Study: “Marriage, Cohabitation Provide Similar Health Benefit” In terms of health, self-esteem, and psychological well-being, marriage offers little benefit over simply living together without wedding rings, the study found. It’s the relationship itself, rather than its official status, that’s key to its benefits, said study researcher Kelly Musick, an associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Musick, K. and Bumpass, L. (2012), Reexamining the Case for Marriage: Union Formation and Changes in Well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74: 1–18. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2011.00873.x