As our editorial director is getting married in just a few months and is thus in the throes of the nightmare known as wedding planning, we thought it might be fun to spotlight a new study that says wedded bliss isn’t quite as blissful as it used to be. (Sorry, boss!) According to The Science of Us, marriage has, in the past, been linked to “a longer life span, fewer heart attacks and strokes, and a lower risk of depression”; however, new research published in Social Science Quarterly suggests the link between marital status and good health no longer exists. According to study author Dmitry Tumin, this new information “may reflect demographic and cultural trends that have undermined the protective effects of marriage.” Now, for example, women can make their own dough (just ask Beyoncé) and therefore don’t experience the financial benefits of marriage to the extent they once did. Also, rates of marriage are decreasing (particularly among those of lower socioeconomic status) as marital age increases, two other factors that may be affecting the data.
Still, it’s not just that, according to Tumin, single life is better for women now than it once was (eliminating the health bump previously attributed to marriage). Instead, it might be that marriage is also more stressful than it used to be. “Work-family conflict has increased in the closing decades of the 20th century, and spouses’ actual time spent together has decreased over this period,” he said. “Against a backdrop of greater demands at home and at work, and less time spent together, today’s married couples may indeed experience marriage more as a source of conflict and stress than as a resource that safeguards their health.”
While this may all be true, we’d argue that life overall has become increasingly stressful (we blame Instagram!) and that we don’t necessarily trust this one study to dissuade us from marriage. However, if we were our editorial director, we might use this information to postpone indefinitely the part of the whole shebang that is without a doubt (no scientific proof needed) so stressful as to be detrimental to health: the wedding itself. If you’re still a fan of lasting love, no matter what the cost (to both health and wealth), click here to peruse a slideshow of our favorite presumably now-unhappy couples taking the plunge in style.