Why Men live longer in Relationships
By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D.
Hold on, guys: What does the data actually say? Just the opposite!
Marriage benefits men—and more so than it does women—in numerous different ways. Research shows that happily married men:
- Are healthier overall.
- Live longer—in fact, one study showed that having a partner in middle age is protective against premature death.
- Show improved cancer outcomes.
- Have better heart health.
- Are less likely to engage in risky or unlawful behavior.
- … and even have stronger bones.
Why and how is marriage so good for men?
We could surmise about a lot of reasons, but here are a few research-backed findings:
1. Studies suggest that marriage may lead to healthier lifestyle. We are more likely to work out, eat at regular mealtimes, and eat a more balanced or healthy diet when we have a partner than when we are on our own.
2. Perhaps more important, a happy marriage provides a constant source of social connection. In addition to physical affection, a supportive marriage provides a source of constant and enduring friendship, which can boost well-being and confidence and foster resilience to life’s challenges. Social connection literally makes us thrive. We know from research that a lack of social connection leads to increased anxiety, depression, and mortality—and is even as unhealthy as obesity, high blood pressure, or smoking. However, when our social connection is high, it:
- Increases well-being and happiness.
- Boosts self-esteem, self-confidence, and resiliency.
- Increases optimism and trust.
- Leads to more friendly and outgoing behavior.
- Increases longevity.
- Strengthens immunity and leads to faster recovery from disease.
- Provides resilience against life stresses.
3. Marriageprovides an opportunity to serve. A large body of research shows that giving benefits our health outcomes and longevity more than receiving. As I’ve written, the best-kept secret of highly-successful couples is that partners are focused on serving each other. Numerous studies show the importance of kindness and service for one’s own well-being. And these results are especially true for men who marry after 25 and become happily married.
These findings mostly relate to fulfilling relationships. Does all of this mean that a man (or woman) should stay in an unhealthy or unhappy marriage or partnership, just for the presumed health benefits? Of course not. But it does mean that there is a lot to be said for the advantages of a relationship grounded in kindness and well-being.
Or as the saying attributed to Lao Tzu goes: Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
Learn how to feel more appreciated, have more respect and a happier relationship/marriage with our online course ”Relationship Masterclass For The Modern Man”