We first met Mehmet Oz, M.D. when Oprah Winfrey introduced him on her talk show in 2004. He quickly became a regular, providing America with much-needed information on medical issues and personal health. What made him so special was the fact that he was able to keep us tuned in, even when he introduced gross topics that we didn’t want to think about, much less watch on television.
It was this special ability to win the trust of TV viewers that landed him his own show. In 2009, his weekday “The Dr. Oz Show” premiered, and has since taken over many of the coveted spots in which Oprah used to air. With his Monday through Friday format, the two-time Emmy-winning talk show host of the Emmy-award winning “The Dr. Oz Show” and professor and vice chair of surgery at Columbia University has been able to tackle a plethora of issues, including the latest information on weight loss, heart health, anti-aging, cancer, diabetes, fitness and much more.
But there is another side to America’s favorite doctor: husband and father of four. Dr. Oz has been married to wife Lisa since 1985. In a recent article in Spirituality and Health Magazine, he writes — along with Lisa — that he has found inspiration for his family life in the ideas of Swedish philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg, who believed that true marriage lasts for eternity. With that said, who better than Dr. Oz to ask for opinions on the subject of love.
eH: Do you think there is a connection between health and love?
Dr. Oz: I think that love adds years to your life and it’s well documented that married people and people in long-term commitments live longer. We don’t know why this is. I do know that as a surgeon, a heart needs a reason to keep beating. The short answer is yes, love and health are mysteriously and inextricably linked.
eH: What do you love most about your life now?
Dr. Oz: I love that my family is healthy, happy and growing. Secondly, I love that I hear from viewers that they learn something from the show or one of my books that helps them in some way. We get a lot of mail and moving letters. It’s a great privilege to be a teacher in such a large forum.
eH: Is it more important to be loved or to love?
Dr. Oz: It’s more important to give love. That is the healthier expression. Of course, it’s great to receive love as well, but when you love someone, there is a spiritual centeredness that is very healthy and rewarding. Also, to truly love you must be able to forgive, and that is the healthiest of all.
eH: What is the hardest thing about love?
Dr. Oz: The hardest part is understanding and adapting to how you both change. People never stay the same — no relationship is static. You start out on chemical autopilot — the dopamine and oxytocin take over. Once that wears off, your lives have progressed, you are different people, often at different growth rates and even in different directions. Expect that, embrace that, and acknowledge it. Don’t fear it. Leave space in between for the both of you to grow.
eH: When would you say was the first time you really found love?
Dr. Oz: Like everyone, I had teenage relationships that were very affectionate and intense — but real love was not in my life until I met my wife Lisa. Marriage is an entirely different level of love.
eH: What does love mean to you now versus 10 years ago?
Dr. Oz: Ha! Great question and in ten years I will have an even different explanation! At present, the definition of love is looking out for one another’s growth…helping each other achieve life’s dreams. What else is there?
eH: How do you know if someone is THE ONE?
Dr. Oz: You don’t, and you shouldn’t focus on that. Instead focus on whether you are THE ONE. You have more work to do on yourself than you think. The strange truth is that there is no perfect mate out there, only someone who is going to understand you more than someone else and adapt to your growth. Focus on your own character defects, and concentrate on being the right person — with all the qualities it takes to enter a relationship — and that mate will appear in your life, only you’ll be ready to step up and go forward.
eH: What do you think one needs in a partner to make the relationship successful?
Dr. Oz: It helps if you see things similarly. Another strange truth is that you can actually fall for many, many people and they can love you back. It has no bearing on the success of the relationship. A relationship involves challenges, disagreements, boredom, sickness, broken promises, and a lot of other inconvenient truths that people mistakenly feel shouldn’t happen. These are normal and natural and you get through them if you have a similar outlook, similar values, and if you have a similar way of coping with life’s absurdities. That, and of course a good sense of humor.
eH: What advice would you give to those struggling with self-love – and those who are still looking for love?
Dr. Oz: I teach self love on my show virtually every day. If I could change one thing, it would be to teach people to love themselves more. You just have to keep repeating it to yourself until you believe it. You have to reach deep inside and decide you are worth it.
eH: Did becoming a father deepen your ability to love?
Dr. Oz: There is nothing comparable to the attachment you feel to your children and then to watch them grow up and make their way in the world. It’s the most beautiful thing a person can be blessed to experience — and of course it’s terrifying and exhausting and it breaks your heart, but that’s what you sign up for. I am so fortunate that Lisa and I have been blessed with four kids — all very different from one another.
The thing about parenting — you realize it’s not about you any longer. There is a selflessness that is kind of forced into the equation. You find patience you didn’t know you had, you find that you want to be a better person to set a better example. It’s profound.
eH: How do you think being a public figure has affected your ability to find love and be loved?
Dr. Oz: This may sound corny but I truly love my audience. I love anyone with the courage to sit and listen and want to find better health because they know they are worth it. I love when people reveal personal or embarrassing things because they know it will help others. I think it’s shown me that people are generally good — much more than we realize. People are kind, they are compassionate. I have found enormous goodness in humanity. When you are a public figure you have the wonderful privilege of seeing the absolute best in people. I have a new faith in the goodness of humanity, and I am better for it. If you give people the chance to surprise you, they always will.