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Mariage Insurance

I have often spoken with my friends about a business plan to sell "marriage insurance". It would make getting a divorce as automatic and simple as getting your car insurance company to handle a collision claim. It would also focus on making getting married at least as difficult as getting a driving license (indicative of knowing the rules & having the minimum qualification) and as much a responsibility to maintain in good standing as a car insurance policy (indicative of a good "record".)

In other words, we need to educate and counsel couples before they get married - and periodically during it - rather than what's common practice today, doing it when a marriage is already troubled and couples are more likely to fail at it and divorce rather than successfully work it out.

The idea is to give people who choose to marry the tools to increase the chances of making their marriages work, and likewise allow them the dignity of a quick & relatively painless divorce.

A recent New York Times article article quotes latest studies that effectively make the medical case for my "marriage insurance" - it gives some fascinating insights on how the physical health of people gets affected based on whether they remain single, if they get married whether they remain in a good or bad marriage, and whether they get divorced.

Here are some of the quotes I found most revealing:

troubled relationships ... can leave a person far less healthy than if he or she had never married at all.
single people who have never married have better health than those who married and then divorced.
women in unhappy relationships and the women who remained emotionally hung up on their ex-husbands had decidedly weaker immune responses than the women who were in happier relationships (or were happily out of them).
couples in troubled marriages appear to be more susceptible to illness than happier couples.
couples should first work to repair a troubled relationship and learn to fight without hostility and derision. But if staying married means living amid constant acrimony, from the point of view of your health, “you’re better off out of it”.
people who had divorced or been widowed had worse health problems than men and women who had been single their entire lives.
women ... who were at highest risk for signs of heart disease were those whose marital battles lacked any signs of warmth;  men were at risk, however, when their marital spats turned into battles for control
Some suggestions for a "healthy" marriage from the couple whose studies produced most of the above results- and who themselves have a successful 30 year marriage:

taking time off together and making sure their disagreements don’t degenerate into personal attacks
use those moments of stress as an opportunity to repair the relationship rather than to damage it
[Originally posted on my personal blog at, April 19, 2010] 


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