Various studies found that men have better health and larger social connections as a result of being married. This may be due to their wives arranging gatherings with friends or encouraging doctor visits.
In marriage, women have the financial cushion of a dual income and a handyman around the house. I thought it would be nice to always have a date for New Year’s Eve when being married.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) said married men were more likely to have had a doctor visit during the last year. The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that married men between ages 18 to 64 were more apt to get preventative health care than their single counterparts. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force found marriage increased men getting “clinical preventative services” such as diabetic or cholesterol screenings.
Why is this so? Women are the captains of household health, taking kids to the pediatrician and going to their regular OB/GYN appointments. After a divorce, women continue to go to these doctor appointments and have preventative tests, such as mammograms. Their health remains status quo.
Women are the ones who are influencing spouses to get preventative and acute care. The Canadian Journal of Urology reported that unmarried men with prostate cancer are more likely to die from it than are married men. Divorced/single men came in later for a diagnosis than their married peers, resulting in having a cancer that was in a more advanced stage. I have witnessed husbands being pushed or shoved into a doctor’s office. As a nurse, I have listened to men tell me that “There is nothing wrong with me. My wife insisted that I be here.”
Although this is changing, as of now women do the majority of the cooking in the home. They are the ones selecting tasty and nutritious food. My friend’s husband calls her most days from work to see what she is cooking for dinner. Women are used to cooking healthy meals and continue to do so after divorce.
Eating out with pals is a fun pastime that we do, whether married or divorced. Marriage is not particularly increasing women’s nutritional states as it is for males. Dr. Kawachi of the Harvard School of Public Health did a study with 30,000 men and found that recently divorced men had a decrease in a healthy lifestyle. He found that they drastically reduced their vegetable intake and upped their consumption of fried food. I could not find any results like this for women.
The New England Research Institute did a study that found 62% of men rely on their wives as their main social support. Women have wider social contacts and have friends to confide in besides a spouse. We go out to movies with girlfriends and make sure to keep in contact with old pals. When divorced, we carry on with these friendships or venture out and meet new people.
In Basic and Applied Social Psychology, there was an abstract from the Netherlands which studied loneliness in married and divorced people. Their findings were “among the divorced, men are more apt to suffer from emotional loneliness than women.” The researchers found men felt it more important to “have a partner than do women.”
The study indicated that men have a smaller network for support. Dr. Litman with the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center said that “males are twice as likely to commit suicide after divorce, which does not seem to be the case for females.”
A Harvard study indicated that men who had few social contacts had an 82% greater risk for heart disease than those that were married. An Israeli study showed a 37% risk factor in dying from strokes with stressful relationships, such as those with divorce. Different studies have slightly varying statistics, but the upshot is, feeling lonely after divorce increases a guy’s risk for health problems. This is less of an issue for women after divorce who are more likely to have social connections with each other.
Bottom line, marriage is far more advantageous to men than it is to women.
So because married men are healthier, they get more out of marriage? Is good health the only benefit to marriage?