If you’re in a happy marriage, the odds are in your heart’s favor. That’s according to a new study at Brigham Young University, published

in the March 20 issue of the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, which specifically found that happily married people have lower blood pressure than both singles and people in unhappy marriages. And the finding suggests the presence of some “x” factor that goes beyond simply having a ready shoulder to cry on: When it came to providing blood-pressure benefits, non-marital support networks were no match for happy marriages. “There seem to be some unique health benefits from marriage,” said study author Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist. While not exactly a contemporary paraphrase of Solomon’s Song of Songs, the study does call to mind a couple of exhortations from the Book of Proverbs: “He who finds a wife finds happiness” (18:22) and “A joyful heart is the health of the body” (17:22).

Illustration by Kevin Bedan