If you're looking for the mythical Fountain of Youth you need look no farther than your own relationship. If it is good, that is. The happiest and healthiest couples seem to have found an ageless life in their very own version of the Fountain of Youth.
Individual studies by such diverse entities as the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Roman Catholic Church and Dr. Sanjay Gupta show that people in a good, supportive relationship actually live longer and better, look younger and are significantly healthier than those who are single and making the dating rounds or in bad relationships. And it doesn't seem to matter if the relationship is a married one or if you're simply living together as partners. Being part of a mostly harmonious couple is akin to having found the Fountain of Youth!
The research is sound but none of the researchers seem to be able to pinpoint one universal reason. What makes a happy couple? No one knows for sure. There are suppositions, however, about why some couples are vibrantly youthful no matter what their real ages may be and there are good, solid reasons.
One theory being explored for longevity in couples who are in strong relationships is a feeling they have of being in a "safe haven." If you enjoy being together and look forward to coming home to each other, then you are a calmer, more relaxed person. Your cortisol levels, that hormone that reacts to stress so efficiently, are lower and so is your blood pressure. You have more energy and a relaxed attitude. Add having similar interests to enjoy doing together and you have a relationship that insulates you from most daily problems. The partners in a successfully happy relationship genuinely want to be happy, and want to expand that feeling in their everyday life. They seem to realize that a good relationship is worth creating and maintaining because it has so many positive effects on their health and well-being.
Even without a social network of friends and relatives, caring couples on their own seem to have an edge when it comes to having a better quality of life. The idea of having your best friend as one half of your happy couple takes on a whole new meaning.
As does great sex with a loving, adventurous, familiar partner.
The well-being of a long-term relationship is one that includes a healthy and adventurous sex life. Couples in their sixties, it seems, can have as fantastic a sex life as couples in their thirties when they take the time to spice up their sex "routines." (FYI -- There should be nothing routine about sex at all whether you're 30 or 60!) Experimenting and learning new techniques can be learned and practiced at any time during a relationship. Rethink becoming a lifelong learner!
The Fountain of Youth so legend tells us is a spring that reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks of its waters. It may or may not be a myth; who really knows for sure? But for those couples who are in happy, peaceful, sexually active relationships, well, maybe they don't have to search for that restoring body of water. They have successfully created their own.
Books by this columnist:
No Woman Diets Alone - There's Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut
And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First
Remember, Hetty? (A YA award-winning Ghost Story)
Nourishing Thoughts: The Little Book of Sayings for a Healthy, Happy Life