07/20/2012 04:41 pm ET Updated Jul 23, 2012

Marriage Study: Marriage Better Than Cohabitation Depending On Race, Study Says

Looking for the Fountain of Youth? Getting hitched might be the answer for some.

A recent study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that Caucasian married couples have a significantly lower mortality rate than white cohabiting couples. For African American couples, however, marriage makes no difference to a person's lifespan -- being in a stable long-term relationship is what counts, regardless of marital status.

Hui Liu, a co-researcher in the study and assistant professor of sociology at Michigan State University, says the rate of mortality among white couples drops by 60 to 80 percent, depending on gender, if they are married compared to if they are living together. For black couples, Liu and her team couldn't find a difference in mortality rate between cohabiting and married couples.

Liu's study didn't collect data on interracial couples, but she told HuffPost Weddings that she plans to look into those unions in the future.

Liu said that race is just one factor in determining a couple's lifespan:

"Race is the major factor we focused on, but every time you talk about race it can be related to the class, to socioeconomic status. One of the reasons why we cannot see the difference between cohabitation and marriage, one of our explanations is... black people [typically] have lower incomes."

Click through the slideshow below for advice from Twitterers on how to have a long and happy marriage.

Unusual Marriage Advice