As a wounded veteran of multiple misguided unions, the McKnight’s headline raised at least one of my eyebrows: “Marriage, acrimonious or not, appears to protect blood sugar levels in seniors.”

From a journalistic perspective, I have deep concerns about the negative influence of this report, and how it could possibly lure vulnerable people into making a dubious decision with life-altering consequences.

I’m not debating the facts of the case. “Being married or cohabiting seemed to have a protective effect, with lower HbA1c values in adults who did not have pre-existing diabetes,” the report stated

While it sounds preposterous that a bad marriage could actually be preventive, I’ve never known scientists to get anything wrong. And keep in mind we’re talking about a dangerous condition that might have a serious impact on your quality of life as you age, or even kill you in the long run. Although in fairness, so could diabetes. 

All I ask is for any analysis of this issue to include the full picture. So if someone you know, senior or otherwise, is thinking about getting married for this sole reason, please advise them to take a breath, sit down on the couch together with their beloved and make two columns on a sheet of paper. 

Column A, “Marriage Pros,” will contain one item: blood sugar levels protected. Column B, “Marriage Cons,” should include entries such as feelings of crushing regret, debilitating stress, poor quality sleep, low feelings of self-worth and a heightened chance of being murdered.

If the two love birds choose to go ahead and unite on the basis of disease prevention, the wedding ceremony should be altered accordingly. The inspirational Bible reading of 1 Corinthians 13 will require slight modification: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of all is low HbA1c.” Instead of slipping on a ring, they should prick each other’s fingers and exchange blood sugar results. Audience members will weep. 

Please understand, I’m not attacking a sacred tradition, just trying to balance the discussion. Because if there’s a rush of spiteful, warring couples who married simply to prevent diabetes, you’ll eventually have to deal with them in your facility. And not only will they be unpleasant to each other and everyone else, they’ll probably live forever.  

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a two-time national Silver Medalist and three-time regional Gold and Silver Medal winner in the Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program, as well as an Award of Excellence honoree in the APEX Awards. He’s been amusing, inspiring, informing and sometimes befuddling long-term care readers worldwide since the end of a previous century. He is a writer and video producer for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.