Cochin Cardiac Club

Health Blog by Dr.Uday Nair


A happy marriage is good for your health

We are happy because we love.  We are able to love when we are happy with ourselves.  Most of us go into our marriages believing that this is the natural state of things.  Even if we have seen few long-term happy marriages, we all begin believing ours will be different. We expect our marriages to make us happy.  We attribute our capacity for happiness to our feelings of being loved.

Then our biological  embodiment of falling in love fades. We see the rough and brittle edges of our partner and the relationship scrapes noisily where before it seemed to float. This is not wrong- its normal. This is where we are demanded to fulfill the early promises of love instead of being filled up by them. This is perhaps the most lethal thinking trap and single biggest premature killer of many long-term relationships. We believe that someone else can make us happy and fix our brokenness. The biggest gift we can give our relationship is to realize that happiness is an inside job. We are each the master of our own destiny in our hearts.

Many people never really understand this revelation because most of us enter our marriages with little or no emotional intelligence. How can we possibly be responsible for our own happiness when we do not even have the fluency of naming our own feelings by their right name. Sadness, fear, insecurity and  loneliness can all come out looking like anger or contempt. Our marriages become the wasteland of this ignorance when we blame our feelings on our partner, degrading the dynamics of our relationship.

Healthy relationships are the product of two individuals who are responsible for their own emotional health and who have something to give to a relationship. The relationship is the vessel that we build to hold and cultivate our best selves. When we are not driven by need, we have the opportunity to give freely, not measuring what we get back against what we give. We have the courage to look at ourselves honestly and the willingness to be held accountable to what we aspire to become.
Long-lasting, happy marriages have more than great communication.

Most marriage therapists focus on "active listening," which involves paraphrasing, validating, affirming your spouse's feedback.That's all well and good and may help you get through some conflicts in a less destructive way. But, 'you're asking people to do Olympic-style gymnastics when they can hardly crawl.' Many people will fail at those techniques. Research indicates that most people are dissatisfied with the outcome of marital therapy, that the problems come back.

In happy marriages, couples don't do any of that!

Instead, you must be nice to your partner. Make small gestures, but make them often. "The little things matter," . What a happy marriage is based on is deep friendship, knowing each other well, having mutual respect, knowing when it makes sense to try to work out an issue, when it is not solvable.
Many kinds of issues simply aren't solvable.

Learn how to identify issues that must be resolved, that can be "fruitfully discussed,".Learn to live with the rest. Just put up with it. All you do is waste your breath and get angry over these things that can't be changed. You're better off not trying to change them. Work around them. Commit to staying together, even though this is something you don't like.

A long-lasting, happy marriage is about knowing your partner, being supportive, and being nice.For every one negative thing you do, there must be five positive things that balance it out.Make sure to balance the negatives with positives. Your marriage has to be heavily in favor of the positives.
While it sounds easy -- and while it can be easy -- this commitment to being nice is no small matter,

You have to do nice things often. But it's harder to be nice when the heat is on, when you're really angry, or when something has happened for the 15th time. Nevertheless, the balance must be heavily, heavily stacked in the positive, to have a happy marriage.

Also, couples must stay in touch with their special ways of repairing the relationship.It can be humor or whatever helps diffuse the escalating heat. In happy marriages, couples naturally do this. They deflect the anger, and get back on an even keel.

Happy Marriage = Respecting Eachother

Couples in satisfying, happy marriages have more positive emotions in their interactions.

Most marital conflicts don't ever get resolved.There are always issues around in-laws, children. Solving the problems doesn't really matter. What's crucial is keeping things positive. You have to accept the other person's perspective, have an appropriate discussion without getting critical or blaming.

Men in good relationships don't react emotionally during conflicts. Men in bad relationships are more likely to withdraw from the discussion. They might actually leave the room, look at the ceiling, or tune out the conversation. Wives in negative relationships also get entrenched in their particular viewpoint and ultimately feel greater anger and contempt.

Your attitude toward your spouse plays out over the long haul.Couples that have good marriages retain their mutual respect and understanding of each other -- even during discussions of their differences -- will stay together much longer.

