February 13th, 2009
05:18 PM ET

My silly Valentine

By Judy Fortin
CNN Medical Correspondent

My husband and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this year. We’re also marking two decades of spending Valentine’s Day together.

I’ll never forget the first time February 14 came around during our relationship. I didn’t even receive a card. My husband claimed it was a greeting card holiday and he didn’t want a company telling him when to express his feelings. He didn’t make that mistake again. I received a bouquet of flowers the next day.

As our first anniversary approached, I searched for the perfect gift. My husband gave me a fire extinguisher, saying he always wanted me to be safe. Fortunately, we’ve never had to use the device and his gift selections have improved significantly.

I can’t help laughing when I think back on some of our early days as a couple. It is our ability to still laugh together that helps us get through the ups and downs of marriage. Together we’re raising two beautiful children, we’re nurturing our careers and periodically, we’re patching up our old house.

I asked Emory University Psychiatrist Dr. Charles Raison about the health benefits of a long, steady relationship. He told me that some studies reveal that married people are happier than single people.

Depending on the quality of the relationship, Raison said “marriages can both lower and raise blood pressure and extend life and shorten it.”

In other words, a good relationship with a steady partner can be good for your health. It’s reassuring to confirm what I’ve already learned during the past two decades. There is nothing better than growing old with someone you love, trust and admire. We are partners, companions and even Valentines.

How has your loving relationship positively affected your health? Do you find that the good times help you to better navigate the difficult times? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.