Unhappy Marriages Can Have Serious Effects On Physical Health, Say Multiple Studies

Unhappy Marriages Can Have Serious Effects On Physical Health, Say Multiple Studies

When in love, marriage can be the most amazing but when cracks develop, it will take a toll on you emotionally, mentally and physically.

Marriage can be beyond beautiful ceremonies and the exchange of vows. It can be a life long commitment to accept each other, to have each other back in times of distress and trouble. The success of any marriage lies in the hands of the partners involved. So, when things go wrong between the two partners, marriage tends to suffer putting a lot of stress on the minds of the partner. You might be well aware of the emotional and mental troubles of staying in an unhappy marriage, however, it is also detrimental to physical health.

Getty Images

According to a news article by Ohio State University, research that studied the correlation between bad marriages and poor health found evidence that supports the above claim. "Marital stress is particularly potent stress because your partner is typically your primary support and in a troubled marriage your partner becomes your major source of stress," said Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The study also stated that while younger people found it easier to cope with an unhappy marriage, older people were more affected by it, making them vulnerable to more health issues than younger people. 

"...Stress for someone in their 20s is not likely to make them sick or have huge health effects, but we know that when someone is 65 or 70, noticeable declines in the immune response begin, and age-related increases in inflammation," said Kiecolt-Glaser.

Here are a few physical health implications that an unhappy marriage has on you:

1. Heart Disease

Getty Images


As we grow older, we make changes to our diet to increase our immunity and stay fit as possible to avoid developing health issues. However, studies now say that an unhappy marriage can also be a reason for health problems. One study found that partners who experience discord in marriage and have negative feelings against each other are prone to developing cardiovascular diseases and also are at the risk of hypertension or increased blood pressure.

2. Slow healing 

While there is a lot of bitterness within the house, researchers found that the body also does not respond well to the negative environment. According to one study, the conflict between partners lowers the ability of the body to heal wounds faster. It was found that couples with higher levels of hostility healed 40% slower than others and it was also observed that their wounds took an average of one day longer to heal completely.

3. Sleep

Getty Images

Being in a healthy relationship gives no place for worries or stress. There is joy and so is the presence of good, peaceful sleep. However, when your relationship develops serious cracks, it can affect the balance of your life. Everything from appetite to sleep patterns is affected. Any conflict with your partner can have a negative effect, leaving you with poor sleep. A study stated that about 50% of women involved in an unhappy marriage were found to suffer from symptoms of insomnia.

4. Depression 

Getty Images

While physical health problems are caused due to unhappy marriages. Stress and depression are also part of it. An unhappy marriage serves as fertile grounds for depression. One research found that the level of anxiety and depression showed the extent of dissatisfaction experienced by the partner in the marriage. "An unhappy marriage is a really, really fertile ground for depression, and depression has very well documented health consequences. And it goes back and forth. People who are depressed are more likely to have marital troubles because it’s not fun to be around someone who is depressed," said Stephanie J. Wilson, a postdoctoral researcher in Kiecolt-Glaser’s lab.

5. Leaky guts

According to the researchers from Ohio State University,  brutal fights and disagreements between partners may lead to something known as leaky guts. “We think that this everyday marital distress – at least for some people – is causing changes in the gut that lead to inflammation and, potentially, illness,” said Kiecolt-Glaser in the news article on the University website. She also added that inflammation can lead to other health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, frailty, and functional decline.

6. Obesity

Getty Images

Being in an unhappy marital relationship is also found to contribute to obesity due to stress and depression that is unavoidable. According to the research published in Annual Reviews, depressed adults had a 58 percent chance of being obese. Exposure to repeated stress contributes to unhealthy weight gain. Marriages or any relationship are bound to have good and bad times. However, addressing disagreements in the right way can reduce the negative health effects.