How Relationship Stress Can Affect Your Physical Health Over Time

heart rate
Photo: Thinkstock
A new study suggests that when it comes to marriage, your partner’s stress can affect your health.

They say that stress is the root of all health evils, and a new study is showing that when it comes to marriage, your partner's stress can affect your health. It's been known for while now that negative marital quality can impact a person's blood pressure and mortality, but now they're saying that when a wife is stressed, her husband's blood pressure will increase.

Talk about influencing each others' lives, huh?

According to the study, researchers used systolic blood pressure as a gauge and assessed whether an individual's blood pressure is influenced by their own as well as their partner's reports of chronic stress and whether there are gender differences in these patterns.

The findings suggested that husbands have a greater reliance on their wives for support, which they might not get when their wives are more stressed.

“We were particularly excited about these findings because they show that the effects of stress and negative relationship quality are truly dyadic in nature," said the study's lead author Kira S. Birditt. “An individual's physiology is closely linked with not only his or her own experiences but the experiences and perceptions of their spouses. We were particularly fascinated that husbands were more sensitive to wives' stress than the reverse, especially given all of the work indicating that wives are more affected by the marital tie."

While fights are sometimes inevitable in a relationship, this is all helpful information to know. After all, if stress is really this impactful, there's an even better excuse to make up with a spa day… all in the name of romance and health, of course.


Fight to Understand, Don't Fight to Win

Successful Celebrity Marriages and What We Can Learn From Them

8 Biggest Relationship Myths Debunked