Marriage and How Your Spouse Affects Your Health
When you and your spouse vowed “in sickness and in health” you really meant it.
Your mate’s attitude and the happiness or discord in your marriage can actually have an effect on your mental and physical health. This makes it all the more important to care for one another’s needs and ensure you’re benefitting your health instead of dragging it down.
If your mate has a positive attitude, you are less likely to develop chronic illnesses. Whereas those with a negative partner are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. We’re looking at 9 ways in which your spouse affects your health.
Positive Effects of Marriage
Being in a fulfilling relationship doesn’t guarantee amazing health, but studies show there are reasons to believe that a happy, healthy marriage has a direct link to how healthy you are as a person. Faster healing, a spike in the immune system, and fantastic stress management are just some of the benefits of how your spouse affects your health.
1. Affects your Mood
It goes without saying, but one way you spouse affects your health is that you are healthier and happier in most aspects of your life, mental health is a growing concern that affects many people worldwide. The close bond shared between married couples creates an aura of happiness, comfort, and security that is lacking in singles.
2. Lowers Stress and Anxiety
If your partner has a positive outlook on life it may rub off on you, especially when you’re feeling stressed out. Your partner’s emotional stability can make you feel more at ease. Being around someone you love makes you feel safer. This connection stimulates dopamine and has a positive effect on various brain functions such as pleasure senses, memory, emotions, and movement. Dopamine improves cognitive functions, stimulates creativity, and helps combat sadness and depression brought on by stress and anxiety.
3. Improves your Health
People in happy relationships are less likely to visit the doctor or get sick. This is likely because they take better care of themselves because they have someone in their life who needs them. However, people in loving relationships also experience a drastic spike in their immune system. Those in loving relationships are also statistically less likely to develop chronic abuse problems such as drinking and drugs.
4. Pain Relief
Oxytocin, sometimes called the “Love Hormone” or “Cuddle Drug” is a hormone the body releases when experiencing touch sensations with someone you love, such as hugging or having sex. Oxytocin is a super hormone that can alter your mood, create enhanced attachment, and also has pain-relieving effects. Oxytocin is responsible for sensory neurons in the spinal cord that can alleviate acute pain. This is known to alleviate soreness and cramps caused by menstruation, arthritis symptoms, and has even been known to calm headaches and migraines.
5. Improves Heart Health
When you and your marriage mate share a happy, healthy relationship that makes you feel good you will have better heart health. One study found in the Psychosomatic Medicine journal found that couples who spent time alone together experienced lowered blood pressure and less stress.
Studies show that sharing a positive attitude with your partner can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by 22%. As a bonus, these study participants also scored less likely to develop a smoking habit and had lower cholesterol.
Having a marriage mate who makes you laugh can also be beneficial for your heart. There is a direct link, researchers of the University of Maryland School of Medicine say, between laughter and healthy blood flow. So if you want a healthy heart, you’d better get laughing!
Negative Effects of Marriage
Just like a positive attitude can build you up a negative attitude from your spouse affects your health for the worse. Here are some of the negative side effects of an unhappy relationship.
6. Dietary Derailment
If you’re looking to work on your body and get those six packs, going to your spouse for support may negatively impact your results. Dieting together is shown to create a lazier attitude in couples when it comes to working out and getting healthy. Unfortunately, the success of your spouse’s rocking body may make you less confident and less inclined to continue on your fitness journey.
Also, there is a strong link between marriage and weight gain. This is partly because as a married couple you stop ‘dating’ as much. You don’t strive to make active dates to “Woo” one another any longer and now spend more time in front of the television or on electronic devices.
7. Negative Sleep Patterns
While some people benefit from sleeping in the same bed as their sweetheart, others struggle to share a mattress. If you are used to sleeping alone and having your space, are a light sleeper, or have a partner with sleep apnea or who snores, it can be difficult to get any shuteye when you cuddle up together. A lack of sleep can cause premature aging, lowered sex drive, forgetfulness, fatigue, and depression.
8. Negative Marriage Mates and Mental Health
One way that your spouse affects your health is with a negative attitude. Those who see the world with a “Glass half empty” outlook can rub off their attitude on you in the worst way. Research by the American Psychological Association shows that negative interactions between married couples can lead to serious, chronic health problems and physical disabilities for those aged 50 and older. Negative partners also contribute to serious depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
9. Death of a Spouse
The prophetic phrase: “Died of a broken heart” may carry more weight to it than you thought. Studies in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that couples who lost a spouse to death were more likely to have a stroke or heart attack within one month of their spouse’s passing. This is largely due to emotional stress and a rise in blood pressure. Also, the risk of having a cardiovascular event doubles for those who have lost a mate in death.
The above are some of the ways how your spouse affects your mental and physical health both. One must use the above knowledge to avoid any bad repercussions arising out of a poor marriage on overall health and wellbeing.
Rachel Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.