We’re not just saying it to force you into doing something we like. Learn about the benefits of having a happy spouse on your health.
What can you read in this article?
- What does “happy wife, happy life” mean?
- Health advantages of having a happy spouse and marriage
“Happy wife, happy life.” If you’re married, I’m sure you’ve heard of that saying before.
These four words just seem so clever that every young couple has probably subscribed to it, or at least want their partners to hear about it.
But it’s not just for the sake of talk. Turns out, the happy wife, happy life saying actually rings true, not just in your relationship with your spouse, but also when it comes to your overall well-being.
Because according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association, having a happy spouse can make you healthier.
Study: having a happy spouse does have health benefits
The study found that over time, people married to happy spouses were more likely to be healthier, regardless of how happy they themselves are.
“Simply having a happy partner may enhance health as much as striving to being happy oneself,” writes the study’s head author, William Chopik, PhD, a psychology professor at Michigan State University.
Whether the happy spouse was the husband or wife does not make a difference, even though we typically expect women to be more preoccupied with improving their spouses’ moods.
“There’s a sense that women’s manage their husbands’ health, but it appears that the amount your spouse’s happiness affects your health doesn’t vary across gender,” Chopik explains to Time.
The researchers named three possible reasons why people with happy partners tend to be healthier:
1. Happy people are better at taking care of others
Because they aren’t weighed down by their own issues, happy people have a bigger capacity to give of themselves. They usually have more energy to give support and encouragement, while unhappy partners tend to be preoccupied with their own issues.
2. Happy people encourage their partners to be healthier
Happy people tend to be more motivated to lead healthy lifestyles, and are thus more likely to drag their unhappy partners out of bed to exercise, or eat healthy foods, sleep better, and so forth.
“It’s compensatory,” Chopik tells Time. “Another person’s happiness is filling you up, so you do these healthy things.”
3. Being with a happy partner just makes life easier
“Simply knowing that one’s partner is satisfied with his or her individual circumstances may temper a person’s need to seek self-destructive outlets, such as drinking or drugs, and may more generally offer contentment in ways that afford health benefits down the road,” Chopik says.
Here’s the reason why having a happy marriage is good for your kids
Marriage Tips: How to be a good husband to your wife
5 love languages in a marriage – which one is yours?
Benefits of being in a happy marriage
Affirming what was discussed in the study above, an article published in the University of Utah website enumerated several ways that being in a happy marriage or relationship may have positive effects on your health.
According to Kirtly Parker Jones, MD, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Utah Healthcare,
“People involved in loving, philia-based relationships have [fewer] doctor visits, shorter hospital visits, have less pain, and have more positive emotions.”
In addition, she said that loving friendships make us more resilient when hard times come. It’s nice when people feel happy in their relationship, but how does it really affect our health?
Here are some concrete ways living up to the “happy wife, happy life” saying has on your health:
“People, particularly men, are healthier when they’re married, and they live longer,” said Jones
As mentioned earlier, being in a happy relationship means reduced stress, and drives the partner to give up bad habits like heavy drinking or smoking.
According to Benjamin A. Steinberg, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the cardiovascular division of University of Utah Healthcare, patients with strong social support have better recoveries. He also attributes improved recovery to, again, lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
We have lower blood pressure
Being in love with your partner can make your heart “skip a beat.” But the security of being in a stable, positive relationship actually does keep your blood pressure in check.
“We know that sudden negative emotions can lead to sensations mimicking a heart attack, also known as ‘broken heart syndrome.’” said Dr. Steinberg. “It stands to reason the opposite is true, as well.”
Moreover, haven’t you noticed that people who are in great marriages are actually more relaxed and more likely to engage in physical exercise that are beneficial to their heart, and their health as a whole.
Our immune system is strengthened
Studies reveal that people who are in supportive, positive relationships produce more oxytocin, the happy hormones, and are less likely to succumb to the negative effects of stress, anxiety, and depression.
We are more inclined to be physically fit
When we are in a happy committed relationship, part of the way to keep the fire burning is looking good for our partner. To achieve this, we motivate ourselves to exercise, or eat right, which not only improves our physique and boosts our self-esteem, but also allows us to be in good health as well.
When we say we feel invincible because of love, we’re not trying to be cheesy. According to a behavioral study, the presentation of romantic partner pictures was sufficient to reduce experimentally-induced pain in individuals. However, showing suffering subjects random photos of attractive people didn’t show any reduction in reaction.
Happy spouse, happy how – ways to keep your partner happy
Now that we’re aware of the different positive effects having a happy spouse has on our well-being. We have an extra reason to make our partners smile and feel satisfied in our marriage. Here are some ways you can achieve that:
- Learn about your partner’s love language – every person has their own love language, a way that makes them feel loved. For some it is receiving gifts, acts of services, or spending quality time with the person they love. Figure out what your spouse’s love language is, and the rest will be easy.
- Engage in a shared activity – one way to keep your bond strong as a couple is to do things together. You can try a new sport or a new hobby together so you have more things to talk about other than the kids.
- Lean something new about each other – don’t assume that you know everything about your partner. People change. What she liked before you were married may be different now. And it’s going to be a really sweet gesture to let your partner feel that you’re still into her and would like to get to know her more deeper than before.
- Show your appreciation – It doesn’t have to be something expensive or grand. Just a simple but heartfelt ‘thank you’ would do. Love notes would be nice, but if you can say it out loud, your spouse will be thrilled that you see all her efforts.
Being in a marriage is hard, there’s no doubt about it. But if you keep an open mind and make an effort to keep your spouse happy, you can bet that you will be reaping the rewards, not only with your health, but equally important, in your marriage and family life,