RealAge.com has posted a list of the 10 best cities for a happy marriage.
RealAge.com and its subscription service shows how health can make you older or younger than your years. It's sponsored by Drs. Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz, authors of the series of books that started with "You: The Owner's Manual." He's the same Dr. Oz who has the television show.
Being happily married has some major health benefits, RealAge.com says. For example, in a happy marriage partners tend to keep each other in line, encouraging good behaviors and discouraging bad behaviors, such as, "Honey, you need to see the doctor," or "Kissing you is like licking an ashtray," or, "Stop smoking so you can be with me longer."
Also, couples share emotional support through good and bad times, sickness and health, a health booster. And laughter together is "good for body and soul."
RealAge.com found no consistent threads as to why cities had populations with more married people who stay married longer other than research through the U.S. Census Bureau. Cities on the list have good and bad economies, good and bad weather, good and poor health rankings, hot and cold climates, south vs. north vs. the Heartland ... nothing to reveal a secret to marital bliss.
1. Salt Lake City — The capital of Utah ranks at the top of cities for happy marriages. It's the western-most city on the list. The city also ranks at the top for physical fitness and health. Is there a relationship? Considering the Mormon population, there's less smoking and drinking than other major cities in the United States and family life and health top their list of priorities.
2. Greenville, S.C. — Four southern cities are in the top 10. The U.S. Census Bureau says southern states rank at the top for people getting married, while in the rest of the country marriage is at an all-time low. Something about holding on to old traditions?
3. Knoxville, Tenn. — While it ranks third for happy marriages, it goes against the Salt Lake City grain for health and happiness. RealAge.com has ranked it at the bottom of healthy cities in the United States.
4. Cincinnati, Ohio — Possibly the artsy environment of the city helps couples keep the sparks going in their relationships. However, with the high rate of happy marriages, it's still not ranked among healthy cities, especially in the diets heavy in restaurant food.
5. Charlotte, N.C. — While it's not at the top of the list where people get married, it's at the top for people who stay married. RealAge.com speculates it's the natural settings of the area that are known to lift mood and self-esteem that makes both people in a relationship more fun to be around.
6. Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C. — An academics environment plus a low unemployment rate produces better educated couples with fewer financial woes,
7. Hartford, Conn. — RealAge didn't say much about why this city made the list other than it shares a few of the benefits of number six and numbers of happy marriages.
8. Kansas City — K.C.'s strategic location in the Heartland gives it an especially spiritual quality. For relationships, spirituality, meditation and prayer have healthy effects on blood pressure, heart rate and stress. The lower those gremlins get, the better relationships become. Remember peace, joy and forgiveness?
9. Grand Rapids, Mich. — This city is the antithesis of a good environment -- high unemployment, sagging economy, poor health insurance coverage, even crime. But challenges may be what keeps marriages in Grand Rapids strong. Also, the area is surrounded by a lot of free diversions mostly natural -- trails, parks and places for together time.
10. Minneapolis, Minn. — The Mall of America hosts about 6,000 weddings a year, and the baseball stadium isn't far behind. In a fun-loving city where folks don't take so many things seriously, that lack of stress and tension coupled with a sense of humor is a formula for staying together.