Good Marriage Equals Good Heart Surgery?

August 23, 2011 by Norm Schneider  
Published in Marriage

Study says good marriage increases longevity after surgery.

Do you have a good marriage?  Is your spouse supportive and loving?  Do you share good times and good experiences?  Do you believe your spouse will “be there” when you need it most? 

If you answered yes to all of those questions there is good news for you.  Happily married people who have to undergo heart surgery are three times more likely to be alive 15 years later as were unhappy or unmarried couples.

Women in Happy Marriages Survive Four Times Longer

In what could be a major windfall for marriage counselors, the study (2011) by researchers in England says there are different benefits from a happy marriage for men and women.  For men, marriage leads to higher survival rates and the more satisfying the marriage, the higher the rate of survival.  But, for women, the quality of the relationship is even more important.  A happy marriage increases a woman’s survival rate almost four times.

A happy marriage, say the researchers, is just as important to surviving heart surgery as other risk facts, such as not smoking, obesity and controlling high blood pressure.

15-Year Study

To come to their conclusions, the researchers followed 225 people who had heart surgery for 15 years.  They asked the couples to rate themselves on how happy they were in their relationships.  They also surveyed unmarried couples.  At the end of the period, 83 percent of happy wives were still alive but only 28 percent of unhappy married women were still alive and only 27 percent of unmarried. 

Happily married men also had an 83 percent survival rate.  But, not so happily married men survived at a higher rate than their female counterparts, 60 percent, and 36 percent of the unmarried men survived.

According to the researchers, the study shows how important ongoing relationships are for both men and women.

Couples Encourage Each Other

Couples who are supportive of one another are most likely to encourage each other to adhere to healthy lifestyles, like exercising more, not smoking, not drinking to excess, etc.  The researchers also said, obviously, that a good marriage provides patients with the motivation to care for themselves and a powerful reason to “stick around so they can stay in the relationship that they like.”

So, guys keep buying those roses and candies.  Take her out to eat or to the movies, keep planning those exotic vacations.  Your life could depend on it – but you knew that, didn’t you?

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