Lisa Markwell: For the price of a gold ring I can be happy – and sane

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The Independent Online

I don't want to be known as a "smug married". Then again, who would? But I'd be lying if I didn't grant myself an inward smile at the news that marriage has been proven to be beneficial to our mental and physical health.

Thirteen years of wedded if not exactly bliss, then definitely happiness, is enough to make me certain that my sanity is saved by having a husband. He absorbs my fury when Every. Single. Thing. Is. Going. Wrong. He talks me down from the ledge of anxiety and into a warm bath, which in turn saves me from total mental collapse. If that sounds shrewish, or even selfish, he gets the physical health, remember – his pay-off is excellent healthy food.

I'm not a Cath Kidston pinny-wearing wifelet. I work long hours and he stays at home to look after the children; I just happen to love cooking. So we've arrived at an arrangement that suits both of us, but which I believe only works because we are married. There is a reassurance within the institution that allows the roles to be blurred.

Ditto the benefits of safely being two women at once. I support the legal challenge in Japan for wives to be allowed to keep their own surname, but having both is the ideal. My children's teachers don't know me by this name, I use my married one for life outside work – a very satisfactory arrangement. Two roles for the price of one gold ring. You could call it having my wedding cake and eating it.