If your BF has been dragging his feet about popping the question, he should probably get a move on it. A recent study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that marriage is actually good for your guy's health. Yep, you read that right: According to researchers at Ohio State University, dudes receive a mental health boost when they get hitched.
For the study, researchers looked at data collected for the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 (a study of Americans born between 1980 and 1984), analyzing how cohabitation and marriage impacted emotional health. Here's what they found: Men had decreased emotional distress when they went right from dating to getting married, while they experienced no decrease in emotional distress when they just lived together with a partner. (Women, meanwhile, had reduced emotional distress from getting married and from shacking up.)
So why is it that your S.O. needs to say "I Do" in order to reap the health rewards of being in a relationship? "Men were more likely than women to report cohabiting as a way to test a relationship, and cohabiting as a relationship test was linked to subsequent relationship problems, such as negative communication patterns, greater physical aggression, and decreased commitment to the relationship," write the study authors. "Men who marry directly are unlikely to view their marriage as a relationship 'test' and may be better able to enjoy the benefits, and invest more in the marriage."
But before you start sending your guy pics of engagement rings, there are a few limitations to these findings. For starters, the researchers note that they didn't have a way to determine the quality of the relationships they examined. "Ending low-quality unions may be associated with less emotional distress, whereas remaining in low-quality unions or ending a high-quality union is likely associated with greater emotional distress," write the authors. They also explain that they weren't able to distinguish between same- and different-sex couples, pointing out that, since in many states gay marriage was not legal during the timeframe data was collected, same-sex couples could only live together. Finally, the researchers say that more frequent measurement of emotional distress would've helped reduce error.
Still, this is pretty good info to have in your back pocket the next time the topic of marriage comes up.
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