10 Ways A Great Relationship Can Save Your Life
Men, you've all heard the jokes about how wives and girlfriends can curb a man's lifestyle. Ladies, you embrace your independence, and the fact that you can change your own oil, pay your own bills and enjoy your weekends with your girlfriends.
All this said, both men and women, deep down, know that a good relationship makes life better, smoothing out life's rough edges, calming you down, building you up and making you healthier.
"I think both genders have the same lessons to learn," says Jeremy Nicholson, Ph.D. "Relationships provide challenges and opportunities for growth that can certainly improve any partner. It is up to each individual to rise to that opportunity."
Here are just a few of the ways that a great relationship can improve your life:
Men: A great relationship can help you live longer
According to Drs. Elizabeth and Charles Schmitz, "America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts" and the coauthors of Building a Love that Lasts, if your relationship leads to marriage, you could live a lot longer. "One study concluded that men who are married live an average of 10 years longer than unmarried men," report the authors, "and married women live an average of four years longer than unmarried women."
Women: A great relationship can help you balance your abilities better
"Partners are not identical," says Jeremy Nicholson, Ph.D., a social psychologist and dating consultant who blogs for Psychology Today. "Each has strengths and weaknesses distinct from the other. Each 'complements' the other by having strengths that the other lacks and relying on them. For example, a boyfriend who is color-blind may rely on his girlfriend's excellent fashion sense to dress him for dinner. Similarly, she may rely on his excellent sense of direction to get them to the new restaurant." Together, you and the right man will become more than the sum of your parts, and that's incredibly satisfying - especially if you're the kind of woman who wants to get a lot done and still have time for fun afterward.
Men: A great relationship can help keep bad habits and potential addictions under control
Video games and beer, anyone? According to the Drs. Schmitz, "Numerous studies indicate that married individuals are less likely than unmarried persons to engage in risky behaviors (including the use of drugs or alcohol) because of their feelings of responsibility." In fact, Alexandra Burt, Ph.D., a researcher at Michigan State University, recently conducted a study using male twins as her subjects. She found that those who eventually married displayed lower rates of antisocial behavior, such as committing illegal acts and failing to pay their debts. After all, how can you deal with Sunday mornings at church week after week with a hangover? It'll start getting old, so you'll cut back and be a better man for it.
Women: A great relationship can calm you down during stressful times
"Research indicates that individuals in a long-term relationship feel supported, saying that they always have someone they can trust to confide in and to lean on in times of need," say the Drs. Schmitz. Something as simple as the power of human touch can lower the body's cortisol levels and your heart rate. A good relationship won't solve all your problems (in fact, it'll probably produce some new ones), but it will make them easier to deal with.
Men: A great relationship can benefit your career
"Being in a relationship can certainly make people more effective in their careers," says Dr. Nicholson. Just having a partner around to hear about your day can make a difference. A supportive ear helps you strategize, calm down when things get stressful, and plan your professional future. Dr. Nicholson cautions that both partners have to agree that a man's career is important for this to work, however.
Women: A great relationship encourages you to be more focused in pursuing your professional goals
According to the Drs. Schmitz, "Happy, well-balanced people make better employees, because they are more likely to establish better relationships with their coworkers, work more effectively with customers, and are more likely to focus on their jobs rather than their problems." Your partner can help you strategize about work and talk you through any angst you might have about your career. That way, you can leave the negativity at home and be more professional when you're on the job.
Men: A great relationship can make you a better communicator
Good relationships require good communication, but luckily, you don't have to be a pro right from the start. The longer you're in a committed relationship, the better you'll get at talking about your feelings, expectations and hopes for the future. This kind of deep communicating will help you in all areas of life. Your girlfriend can help by providing you with a new vocabulary for discussing your inner thoughts, and she'll ask questions that will get you thinking in totally different ways. Do the same for her, and you'll both be happier.
Women: A great relationship can make you a more well-rounded person
"While a good relationship urges a man to open to the softer side of himself, a woman is invited embrace the more masculine aspects of herself in order to have a good relationship, thereby becoming a more whole being," Dr. Turndorf notes. Go ahead then, ladies: pound a burger and beer at the sports bar with your boyfriend. It'll feel good!
Men: A great relationship encourages you to try new things
Your partner will almost certainly have different interests and hobbies than you do - and that's a good thing. You don't want to go through life with the exact same tastes and habits as you did in high school, do you? A good relationship will encourage you to expand your horizons and lead to new experiences you wouldn't have had on your own. So let her talk you in to signing up for that wine class or those dancing lessons, because it'll make you a better man.
Women: A great relationship helps you laugh
Good relationships thrive on humor. The ability to laugh will help keep your love alive while making your entire day better. You might even find yourself becoming more sought-after by old friends and new acquaintances alike when you're settled into a happy relationship, because your easygoing vibe will naturally attract others.
Jun 15, 2012 By Lanesha Townsend, BlackDoctor.org Staff Writer