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In Sickness and in Health

It definitely has its delights, but falling in love shakes up your life quite a bit. Devoting yourself to a partner includes taking on new friends, new relatives, and a new living arrangement. Pairing up also sparks sweet dreams about the goals you’d like to reach, trips you want to take together, kids you hope to have.

Likely, the last thing on your mind is how your beloved will tweak your cholesterol levels. Yet, a large body of research shows that relationships steer our physical well-being as well as our emotional health. A romantic partner often has more influence on our behaviors than anyone else. Exactly how he or she affects our health is sometimes common sense (if not obvious) and sometimes as mysterious as love itself.

We tend to hook up with people like us. “Everyone says opposites attract, but opposites don’t stay together for that long,” says Deanna Meyler, who co-authored a review of research on the tendency of partners’ health habits and statuses to merge, a phenomenon known as health concordance. Sustained relationships tend to occur among people who have comparable backgrounds, attitudes, and behaviors—qualities that often find their way into one’s physical condition.

When two people marry, their habits become even more alike. A study of newlyweds found that each individual’s health behaviors before marriage affected those same behaviors in their partner in the years after the wedding. Eating isn’t the only ritual that synchs up. Researchers have found that spouses influence each other’s’ exercise habits, doctor visits, and use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana.

Soul mates can even develop the same afflictions over time—a condition in one spouse often places the other at increased risk for the same disorder. This may be true for cancer, stroke, arthritis, hypertension, asthma, depression, and peptic ulcer disease.

Commitment typically leads to shared meals, activity patterns, financial resources, and social networks. Couples may also find themselves true partners in health by means of social control, in which one spouse tries to keep the other wholesome, and mood contagion, where one partner’s anxiety washes over the other and even takes a toll on his or her body: Men whose wives are upset by their work are nearly three times more likely to develop heart disease.

Before you say, “I do,” scrutinize your lover’s drinking habits. Or eating patterns. Your choice of romantic partner helps determine how healthy—or how sick—you’ll be.” [1]

My guest on Frankly Speaking with Tyra G this week is OB-GYN, Dr. Gloria Ivey Crowe. She discusses women’s health from an intergenerational perspective. What numbers do we, as women, need to know in our 20s, 30s 40s, and 50+ to live our best lives? Tune in to to hear a podcast of the complete podcast.

[1] In Sickness and in Health, Rebecca Webber Psychology today 2008.

    Until next time, remember,
  • You are not alone.
  • You are not your circumstances.
  • You have everything within you to live a purpose-filled life.

is a best selling author, Breakthrough Speaker and Spiritual coach. She has spent the last fifteen years mentoring and coaching those needing direction and support in the areas of life skills, leadership development, effective and efficient communications, and improved self-image. Connect with Tyra to get the support and help you need. Contact Info: Tyra Garlington Email: For Bookings and Inquiries: (813) 994-9462 As a Breakthrough Coach, Spiritual Coach and Christian Coach, Tyra offers a variety of breakthrough services including but not limited to: Personal Empowerment Coach :: Spiritual Coaching :: Breakthrough Coaching :: Christian Speaker :: Professional Speaker :: Breakthrough Speaker :: Personal Empowerment Speaker

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