Marriage Review Summary

Objective: To review the medical literature evaluating traditional legal, heterosexual marriage and its impact on well-being compared to other heterosexual relationships or being single. Methods: We reviewed studies from 1966 to the present in peer-reviewed medical literature which evaluated the benefits of legally binding, heterosexual marriage.  Results: This study included 42 articles meeting the inclusion criteria, showing a strong benefit of traditional marriage on general well-being and specific well-being related measures including physical/mental health, sexual satisfaction, family income and the happiness of children. There appeared to be a progressive trend of enhanced well-being the stronger the relationship commitment versus an unmarried status. Married couples had the highest well-being of all relationships.  Conclusion: Traditional marriage provides numerous benefits to the relationship partners through enhanced measures of mental and physical well-being compared to heterosexual partnerships or being single.