After decades of research into whether marriage brings happiness and whether married people have better physical and mental health than single people, researchers have concluded that, on average, married people are happier and healthier than single people, but researchers are still debating the reason behind this, comparing the effect of marriage on men and women.
According to Psychology Today, one explanation why married people are happier is that marriage positively affects physical and psychological health; This is for several reasons, including couples’ ability to support each other in ways that friends or family members might not be able to, and just knowing you have someone who you lean on can give you the strength and confidence to meet the challenges you face throughout life.
Another explanation is that marriage selects truly healthy and happy people. Cheerful, stable, and reasonable-looking people are more likely to attract the opposite sex, enter into romantic relationships, and get married. Similarly, people in poor health or who suffer from mental disorders are less fortunate. In marriage, this could explain why married people are generally happier than unmarried people.
Marriage: Reason or choice?
How do you know if marriage brings happiness and health, or if it chooses happy and healthy people? Psychologist Charlie Huntington and his colleagues at the University of Denver in the United States conducted a study that followed 168 people during the planning phase of their marriage and after marriage, and the results of the study were published in the Journal of Family Psychology.
Huntington and his research team conducted a survey of participants every 4 months for about two years, and each time participants answered questions that assessed their overall health, life satisfaction, and stress levels. in their lives before the wedding day and the hour after.
Men and women were similar in terms of general health changes, as the researchers noticed an improvement in couples’ health in the months before the wedding, but it subsequently declined in the months after the wedding. .
These results indicate that couples strive to maintain healthy habits as the wedding day approaches, but quickly revert to old habits after their marriage. Marriage and after, but these effects do not last long.
Men are happier than women in marriage
As for the psychological changes, they were more complex, and their results differed between men and women; In terms of happiness and satisfaction in life, women’s happiness and satisfaction increased before the wedding day, but after the wedding, this feeling decreased and reached a lower level than it was before the engagement.
This trend indicates that many women marry with unrealistic expectations, which leads to their disappointment when they learn the day-to-day facts of marriage.
As for the men, contrary to what was expected, they witnessed a significant positive change in their mental health after marriage, as their feeling of satisfaction with their life remained constant during the months preceding the marriage. , but after marriage, their satisfaction and happiness increased. significantly and meaningfully, at least for the first few months of their marriage.
This trend indicates that men benefit more from marriage than they realize. In other words, it can be said that men and women are contradictory in their expectations before marriage and their experiences after marriage.
The contradiction also appears when we look at the evolution of the feeling of psychological pressure in women and men; Women experienced a large decrease in feelings of stress before marriage, and a large increase after that, and in contrast, men experienced a slight increase in feelings of distress before marriage, but then return to their state before engagement.
A happy marriage is built by happy partners
So, according to data collected by Huntington and his colleagues, the answer to the question of whether marriage makes us happy and healthy is likely to be “no.” They choose to maintain healthier behavior during this time.
The data does not indicate that marriage causes happiness, but rather it can be said that marriage chooses happiness, most likely, because health and happiness are attractive characteristics when choosing a life partner, and that a happy and healthy marriage is built by healthy and happy people.
Also, researchers at Michigan State University concluded in a study of the happiness of married, ex-married and single people, conducted among 7,532 people, that true happiness is more related to mentality than to marriage.