family life researcher at Brigham Young University studied the link between
health and marriage for 20 years, and now he’s got something important to tell
you: If your marriage stays good, there’s a better chance your health will stay
good over the years, too.
Miller’s research utilized data from nearly 1,700 married people over two
decades, making it the longest study to date on marital quality and health.
First, he and his team assessed how good subjects’ marriages were (based on
subjects’ satisfaction and happiness levels, as well as how often they and
their spouse fought). Next, they asked respondents to rate the state of their
health. The results: The more marital conflicts people had, the poorer their
health turned out to be, too.
evidence from previous research that marital conflict leads to poor health,” says
Miller, whose study was published in the June issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family. “But this
study also shows happy marriages have a preventative component that keeps you
in good health over the years.
“The implication is that marital
conflict is a risk factor for poor health,” Miller continued. He and many
colleagues believe that health insurance should cover marriage counseling. Proper guidance, their reasoning goes, can patch up a failing relationship and head
off health crises in the bargain. Miller hopes the growing body of research on
the subject will eventually lead policy-makers to institute changes to the
Previous research has shown that meaningful relationships help people enjoy longer