is a stressful time for both partners, but research showed that in the long-term it did not have a detrimental effect on health in either men or women who found a new partner. However, the study found that single or newly divorced men did suffer significant health issues but did recover their pre-divorce health status over time.
The study results were summed up by Dr. George Poubidis, Health Scientist at the UCL of Education. "Not marrying or cohabiting is less detrimental among woman than men,” he said, suggesting that the benefits of marriage for men may actually be greater.