The marriage covenant is one of the most significant relationships we can enter into with someone else. We anticipate good things when we couple up in this way.
My colleague from Oregon, John Clague, shares his insight into the benefits of loving relationships. This article was originally published in the Oregonian.
I also see the marriage pact as an expression of my relationship to a supreme Being. If I can love God unconditionally despite the attraction of materialism, then I develop a state of mind that naturally loves and reveres my wife as well. As an Old Testament author puts it:
The one marrying you is the one who made you—the Lord of heavenly forces is his name. The one redeeming you is the holy one of Israel, the one called the God of all the earth. And he is the God of all the earth! (Isaiah 54:5)
The findings of Dr. Carlos Alviar at NYU Langone Medical Center seem to reflect this Biblical truth. It turns out that those of us who are married, besides enjoying all the usual benefits it can provide, have a decreased risk of heart disease.
Of course there are other relationships which can benefit people too.
Take for example the tight-knit Roseto Italian-American community in Pennsylvania. Before their community was “Americanized’ in the 60’s they had significantly lower rates of heart attack than other communities. Research showed that the underlying cause of this phenomenon was the close relationships members within the community had with each other.
I have found that to make a marriage work and last, and probably other relationships too, such things as honesty, unselfishness, love, and good communication are essential. These are qualities that emerge from my relationship with the Divine.
For many years I knew inherently that my relationship with the Divine was important to the health of my marriage. Little did I know, however, that it might one day be proven, biologically, to result in a healthier heart, or longer life. I can see, though, that even if marriage isn’t on the horizon, nurturing these qualities of fidelity to the divine and in all our relationships can surely boost our health and well being.
John, a resident of the state of Oregon, is a columnist on health and thought. He works with the media and legislature to give a fair and accurate representation of Christian Science to the public. In his previous career he was a captain with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office.