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4 ways marriage changes a woman
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Attractive young couple ready on their wedding day - photo by Amberlee Lovell
Marriage changes people; and Im not just talking about going to bed earlier and consuming a greater amount of Netflix. Ive watched it happen over and over again as my friends and family find their "one" and hunker down in a new life together.

Scientifically, Im right. Studies show that though many are hidden, there are several things that change for the better when a woman specifically says "I do." Here are just five.

Youve got much better odds

In a wildly controversial article a few months ago, family studies expert Brad Wilcox presented evidence that women who are married are significantly less likely to be abused than those who are not married or have live-in boyfriends.

Married women are notably safer than their unmarried peers, Wilcox wrote. And girls raised in a home with their married father are markedly less likely to be abused or assaulted than children living without their own father.

Sure, you dont need a man to protect you; but the risk of sexual and physical abuse drops significantly when married. Considering 51.9 percent of women reported experiencing physical violence at one point in their life, this is a significant benefit.

Youre happier than your unmarried friends

Im not saying marriage is Disney Princess perfect, or that its not possible to be happy being single. (Trust me, I know.) But while there are days you may daydream about coming home to having all your stuff exactly where you left it, and never finding the toilet seat up, studies show that those who are married are happier than those who are cohabiting.

The even better news, ladies, is that you are not alone in your happiness. Chances are, your husband is equally as happy as you are.

Youve gained a lifelong bonus

The benefit [of marriage] is perhaps seen most clearly by looking at how the decline of marriage and breakdown of families hits everybodys pocketbook, said Janice Shaw Crouse, in a speech for the World Congress of Families.

Women who are married are healthier financially, and their married husbands are changed in the same way. According to Crouse, marriage increases a mans income as much as a college education can.

You happily eat your broccoli and kale

Hate colds (who doesnt)? Marriage is a good alternative. Amazingly, wives are less likely to have fewer minor illnesses as well as big-deal diseases, such as heart attacks and cancer, reported Focus on the Family.

Women who have honeys are also more likely to eat healthier, take fewer unnecessary risks and avoid excessive drinking and smoking.

You found the fountain of youth

Theres some truth to John Lennons song, Grow Old Along With Me. Sweethearts who are married are significantly more likely to live a longer life, according to a 2012 Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health study. Whats more, even those who at one point had been married have a longer life expectancy than those who had never been married.