How Marriage Can Take its Toll on Mental Health

For many adults, getting married is one of their primary goals in life in hopes of sharing their life with another person. For singles, it can be easy to assume that marriage is similar to a fairy tale and will lead to a happier life, but in many cases, it can take a toll on your mental health once you experience difficult times. If you want to learn how marriage can affect your well-being, there are a few facts to understand.

Higher Stress Levels

Although spouses can support each other in different stages of life, it can also be easy to experience negativity from the other individual, which can lead to stress. You’ll likely experience the same emotions or feelings as your spouse as you spend the majority of your time in the home together. According to, a study conducted in Salt Lake City found that 77 percent of couples are ambivalent regarding their negative and positive feelings toward each other. The marriage can begin to take a toll on each person, especially during challenging seasons in life when the relationship adds even more stress.

In many cases, a lack of physical intimacy can also increase stress levels and can reduce the level of satisfaction in the marriage. Additional issues like parenting disputes, financial issues, or having conflict over the household chores can also contribute to stress.


If one of the partners in the marriage is suffering from depression, it can cause both people to be unhappy in the relationship and also suffer from low moods, according to Being married to someone who has mental health issues determines the quality of the marriage and can cause negative feelings to develop towards the other spouse. The level of depression also influences the other spouse’s level of dissatisfaction and can cause the relationship to feel like a burden. Many therapists often evaluate both partners’ mental health in marriage counseling due to the influence that each person has on one another. Although you may be a happy person that is positive, it can be easy to change your behavior and mood based on the well-being of your partner.

Harmful Habits

According to, one of the negative effects of marriage is developing harmful habits over time. Those who are in an unhappy or abusive marriage can begin to find relief or satisfaction in other habits that are developed, which can quickly lead to addiction. Some people may feel inclined to drink more alcohol, participate in drug use, or rely on prescription medication if they’re feeling overwhelmed in the marriage. In extreme cases, the individual’s mental health can suffer, which can lead to abuse of their children or even suicide. The mental health of the individual can also have a direct impact on their physical well-being and affect their longevity.

Harmful habits can also occur because many individuals mirror the habits of their partner, which can lead to an increase in alcohol consumption or drug use.

Sleep Problems

If you’re suffering mentally from your marriage, it can often lead to sleep apnea or insomnia due to high stress levels. You may not be able to relax or embrace sleep if there’s tension between your spouse as you sleep next to one another. You may feel unrested the next day and have a lack of energy, which can affect your productivity at work. Sleep issues that develop can also cause relationships to suffer even more due to moods that are affected and a lack of well-being.


Studies have found that many people can suffer from full-blown anxiety due to a link between marital issues and anxiety disorders. The anxiety then breeds even more relationship problems and can become a harmful cycle for the couple.

Anxiety can also occur if one person feels neglected or doesn’t feel loved by their spouse, which can create tension. Fighting or conflict that occurs in the relationship is also likely to cause anxiety, which can begin to affect the physical health of the individual. Communication on a daily or weekly basis can prove to be effective for those who are suffering from anxiety. Celebrities like Meryl Streep have found relief and have strengthened their marriage by improving their communication and talking more frequently with their spouse. Listening to the spouse’s problems, offering suggestions, and accepting that you’re not always right can strengthen the bond and establish trust. Others may need to learn how to talk to one another again with the help of a professional marriage counselor.

Feelings of Rejection

Feelings of rejection and heartache can occur if there’s mistrust in the marriage and if infidelity has occurred in the past. It’s common for one or both spouses to suffer from feelings of rejection and begin to feel the heartache of the unhealthy relationship. Broken Heart Syndrome can even occur due to extreme mental distress, which develops due to sadness that is experienced in the relationship. The syndrome results in the enlargement of the heart with symptoms that are similar to a heart attack.

Many different factors contribute to the quality of the marriage and are likely to affect the mental health of each individual. It’s common for marriages to experience highs and lows over time, but seeking professional help and spending more time together can help to strengthen the relationship and allow it to thrive.


Alex Moore is a mental illness awareness advocate and psychology blogger. He mainly deals with the effects of relationships on mental health and the impact of mental illness. Find his writing on




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