What you need to know:
- Women hardly benefit from getting married. On the other hand, men who tied the knot enjoyed immense benefits which included increased happiness and healthy lifestyles.
- For your marriage to be happy and mutually fulfilling, it must be a process of developing emotional maturity.
- While getting married has benefits such as longer lives, less depression and anxiety, and better health, being unmarried is also producing more benefits than previously thought.
Have you ever felt as though your marriage is more beneficial to your partner than to you? This is the marital phenomenon that researchers at the University College London, the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine sought to explore in their research on marriage and its impact on couples. According to the findings, women hardly benefit from getting married. On the other hand, men who tied the knot enjoy immense benefits which included increased happiness and healthy lifestyles. “Being married appears to be more beneficial for men than women,” said Dr. George Ploubidis, one of the researchers.
Emotional fulfillment and maturity
According to the study, women mostly benefit emotionally from being in a long term relationship or marriage. This is because they tended to value the state of being in a relationship more than men. Subsequently, the lack of emotional fulfillment in marriage means that women are less likely to enjoy the fruits of being married. According to family therapist Susan Gacheru, emotional fulfillment is a critical need for women in relationships or marriage. Her sentiments are echoed by psychologist Dr. Chris Hart, who says that for your marriage to be happy and mutually fulfilling, it must be a process of developing emotional maturity. “Successful couples tend to be more grown-up than failing couples. Similarly, as your maturity increases, your spouse gets happier,” he says.
Singlehood and Independence
According to Dr. Hart, while getting married has benefits such as longer lives, less depression and anxiety, and better health, being unmarried is also producing more benefits than previously thought. “Men and women now expect love and fulfillment from their marriages, and will consider leaving if they don’t get them,” he says. He also adds that financial independence has made it possible to walk out. “Traditional marriage was formed around the idea of men supporting women, but as women become more educated, they’re choosing to go against these traditional ideals, to have more independence.” In the same breath, Susan Perry, the author of Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples get and Stay That Way notes that it will be healthy for you and your relationship if you continue to participate in some activities that do not include your spouse. “If you have passion for something and your husband doesn’t, do not put it on hold. You’ll bring fresh energy into the relationship by following where your own enthusiasm leads,” she says.
According to Dr. Hart, the assumption that you need a spouse in order to be a complete human is romantic and enticing, but it is not true. “You were complete before you met, and you still need to be independent and responsible for your own issues,” he says. Even in marriage, your whole life should not be dominated by your spouse’s issues. Take happiness for instance. You may assume that your happiness in life will always come from your spouse. This means that you will be dependent on your spouse to provide you with happiness. This is a bad notion because it is not your spouse’s responsibility to provide you with ultimate happiness. Your spouse can complement and supplement your happiness, but whether you end up happy or not will depend on the life choices you make. In addition, according to Susan Gadou, a psychotherapist and the author of Contemplating Divorce; A Step by Step Guide to Deciding whether to Stay or Go, there is more to a successful and mutually fulfilling marriage than love. “We have all been taught that when it comes to marriage, love is all you need to be complete, yet, the balance and fulfillment of a marriage is in meeting the lower needs of the union,” Susan says.