There have been several multi-national studies with couples of varying ages that continually show a link between a healthy marriage and good health. From the benefits to your marriage by exercising together to the reality of your longevity connected to a healthy marriage.

A new BYU research study finds that people in happy marriages live less “in sickness” but enjoy more of life “in health.” In a 20-year study, Rick Miller a family life researcher found that as the quality of marriage holds up, so does physical health. Miller said, “Happy marriages have a preventative component that keeps you in good health over the years.”

This study was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family in June 2013, and shows positive marriage relationships sustain health over the long run. This study was the longest on marital quality and healthy to date, following 1,681 couples over two decades.

The results showed that those couples with higher marital conflict were more likely to report poor health. Sustaining a happy marriage also tends to inspire habits that lead to better health. Happily married spouses encourage one another to stay current on doctor’s appointments, sleep better, drink less and participate in healthy activities.

“When spouses have a bad day, in a happy marriage, they’re more likely to support each other and empathize with each other,” Miller said. “That support reduces stress and helps buffer against a decline in health.”

Here are just 5 ways being healthier can improve your relationship with your partner:

  1. Increased Energy

People who are active on a regular basis tend to have more energy, and enthusiasm, to bring to their life. That means you will have more spirit and liveliness to share, and this can bring a new sense of vitality to your relationship.

  1. Increased Self-Confidence

Self-esteem comes from accomplishing things that are important to us. Being fit shows us that we can indeed overcome obstacles and reach goals, and gives us a sense of power in determining our circumstances. These feelings of self worth carry over into our relationship, too. People with better self-esteem tend to have fewer problems with jealousy, and a lesser need to control others. This translates to a freer and stronger marriage all-round. 

  1. Exercising Together Fosters Closeness

Whether it’s long walks at the park, or working out at the gym, exercising with your spouse means you are accomplishing a healthy task together. This can strengthen your emotional bond as a couple.

  1. Improved Intimacy

The added energy and improved body image that comes from being fit and healthy often leads to a greater sense of physical intimacy. Again, this adds a greater sense of closeness with your partner, and further strengthens that bond between you.

  1. Reduced Stress

Stress overload is a real killer of both physical and emotional intimacy. Fortunately however, research shows us that those who workout regularly are better able to handle the normal daily stresses. Regular exercise also helps to improve your mood, and tends to reduce the fight or flight response to stress.

To put all of this in context, we are generally better people to be around when we are fit, healthy and happy. This can only add up to a healthier and happier marriage.

Even better, if you pursue your fitness goals with your partner, you can add a significant source of bonding and shared experience to your union. If you want more information, there is a website dedicated to this topic, the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center.

Why not sit down with your spouse to set some fitness goals, which you can work on together, as you strive to become a healthier and happier couple?