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.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

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soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Annie

    I met my husband when I was just about to turn 40. He was almost 46. We had talked on the phone beforehand and exchanged emails. I found him intriguing because we read the same things and held similar views. I was in graduate school working on a Ph.D. in education and he was a high school teacher. What was supposed to be a one hour get to know you date turned into 6 1/2 hours, at the end of which he knew I was the one. He'd never been married; I had. I was a bit more reticent. It took me almost a month before I was ready to admit to myself that he was the one. I kept waiting to see if he was what he seemed to be.
    Well, 3 years later I can happily say he is. We married a year after we first met. Valentine's Days have been spent in loving embraces. This year I had to go through a difficult surgery at the end of December. My love nursed me back to health all of January and through February. As I gained back my independence, I wanted to make sure I honored the love that he had shown me as he helped me through this difficult and painful time. Our Valentine's Day this year was not just a holiday for the greeting card industry but a celebration of all we had come through together this year. This is what it's about - all that sickness and health stuff that we didn't even include in our self-written vows. Love is constancy. Love is support. Love is celebrating the small victories together.
    We have been so blessed to have found one another at this stage in our lives. I don't know if I could have gotten through this health crisis without my husband's support. I have survived cancer as a young woman and had a difficult time getting through the survivor's guilt that came with it. I have survived so many other things (childhood sexual abuse, physical and emotional abuse). But I was only ever in survivor's mode. Now, I have a sense of peace because of the constant and supportive love of this man I gladly call my partner, my love, my husband.

    February 22, 2009 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
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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.