Health & Wellness Articles

The Surprising Health Benefits of Being in Love

How Positive Relationships Boost Wellness

However, simply being in a relationship isn't enough to reap these benefits; the quality of the relationship matters, too. Love is a complicated emotion, and it can have both good and bad side effects depending on how partners treat each other.
According to psychology professor and researcher Julianne Holt-Lunstad, positive relationships prove as beneficial to survival and longevity as quitting smoking—and the benefits of love might even exceed those of exercise. On the flip side, negative relationships can wreak havoc on your health. For example, it has been found that married people have lower blood pressure than unmarried people, but unhappily married people have higher blood pressure than both happily married and unmarried groups. Additionally, a 2009 study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that divorced or widowed people have 20 percent more chronic health conditions (such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer) than married people.
So, how do you ensure your marriage (or relationship) will be happy enough so you and your significant other can start reaping the benefits of love? Here are a few basic tips to follow for a healthy relationship:
  • Get out of relationships that no longer serve you. Studies show that unrequited love can lead to increased drinking, recreational drug use and depression. If the relationship isn't working, move on--for the sake of both you and your partner.
  • Practice open communication. When both of you are open and honest about your feelings, it is much easier to provide each other with what you want and need.
  • Make time for each other. In today's fast-paced world, our relationships often get pushed to the back burner. Make time for your partner, even if you have to schedule it in; it is worth it!
  • Learn to compromise. When you enter a relationship, it goes without saying that you will probably have to make some sacrifices. Anticipating and working amicably through those compromises is key for a healthy partnership.
  • Have activities outside of your relationship. It's important to keep your own separate identities and to not become too dependent on each other, no matter how in love you are. Be sure to strike a good balance by maintaining your own friends, hobbies and interests.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff. Chances are, your partner is probably going to have certain habits that drive you crazy—but it's also likely that there are things about you that drive your partner crazy, too! Learn to embrace those little flaws (everybody's got 'em!) and save the stress for the more important things.
    Continued ›
‹ Previous Page   Page 2 of 3   Next Page ›

Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

More Great Features

Connect With SparkPeople

Subscribe to our Newsletters

About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen Goldman has bachelor's and master's degrees in health and physical education. An AFAA-certified personal trainer and certified wellness coach, she is also the founder EnerG Coaching, LLC. Through one-on-one and group sessions, Ellen helps individuals make positive lifestyle changes, lose weight, manage stress and attain work-life balance. Visit her at

Member Comments

  • I believe that it is the way we are supposed to be. - 3/2/2014 6:42:33 AM
  • Fantastic article! Happy Valentine's Day!!
    - 2/14/2014 8:42:45 AM
  • The title of this article is misleading and its scope i limiting. It claims that love is good for you, but this article is all about why people should be married. Those are not the same thing! Love is much bigger than just romance. I'm happily single, but I still have love in my life through my friends, family and church family. - 2/13/2014 4:58:34 PM
  • I have been married for only 11 years and my hubby still brings me happiness. I think about my sister and a whole bunch of girls telling me (repeatedly) that it is because I am just a newlywed and that I would learn with time. Well, here is the news...

    First, I have a list of the things that I love about my hubby INSTEAD OF HIS FAULTS. I kept the letters that he wrote me when we were dating and reading them again keeps my love for him strong. He does wonderful things for me, so I try to make him as comfortable as possible. Now I have another love... a little girl who is sweet and affectionate.

    I can see why being in love can make your life better. If getting married took time off my life, it would be worth it. My time on the world is so much better since I have someone to share it with... actually two people. - 1/29/2014 9:02:46 AM
  • Much food for thought. - 9/28/2013 6:12:38 AM
  • Some really interesting info in there.
    Hubby and I have been through some iffy patches, but we've been able to keep working together and staying together. i thank God that we were both brought up in the tradition of working to make things work! And that it has all worked out for us.
    We met just over 42 years ago, September 1971, at university. Got engaged in April 74. Then married March 78.
    We weren't going to have children, but first son came along 1 May 1988. We neither of us wanted an only child if possible, so 2nd son arrived 1990, a few weeks after my 37th birthday.
    I had my 60th birthday 2 days ago (Friday), and hubby, both boys and older son's partner were all here for a meal last night. And it was my own choice to have the meal here rather than eating out.

    Yes, a lot of hard work, loads of biting the tongue, some major arguments - on both sides. But overall we've been OK, sometimes even happy, that we are still together and intend to remain so. - 9/22/2013 5:34:00 PM
  • Loss my husband two years ago, I fell very lonely but I do my best to stay active and keep in touch with my friends. - 9/21/2013 10:42:34 AM
    I disagree that committed, yet unmarried couples would receive the same benefits. If they were committed, they would be married! I also don't think those who aren't currently in a positive marriage should feel "doomed". Perhaps it could just be a goal to work for and something to look forward to. - 9/21/2013 9:33:34 AM
  • Great info. I love for someone to love me and I love them back. But I just love everyone even if they don't love me. That's me. - 9/8/2013 6:25:36 PM
  • I agree with SASSIISSAS that this is a very limiting article. I haven't been in a committed relationship for about 2 decades, and having gone through a divorce, know the downside of such relationships. I have plenty of friends and family to love, I am professionally employed with a good salary and benefits, and have no financial worries. Don't get me wrong, "if" the right person came along, I would consider such a relationship. I just don't see the point of "trying" to find a mate. I always said if God wanted me to re-marry, he would send someone my way. He hasn't, so single I will happily remain! - 7/24/2013 8:51:05 PM
  • "Although much of this research has looked at the effects of love on married couples, there is no reason to think that those in a positive and committed--yet unmarried--relati
    onship wouldn’t enjoy these same benefits."

    Lol it is funny how these unions are always compared to married one. Must be b/c married ones are some how more significant. - 2/21/2013 11:22:47 PM
  • This blog just makes me very sad. Reciprocal love seems pretty much out of my reach. Loving and not being loved back is not good for your health. - 2/12/2013 8:42:05 PM
  • This is great information. - 2/12/2013 7:47:21 PM
  • Being in love doesn't mean one has to have a sexual partner or life mate. Many who are single - including me - love very much, very deep, those who are in our lives . We love, we connect and we have support. To read this article, if one isn't in a committed relationship then one has a much harder time to be healty and lose weight - that is a fallacy. It is important to have connections in life, there are many psychological issues that can arise if one lives completely in solitude. Those same research reports also connect love with animals, with nature and the universe - for those who live on own, out in the bush, miles from others and are very content with their lives. Love is a deep subject and is not limited to physical sexual connections or life partners. If that is the only focus, that is called obession - love knows no boundaires, nor should it. This article is extremely limiting. - 2/12/2013 2:10:05 PM
  • It sounds like those of us who remain unloved are doomed. I wish the article had mentioned that aspect as many people have no one to care about them. - 2/12/2013 10:24:53 AM

x Lose 10 Pounds by February 1! Get a FREE Personalized Plan