The Link Between Happiness and Healing

Anyway, without getting into all the "scientific data" that Ron and Jan cited in order to keep up this sick gamesmanship they insist on calling research, let me just cut to the chase and say that their brilliant conclusion was that if your spouse is mean to you, you don't heal as quickly.

Apparently, according to their study, Ron and Jan found that highly hostile couples experienced healing rates only 60 percent of those experienced by less hostile spouses. I'm sure we're all thrilled that thousands of research dollars were spent revealing this particular great discovery.

And while it's not in the formal document the couple published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, I'm going to go ahead and hazard a guess that fully 100 percent of the observed couples agreed that, however they felt about each other by the end of the study, they were at least grateful not to be married to Ron or Jan.

So, though my happily married mother is not published in any fancy academic journals (and furthermore she is a lovely and gifted hostess who would never expect people to have a conversation of any kind, either supportive or negative, without a bountiful spread of food and drink), she long ago came up with similar findings to Ron and Jan about marriage. She revealed her results to me when advising me on the wisdom of staying married to someone who often spoke harshly to me in front of others.

My mother (who has received no grant funding of any kind and has never physically wounded anyone) said: "Your husband is the one person in the whole world you should be able to count on to be nice to you. If he's mean to you, it's bad for your health and you're better off alone."

There you have it. In the end, mom, Ron and Jan all came to the same conclusion, though using radically different methods. And their joint conclusion is undeniably profound. It is, quite simply, this: "If your spouse can't say something nice, he shouldn't be your spouse at all."

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