Dating Magazine

The Benefits of Being Truly Happily Married

By Datecoachtoni @CoachToni

Most people probably believe that a good marriage is good for us—physically, mentally, and emotionally. It just makes sense that if our primary relationship is good, it will enhance our life and help us ward off loneliness and the anxiety that can come when feeling all alone. Not to mention all the perks that having one’s own family can bring.

Now we have data to back this up. A study was recently released on the positive effects of happy marriage. It was conducted by Wendy Birmingham, PhD from Brigham Young University and published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 94 couples were asked questions about their spouse’s behavior and interpersonal functioning, and placed into categories of “genuinely happy,” and “ambivalent,” which had a wide range of satisfaction. One quarter were happy, the other three quarters fell into the ambivalent category. A number of these had positive things to say about their spouses, but felt they could be unsupportive and negative.

What was most interesting about this study is that only the respondents who were genuinely happy possessed the benefits of better health and longevity. Those in the ambivalent group, even the ones who said many positive things about their spouse—didn’t demonstrate the same benefits as the happy group. Clearly this points to the importance of being in a truly happy marriage—one in which one’s spouse is perceived as supportive and positive. Note these two elements—this study is basically pointing to them as key to happiness in marriage—as opposed to having great wealth, successful careers, perfect kids, etc. Feeling validated makes all the difference.

In both groups the level of commitment was strong, and respondents reported no desire to leave their marriages. It was the quality of the relationships and how they impacted the well-being of the individuals that was very telling. Their blood pressure was measured regularly, and happy couples had lower rates. In all cases, the couples lived alone with no children or other extended family. Their ages ranged from 18-62, with an average age of 29.

This study also reinforces the usefulness of marital counseling, where we often work on enhancing communication and offering more support, validation and appreciation to one another. These make up the glue of happy marriages and if a couple is struggling with negativity—there is hope through counseling which can help them to make changes in how they relate to and support one another.

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