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May 6, 2021

Why Love Matters

By: Natalia Walcott

Love is both hard to define and a central part of most of our lives. There is no concrete definition of love that fits for everyone – our different perspectives of love come from our experiences and background. Love can be a feeling or emotion that you have for someone or it could be your actions towards them. Regardless of your personal definition, having intimate relationships with people that we love is important. These relationships matter because they are unique experiences that can’t be replicated. To love and to be loved are basic human needs. Most people would dread the thought of going through life’s journeys alone. Being lonely and socially isolated never feels good – a fact vividly illustrated by lockdowns due to the COVID pandemic. It’s in our nature to foster connections with others. When times are hard, we look towards those who we know love and care for us for comfort and guidance. It is through these interactions with others and our environment that we truly get to learn about ourselves. Without these intimate relationships, we can’t fully grasp or appreciate all the experiences that have given our lives meaning, purpose, and value.

Have you ever been having a bad day and a small gesture or word from somebody that you love changed your whole mood and brightened up your day? If you have, you know how special and powerful that feeling is. Having people in your life that know just how to comfort you when you are distressed is essential. That is just one of many examples of how relationships are essential to giving us emotional comfort and have a lasting impact on our daily lives. Believe it or not, we are biologically in tune with the people that we share an intimate bond with. Even the presence or touch from a loved one can comfort you in a stressful moment. There is even evidence that a hug from our partners after a stressful day can reduce the stress hormone (cortisol) levels in our blood for the rest of the evening. When you hold your partner’s hand, you’re affecting their nervous system by empowering them to stay strong despite the problem they’re facing. Researchers can even see beneficial changes in the brain (in an fMRI machine) when people get to hold their partner’s hand. Who would’ve thought that a simple grasp of a hand could hold so much power and exert so much influence? It’s no wonder that we feel so happy when this occurs.

Relationships can bring about happiness in multiple ways. Whether it’s financial, sexual, or even health-wise, they have a significant impact on your well-being. The impact that loving someone else can have on you is shocking. It is important to understand the benefits of being in a relationship with someone you love.

Intimate relationships can bring about happiness because of the positive effects they can have on your physical health. Studies have shown that those who are in happy relationships and can constructively resolve conflicts are less likely to get sick with the common cold after being exposed to the virus. Your heart and immune system are also stronger when you have less conflict and hostility in your relationship. Since you and your partner aren’t fighting, you’re experiencing less stress mentally and physically. Well at least just in your relationship. A stressful job or unforeseen circumstances can still come and negatively affect you. Have you ever seen/ met a couple that’s been married for 50+ years, still madly in love, and want to know how to achieve that within your own relationship? I know I have. Every relationship is different, but the benefits of a relationship with that type of longevity is consistent across spouses. Those in committed relationships live longer than those that are divorced or in an unhealthy relationship. All of that arguing and fighting isn’t good for you in the long run. You are also more likely to have support with life’s challenges because you have a partner helping you along the way.

Intimate relationships also promote happiness through sexual intimacy. People say that sex is the activity that makes them the happiest. Being able to be physically close to your partner and connect on an intimate level is such a great feeling. If you are in a healthy relationship, you and your partner hopefully have a good and consistent sex life. However, if not, be sure to check out one of our recent blog posts here.

Being in a stable and happy relationship also tends to benefit couples financially. Although being married costs more money, you and your partner are more likely to accumulate wealth than if you were single, separated, or divorced. It’s cheaper to have someone to share housing and other costs with. Also, being in a stable relationship tends to reduce careless or unnecessary spending and gets people thinking about saving for the future.

Relationships can affect our subjective well-being. This can depend on the type of relationship you have with your significant other. You are more likely to be happier within your relationship when you are married, as opposed to being unmarried. However, not everyone in a relationship is happy. You probably have many single friends that are thriving and happy as can be despite not being in a relationship. It’s the quality of your relationship that really matters. This can be a bigger determining factor of your overall subjective well-being than your satisfaction with work, finances, friendship, health, etc. You might love your partner, but if your relationship is negatively affecting you, it might be time to have a conversation with your partner about your relationship moving forward.

When your relationship is of high quality and endures the hardships and obstacles that you and your partner may face, happiness is sure to follow. Love plays a role in our everyday lives, whether it is with a partner, family member, or friend. Having someone that loves and supports you is an amazing feeling. The benefits of being in a healthy, loving relationship speak for themselves. Love matters so much. Try to foster meaningful relationships to not only improve your quality of life but to build memories that will last a lifetime!

 

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