THE BLOG

Why Marriage Is Good for a Man's Bones

24/01/2014 12:40 GMT | Updated 25/03/2014 09:59 GMT

For the first time ever, a new study has found that marriage is good for a man's bones; it is the first time too that marital histories and marital quality have been linked to bone health.

However, it is only good if the man married after he turns 25. The new research, published in the Osteoporosis International journal, says if you are a man and decide to tie the knot before you at 25, then you will have weaker bones than your mates who decide to get married at a later date.

In addition, the findings show that those men in relatively stable or long-term relationships - who had not been divorced or separated previously - had stronger bones than men whose marriages had broken down.

In addition, if you are in a successful, stress-free marriage or relationship, you will have bones that are stronger than men who never got hitched and found happiness with another partner.

These factors do not reflect research done for women, although what it did discover is that those women with supportive partners had greater bone strength than those whose partners didn't appreciate them or were not able to be supportive on an emotional level.

One of the major issues when couples come for counselling, is the oft-heard complaint from women that they are not being "heard" in the relationship and that their partner is unable to listen to them or give the necessary emotional support. "He will just smile and then go onto his I-pad," is something heard regularly.

But the survey says men who marry early often can't take the stress.

"Very early marriage was detrimental in men, likely because of the stresses of having to provide for a family," according to the co-author of the study Dr. Arun Karlamangla, a professor of medicine.

Another author, Dr. Arun Karlamangla a professor of medicine at UCLA, said it's important to look at relationship history.

Personally, I agree with her, as often couples who haven't seen good examples of family life when they were growing up, and for instance, witness their parents fighting in front of them, find it hard to have successful relationships themselves.

As Dr Crandall puts it: "Good health depends not only on good health behaviours, such as maintaining a healthy diet and not smoking, but also on other social aspects of life, such as marital life stories and quality of relationships."

But early marriage - before the age of 25 - was detrimental for men's bone health. This might be due to the stresses of having to provide for a family.

According to the research, those who never marry, or go through divorce, widowhood, or separation are associated with poor bone health in men, whereas poor marital quality is associated with poor bone health in women.