Ethics & Religion
July 4, 2018
Why Do Married People Live Longer?
By Mike McManus
Marriage is good for your health!
Compared with married people, single people are 42% more likely to have
some form of cardiovascular disease. Those who were never married,
widowed or divorced are 16% more apt to have coronary heart disease, for
The unmarried also had a 43% increased likelihood of death due to
coronary heart disease and a 55% increased risk for death from stroke,
according to research on two million people aged 42 to 77, in 34 studies
carried out in Europe, Scandinavia, North America, the Middle East and
Asia reports a study published in Heart magazine.
Interestingly, stroke risk increased for the unmarried and divorced, but
not for the widowed. Marriage has a lasting impact.
As this column has previously reported, divorced men live 10 years
shorter lives than married men.
- Single men have a 32% higher risk of
death than their married counterparts.
- About 80% of the causes of cardiovascular disease can be attributed to
well-known risk factors such as age, sex, high blood pressure, high
cholesterol, smoking and diabetes.
- However, marriage - or the lack of it - may account for 20% of the
causes of heart disease.
Why do married men and women live longer?
- Married couples drink less - both soda and alcohol - and they smoke
- Second, married spouses look out for one another and discourage
unhealthy habits. Wives cook healthy meals for their mate. Single men do
not eat as well.
- Third, getting married increases one's life expectancy.
Why? Unmarried men are less likely to exercise and more likely to drink
heavily. Married men have a lower risk of depression and a happier
retirement. Prodded by their wives, married men are more likely to get
regular medical care.
Japanese scientists say that men who have never married are three times
more likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
A large study in Finland reports that being unmarried increases the risk
of fatal and non-fatal heart attacks in both men and women, whatever
their age. By contrast, it reported that married men and women have a
"considerably better prognosis of acute cardiac events both before and
after hospitalization after reaching the hospital alive."
The study recorded 15,330 "acute cardia syndromes" over ten years, with
half (7,703) resulting in death within 28 days. However, death was 58%
to 66% higher among unmarried men and 60% to 65% higher in unmarried
women - than among married men and women in all age groups.
Mortality rates were higher after 28 days - 60% to 168% higher in
unmarried men and 71% to 175% higher in unmarried women than among
married men and women.
One reason is that according to a study of 27,779 cancer cases, men who
were not married were much more likely to have cancer in an advanced
stage by the time they were diagnosed. And married men had a higher
survival rate because they often got medical care on a regular basis.
Mortality rates were higher among single older people (65-74 years old).
For example, married women died at a rate of 247 per 100,000 people vs.
493 per 100,000 single women.
Another reason married people are more likely to be resuscitated is that
a spouse is more apt to call for help quickly.
Divorce is associated with a 35% higher risk of developing heart disease
for both men and women, and widowers of both sexes were 16% more likely
to have a stroke.
Finally, being alone was associated with a 42% heightened risk of dying
from coronary heart disease and a 55% greater risk of stroke.
Married men have better cognitive function and a smaller risk of
Therefore, my question is simple. Why don't pastors sermonize about the
importance of marriage for the health of their church members? Perhaps
they don't know the data.
Therefore, I suggest that you clip this column
and hand a copy to your pastor, and encourage preaching on the positive
power of marriage for both men and women.
Second, I suggest you send a copy to the president of your
denomination's state organization, encouraging them to make the data
available to all of the pastors in your state.
Here's the bottom line: Married men live 17 years longer than single men
because single men's risk of death due to coronary disease is 32% higher
than that of married men. And men who have never married are three times
more likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
Enough of statistics. Men need Wife Insurance if they want to live 17
Copyright (c) 2018 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and
a syndicated columnist. To read past columns, go to
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