Saturday, April 17, 2010

Is Marriage Good For Your Health

From an article in 4/12/10 New York Times by Tara Parker Pope. The essence of the article is that a good marriage is very good for your health; and a bad marriage is very bad for your health. The permutations and nuances of these findings are very interesting. Here are some excerpts from the article:

"...scientists have continued to document the “marriage advantage”: the fact that married people, on average, appear to be healthier and live longer than unmarried people. Contemporary studies, for instance, have shown that married people are less likely to get pneumonia, have surgery, develop cancer or have heart attacks. A group of Swedish researchers has found that being married or cohabiting at midlife is associated with a lower risk for dementia. A study of two dozen causes of death in the Netherlands found that in virtually every category, ranging from violent deaths like homicide and car accidents to certain forms of cancer, the unmarried were at far higher risk than the married."

"....Several new studies, for instance, show that the marriage advantage doesn’t extend to those in troubled relationships, which can leave a person far less healthy than if he or she had never married at all. One recent study suggests that a stressful marriage can be as bad for the heart as a regular smoking habit."


lynda said...

Wow, so happy to find your blog. You're saying everything I'm trying to say. I love that you talk about what your partner is going through. I always knew I have all kinds of people taking care of me, but who is taking care of my husband? I really make an effort to do so. I love him so much. I have a blog too. Would love it if you'd take a look at it and I would love to link to yours. I'm going back now to read the rest of yours.

Barbara K. said...

Welcome Lynda. Glad you found this place. And happy to include your blog in my blogroll - always good to support patient blogs.

Angela Carter said...

Hey there Barbara,

I know that my husband had a harder time with my diagnosis of arthritis and fibromayalgia than I did. That was 14 years ago. He refuses to accept the doctors assessment that there is not a thing they can do but to give me medication that knocks me out. He also doesn't understand how his drinking can cause me more pain, even when I explain to him that it's the stress he puts me under when he drinks. He says that I put myself there by making a big deal out of it. According to him, his life was over the day we were told I had arthritis and fibromyalgia. I got him a book to read about how one man coped with his wife's chronic illness but he wouldn't read it. He said it had nothing to do with him. I made a suggestion that he go to a psycho-therapist but he said he wasn't the one who need one.
I've come to terms with the fact that I will never be able to do all the things I use to do but I haven't given up entirely on the things I still can't do. Where as my husband has given up on me and us.

Barbara K. said...


I am truly sorry that you and your husband haven't yet been able to find common ground about your illness. I'm glad you haven't given up on finding a balance for yourself.

I wonder about two thing:
What would it mean to him if he accepted that you had an illness?
What would happen if the two of you did some couples therapy?

I hope you find healing and peace

Angela Carter said...

In answer to your questions; I believe that he may be very pleasantly surprized to find that if he was to accept my health issues that his life would get easier. As it is right now his constant focus on him, and him alone is causing more conflict than my being sick. That puts more stress on me, which raises my pain levels and makes me down more than up. I get more done around the house with less pain when he's at work. On the weekends, his idea of spending time together, is doing only what he wants and that's sitting on the computer from the time he gets home on Friday until Sunday night. I won't say what he does all that time on the computer but it's not what I consider spending quality time together. I usually want to get out in the yard or go for a ride. He puts so much stress on how I will never be able to do the things he wants to do that even going to WalMart is no longer enjoyable. That's how he grew up.

Now for the second question, we went to a couples therapy session when he got a DUI and it didn't go well at all. He put so many restrictions on what we could talk about that when we would meet with the therapist there wasn't much to say. Our issues are with the secrets he doesn't want anyone to know about. It always came to the same thing, I was and my illnesses were, the root of most of his problems. Because I couldn't talk about what was really bothering me, the therapist never really knew the whole picture.