In a world where bets are placed on how long a celebrity hook-up will last and what the ensuing divorce date will be, it’d be easy to assume long-lasting marriage is a thing of the past. However, with lots of couples still reassuringly choosing to tie the knot and the new homosexual marriage law having been recently passed, more people than ever are committing themselves to one another.
Let’s take a look at the longest marriages of all time and speculate as to whether a strong marriage leads to a longer life:
Until death do us part
The longest ever recorded marriage was between Daniel Frederick Bakeman and Susan (nee Brewer) Bakeman, two New Yorkers with a passion for commitment. Mr Bakeman was born 9th October 1759 and Mrs Bakeman wasn’t too far behind him with a birthday of 2nd January 1758 and they married 29th August 1772.
Both of them lived to be over 100 years old (Susan died at the age of 105 and Daniel lived to be 110) and were married for a total of 91 years and 21 days.
The longest recorded currently living married couple is Karam Chand and Kartari Chand who currently live in Bradford here in the United Kingdom. The pair married in 1925 and are still going strong after 87 years together.
Does a happy marriage mean a longer life?
As reported in the Daily Mail, research has been published in the British Medical Journal suggesting that those who are married tend to live longer and may generally have a longer life expectancy.
Cardiff University academic John Gallacher reviewed the report and said: “Marriage and other forms of partnership can be placed along a sliding scale of commitment, with greater commitment conferring greater benefit.”
But what about those who do not marry, but cohabit in a long term relationship? Mr Gallacher said of these couples: “That marriage generally indicates a deeper commitment might explain why marriage is associated with better mental health outcomes than cohabiting.
“Cohabiting relationships tend to be less enduring. The most widely-accepted explanation is that being in a committed relationship means better social support is available.
“Commitment seems to provide networks of support and helpful relationships, beginning with the spouse or partner, leading to more healthy lifestyles and better emotional and physical health.”
How does this work?
The data would suggest that men and women gain separate things from a committed marriage, all of which can somewhat extend life expectancy.
Men are said to live healthier when married, which is an obvious way in which marriage can extend life expectancy. This is suspected to be due to the care of a wife who ensures they visit the doctor when sick, eat healthily and stay fit.
Women are said to live for longer due to mental health benefits. Many have suggested this is due to the pressure of society upon women to marry and, so, once they are married, they may feel less anxious and depressed.
All couples benefit from the social and material side of a marriage. There is less finance-related stress within a coupling than for a single person who must support themselves alone.
Living in a marriage also ensures both partners experience enough social interaction in their day-to-day lives – a must for mental well-being.
Photo courtesy of: bravenewtraveler