Traveling makes you happier than marriage, but here's what marriage does for your health
Posted June 28
Updated June 29
The internet is buzzing with the news that traveling can make you happier than marriage. It’s a big claim, made by (unsurprisingly) a major travel company, after surveying around 17,000 people from 17 countries.
Traveling may make you happier
Many people are certainly more fired up about their travel plans than their wedding plans, and traveling is more fun than dating for most, too. 49 percent of respondents said that traveling brings them more happiness than their wedding day did, and 51 percent claim they’d rather go traveling than on a date with their significant other.
Travel can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience, but should you really prioritize vacations over relationships? Those who say travel makes them happier than marriage should probably check out what statistics say about marriage, too.
But marriage makes you healthier
Many studies show that married people generally seem to live longer, healthier and less stressful lives. There is evidence that being married lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and increases your odds of surviving cancer.
Statistics suggest that marriage may protect against premature death, too. Researchers combined the results of several studies across seven different countries, and found that married people seemed to have a 10 percent to 15 percent lower mortality rate than the rest of the population of a similar age.
It’s not just your physical health that benefits from a stable marriage, either. As this article on AnxietyBoss reports, there’s evidence that single adults are more prone to developing anxiety and other mental health problems than those who are married. A Swedish study even found that single people are at a higher risk for dementia than married couples.
So does marriage really protect your health, happiness and longevity, or are there other factors at work here?
An article in The Guardian makes some interesting points about behavioral patterns of married people. It claims married couples tend to smoke less, consume less alcohol and eat more healthily. And that’s before you factor in the mental health benefits of a supportive partner, and the physical health benefits of having someone to care for you when sick and remind you to go for your annual physical. A joint income doesn’t hurt either, making you more affluent overall, which protects against all kinds of health risks.
Marriage also provides a built-in social network, which is considered to be highly protective when it comes to both mental and physical health issues.
Marriage is only beneficial if it's happy and healthy
When it comes to marriage supporting health, of course, it’s also important to stress that the quality of your marriage counts. No marriage is perfect, but a good, emotionally healthy and supportive marriage is sufficient to support health. Bad marriages lead to bad health, with chronic conflict having a particularly negative effect. For many reasons, it's so important to learn to manage conflict within marriage.
Rushing into marriage is also not a great way to guarantee good health. Marry in haste and you may end up divorcing at your leisure.
Why not do both?
So get married, by all means, but make sure you’re marrying the right person, and then work on making the marriage as conflict-free and mutually supportive as possible. Oh, and take some trips together as well. If travel and marriage are both good for you, why not combine the two?
Karen Banes is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, lifestyle and entrepreneurship. Contact her at her website http://www.karenbanes.com/.or via Twitter where she tweets as @KarenBanes.