It is only in the movies that bachelors look young and carefree. If you see men who are single, after the age of 28 or so, you will find that they look older and more worn out than married persons of the same age. Scores of studies done in North America and Western Europe shows that married people enjoy better health than singles. They also live longer.
Take mental health for instance. Singles outnumber married individuals by three to one in mental hospitals. Outnumbering the singles however, are widowed people, testifying to a fact that the death of a spouse is one of life’s most stressful events.
However, data shows that divorce can unbalance a married individual. Divorced people in mental hospitals one and a half times, some studies shows. Single men are nearly twice as likely to commit suicide as married men. Divorced and widowed men, however, were even more suicidal than single men. Looking at this data it is worth examining why marriage contributes to health and longevity and why being single has the reverse effect. The answer is simple.
People who are married and especially those with children, drink and drive less, take drugs less, and engage in less risky behavior. They feel responsible for their wife and children while an unencumbered bachelor tends to be more reckless. Medical studies confirm that the benefits from marriage are many.
Married people not only have lower rates for a variety of illness, they are less accident-prone than singles. Singles also are far more likely to have a car accident or die of diseases of the liver, largely caused by drinking liquor. Research shows that married people drink least, the widowed, divorced or separated the most.
Heavy drinkers are also heavy smokers. Married people are happier than singles because man is a social animal and loneliness depresses him because human being grow up with close relationships and cannot cope with isolation.
A man lives in a family for many years after he is born. In school and college, he has friends. When he begins a job, he has office colleagues. But it is only at home as a bachelor that he is all alone. He cannot endure that. That is why you find men getting married soon after they begin working.
Finally marriage derives its strength from a human being’s need to perpetuate himself beyond death by producing children. This evolutionary need is so strong that even an enlightened thinker like Bertrand Russell wrote that people unable to have children begin to find life meaningless because there is nothing to connect them with a distant future when they would not be alive.