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LIFE EXPECTANCY AND YOUR SPOUSE'S AGE

Men live longer with young wives

Women live longer than men, so the latest data on how old the men they marry are might be less meaningful than it seems. But the data is clear that women who choose men closer to their own age live the longest, which very likely means those marriages tend to last longer too. Previous studies have shown that men with younger wives live longer. It had long been assumed that women with younger husbands live longer too, but in a new study Sven Drefahl from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany, has shown that this is not the case. Instead, the greater the age difference from the husband, the shorter the wife's life is likely to be. According to the study, which included more than 2,000,000 Danish couples, this is the case whether the woman is younger or older than her spouse.The downside of marriage for women is the greater a wife's age gap from her husband, the lower her life expectancy will be...

Choosing the age of a wife is easier for men who want to increase their life expectancy, the younger they are the longer he's likely to live. The mortality risk of a husband who is seven to nine years older than his wife is reduced by eleven percent compared to couples where both partners are the same age. Conversely, a man dies earlier when he is younger than his spouse. For years, researchers assumed this data held true for both sexes. It was thought that a younger spouse has a positive psychological and social effect on an older partner and can be a better caretaker in old age, thereby helping to extend the partner's life. "These theories now have to be reconsidered", says Sven Drefahl, the author of the study.

Drefahl was able to eliminate the statistical shortcomings of earlier research, and showed that the best choice for a woman is to marry a man of the same age; an older husband shortens her life, and a younger one even more so. According to the study, men have more flexibility. If they want to extend their life expectancy the better choice is a younger wife...what the study doesn't mention is that the success of the marriage has to factor in here somewhere and there is more to that equation than age.