Love is good for your heart

Turns out the best thing for your heart isn't something you can do for yourself -- it's something you get from someone else.

Specifically, your spouse.

If you have a loving and supportive relationship, you're more likely to be healthy and have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and other heart problems, and you're more likely to survive if you suffer from a heart attack. (Yet one more reason to thank our Creator for your marriage.)

Now, new research spots one of the reasons: People with supportive spouses have lower levels of calcium in the artery walls.

Those buildups are known as coronary artery calcification, and they're a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, heart attack and an early death.

And if you have a less-than-fully supportive spouse, odds are the calcium is building up inside your arteries right now, according to the study of 136 couples married for an average of 36 years.

This alone doesn't surprise me too much. Like I said, a loving and supportive spouse usually means better heart health and lower cardiovascular disease risk.

No, the real shocker here is that only 30 percent of the people in the study said they believed they could count on their spouse to always be supportive. The rest -- more than two-thirds of the people in the study -- felt either no support or ambivalent levels of support.

Ouch!

I'd like to think that at least some of the time this is a simple communication problem or misunderstanding -- so if you're feeling a little lack of support yourself, it's time to open up the airwaves.

Speak to your spouse. Have a heart-to-heart with the person who shares your heart and make sure you each know that the other will be there no matter what.

It's not just important for your marriage (as well as your sanity). As the new study shows, it's also important to your overall health.