Sunday, February 2, 2014

Marriage Risk

Kellie claims that marriage extends a man's life expectancy, but reduces a woman's. I didn’t believe her and needed only minutes to prover her wrong, again. Studies show that married women outlive their single counterparts too. I'm tired of always being right.

On my way to intellectual triumph, I discovered a couple of things about married partners that do affect longevity. Research from the 1980s suggests that men married to less educated women have a lower risk of coronary heart disease than men married to women with more education, which explains why gentlemen prefer blondes. My first wife never went to college and Kellie never finished. Kellie arrived for class one day at Sacramento State, couldn’t find a parking space, and since it was raining, said, "Screw it," went home and never returned. Based upon the educational history of the two wives I've had so far, I should live a long time. That’s if Kellie doesn't kill me for writing this.

The age difference between a husband and wife also affects their health, but the effect is asymmetric. A man married to a woman 17 years his senior faces a 50% higher risk of dying than a man married to a woman 17 years his junior. For women, the relationship is more complicated. They minimize their mortality risk by marrying men whose age differs from their's by no more than one year. As the difference between a woman's age and her husband's increases, so does her risk of death, and the risk is larger if she marries a younger man. 


Figure courtesy of MPIDR
Most men get divorced and marry younger women, obviously for health reasons, but not me. Kellie is older than my first wife, increasing my mortality risk by ten percent, and again, possibly more after she reads this.

Like many couples our age, Kellie and I have discussed death. She's never wanted life insurance, telling me, "Look at this body. This is my life insurance policy. I'll just get remarried." But after seventeen years of glorious, wedded bliss, any desire to remarry has been extinguished. "One marriage is enough,” declared Kellie. "Why would I ever do it again?” She’s much more amenable to life insurance now. I wonder if she’s worried about her assets depreciating.

If I should die first, a likely possibility for reasons already discussed, I told Kellie to keep me on life support as long as my heart will beat so she can continue collecting my pension. She doesn't have to come and visit me if I’m a vegetable, and she should remarry if she wants to. I just don’t want her having sex with her new husband, boyfriend, boy toy, fling, or one-night-stand in front of my comatose body, a reasonable request; I think.

Kellie insisted that I remain single, chaste even, if she died before me, but I’m the marrying type and can’t envision myself as a widower. I need someone to torment. She relented and said I could remarry, providing I kept her picture on my nightstand. As a courtesy to my new wife, Kellie said I could put her picture facedown while having sex. I know the younger, future Mrs. Cereola will appreciate that concession.

Kellie is back in college now, taking French and threatening my cardiovascular health. I can feel my arteries clogging, and that pain in my chest makes it difficult to believe that married men live longer than single men. Maybe it just feels that way.
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27 comments:

  1. Based on your thorough (nay impeccable) research, I have tonight informed Mrs Jones that, purely for health reasons, I am trading her in for a younger model. I have given your name and details so that Mrs Jones can contact you if she wishes to discuss the reasons for my departure in more detail.

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    1. Very good, and don't forget to check her education credentials.

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  2. My husband is so screwed: not only am I older than him, I have enough education for three people. Good thing he's insured.

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    1. Well, at least he's getting screwed. I hear that helps relieve stress in the face of impending doom.

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  3. you've really given this some serious thought. good luck when she gets that degree.

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    1. I give everything serious thought. That's what gets me in trouble.

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  4. I'm with Kellie; never getting married again if something should happen to hubby. I have a friend who says (when asked about marrying someone again who is her age), "Why would I do THAT? I've already had one of those." However, much younger men couldn't handle us (I'm Kellie's age, roughly) in sooo many ways. Another friend says, "They couldn't afford me." As you can tell, the merits of older/younger men for us, has been fully discussed . I'd be willing to go a little younger if it would add years to my mortality ;-). And I always tell my Honey to keep up those premium payments.

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    1. Remember that younger only helps a man's mortality risk. Women need to pick on someone their own age.

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  5. Hmmm. I have more education than my husband, but he's 6 years younger. Do we break even? :-)

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    1. Hell no, that's a double whammy. Check his pulse frequently.

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  6. This is great! I look forward to more posts assuming your arms haven't been broken after this. I've been in a total funk after I ended a relationship with my 8-years-younger boyfriend, but now I see that I was actually protecting my mortality. Thanks for this perspective. :)

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    1. Glad to help, and I'm broken already.

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  7. I got a few good laughs out of this. Hoping it doesn't cost you your life :) I'm with the other ladies who've responded re: no marriage after the husband's death. I'm okay with being alone! Perhaps we should discuss the placement of my photo should he ever get married again...

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    1. Even if it doesn't cost me my life, I'll pay in other ways.

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  8. You dont have to be a math whiz to figure this sh** out. ��

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    1. I'm sort of a math whiz, and trust me, it doesn't help.

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  9. You never disappoint. Kellie is lucky and I sort of hope she gives you the business for some of what you wrote here. Ha!

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    1. I'm always looking to get a little business from Kellie.

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  10. According to your calculations, my husband and I should die at nearly the exact same moment. Disappointing that I'll never get to live out my secret fantasy of being tormented to death by... Oh, wait.

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    1. Simultaneous death, they should have a special name for that.

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  11. I'm not married. So does that mean I'll live forever?

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    1. Sorry, no, it's just the opposite; you'll die sooner. I know it's hard to accept but getting married is good for our health. Just make sure your wife is substantially younger than you.

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  12. Ahahaha! As morbid as it sounds, I hope that you two have indeed had discussions about what happens if...it's one of the kindest things you can do for a loved one. That said, I simple laughed with and enjoyed your post.

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  13. I once read a study that said that marrying a mute extends life expectancy and happiness for a man substantially. I would link to it but the guy who wrote it was murdered by his wife who subsequently took the study offline.

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  14. I love this sentence so much! "Kellie is back in college now, taking French and threatening my cardiovascular health. " Go Kellie! Hang in there, Joe!

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