Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. —1 Corinthians 13:4-7 KJV
You may recognize the NIV or ESV version of that verse from Corinthians where it uses the word “love.” It says that love is patient, love is kind. In a perfect world, love would be simple. It would be easy. You would always maintain a beautiful, mutual love for all people and everything would be lovely all the time. Well, clearly we do not live in a perfect world because love is far more complicated than that.
Relationships are hard. They are complex. The root cause of the difficulties you face is sin. Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with each other and with God before they sinned. After they sinned, things got complicated. Guys like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung made careers out of trying to figure out why we have so many relationship problems. These problems can lead to emotional difficulties. Matters of the heart can cause a lot of heartache. But, do these complicated relationship issues also affect your physical health?
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. —Philippians 1:9-10 KJV
There have been many studies done to see if emotional or mental factors can affect a person’s physical health. It is pretty clear from the results that this is true in many, many cases. Just like anything else in life, there are exceptions to every rule and some people may seem unaffected. But, a simple look at the Placebo Effect and it is clear that mental perception can have physical effects.
The Placebo Effect can be seen when people are given a completely neutral substance, usually a fake pill made of sugar, and told what the pill should do to their bodies. In many of these cases the subjects actually report the physical change despite the fact that the pill they received was useless. This clearly shows the power of the mind. Convincing the mind that something will happen to the body may be enough for that effect to occur even if there is no change to the chemistry or physiology of the person.
The same can be seen with emotional responses. Depression or anxiety can lead to loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss. Or, it can have the opposite effect. Sometimes people are compelled to eat voraciously when they get to these states and then pack on the pounds. Being in poor emotional states can also lower the immune system and a person can be more vulnerable to getting sick. So, what can we do about it?
Pray without ceasing. —1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV
You can’t avoid relationships altogether. Even Tom Hanks in Castaway made himself a friend out of a volleyball, named him Wilson and had a relationship with him. He talked to Wilson, fought with Wilson and wept when he lost Wilson. If a man stranded on an island by himself can’t avoid relationships, neither can you.
So the only choice we have in dealing with the ups and downs of relationships is to pray to God. Ask Him for guidance. Ask Him for relief from your pain. Ask Him to fill your life with positive relationships so you have people to go to when your other relationships get hard. Ask Him for good health and then thank Him for it.
Relationships absolutely affect physical health. You don’t need science to verify that. All you need to do is be a human being and you know that relationships affect your health. Cherish the good relationships. Avoid the bad ones. And go to Jesus daily to keep your relationships and your body healthy.