Caring about other people’s feelings is good for you, especially if you’re married.
Looking out for number one might seem like the only way to live in this dog-eat-dog world. But if you really want to live longer, you might want to pay more attention to other people's happiness.
Particularly your spouse's.
Because research suggests that having a happy spouse can lead to better longevity. So focussing on marital bliss can be good not just for your partner but also for you.
A new study out of the Netherlands found that marital happiness is so crucial for longevity that it outweighed other important factors such as physical health and socioeconomic circumstances.
The study examined 4,400 couples in the United States over the age of 50, and what it found might surprise you.
People with happy partners were less likely to pass away during the study.
So why is this?
It's because when we're married to someone, their habits directly affect ours and happy people have better habits.
So if your partner is unhappy, their health will suffer, and so will yours.
This is because many of the behaviors people engage in when they're unhappy are also unhealthy.
Unhappy people often fall into bad habits that can harm overall health, such as:
- Being inactive
- Eating bad food
- Engaging with too much social media
- Staying inside
- Bad sleep habits
- Negative thought patterns
When general unhappiness continues, it can turn into depression, which is even worse.
Common Symptoms of Depression are:
- Loss of interest in the proactive things in life such as work, goals, and hobbies
- Feelings of uselessness, pessimism, and hopelessness
- General anger or crankiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep issues
- Drastic changes in eating habits and weight
And it might not just stop there. Depression can also lead to more severe problems such as drug addiction or alcoholism.
Depression can seriously affect a person's ability to live a healthy lifestyle, so if the person you're with is depressed, your health could be inadvertently suffering too.
This means ensuring your partner is happy isn't just good for them. It's good for you.
But how can you monitor your relationship?
Well, one way is to ask yourself if it works for both parties. Do both of you get more out of being together than from being apart.
Because research shows that the happiest people are the ones who feel their lives are better together than they would be apart.
That life with their partner is better than life without them.
So take stock.
If your partner thinks their life with you is better than life without you, you're good. If they think they'd be happier on their own, you might be in trouble.
Some reasons a partner might feel better off alone might be:
- If they do all the housework
- If they do all the childcare
- If they're better with money
- If you have totally different habits
- If they feel like they married the wrong person
- If they don't feel like you're loyal
If you think your relationship might be unhappy, but you're not sure, there are signs.
Unhappy couples have telltale signs that can give their status away.
If you and your spouse do these, you might be experiencing some warning signals that your marriage isn't as happy as you thought:
- Chronically criticizing each other
- Constantly arguing about the same things or not even bothering to argue anymore
- Not enjoying time together
- Keeping secrets
- Fantasizing about or considering having an affair
- Seeking emotional support from others before your partner
If you see yourself in many of those points, your partner might not be thrilled about your relationship either.
So what can you do to ensure both you and your significant other are both happy?
So if you want to be happier, you could try some of these:
- Make your big decisions together after talking about them
- Be nice to your in-laws
- Don't hold grudges
- Stay affectionate even when you're not feeling sexual
- Fight fair
- Have shared experiences
- Work as a team
- Create common goals
- Commit to improving your relationship
Housework seems to be one of the biggest contributors to unhappiness in marriages. It's the silent killer along with criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling, known as the four horsemen of the divorce apocalypse.
So if your partner seems unhappy, doing more housework might be a good way to open the door to more happiness for them.
Being mindful of how respectful you are to your partner might also be a good idea.
Because if they're happy, they'll be more likely to buy into a healthy lifestyle, which will make you both healthier in the long run.
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