marriage

  1. Married people have lower cardiovascular disease risk

    Your spouse really is the keeper of your heart

    "It is not good that the man should be alone."

    That's a quote straight out of Genesis, as God tells us why he designed man and woman to be together. Or, as another passage from Genesis puts it, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."

    I'm not here to teach a Sunday school lesson. I'm pointing this out because modern science has backed this Biblical wisdom time and again, with studies showing that being single is bad for your health.

    And one new study finds that being married -- joining with a spouse as "one flesh" -- will protect you from one of today's leading killers: cardiovascular disease.

    Overall, married people are 5 percent less likely to experience any form of cardiovascular disease, including peripheral artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and coronary artery disease.

    The younger you are, the bigger the benefit of becoming "one flesh" with your spouse. If you're married and under the age of 50, for example, the risk drops by 12 percent. Between 51 and 60, the risk falls by 7 percent. Over the age of 61, marriage still offers a 4 percent advantage.

    Of course, even the happiest of marriages will end eventually -- and the new study confirms that when you tear apart the "one flesh," those risks shoot up again.

    Being widowed, for example, will cause your risk of any form of cardiovascular disease to jump by 3 percent, while divorce will boost those odds by 5 percent, according to the survey of more than 3.5 million Americans between the ages of 21 and 99.

    Marriage also keeps us healthy in other ways. Married people, for example, are less likely to smoke and be obese, in part because they want to be healthy for each other. And when they get sick, married people are more likely to seek help -- in part because there's a spouse urging them to see a doctor.

    That's what happens when you have someone else to live for.

    So if you're married, take a moment tonight to thank your spouse. You're not only keeping each other from being alone.

    You're keeping each other alive.

  2. A supportive spouse can protect you from cardiovascular disease

    Love is good for your heart

    Turns out the best thing for your heart isn't something you can do for yourself -- it's something you get from someone else.

    Specifically, your spouse.

    If you have a loving and supportive relationship, you're more likely to be healthy and have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and other heart problems, and you're more likely to survive if you suffer from a heart attack. (Yet one more reason to thank our Creator for your marriage.)

    Now, new research spots one of the reasons: People with supportive spouses have lower levels of calcium in the artery walls.

    Those buildups are known as coronary artery calcification, and they're a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, heart attack and an early death.

    And if you have a less-than-fully supportive spouse, odds are the calcium is building up inside your arteries right now, according to the study of 136 couples married for an average of 36 years.

    This alone doesn't surprise me too much. Like I said, a loving and supportive spouse usually means better heart health and lower cardiovascular disease risk.

    No, the real shocker here is that only 30 percent of the people in the study said they believed they could count on their spouse to always be supportive. The rest -- more than two-thirds of the people in the study -- felt either no support or ambivalent levels of support.

    Ouch!

    I'd like to think that at least some of the time this is a simple communication problem or misunderstanding -- so if you're feeling a little lack of support yourself, it's time to open up the airwaves.

    Speak to your spouse. Have a heart-to-heart with the person who shares your heart and make sure you each know that the other will be there no matter what.

    It's not just important for your marriage (as well as your sanity). As the new study shows, it's also important to your overall health.

  3. Happy couples live longer

    Married men and women who argue less live longer, according to new research.
  4. Wives save lives

    A new study finds that married men who suffer a heart attack are more likely to get to a hospital quicker than their bachelor counterparts -- and researchers believe it's because their wives are urging them to go at the first sign of trouble.

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