Does Being Married Keep You Well?

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Every year, we see more and more couples choosing not to marry. Many choose to cohabitate. Many do not want even that level of commitment. The Atlantic recently reported that these couples are not afraid of marriage per se, but instead are afraid they will be unable to stay married. In other words, what they fear is divorce; which is understandable considering the emotional and financial ramifications of dissolving a marriage. 

Certainly there are cases to be made for marriage. Aside from the romantic and social expectations associated with marriage, it is generally accepted among a wide spectrum of research that marriage has significant health benefits. People who are married tend to live longer and more healthfully than people who are single, divorced, widowed or even couples who cohabitate. A person who is marries tends to get sick less frequently and is also more likely to recover from severe illness than those who are not married. Note: This, of course, would not be true in a marriage that is harmful or abusive. 

The question that looms in my mind is WHY? 

Initially there was some thought to the idea that simply "being married" was the magic pill that would lead us to a longer more healthful life. Of course that is an oversimplification. But what is it that occurs in a healthy marriage that keeps us well - or at least more well than our single counterparts?