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| By Wellvyl Media Editorial

After it feels like everything has gone wrong in our day, exasperating us to our wit’s end, the warm solace of our intimate partner’s embrace seems to ease our stress. The day from hell has now become beautiful.  

Loving relationships with mutual respect tempers the anxiety of any storm we may find ourselves going through. Healthy relationships enable and inspire us to become better versions of ourselves. They nurture us and help us grow.

Nourishing partnerships can reduce stress and have been linked to overall improved health. Researchers have even shown that people with healthy social relationships have a 50 percent greater likelihood of survival. The emotions our intimate relationships evoke are among the greatest forces that affect our hormonal and immune responses, thus influencing our body’s capability to fight off disease.

Couples who often exchange kind words, offer a gentle touch or get down in the sack increase the levels of oxytocin in their bloodstreams. Oxytocin is a protective hormone that influences the digestive system as well as the brain. It has been proven to calm gastrointestinal inflammation, greatly reducing the risk of food sensitivities, autoimmune disorders, and systemic infections. In summation, a healthy relationship is a key to our body’s overall wellness.

But what if your partner nags, incessantly complain, and is never satisfied with anything you do? What if the embrace of your partner is the gateway to more stress at the end of your taxing day? Bad relationships slowly destroy people by altering proper functions of our immune system. This compromises the body’s ability to heal and respond to stress.

Interpersonal conflict results in unique hormonal responses that do not arise are other forms of stress. Extended exposure to this type of stress flattens cortisol levels, thus causing the brain to not effectively control the body’s stress response. Research shows the body becomes more susceptible to inflammatory arthritis when the brain’s inability to produce healthy cortisol levels.      

A recent study explores the state of a couple's relationship with their physical resilience to recover from injury. Doctors made small wounds on the arms of 42 married couples and observed how fast those wounds healed. Couples who had higher levels of hostility towards each other healed considerably slower, at only 60% of the rate of couples who had low hostility.  Those in stress-ridden relationships had profound differences in levels of a key immune chemical called interleukin-6 (IL-6), that helps balance the immune response. These couples produced an exaggerated response to this chemical, throwing off the balance of the entire immune system and inhibiting the body’s natural healing capabilities.

When we overlay rigid expectations on to our partner or preoccupied with the need to show “who wears the pants” in the relationship, the sour fruit of discontent and resentment inevitably poisons our bodies. Being in a romantic relationship is not about what you are entitled to or how you are being served. Intimate connection is a sacred privilege worthy of inspiring our highest respect. Relationships are about reciprocal selfless service where no circumstance or petty detail warrants that kindness to be tossed aside. Medical science shows that our bodies are designed to be enhanced, healed, and strengthened through loving exchanges. If we do not seek to nurture our relationships with kindness, acceptance, or forgiveness, we only end up causing bodily harm to ourselves and to our loved one. Kindness is gangsta, do no harm to the wellbeing of your partner.  

Read more stories for the soul in search here.