Happy relationships good for health
Nina Chen, Ph.D., CFLE, Human Development Specialist, Jackson County, University of Missouri Extension
Why do healthy relationships matter? Research has shown
that there are physical health benefits of healthy relationships and marriages. For
instance, married people have longer life expectancies than single
especially married men. Married mothers have lower rates of
depression than single or cohabiting mothers.
Some studies indicated marriage was tied to better survival in certain cancers such as breast and prostate cancers. A study led by Dr. John Gore of the University of California, Los Angeles showed married patients with bladder cancer had the best survival odds. Researchers from San Diego State University and the University of Pittsburgh found that women with high marital satisfaction were less likely to develop risk factors that lead to cardiovascular disease when compared with other women.
On the other hand, unhealthy relationships can be damaging to
one's health. Several studies show that people who have a rocky
marriage or relationship are likely to experience anxiety and
stress and increased risk of health problems. Researchers at
University College London tracked about 9,000 people for 12
years and found that negative relationships increase the risk of
heart problems by 34 percent. According to researcher John Gottman, an unhappy
marriage can increase the chances of illness by 35 percent.
The health benefits attributed to marriage come from the
social and emotional support between partners. Knowing that your partner is interested
in the details of your life and cares about you can lessen stress
levels substantially. Couples feel accountable to one another so
it won't go unnoticed when one person neglects his or
her health or struggles at work. Couples work as a team and are
likely to have regular checks-ups or reminders on exercise or other
recommendations that will improve their life or health.
With the pressures of work, children and chores, it can be difficult
to focus on nurturing healthy relationships. Building and maintaining
a healthy relationship takes time and effort. Here are basic tips
to help couples build a healthy and strong relationship.
- Make time for each other.
- Make a commitment to your relationship.
- Have positive and open communication.
- Be appreciative and affectionate.
- Show interest and care.
- Be supportive.
- Fight fair.
- Take time for yourself.
- Keep romance alive.
- Have a good sense of humor.
- Learn to compromise and forgive
Last Updated 11/16/2015