Healthier financesAlthough marriage can lower costs and create financial opportunities, the event itself costs a huge amount. The average wedding costs £18,500 in the UK – flowers, food and favors certainly add up. However, not only is getting married costly, ending the union is a rather expensive process too. The average cost of ending a marriage through the British courts is about £13,000 per divorce; whilst in the USA the average cost of a divorce is estimated to be around $20,000. And how does this affect your health? The wealthy enjoy significantly better health whilst they are alive, and they live longer than those in low socio-economic groups.
Singletons keep fitterIt seems that when you get married, you not only gain a spouse, you also gain a considerable amount of weight. A poll commissioned by the Department of Health found that only 27 percent of adults met the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Of those 27 per cent, the majority were married. So how much weight does a pair in couple-kingdom gain? According to US researchers it depends on your gender. 46 per cent of the 5,000 ladies who took part in the US study gained at least 20 pounds. However, for the guys the increased weight risk was not as high. Unlike women, men gained the most weight during divorce.
More friendsDitching your buddies for cheeky nights in and romantic dates out is a classic sign of a serious relationship. However, friendship is a hugely undervalued resource. A 10 year Australian study found that older people with a large amount of friends were 22 per cent less likely to die during the study than those older people with fewer friends. Also Harvard researchers suggested that strong social ties may promote brain health as we age and another study found that those with high social relationships were 50 per cent more likely to survive during the period of study. So it turns out friends are not just there for secret sharing and karaoke fun.
Less fightsIt’s pretty obvious that screaming until you’re hoarse and yelling at your partner is no fun. However, research has shown that there may be more sinister health risks associated with fighting with your loved one. One recent study concluded that a stressful marriage can be as bad for the heart as smoking. Other research suggests that a stressful marriage can also be worse for women than men. Women who didn’t speak their minds during a fight were found to be four times more likely to die in the 10-year study period than those women who always told their partners their thoughts.
Smaller portionsThe fairytale goes… girl meets boy, they fall in love, marry and live happily ever after. What the fairytale doesn’t tell us is that when you meet that someone special you will find yourself feasting on man-sized portions and calorific meals. Women typically gain weight when they begin a relationship because they eat man-sized portions; but men tend to burn calories faster than women. Similarly men gain weight because couples order in more takeaways and eat out too. Considering that the average Indian takeaway contains 1,338 calories and a similar sized Chinese takeaway contains 1,436 calories it is not surprising that couples pile on the pounds.
Healing powersWe don’t mean to imply that if you’re single then you can cure broken limbs and nasty cuts with a wink of your eye and a sprinkle of magic dust. However, if you are in a bad relationship with high levels of hostility then your body will take longer to heal injuries. Research was conducted in America to measure how a bad relationship affects people’s immune system. The researchers blistered participants’ arms to measure how quickly the wounds healed. They found that the blisters on the couples who had a lot of marital stress took a full two days longer to heal than those of couples who had less hostility.
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