Most importantly, for a happy marriage, be committed to seeing your partner's perspective.Have a willingness to understand, make changes in yourself, and find some method to get out of negative communication patterns -- negativity that just escalates. Sometimes that couple just can't move forward.
One trick that works: Discussing conflicts while talking on the phone, rather than face to face.That removes all nonverbal cues. She won't see him looking at the ceiling; he won't see her rolling her eyes. It keeps things more positive.

Deal with the Issues

Conflict is common, and a healthy dose of conflict is OK.How you deal with it, that's what matters in a happy marriage.

You have to fight fair. Stay calm. You cannot be at problem-solving best when you're angry. Come back to the situation when you're not, and you can have a whole new perspective.
Also, pick your battles.You can't have a conflict over everything like -- bringing up things that happened five, 10 years ago.

For a happy marriage, here's how to deal with conflict:

  • Bring it up in a nonthreatening way.Be nice. No name calling.
  • Bring up specific issues or behaviors, rather than personality qualities. In a happy marriage, there's no attacking the person.Bring up the specific time, how you felt about it, then people can change the behavior. Otherwise, they don't know what to do about it, they're boxed in.
  • Use "I" statements. Instead of "you're a very messy person' say 'I'm really bothered when you put clothes on the floor." Such statements show how you feel about a specific behavior, and that's important in a happy marriage.
  • Try to stay calm, the calmer you are, the more you will be taken seriously.Take a breath, count to 10, breathe. Try to be nonthreatening.
  • Take a break.If you're going back and forth, if you find blood pressure going up, take minutes or seconds.Don't take hours. If you take too long, it festers in the other person, they've had time analyze it; you're dismissing their feelings opinions, dismissing them.
  • Don't bring it up at night. Choose the right time -- not when people are tired, hungry, when the kids are all around, when you've got a deadline at work. Those are not best times.
  • Consider your spouse's point of view, if you want a truly happy marriage..  every single action has a different meaning depending on if you are male, female, your race, your background. That is important to remember in conflict resolution.

It has been shown, time and time again, that conflict is not important, that how you manage conflict, how you handle it over the long haul, really is important to a happy marriage which is by direct, meaningful communication -- but you have to choose the right time.

Also, compromise is necessary in long-term relationships.But each partner has to feel that it's reciprocal. One can't feel that they're making all the compromises.When one spouse makes all the compromises, it's uncomfortable for both -- not just the one giving in.

You have to remember there are ebbs and flows in relationships.There will be times when you're making the compromises. But there will be other times when your partner is making them. As long as in the long-term things are reciprocal, that's what is important.
  1. Talk to each other every day. Make a point of learning what the other one's day was like.That becomes one type of quality time: undivided attention.
  2. Say nice things to one another; give one another compliments. Do this frequently.
  3. Try not to reject each other. Be aware of the little moments when your partner is reaching out to you and try to respond to them rather than turn your back to them, even if you are busy.
  4. Develop your own little habits, rituals, secret words, or secret signals. Little, special things become special bonds, special moments of intimacy.

Loving relationships of all kinds, whether with romantic committed partners, parents, children, siblings or friendships are the most gentle and effective teachers that life offers us to become the person we aspire to be.  Accepting the flaws in the people we love and working with them is the same sculpting work that Michelangelo faced within his blocks of stone. Like a master stone cutter, we learn to discern minor imperfections from the deeper flaws that the “eternally patient” hand of love is able to integrate into the greater beauty of the piece. We create beauty from the inherent difficulties of loving the flaws and imperfections in each of us. This is the heart of a happy marriage.


  • Married couples tend to enjoy healthier and happier lives than single people.

  • According to the latest research carried out , a stable and surviving marriage is strongly associated with a longer life expectancy, particularly if they are in good, satisfying relationships.

  • The benefits  of happy married life are better physical health, more resistance to infection, fewer infections, and a reduced likelihood of dying from cancer, from heart disease, from all major killers

  • There are physical benefits and mental health benefits which includes less depression, less anxiety disorders, less psychosis, less posttraumatic stress disorders, fewer phobias and also  fewer injuries due to accidents.

  • Positive marital interactions can boost immunity and reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping stress hormones low

  • One of the major ways in which marriage confers effects is to reduce risk: Men stop engaging in risky behavior like bungee jumping and driving drunk. ... [They start] getting their health looked at on a regular basis and eating well. Women are less prone to risky behavior, more likely to go to doctor when they are sick, and they take care of themselves better.

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