A happy marriage can also ease the agony of arthritis, a study says.
Patients who had the support of a loving husband or wife reported less joint pain and better mobility than their single or unhappily married counterparts.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system attacks the joints, causing stiffness, pain and swelling. Wrists, fingers, toes, ankles and knees are particularly susceptible. In very severe cases, patients can end up crippled and unable to live a full life.
Scientists believe the emotional stability that a strong marriage provides also has a powerful effect on physical sensations such as pain.
The findings, published in the Journal of Pain , support earlier studies which found the crippling disease progressed more slowly in married than single people, reports the Daily Mail .
"These findings suggest the links between being married and health depend on the quality of the marriage, not simply whether or not someone is married," said research leader Jennifer Barsky Reese, from the Johns Hopkins University in the US.