Three reasons to celebrate love
With Valentine's Day fast approaching you may be looking forward to celebrating your relationship with a nice dinner and perhaps some flowers and chocolates, but we've got an even better reason than Valentine's Day to celebrate being in love. It turns out that being in a long-term relationship, married or cohabitating, can actually be good for your health. So take a look below at three reasons why love is good for you:
A healthier heart
It may seem cliché to say that being married is good for your heart, but it's actually true! A study conducted in Finland found that those who were single had an increased risk of both fatal and non-fatal heart attacks, no matter their age, when compared to those who were married or cohabitating1. A further study conducted at Aston University in Birmingham showed that married people were 14% more less likely to pass away after a heart attack2. Further research by the team at Aston University has lead researchers to beleive that being married may help protect against heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure. They don't quite know the reason why, but beleive it has something more to do with having someone special in one's life than the actual act of marriage3.
A happier state of mind
A stable, happy marriage can account for reduction in depressive symptoms, both for women and men, according to research4. There are likely many factors that contribute to this, such as lack of social isolation, which can be a major cause of depression, and a better emotional support system. In addition to reducing depression, marriage can also help reduce stress. A study conducted in 2010 found that those in a committed relationship responded to stress better than those who were single5. Of course just being married doesn't mean mental health issues won't appear, and while a happy marriage may be a positive influence on mental health, an unhappy marriage will likely have a negative effect.
A longer life
According to many studies, being married can contribute to longer life expectancy. For example, a study conducted in North Carolina found that having a partner in middle age can protect against premature death, with those who never married being two times as likely to die early6. Though there's no hard and fast connection between marriage and longevity, there could be many reasons married people live longer such as the emotional support married people share, the influence of a healthy lifestyle from one partner to the next, or the discouragement of risky behaviours.
This article was originally published in 2015. This is an updated version.