Want to enjoy life more, feel stress less, and zap a major risk factor for heart disease? Work on making your marriage happy. Yep, matters of the heart affect a lot more than your heart. If you're happily married, you'll have lower blood pressure and less depression than single people, even singles with a swell social network.
What is it about being happily married that's so healthy? One biggie: You encourage each other to see a doctor when you should. Another: You give each other emotional support through good times and through bad, in sickness and in health, which makes your bodies run better and boosts your overall health. A third: You often laugh together.
So what will make your marriage even happier? Here's what we YOU Docs have learned over our collective 65 years of wedded bliss (39 for Mike and Nancy, 26 for Mehmet and Lisa):
- Spend lots of time alone together. Make time to do things as a couple, not just as a family. It's crucial for rekindling love and affection.
- When things get tense, tap your sense of humor. Conflicts are inevitable in any marriage, but if you remember to laugh about them, it helps you work through the tension and reconnect
- Talk in bed. You might think that's the second-best thing you can do there. But just talking every night in that quiet, intimate setting allows you to bond even more deeply. And it tends to lead to that second-best thing.