Still, high divorce rates have made marriage unpopular to say the least; however there is a paradox. Many couples are spending large amounts of money for a wedding ceremony and then divorce follows sometimes not even after a year. We can read about this daily in the media.
As Licensed and Marriage and Family Therapist I have been noticing lately that especially women expect more from marriage, and that includes sexual intimacy and vitality into the middle ages and beyond. Therefore it makes sense that being happily married has also benefits for your health.
According to a study by Christine Proulx, an assistant professor in the MU Department of Human Development and Family Studies in all stages of marriage, positive or negative relationships affect the individual's health. Spouses should be aware that how they treat each other and how happy they are in their marriages affect both partners' health, and they should think more about their personal relationships when thinking holistically about their health (excerpt from Science Daily, University of Missouri-Columbia February 13, 2013). Happily married couples consider themselves healthier, expert says.
So what can you do to strengthen your marriage and at the same time improve your chances for a better health? Here are some of my suggestions that I share with my couples during sessions:
1. Take time for yourself. Don't depend on your spouse to make you happy. It is imperative that you continue growing as an individual and as a couple. There needs to be a balance between time apart and time together. Spending all the time together is not healthy and creates co-dependency.
2. Discuss any issues in a marriage or relationship on a regular basis. Even better, have a weekly meeting - maybe over a dinner or a glass of wine. Don't let the small issues and irritations grow into resentments that are difficult to resolve after more time has passed.
3. Make it a priority to eat healthy and exercise. If your schedules do not accommodate to exercise together regularly, be sure to do something physical together at least on a weekend. Weather now in Florida is ideal for outdoor activities. As you maintain your health and vitality, you are encouraging your partner to do the same. I would also add, don't become too comfortable in baggy jogging pants and turn into a coach potato; you owe it to yourself and your partner to maintain your health. Relationship is like a plant that needs to be nourished.
4. Support each other's goals and dreams and discuss them often.
5. Have a positive outlook on life. Make is a daily habit. Taking time to reflect, meditate, and write down positive affirmations and keeping a sense of gratitude goes a long way. You will notice how even the people that annoyed you don't hold so much power over you anymore.
6. Laugh often and remember that life can be challenging but it can be wonderful. You just have to decide not to engage in negativity. You are the Creator of Your Life.
To more healthy and happy relationships!
If you would like to learn more, feel free to email me or call me to schedule initial consultation.