The evidence is in and being happily married is part of the equation for a healthier and happier life. According to a new study that examined 20 years data on long term relationships, and regardless of how long a couple has been married, the data shows a correlation between physical well-being and wedded bliss.
In a study that continued over two decades, researchers studied 1,681 individuals and the link between marital happiness and health. What is unclear in this research is which one comes first, or do they grow symbiotically.
According to Cody Hollist, co-author of the study, “There is no way to tease out what caused what.” That caveat aside, he believes that this research will help doctors as well as psychologist and marriage counselors.
Richard B. Miller from Brigham Young University, with other researchers used data that Penn State collected across the U.S. from 1980 to 2000. The number of participants was reduced because Miller and Hollist were only interested in couples that stayed married for two decades to the same person.
Those participating in the study were divided into two groups based on age when they began their relationship, – 18-39 and 40-55. The younger group average age was 30 years old and around eight years of marriage, while 46 years old and 22 years of marriage was the average of the senior group. The research found that there was no significant difference between the two groups.
One interesting finding showed that a person’s health improved as their relationship improved.
The idea was, as Hollist explained, was that, “We wanted to compare the health trajectory with the happiness trajectory.” In order to accomplish that, eleven questions were asked of those who participated about different areas of their relationship which were linked to happiness, and 13 questions considered the struggles of their relationship. These questions were then linked to a four- tier scale which rated their health from excellent to poor.
In the end what they discovered was what you might intuitively expect that there’s a relationship between health and happiness and well-being for both age groups. “If their health is good, their happiness is up.”