While a loving partner can have a protective effect on your health, a partner who always frustrates you will flood your body with stress hormones and damage your health.
When you vow to be with someone for the rest of your life, "for better or for worse", you most only think about the "better" and avoid thinking about the "worse". But just how bad can it get? Every relationship will face hurdles as time progresses, and the strength of the bond you share is often reflected in your and your partner's physical health.
Do you feel emotionally exhausted and worn out after a certain time, or do you find a way to bounce back and keep going? Are the conflicts in your relationship leaving your partner hotheaded?
Not only is staying in an unhappy marriage robbing you of your chance to be happy, but it's also severely affecting your health. The stress of a bad relationship or a bad marriage can lead you to the dangerous path of dealing with high blood pressure. And when this happens, you are faced with the risk of a number of other health concerns.
Relationships are made to be a safe space for you and your partner. But when the relationship is all about negativity or you are stuck in an unhappy marriage, it can increase your blood pressure, according to the findings of a study highlighted by ScienceDaily.
"If you had a bad marriage three years ago, three years later we found it was worse to be with your spouse because your blood pressure was raised compared to when you're not with them," said Dr. Brian Baker of the department of psychiatry and the University Health Network.
"Being in an unhealthy relationship causes your body to release stress hormones and your heart to beat faster," said psychologist Maryann Troiani, PhD, co-author of Spontaneous Optimism, according to Health. However, when you have a good marriage, you will have the opposite results.
When you're happy with your relationship, your partner will have a protective effect on you where your blood pressure levels will go down. While a good marriage can reduce your blood pressure, reduce your stress, and reduce your risk of depression, according to a study on NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), a bad marriage is stealing all those benefits away from you.
Anger could be one of the first reactions that you might have during fights and arguments with your partner. But there are different ways that it might affect you.
On one hand, when you're able to manage anger well in the relationship, it can help you exercise better control over your emotions and general state of mind. That anger can motivate you to make a positive change in your relationship for both you and your partner. On the other hand, when you or your partner are so consumed by anger towards each other that you can't control it, it can be destructive not just for your relationship, but also for your own personal growth.
When this anger turns ugly, your body is flooded with stress hormones over and over again. And it gives rise to health problems like high blood pressure, along with the risk of heart attacks, strokes, depression, anxiety, insomnia and digestive problems, according to the Better Health Channel.
Exactly how deep would the effect of a stressful marriage be on your level of blood pressure? The answer to this might have something to do with how you react to the conflicts that arise with your partner.
“Conflict happens in every marriage, but people deal with it in different ways. Some of us explode with anger; some of us shut down,” said Claudia Haase, the lead author of a study by UC Berkeley and Northwestern University. “Our study shows that these different emotional behaviors can predict the development of different health problems in the long run.”
If you tend to lash out or explode with fury when you and your partner are faced with unresolved conflict, it could spike up your blood pressure levels. If your partner tends to be hotheaded, the study found that they would have a higher risk of experiencing chest pain, high blood pressure, and other heart diseases with time.
But conversely, if you tend to be someone who bottles up your emotions, you might not experience the risk of high blood pressure, but you might develop the risk of musculoskeletal ailments, where you might notice back pain or stiff muscles.
The bottom line is that if you find your marriage to be a source of stress rather than a place of love and joy, it's important to see how you can fix things before your health starts to suffer because of it. Forcing yourself to stay in a relationship that's only increasing your stress can affect your health in ways that could only be apparent as you grow older.