Dating can be fun sometimes‒meeting new people, going out to new places, feeling the excitement of a potential new relationship. But be honest‒do you really enjoy it? Do you like the stress of figuring out where to go, how to dress, and what to talk about? Do you have fun while you’re struggling to make it through dinner without climbing out the bathroom window? Do you laugh while waiting for the second date call?
Exactly. It’s just not fun after a certain point. But don’t feel like you’re settling down when you find that special someone. Relationships don’t have to be boring! In fact, being in a relationship makes your life better!
#1. There is No Weakness In Forgiveness:
I’m not happy anymore; or I’m disappointed; or I have doubts. Three familiar catch phrases that free us up to not work to bring a relationship back to a positive place. In fact, we are conditioned these days to believe that the brave thing is to move on when the honeymoon is over. But that very standard makes it hard for any long-term relationship to survive inevitable disappointments. While some would argue that it is brave to pick up and start a new life when a relationship begins to ebb, the truly brave thing — the hard and valuable thing — is to figure out how to find a new flow together. As one couple, who is happily married after 40 years together, informed me, “The most invaluable gifts come on the other side of the bad periods. If we hadn’t forgiven each other for the hard times, we never would have experienced such good ones.”
#2.You act less selfishly:
How many times have you been too tired to cook dinner for yourself? I’m raising my hand. But knowing my sweetie also had a long day lights a fire inside of me, and I’m willing to go above and beyond just to make him feel good. Being in a relationship makes you think about someone other than yourself‒which isn’t limited to just your partner! Considering the feelings of one person in particular leads you to think about the feelings of others in general‒which is a benefit for you and everyone around you!
#3.You Don’t Need A Reason:
Like anything worth having in this life, marriage and long-term commitment are hard work. Sometimes knowing that can be enough to help us not pick at the scabs while they are healing, to not make things worse as opposed to letting them feel better. As a lovely couple in Seattle Washington reminded me, things will feel better. “Be good to each other, be patient. If you allow it, love always lives through that.”
#4.Your stress levels are lowered:
Having your partner by your side means you have someone to carry some of the weight of your life. If you’re having a busy day, your partner can help you out with the chores when you get home. If something’s weighing on your mind, you have someone to talk with. Don’t forget about how stressful it is to go to a party or a bar and feel like you have to catch someone’s eye. You have your partner by your side or waiting for you at home. There’s no pressure to meet someone and impress them. In fact, being in a committed relationship has been shown to hinder the production of a stress hormone called cortisol!
#5.You feel happier:
Common sense, right? There’s less stress, less depression, of course, you’re happier! There are even scientific studies that show married people being happier and living longer than their unmarried peers. That doesn’t mean you need to go tie the knot today, and it doesn’t mean that being single is a crime, but from a health standpoint, it just makes sense.
#6.You feel like someone gets you:
How many times have you and your partner said the same thing at the same moment, gotten each other the perfect gift without a wish list, or exclaimed “That’s exactly what I was thinking!” It’s fun, right? And more than fun, it means they can tell when you’re happy or sad, and act accordingly to help you blow off some steam and feel better. Having someone who knows you deeply is an amazing feeling.
#7.You learn about yourself:
It seems like being in a relationship means you’ll learn about your partner, right? And you will. But in that time, you’ll also learn a lot about yourself. You’ll see how you act with someone else, or how considerate you are. You might learn about some hidden good things, and they might make you a better person and turn your life around. But you’re definitely going to learn bad things. Thankfully, these too can make you a better person and help you turn your life around. Every bad quality you have is going to come out in a relationship, but once you learn about it, you can address it and remedy the issue. Knowing yourself makes you a better person‒and a better person to be in a relationship with.
#8.You can stay healthy together:
Sure, all of these tips make you see how your life is better and healthier with a partner. But what about actually getting healthier with your partner? You have someone to join a gym with, to go on runs around the neighborhood with, or to inspire you to work out in the living room. Having a partner can be the best motivation for a workout.
#9.You feel invincible:
OK, not really. But you’ll certainly feel like it. You know that all-over good feeling you get when you’re happy in a relationship? That’s your body releasing the love hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin not only makes you feel good; it also boosts your immune system so you’re less likely to get sick, and your wounds heal faster. Love might not actually be a drug, but it certainly can feel like the best one!
#10.Love is a decision:
Watching Governor Sanford stand up over these past weeks and speak about how he found his soul mate in his Argentinean lover reminded me of something Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun and author, wrote about Sweat Lodges. She wrote that the only way to be in a Sweat Lodge — to experience all that it brings — is to sit far from the exit. Because if you sit too close, you will find a reason to use it. The same is true of any long-term relationship. If you decide to look for an exit, you will always be able to find it: whether it comes in the form of another lover, or another life. But the couples I spoke with who decided to commit to their marriages and relationships — to be present for them, to help them grow more sacred — told me that they were immeasurably rewarded for that decision. The more committed they grew to their marriages — the further they sat from the exit — the more joy and peace they found there.