Tag Archives: Dr. Oz

Can Genetic Factors Cause Divorce?

“Scientific studies have shown that as many as 40 percent of divorces are caused by genetic factors that affect personality and behavior.” That statement stopped me in my tracks as I was reading it in You Being Beautiful by Michael F. Roizen, M.D., and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. (a.k.a. Dr. Oz).

They add, “The relationship between personality and divorce is clear: Extroversion is related to risk of divorce, particularly in men. Neuroticism elevates risk of divorce for both men and women.”  (You may recall in my post Oh no, I married an extrovert! that my husband is an extreme extrovert. )

However, the book’s description of an extrovert doesn’t describe any of the extroverts I know.  “They’re loud, they drive fast, they approach strange ladies at the bar, and they’re unafraid to be the ubiquitous lampshade wearer at the company party. They like talking and actually tend to be happy.” OK, if extroverts are all approaching strange ladies at the bar, then we see the correlation with divorce.

The stat of 40 percent seems very high to me, but this is in a chapter that addresses many kinds of mental wellness. When discussing depression, readers are reminded that symptoms can include lack of self-esteem, lack of interest in sex, weight changes, sleep problems and fatigue among others. It shouldn’t surprise us that these issues can dramatically affect a marriage. To say divorce is caused by genetic factors sounds very vague to me, however “personality and behavior” is certainly a wide category that could easily encompass much more.  Behavior seems to me to be more a choice, while personality seems to be how we are.

The authors stress that individuals can’t will themselves into better moods, so if your spouse is suffering from mood swings, it’s important to have a physician help you with diagnosis and a plan. The thrust of their advice is to get treatment for depression, bipolar disorder or other disorders than can be very dangerous—and not just to marriages. They offer these tips among others:

Talk it out—The authors say in treating minor depression, talk therapy is 60 to 70 percent successful, and 90 percent successful when used in conjunction with drugs.

Go bananas—They say eating a banana a day may keep the therapist away by preventing recurring minor depression. Bananas facilitate both cross talk among your brain cells and the effect of certain neurotransmitters, according to the doctors. They also contain a large amount of antioxidants.

Reach out to others–Reaching out online or in person can help treat and prevent depression. Spouses can certainly provide support, but don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family or community.

We are all on a long continuum with our mind and our moods. Sometimes we’re very high, and sometimes we’re very low. Often, we take our spouses with us. We should aim for strong mental health and honesty with our spouse and our physician so we can attain that even when life is not going as we hoped it would.

Do you agree that genetic factors contribute to 40 percent of divorces? How do you think mental wellness affects your marriage?

Dr. Oz Credits Wife with Success While Promoting Good Health

Mehmet Oz, M.D., with wife Lisa

When I met Dr. Oz this week at a luncheon in Indianapolis, I was expecting to get useful health advice, and he did not disappoint. However, I wasn’t expecting to hear how much his marriage has played into his success.

“My wife, Lisa, is not only the woman of my dreams, she’s also the woman who made my dreams come true,” said Dr. Oz.

He credits Lisa with hearing his daily concerns about not having a strong enough impact on getting patients to change their behaviors. She not only listened, but encouraged him to think bigger and reach out to a TV audience to reach his goals and achieve his calling. The result was a TV show they started called Second Opinion. By luck or grace or hot pursuit, Oprah Winfrey agreed to be a guest on the show, beginning a long and fruitful friendship and partnership. The result is that Dr. Oz has been mentored to take over the open TV slot Oprah has vacated and reach even larger numbers with his message of healing and wellness.

Lisa’s ability to not just be a sounding board and a good listener, but to also nudge him in the right direction, propelled her husband to have one of the highest rated TV shows in America, along with web traffic double that of WebMD, and radio shows to boot. However, he still performs surgeries one day a week, educates students, provides direct patient care, and produces weekly TV programming.

Dr. Oz and Lisa still have time for their four children. He has traveled the world to learn about health issues and advantages in different countries, revealing many healing trends from the use of music to T’ai Chi and other balance-building skills. He also mentioned the need to address healthy relationships, particularly for young people, and says loneliness can be a killer.

More than the advice he shared, I was struck by the life he is modeling by prioritizing his marriage and family, by finding a way to achieve balance through healthy diet and exercise, by following his dreams and finding his passion, by working to solve the world’s biggest problems from obesity to disease to learning how to be a good listener.

While I don’t think we should be giving our spouse advice on a regular basis unless requested, I’m reminded to take my spouse’s concerns to heart and to make a better attempt to be honest and supportive. I’m also reminded to take responsibility for living a balanced and full life and to hold myself accountable for reaching my personal goals.

Read about Lisa’s perspective here in this article on Strategies to Keep Your Marriage Healthy. She says her husband extols the medical virtues of wedded bliss: “It can lower your stress level, reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, even improve cancer survival rates. All very well—but the operative word here is bliss. It’s been proven that it takes a happy marriage to reap the most from those benefits. And—as I can attest after nearly 25 years of marriage (some a bit bumpy)—that takes work.” So check out her tips.  

Read more: What is one sentence your spouse might say about you if he or she were giving a speech today?