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My Married Life: Marriage Will Make You Healthier

A recent story in the New York Times took a new look at an old study linking marriage and health. And when I say old, for once I don’t mean 1972. The study was actually done in 1858! It was performed by a British epidemiologist named William Farr, who studied what he called the “conjugal condition” of the French. Though Farr concluded that married people were far healthier than their single counterparts, little of his findings translate to modern day life. For example -- besides married, his other two categories were celibate (for the single) and widowed. Don’t know about you guys, but celibate hardly describes the status of my single friends!

Other notable exclusions include gay couples, or cohabitating couples. Sure, there are lots of recent studies that have claimed marriage comes with health advantages -- but these modern studies make one notable distinction -- the advantages only come if the marriage is good. Makes sense right? I mean, there’s no way a miserable marriage is good for anyone’s health.

Personally, I think Jack and I make each other healthier because of plain old accountability. If he weren’t around I’d do things like have a sleeve of cookies for dinner. If I weren’t around he’d do things like never ever see a doctor. And yes -- I get that it’s about more than that. I get that things like regular sex, being understood on a deep-deep-deep level, laughing daily, processing problems together, etc., all adds up to better health.

Do you agree?

-- Holly

See More: Love & Sex , Couple Issues