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.
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“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
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