Marriage May Improve Cancer Survival, Plus More Unexpected Effects Of Being Married

Been on the fence as to what purpose marriages serves in this day and age? According to a new study, marriage is good for you. Actually, this isn’t the first study to prove that marriage has some pretty interesting effects on both the physical and mental health of men and women, but this particular study focuses on how cancer patients who are married have a higher chance at survival and beating the disease completely.

The study's researchers examined the California cancer registry, including over 700,000 cancer patients and over 300,000 deaths, as well as data regarding insurance and the socioeconomic standing of these people. They expected to find that economic advantages played a key role in the cancer patients' survival rates, but in reality it all came down to the support that comes with marriage, a deeply emotional support system. It’s thanks to the social and emotional aspects of marriage that contribute to overall health and happiness, according to the study — although this isn’t to suggest that you can’t be super healthy if you’re single, too. Also, if you’re unmarried and freaking the eff out as you read this, it should also be noted that no study is 100 percent locked down in stone.

But this isn't the only interesting benefit of being married. Here are seven unexpected effects of marriage that might make you think about running to the closest alter. Or not.

1. Marriage Is Beneficial To All Types Of Cancer Patients

When it comes to cancer mortality rates, marriage does wonders across the board. As the study found, although the mortality rate fluctuated depending on the cancer, the fact remains that they were still lower in married people.

For example, unmarried men with prostate cancer have a mortality rate that’s 33 percent higher than married men, whereas unmarried men with stomach cancer had a 12 percent higher mortality rate than married men. The percentage difference may be drastic, but the mortality rate is still higher in unmarried men.

The same situation was also found in women, with uterine and breast cancer, as well as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma having the greatest difference in mortality rates, but with married women still coming out on top.

2. Marriage Makes People Live Longer

The same study also found that, cancer or no cancer, unmarried men and women still have higher mortality rates. Unmarried men have a 27 percent higher rate and unmarried women have a 19 percent higher rate. When the researchers adjusted their study to consider socioeconomic factors, the unmarried men and women still had higher mortality rates: 22 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

3. Marriage Is Great For Social Relationships

Even if you’re not married but are in a couple, you already know that couples doing things together is like a thing… for whatever a reason. Even when couples aren’t out socializing with other couples, they’re socializing with each other and getting sh*t done. Because of this factor the social interaction keeps both people happy and healthier longer, according to 2009 research by the University of Chicago, especially as they get older.

4. Marriage Is Good For Your Heart

According to various research, marriage is great for your heart. No, not the proverbial one, but that one that actually keeps you alive. Although it was originally thought that only men could benefit from the correlation of marriage and heart health, a 2014 study by New York University Langone Medical Center also found that married women are less likely to suffer heart disease than their single counterparts. Which is really important to know because heart disease is the number one cause of death for women — something we tend to forget.

5. Marriage Makes Your Sex Life Better

According to a 2004 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, married couples are having amazing sex. While it makes sense that someone would have great sex with the person they have sex with all the time — because practice makes perfect — I like to believe that you don’t need to have a piece of paper between two people in order to have ultimate sexual satisfaction. But maybe that's wishful thinking?

6. Marriage Makes You More Willing To Give Back To The Community

Well, single people, you’re selfish! All you care about is yourself! You’re awful! I kid! However, according to a February 2016 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, married people have a higher volunteer rate, at 29.9 percent, than those who have never been married, at 19.9 percent. Well then... maybe it's time we step up our game, because walking and bathing puppies definitely falls under "giving back to the community," and everyone loves that; the puppies especially.

7. Marriage Decreases Problems With Alcohol

While study by research teams at the University of Missouri and Arizona State University equates marriage with helping to decrease heavy drinking, especially in problem drinkers, the study also pointed to something else: “Maturing out,” which refers to how problem drinking decreases as we age and grow. In other words, with marriage comes with new responsibilities — or at least it should to some degree.

“Confirming our prediction, we found that marriage not only led to reductions in heavy drinking in general, this effect was much stronger for those who were severe problem drinkers before getting married,” study author Matthew Lee, of the Department of Psychological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science at MU said. “This seems consistent with role incompatibility theory. We believe that greater problem drinking likely conflicts more with the demands of roles like marriage; thus, more severe problem drinkers are likely required to more substantially alter their drinking habits to adapt to the marital role."

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