Does Marriage Actually Make People Happier? … and how it affects men and women differently.

People who are married tend to be happier and healthier than single people, according to decades of studies. Researchers continue to disagree about the cause of this, though.

One explanation is that marriage results in improved mental and physical health. In ways that friends or family members might not be able to, couples support one another. Simply having someone to lean on can give you the courage you need to confront the difficulties life presents.

Married couples support one other in leading healthy lifestyles. For instance, the single lifestyle’s frequent irregular eating and binge drinking patterns are ultimately bad for one’s physical and emotional health. Contrarily, a married couple’s stable lifestyle, which includes regular meals, less drinking, and a somewhat stable social network, has health benefits.

Another theory is that those who are already happy and healthy are chosen for marriage. After all, having a positive personality and decent physical attributes makes it simpler to attract a mate. Similarly, those who are ill or have mental illnesses are less likely to marry, which could be the only explanation for the finding that married people are generally happier than single people.

Does Happiness Choose or Cause Marriage?
In a study that followed 168 soon-to-be married people through their transition into married life, psychologist Charlie Huntington of the University of Denver and colleagues sought to further examine the subject of whether marriage causes or selects for health and happiness. The Journal of Family Psychology just published a report on the study’s findings.
Over a period of almost two years, the participants were polled every four months. They answered inquiries about their overall health, alcohol use, level of life satisfaction, and psychiatric suffering each time. By doing this, the researchers were able to spot changes in both physical and mental health both before and after the wedding.

Both men and women experienced similar changes in their general health and alcohol usage. Their general health in particular improved in the months leading up to the wedding before declining in the months that followed. And in the other direction, their alcohol consumption fell before marriage but rose subsequently.

According to this result, people attempt to adopt healthier practices as the big day draws closer but soon fall back into their old routines. The health advantages of marriage, according to the researchers, appear to be greatest in the weeks leading up to and following the wedding ceremony, though they are transient.

The Bump of a Wedding
In contrast to physical trends, changes in psychological wellbeing were more complicated and sex-specific. Women reported higher life satisfaction before their wedding. But after that, it dipped to a level beneath what it had been prior to their engagement. This pattern shows that many women enter marriage with inflated expectations and leave the union dissatisfied with the daily realities.
But marriage appears to provide psychological advantages for men. In the months leading up to the wedding, their life satisfaction is consistent, but after the wedding, it significantly increases, at least in the initial months of their marriage. This pattern implies that marriage proves to be more advantageous for men than they had anticipated. In other words, men and women have different expectations before and experiences after becoming married.

The levels of life pleasure that each person had prior to and during marriage are reflected in the opposite patterns that psychological distress displays for men and women. In other words, the ladies reported a marked decrease in psychological suffering prior to the wedding and a marked increase following it. The men, on the other hand, had a slight uptick prior to the big day and a return to their pre-engagement status thereafter.

Will getting married improve your health and happiness, then? The evidence gathered by Huntington and colleagues indicate that the answer is probably not. The researchers note that during the engagement time, both men and women experience an improvement in overall health. However, as shown by the decline in alcohol use prior to marriage and a return to previous habits following, this is presumably because they are acting in good faith throughout this time.

In terms of psychological health, the men reported being happier in the months following the wedding than before, whereas the women experience an uplift before marriage and a return to pre-engagement levels shortly after. The duration of this increase in men’s life satisfaction following marriage is still unknown.

Happy partners are the foundation of happy marriages.
The findings, in the opinion of Huntington and colleagues, do not support the claim that marriage promotes happiness and health. Instead, they are more in line with the idea that marriage favors these. In other words, it’s the opposite of how things actually happen—people get healthy and happy before they get married. That is, those who are well and happy are more likely to be married than those who aren’t, most likely because those traits make a partner more desirable.

Although the researchers did not discuss this topic with the participants, the statistics indicate that many people have unrealistic expectations when they get married. If you believe that marrying your soulmate will bring you happiness, you will undoubtedly be let down. Getting married is a significant life event that can be both exciting and stressful. However, once the honeymoon is over, you’ll probably return to your pre-marriage levels of physical and psychological well-being.
In conclusion, it’s important to realize that happy, healthy people form happy, healthy marriages. In order to attract someone with whom you can create a solid and supportive marriage, first take care of your physical and mental well-being.

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