Dr. Andy Roark admits that the demands of his career as a practicing veterinarian at Cleveland Park Animal Hospital in Greenville, S.C. have, on occasion, caused some stress on his marriage. However, over the years, Dr. Roark learned some valuable lessons about nurturing his human relationships from his canine patients. In fact, he says he actually became a better husband after becoming a veternarian. Here are ten lessons dogs can teach all of us about making marriage or any kind of committed relationship better:
10. Give each other space. Just as we have our interests, dogs have theirs. We don’t expect them to join us in a game of Scrabble and they are perfectly content to chase squirrels on their own. It’s the same with people. Having time to pursue individual hobbies keeps us happy and balanced. Everyone needs some personal space from time to time.
9. Exercise. In times of stress, exercise is a great way to relieve tension and unplug technology. Most dogs would agree that we would all be better off if we took more walks.
8. Listen. Most of us probably spend more time waiting for our turn to talk than paying attention to what our partner is telling us. Dogs are never waiting to speak. They just cock their heads and try to understand what we’re saying.
7. Be yourself. Dogs are without pretense and have no interest in being anyone but themselves. They don’t want to impress. They just want to love. And, after all, how can you love someone else if you don’t even love yourself?
6. Show love in big and small ways. From laying their heads on our laps while we watch TV to barking wildly and running in circles when we take them to the park, dogs let us know we are loved every single day.
5. Have fun! Life is too short not to play with those we care about.
4. Spoil each other with love. Aspire to be the person your dog thinks you are. We should adore our partners the way our dogs adore us.
3. Celebrate time together. One of the best things about having a dog in your life is coming home every day to a happy face and a wagging tail. Whether you’ve been gone five days, five hours, or five minutes, your canine companion is always thrilled when you return. Imagine the effect that could have on your human companion?
2. Be loyal. Dogs never complain to their friends about us when we do something wrong. We should never do so about our spouses either.
1. Forgive. Have you ever noticed that dogs never hold a grudge? They forgive us when we fail them and and don’t dwell on our mistakes.
Our four-legged friends set a great example for those of us who walk upright. With a little “canine counseling,” we can be better partners in our human relationships.
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