Health benefits of marriage v. cohabitation

We all know… or should know… that we cannot lie to God.

Apparently we can’t lie to ourselves either.  God made us that way.

A priest friend in the great state of Texas sent this to me from Live Science:

Marriage is linked with numerous health benefits that simply cohabiting doesn’t seem to provide. Now, research suggests the reason why — the brain links “just” living together with a lack of commitment and can’t relax.

The new study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the brains of cohabitating and married heterosexual couples, as well as same-sex couples, half of whom considered themselves married despite lacking legal recognition. [I’ll hold my fire on that… keep reading.] The findings revealed that parts of the brain are less reactive to stress when somene is with a person they consider themselves married to.
“We really pay close attention to when it’s safe to let down our guard and to outsource our stress response to our social networks,” said study researcher Jim Coan, a psychologist at the University of Virginia. [I Don’t: 5 Myths About Marriage]
The findings were unexpected, Coan added: “I’m sort of freaking myself out with this research.


What a shock!

(That pun will be funnier once you read the whole thing.)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Natalie Anne says:

    I love how science proves the truth of God and then everyone is shocked that God was right all along!

  2. Scott W. says:

    the brain links “just” living together with a lack of commitment and can’t relax.

    No rest for the wicked. I remember a story about Ian McKlellen about how when he checks into a new hotel, he finds the Bible in the nightstand and rips out the pages of Leviticus condemning sodomy. First, we should thank Ian for confirming that the Bible really teaches it against decades of liberal Christians pretending it doesn’t, and second, this is an act of a soul not at peace.

  3. Susan M says:

    If Ian McKellen can rip pages out of the Bible, next time I check into a hotel with a Koran in the nightstand I’ll rip out the pages that say it’s OK to kill Jews and Christians., because, no my soul is not at peace knowing what is happening to our brothers and sisters even as this email is being written.

  4. mr_anthony says:

    I have to stay really ignorant of Ian McKellan, because the more I learn the more it undercuts my ability to watch The Lord of the Rings or any other of his roles. He is a very gifted actor, yet I suspect in the real world he’s a bit more Magneto than Gandalf. Didn’t he protest Benedict’s presence in Britain a few years back?

    As a general rule, I stay away from knowledge regarding the personal lives of authors and actors, because it inevitably becomes a serious obstacle to appreciating their talents.

    In the case of LotR in particular, it’s a bit disheartening to hear a good portion of the cast talk about the story and production, because it quickly becomes clear that Tolkien has had only the most superficial effect on them as people. You’d think taking on characters and projects such as this would influence your overall outlook on living. The ideas that hold Middle Earth together would at least tug a bit at the heart and soul. Nope. It’s just another job for them.

  5. Makemeaspark says:

    HAHAHAHAHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Clearly McKellen is unaware of the verses in Romans Chapter 1 “18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them…

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

    26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

    So Gideon, even though he checked out, still leaves a case for Ian’s revival!

  6. The Cobbler says:

    It’s odd that the article describes it as “surprising” that the couples’ own opinions of their status, not the legality of it, made the difference. It’s psychological, by definition it’s about what you think — it would be far more surprising if some piece of paper or government judgement somehow altered our brain chemistry as if by magic. Put it another way: setting aside same-sex couples, how do we know that any of the couples legally married were actually legitimately married, according to the Church? We don’t, although at least in the heterosexual cases it’s possible they were actually truly married.

    With all that said: quite frankly, I don’t think we need science to tell us that living together without getting married is indicative of a lack of trust, or that trust helps us (when not misplaced). But oh well. My end takeaway from it was that we *can* lie to ourselves (the same-sex couples who believe they’re married, any ordinary couples who aren’t really married but convince themselves that they are), but we have to in the first place precisely because *can’t* pretend it doesn’t matter (the couples of any sort who shack up).

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