Health Knowledge is Power
The best way to start is by gathering and discussing your personal medical history, as well as the history of your parents, siblings and extended family. Ask relatives about their health conditions and at what age they were diagnosed. You and your spouse should be well aware of possible future illnesses and what conditions you may pass down if you choose to have children.
Once each of you has compiled your medical history, see a doctor. Though you may like diagnosing yourself using medical websites (who doesn’t?), it’s no substitute for establishing a relationship with a reputable physician you trust. Ask your doctor about recommended screenings and lifestyle changes, and make sure to share the results of your appointment with your partner.
A critical part of health knowledge is having the ability to respond in emergency situations. For instance, you may know your partner is allergic to peanuts, but do you know how to give them a potentially life-saving injection? If your partner was rushed to the hospital, could you tell the doctors what medications he or she takes? I recommend putting that info in your phone so you always have it with you.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Although emergencies can occur, your health is more likely to be impacted by daily diet and exercise habits. According to doctors at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic, poor lifestyle choices contribute to diseases such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Spouses should support each other in making improvements where possible. Keep healthy foods in your home and experiment with new recipes that use nutrient-rich ingredients. You might exercise independently based on schedules and preferences, but try to find physical activities you can share (in addition to that one) so you can be active as well as spend time together.
The Importance of Mental Health
As you work to improve your physical health, make sure to check in with each other about mental health issues. Conditions such as anxiety and depression can have a detrimental impact on health and on relationship satisfaction. Unfortunately, many people try to hide or downplay their symptoms. If you have concerns about your own or your partner’s mental health, discuss the subject and be proactive about seeking professional help.
Finally, if you are truly committed to having the best health possible, work on having the best marriage possible. Stressful marriages have been found to negatively impact blood pressure, heart disease and even the number of colds you catch. So instead of fighting with each other, fight for a marriage with intimacy and connection to give yourselves the best chance for a long and healthy life together.
Style Me Pretty Contributor – Paula Holt is a marriage preparation expert living in Chicago.