I like to think my fiancé and I have a healthy relationship.
This means I feel as though our relationship will blossom into a beautiful, supportive, and happy marriage one day. We communicate about everything, we work out our issues, and we cultivate self-awareness. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it.
Although my relationship with Ian is really important to me, it’s not my priority. I love him, but I love myself a little more. I put a priority on staying healthy and happy with or without him.
Research is now showing that my happiness could actually make him healthier! The American Psychological Association (APA) recently published a study featuring adults of middle age and older about their happiness and health. The results were pretty impressive.
Happy People Make It More Difficult to Be Sad
You know those people.
You just can’t help but smile when you’re around them, even if you’re angry. Having a spouse that’s happy makes middle-aged people “much more likely” to give a positive evaluation of their own health. What this means is that living with a happy person can make you healthier, whether or not you’re actually happy.
William Chopik, the study’s leader, claims there are a few reasons why your happy partner can improve your own health. These include having more support, being more involved in activities and positive environments, and the final reason—they just make life easier.
Have you ever been in a relationship with an unhappy person? They feel crappy so they make you feel crappy. They just make life more difficult.
This new research shows that happy partners don’t necessarily make you happy, but they do make you healthy. Which points to a bigger connection between health and happiness!
Sorry Millennials — You’re Not There Yet
The study surveyed heterosexual people between the ages of 50-94 across the nation, so the findings don’t necessarily apply to younger adults. Bummer!
However, just because you’re not middle-aged doesn’t mean you can’t take some of this research to heart. Whether you’re dating or already married, be a happy person. If you’re dating, take the time to meet and cultivate relationships with positive people!
If you’re already in a relationship, put a priority on being happy. If you’re happy, you’ll make your partner healthier and maybe even happier!
How to Be the Happy Partner
Get out and do stuff together — and no, I don’t mean go to events you “have” to attend or truly dislike. Do something fun!
Exercise together. Meet up with friends. Pick one night every month and have a date night, where you get dressed up to go out to eat. Or, you know, get dressed down to stay at home and watch Netflix.
Whatever makes you happy!
Chopik also suggested that happy people encourage their spouses to take better care of themselves through proper sleep, healthy eating, and exercising.
Be supportive of your partner and understand that their happiness is not yours—but their health just might be. Cultivate happiness and health together by staying positive, working together, and you know, just being happy.
This study has been published in APA’s Health Psychology journal.