Saturday, April 16, 2016
Marriage May Help Partners Survive Cancer
From an article in the Chicago Tribune:
"Married people seem to have a marked survival advantage, the researchers found: Single men with cancer had a death rate 27 percent higher than it was for married male patients, while the death rate for single female patients was 19 percent higher than their married counterparts.......What's more, this advantage appears to rely solely on the emotional bonds of matrimony and not the financial advantages that marriage offers......"
The article highlights the practical help well partners offer -- driving, shopping, reminders to take medication -- in addition to the emotional support that comes from having a loving, listening presence.
But the article, and the research it's based on, don't go far enough. It's not just that the presence of a loving partner can help with the fight against cancer. It's that the challenges cancer (and other illnesses) brings into the relationship can serve as a catalyst to finding more truthful communication and a deepened connection. Many of the couples we interviewed for our book said that they reached levels of intimacy that would not have been possible had it not been for the presence of illness.
The relationship has the potential to heal - emotionally, spiritually, and now there's research that shows that a physical healing can happen too.