Lyrics from “Charlie, Last Name Wilson” ring true, not only does it feel good to be in love but it has health benefits beyond a happy disposition.
It may bolster your immune system.
Research suggests that happy couples who engage in positive conflict resolution have higher functioning immune systems than those who don’t, says Gian Gonzaga, MD, senior director of research & development at eHarmony Labs. He points to a study by Ronald Glazer and Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, in which couples were observed during disputes. The couples who displayed the most negative behavior during the fights also showed the largest decline in immediate immune system functioning. Those who argued in a more loving, positive way had higher immediate immune function. Looking to fight in a healthier way? According to Dr. Gonzaga, the key to positive conflict resolution is productively engaging in the conversation without retreating or “stonewalling” each other.
It can make you physically fit.
No, you don’t get to bid your gym membership goodbye. But, it turns out that couples who exercise together have more success than people who sweat solo. According to certified fitness trainer and nutritionist Jay Cardiello, “nearly half of people who exercise alone quit their programs after one year, but two-thirds of those who work out with a loved one stick to it.” Even better: Both men and women work between 12 and 15 percent harder when training with a romantic partner. Whether it’s the excitement of being together or the extra push to keep up with your partner, sweating à deux clearly has its benefits. To reap the rewards, try scheduling in gym sessions with your honey during a time when you’ll both be able to commit, like in the morning or during lunch.
It might help you live longer.
“There’s a long history of research that has looked at the health benefits of marriage,” says Joseph Hullett, MD, psychiatrist and senior medical director for OptumHealth, Behavioral Solutions. “According to a 2004 study by the CDC, mortality rates were found to be the lowest in married couples.” Dr. Hullett attributes these findings to the fact that, generally speaking, people experience less stress when they’re in committed, healthy relationships—and less stress means better health. Plus, it has been shown that when men marry they give up some of their risky behavior—like heavy drinking and smoking—which leads to longevity. Good news for your hubby!