The record for the world’s longest-lasting marriage belongs to Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher, who were married for nearly 85 years before Herbert’s death at 105 in 2011. (Zelmyra died two years later, also at 105!) They claimed the best marriage advice they received was: “Be faithful, honest, and true. Love each other with all your heart.”
New research published in the journal BMJ Heart confirms the wisdom of their words—it turns out marriage wasn’t just good for their emotional well-being; it likely contributed to their longevity too. The scientists looked at 30 studies involving over two million people and found married people had a 42 percent lower risk of developing any cardiovascular disease and a 16 percent lower risk of coronary artery disease compared to single people.
If you’re not married, don’t worry. There’s plenty of evidence that social support of any kind reduces stress and is good for your heart. A 2016 review of data on more than 180,000 adults found that in contrast to the health of folks who feel connected and engaged, those who are lonely, isolated, or both have a 29 percent increased risk of heart attack and 32 percent higher stroke risk.
So single or married, surround yourself with family and friends who boost your mood, help you relieve stress—and offer valid, healthy advice. Make it a goal to have a daily phone call or email with a support buddy or someone you love, and get together with someone you care about at least once a week.