Jul 10, 2018
Brian Mayer talks about how verbal conflict when it gets out of
hand has been correlated to physical ailments and other medical
conditions. As a child, we were told that sticks and stones
may break your bones but words can never hurt. New scientific
research says that words can actually hurt just like sticks and
stones. Today we will talk about this important issue.
We hope you enjoy today’s episode. For more information and
additional resources please visit our website at http://www.theremarriedlife.com
- In relationships and marriages we spend a lot of time working
on getting the communication and the connection between two people
just right. This is a good thing for lots of reasons.
It is good to connect on an emotional level. It is good for
the kids, good for families, good for your ability to balance work,
friends, and families.
- However, did you know that relationships that are happy can
also have a positive impact on your health. This is the piece
that most people don’t know, but new scientific research has shown
a correlation between an unhappy relationship and your physical
- A study from Ohio State University’s Institute for Behavioral
Medicine Research worked with 42 couples. They made some tiny
suction wounds on on their hands. Then the couples were asked
to talk about a tense subject. The researchers also paid
attention to the way in which they argued and how long it took for
the couple to bounce back.
- The results of this study were somewhat astounding. They
discovered that couples whose disagreements were marked with lots
of criticisms, put downs, interrupting had wounds that healed 40%
slower than those couples whose disagreements still had lots of
listening, respect, humor, and the ability to move on.
- This study and others like it also showed that for women the
results are even more tough. Women according to study are
biologically have a different reaction to hostility for a couple of
- Women tend to evaluate negativity accurately while men are
- Men forget exchanges rather quickly while women can replay them
over and over again.
- The same researchers at Ohio State also did another study of
newlywed couples and looked at stress hormone release after an
argument or disagreement.
- In this study they found that, the stress hormones like
cortisol and other remained elevated. For women, the levels
remained elevated much longer.
- Other studies, especially one from the University of Utah also
took a closer look at women and what is known as metabolic syndrome
and the issues surrounding that as it relates to happy and unhappy
- According to the Mayo clinic, Metabolic syndrome is a cluster
of conditions, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess
body fat especially around the waist, high cholesterol and
triglyceride levels. All of these factors contribute to the
risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
- So back to the study – men and women were both assessed for
what they saw as positive and also what they saw as negative in
their marriage. Interestingly enough, a higher percentage of
women that had depression about their marriage were more likely to
have metabolic syndrome than men. Again suggesting that while
marital strain is tough for each gender, that it is tougher on
- So what does all this mean? To put it bluntly, you will
suffer health consequences and even have the potential to die an
early death if relationship problems are not corrected.
- Did you know that the secret to living longer may be held in
your social life. According to a Ted Talk by Susan Pinker
which is linked in the Resources section, she cited an interesting
study that pointed this out.
- The tiny Italian island of Sardinia has six times as many
centenarians (100+ year olds) as does the mainland and ten times as
many as North America
- It was discovered that two of the keys to long life there
centered around being social integrated and also close
relationships. Believe it or not, things like not smoking,
not drinking, exercising were found to not have as strong a link as
these social and relationship components.
- What can you do to fight against these issues?
- First recognize the cycles of arguments that you get into with
each other. Notice the ways in which you each react and
respond. There is no doubt a pattern that you will see emerge
in how you escalate.
- Secondly, work to know what your triggers are. Maybe
things don’t go well between the two of you when you have already
been chewed out at work or if one of the kids is sick. You
may react to something different when you are under other
stress. Instead of reacting, make it known in a respectful
calm way that you are stressed and that another time to discuss
would be helpful.
- Ask your partner for what you need. If that is to be
talked to more gently or to be heard a bit more then ask for
that. Talking about how you argue when you are calm can go
much better typically. It is not full proof but can
- Just remember, your constant escalation of arguments that cause
bitterness and resentment are also affecting your body. Also
remember the way in which you speak to partner also has been shown
to correlate with their physical health. Think about this the
next time you discussion starts to get off the rails.
The High Price of a Bad
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Secret To Living Longer by Susan Pinker – Ted Talk
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As always remember that marriage is nothing something you have,
it is something you do. Talk to you next week unless you are
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about a minute! Take care.