Families, communities, and nations are strengthened by strong and supportive marriages. Not all marriages are good, and husbands and wives are responsible to make their marriages the best they can be. Good marriages have a good effect on the health of the marriage partners while not-so-good marriage can take a toll on health.
Brigham Young University recently published a report of the results of a study of marital quality in 94 couples. The purpose of the study was to discover how the quality of a marriage “may influence long-term health.” It examined the effects of “ambivalent behavior on interpersonal-functioning and ambulatory blood pressure (ABP). The study found that “ambivalent behavior was associated with lower intimacy … and higher systolic ABP….” It concluded that ambivalence may eliminate any positive benefits in marriage relationships.
The New York Times published an article that contains interesting details of the study. “The findings, published this month by researchers at Brigham Young University, are part of a growing body of research that attempts to parse the so-called marriage benefit, the well-established notion that married people are, over all, far healthier and live longer than the unmarried. But increasingly, researchers are trying to understand the more nuanced effects of marriage on health. To reap the health benefits of marriage is it enough to just be married? Or how much does the quality of the marriage, such as the level of support, warmth, negativity or controlling behavior, affect the health of seemingly stable couples?”
The article in the Times included a link to a quiz to help us discover whether or not we are in an ambivalent marriage. I took the quiz and found some areas I can work on. I hope you will also take the quiz. It can be found here.
There is little doubt that marriage has a huge impact on us, including our health. We can choose to strengthen our marriages or not, but we must understand that ambivalent marriages have an impact on our physical health. This study illustrates the impact that marriage can have on us. I hope we will all make our marriages more supportive and thus strengthen our families, communities, and nations.