As Valentine’s Day approaches, I thought I’d share the tangible benefits of loving relationships. Cardiologist Julie Damp, M.D,. from Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute reported that being in a loving relationship is good for the heart. People who are in close, emotionally healthy relationships tend to be physically healthier, more physically active, more socially connected, and are less likely to smoke. They typically have lower levels of stress and are more proactive in their healthcare which has a positive effect on their cardiovascular system. The opposite also applies in that people who are in conflict ridden relationships with significant negativity are at increased risk for coronary artery disease.
Healthy relationships require and benefit from regular feeding and nurture. Consider giving the gift of praise, unconditional affection, and/or undivided attention. Assume one of your spouse’s chores for a day or two or complete a project that they’ve been wanting you to finish. Identify five characteristics that you love about your spouse and write them in your Valentine’s card. Engage in an activity that your spouse enjoys while maintaining a good attitude. Set aside uninterrupted quality time to talk about your goals, dreams, and vision for the year. Write fun lists and be intentional about doing one item from each list weekly.
Be able to laugh and cry together; both have physical benefits. Surprises can add excitement, passion, and fun to a marriage. Take your spouse away for a night or set up an activity/event that your spouse will enjoy without their knowledge. Be spontaneous and creative in your ideas to reignite the spark before the flame dies. Work on forgiveness which helps in letting go of pain. Value your friendship with your spouse and appreciate his or her positive qualities. Nurturing your marriage will remind you of why you fell in love in the first place.