The Married Man
There was a time when the average
American male graduated from school, got married, bought a house
and started a family. This was par for the course as little as
just a few generations ago. Ask your grandparents about the old
days and you'll find that they lead significantly different
lives back then. A single male breadwinner was expected to
support a wife and just over 2 children plus a family pet.
People often characterize that period as a simpler time.
Graduation now takes four years longer
with kids going to college and it has become far more expensive.
A typical four year baccalaureate starts you out more than
$30,000 in debt. Perhaps it's not so surprising that only 52% of
the adult population are married. And the idea of a little house
with a picket fence now includes a price tag so high that
approximately 40% of the 18 to 34 year olds still live with
their parents (that's a number that's hard to believe) while the
size or the average family has dropped from over two during
grandpa's time to under one today. It's easy enough to check
these numbers on the Internet or just ask Alexa...something else
that's new since the start of the 21st century.
So, has the progress that's been made
since those simpler times been worth it? If you're focusing on
the married male's lifespan then the answer is a resounding Yes.
Married males today live 17 years longer than their single male
friends and most of the credit for this increased longevity goes
to their wives. Married men have a better diet and get more
exercise. They also smoke less and are less apt to drink to
excess. Notice I said “to excess” because a couple of drinks a
day seem to carry a health benefit that's probably due to their
calming, tranquilizing effect. Single guys are also more prone
to risky behavior and they make fewer trips to the doctor and
pay less attention to their overall health. Married men have a
more active social life, report lower levels of depression and
they enjoy a happier retirement during those 17 extra years of
Alas, not all wives are created equal.
Men with highly educated partners enjoy the most benefits. These
usually include larger household incomes and smaller families.
But there's a flip-side to a loving couple and that's the
stressful relationship. In men, this can equate to a 34% higher
risk of a heart attack.
Look At It This Way
If you're a male reading this and you
finally have all your ducks in a row, you can consider yourself
fortunate. Unless you're ripe for a midlife crisis. In that
case, you have one more hurdle to face. A male at that age is
pretty well off yet he senses his masculine spirit fading and
feels he should do something about it. Not too long ago, I went
down for breakfast at a hotel where I was staying. At an
adjacent table I saw a man with his nose in a newspaper and his
wife looking out the window. They exchange not one word the
whole time I was there. It's been said that even the most
passionate lovers become good friends after three years. There's
nothing wrong with that as having a good friend is a good thing
but at that time in life, middle aged men tend not to see it
My only advise: Stay calm and carry on.
Remember that 34% higher risk of a heart attack.