“Healthy relationships require effort – and that’s a large part of what makes them so rewarding.” – Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D.
In determining the value of a (real or potential) intimate relationship, no one size fits all. In reality, arguments can be made on both sides. Dr. Barton Goldsmith, an author and relationship expert, is a proponent of intimate relationships. He is humble enough to admit, however, “there are a number of people who could write (the opposite.)”
For those still unsure whether a relationship is right for them, this article may prove valuable. It may also have the same effect for people reeling from a past relationship, someone who has been mistreated, and many others.
Please understand that the following makes no attempt to persuade anyone of anything. As with many articles this writer constructs, it is designed for both entertainment and, when applicable, education.
Here are six reasons to be in a relationship – and how to make things work.
1. For companionship and shared experiences
Each one of us falls somewhere along the “introvert-extrovert” scale – this includes people in the middle, who are referred to as “ambiverts.” Most introverts crave solitude, if for no other reason than to recharge. But even the most introverted of introverts have a pretty good chance of developing a need for romance at some point.
Loneliness, a feeling which most of us have experienced, is akin to depression in some ways. Friends can only meet some physical and emotional needs. A partner is someone with whom you can share your life and have fun.
2. For loving and caring
Provided that one doesn’t have abandonment issues (which is often a pressing personal barrier to a healthy and committed relationship), an intimate partner is a wonderful supplier of love. There is nothing that compares to the blissful feeling of both giving and receiving love and care.
The sharing of love is one of life’s greatest gifts – and something for which human beings are specially designed. The human ability to both give and receive love is unmatched by anything else in the animal kingdom. It is perhaps the best reason to find the love of your life.
3. For growing and learning
Along with our parents, teachers, and mentors, our partner possesses the capacity to help us grow and learn in spectacular ways. Intimacy can encourage growth and learning through cognitive, emotional, social, and myriad other ways.
Maybe the most significant things our partners teach us have to do with, well, us. For example, the following scenario has played out many times: a guy or gal with commitment issues after years of “trial and error,” experiences a dramatic shift in both heart and mind; eventually settling down with their soulmate.
Sometimes the things our partner teaches us are beautiful beyond words.
4. For meaning
Many those of us who’ve been single (especially for an extended period) before finding our “one” can attest to the “deeper meaning of things.” This one is kind of hard to put the finger on because of its subjective nature. Dr. Suzanne Degges-White explains this transformation quite well:
“Every experience with your new partner can seem like the first time that any couple has experienced what you two do. Food tastes better, the sky is bluer, the grass is greener (or the snow is fluffier) – whatever the season, it’s the best you’ve ever enjoyed.”
5. For help and support
On the surface, this notion may not seem the most romantic – but it is nonetheless true: two heads are better than one. Our partner can help us feel supported, and often helps us solve problems more efficiently than if we were to tackle them by ourselves.
Anyone in a healthy relationship will attest to the importance of being able to go to their partner for assistance and support – no matter what the issue may be. There’s a certain sense of warmth and appreciation felt from both ends when overcoming obstacles, both small and large.
6. For children and a loving family
While childbearing has been trending downward, many people in an intimate relationship still desire to have at least one child. Multiple studies show that children born or adopted into a stable family environment are happier and less likely to develop psychological and developmental problems.
Parenting is both deeply satisfying and challenging; having a partner for support adds to this satisfaction and makes overcoming the challenges of childrearing a lot easier!
How to make things work
As you likely know, the divorce rate hovers around 50 percent in the U.S. (38 percent in Canada.) We’re going to make the fair assumption that the causes of divorce are similar to those of separation in a long-term relationship.
Per multiple studies, the following relationship attributes are considered the most important for sustaining any long-term relationship:
- Effective and frequent communication
- Honesty and trust
- Respect for individual space
- Mutual respect
- Ability to overcome the need for control