Good physical and emotional health depends upon many factors. One factor not frequently mentioned is a person’s marital status.
Matrimony today is not what it was a generation ago. Fewer people are getting married. Statistics show that 51 percent of people 18 and older are married, in contrast to the 1960s when 72 percent of people were married. More people are living together but are not married.
Studies have shown that married individuals, especially men, live longer than non-married ones. Unfortunately, many marriages are not successful. It has been stated that about 50 percent of all marriages end in a divorce.
Divorce is never easy and has ramifications that affect not only the couple but their children, close relatives and friends. And it’s not only young and middle-aged people who get divorced. There is an increase in older couples finding their way to the divorce court, too.
As a result of newer medications, heart by-pass surgery, improved nutrition and more exercise, people are living longer. Throw Viagra into the mix, and you have 70-years-olds thinking and feeling like 40-year-olds. Some of these people believe they have more years to live and want to live them differently. Frequently, that means not with the same spouse.
One report showed a 10 percent increase in the divorce rate of individuals 65 and older. Both men and women are initiating the divorce.
When you marry, how do you know your mate is really the one for you? And is the spouse you married at age 28 the same person when he or she is 25 years older?
In a recent report, psychologists claim they uncovered an indicator of whether or not a marriage will last. They first determined if couples had premarital doubts about getting married. Forty-seven percent of men and 38 percent of women did.
Results showed that among wives, 19 percent who had pre-wedding doubts were divorced four years later, in contrast to 8 percent of women who did not have such doubts. For husbands, 19 percent who had doubts were divorced, in contrast to 9 percent who did not.
Marriage is an important institution and affects almost every aspect of a person’s life, including their health. Therefore, choosing a mate is probably the most important decision you will ever make, so do it wisely.
Dr. Murray Feingold is the physician in chief of The Feingold Center for Children, medical editor of WBZ-TV and WBZ radio, and president of the Genesis Fund. The Genesis Fund is a nonprofit organization that funds the care of children born with birth defects, mental retardation and genetic diseases.