It Can Be Great to Be in a Relationship

jeff-and-julie-thankgiving-2016
cheesy couple glamour shot from Thanksgiving

(Part 2 of 2) click here to view ‘It Can Be Great to Be Single’.

You knew this one was coming, right? So yeah, I’ve enjoyed my single life, but I also really enjoy my life in a loving relationship. In fact, there are some things about living in a committed relationship that simply are pretty awesome. Again, I’m not trying to say that a single person cannot experience these same things in life; these are just a few things that are pretty great.

One of the great things about living in a healthy, loving relationship is that you can co-author! So, for the first time ever, I’ve invited my girlfriend Julie to join in the fun of writing this post with me. Now, keep in mind that Julie is very sociable and is very personable, and I am more of an introvert. She also went out of her way to make some of these extra sappy, so I went even further to bring some sarcasm.

Without any further ado, here is a pretty fun list of reasons it’s pretty great to be in a relationship.

  1. You always have a Pinky to your Brain. Whether we’re trying to take over the world or simply go on a new adventure, we always have a partner to join in the fun. Neither of us mind going solo (and we do often) but the times that are truly memorable are those that we spend together exploring some place new, even if it’s only new because we’re doing it together. We always try to fit hiking into the short amounts of time we have together and every time it feels like a new experience.
  1. Good excuses. Don’t want to go to that group function? No problem. Having a significant other is the perfect excuse for most social absences in life. ‘Man, I’d love to go to that awkward office event on my day off…but my girlfriend needs me to do…something…back home—sorry!’ 
  1. Becoming the best version of yourself. I think everyone wants to be the best they can be, but there is no motivation like the opinion of the one you love. This isn’t to say we change who we are for each other, but rather we share our goals and in return have accountability and encouragement from the one person who won’t give up on the other…or from whom I can’t avoid when I’m ready to quit something like, say, running. Also, caring about each other teaches us to compromise, become a little more selfless and compassionate, and give away the bigger half of the donut.
  1. A reason to get dressed. Let’s be honest. When you’re single and living alone, some days clothes just don’t make it on the body. Dishes don’t get washed, bathrooms don’t get cleaned, meals become bowls of cereal. Having someone to inspire you to put on pants is a good thing for all involved.
  1. Best friends. Everyone needs a best friend in their life and if you’re like me, you wish you could spend the rest of your life with all of your best friends. Unfortunately, (maybe fortunately) most of these people move on and have their own lives and don’t follow you on your own journey. Being in a relationship with my best friend is the best because we’re going on our journeys together, being there to support, encourage, and love each other. I’ll always have the best person around to listen to me vent, sit with me while I finish crying, and then laugh with and have endless fun.
  1. Social relief. I get tired of talking to people; Julie does not. Let me be clear, I love people in general; I just prefer smaller groups or one on one conversations, and there is generally a time limit to such interactions before I need to recharge. How nice is it to have someone that actually thrives in such situations when I’m ready to check out and go play with the dog instead engaging in the mindless small talk! 
  1. Sharing your passions. I’m passionate about puppies, he’s passionate about fitness. He’s a pastor and I’m a student, but most importantly I’m an aspiring fish ecologist and conservationist. We’re very different in a lot of ways which makes this part great because we both have opportunities to learn about things we may have never experienced or understood before. While I feel like I’m delving into religion and Christianity in a whole new way, I think some science is rubbing off on him.
  1. Sharing sherpa loads. When solo backpacking on the trail, you always need to make sure you have all of your gear…on your back. How nice is it to share the load! A life metaphor? Perhaps.
  1. A safe place to be vulnerable. When people talk about just being able to be themselves with another person, this is what they’re talking about. We can let our walls down around each other and keep each other grounded at the same time. In those moments when I’m wondering if I’m crazy because I cry when I’m alone looking at pictures of puppies, he gently reminds me that I am so I can try to stop looking at pictures of puppies, or just come to terms with it. 
  1. No more stranger danger. I was at a community pool once when I said hello to a little girl that was swimming near me. She looked at me, paused, and then ran to her mom yelling ‘stranger danger!’ It was at that moment that I realized that a 35 year old single guy should probably not be hanging out at the pool by himself saying hi to little children. For some reason men are less threatening when with another person. Guys, this is just how it is.

 

…and some others that didn’t make the top 10 list, but still notable mentions…

  1. Validation. To have someone who truly knows all of your flaws but focuses on your strengths and loves you because of it is wonderfully validating. Most of the time I do feel like I can do anything, but in those times I don’t he’s always there to remind me I’ve been through worse and I’ve run much further than my feeble body (definitely of my own doing) will take me today. Except when I tell jokes. In that respect I’m still my best audience.
  1. Venting. Julie needs to remind me of this sometimes because I’m used to always being on guard with my speech, but it’s nice to have someone that you can really unload on. This is especially nice for pastors, who are expected talk and act like Jesus.
  1. Shared income. Yes, living frugally is good; living frugally with another person is even better. Now, does this actually save most guys money in a relationship? No. But one can dream.
  1. Live longer, happier…at least for the guys. This is the ‘good karma’ part of the previous reason on shared income. Recent reports suggest that men live longer, happier lives when in committed relationships. We may have less money in our wallets, but we’re generally happier. And for the women….well…

I hope you enjoyed the list! Thank you, Julie, for your guest commentary! If you are reading this and have a comment or an additional item worth mentioning, feel free to comment below!

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