Gant's Guide: 10 Things Dogs Teach You About Relationships

As we all know, Dogs are pretty magical creatures. They do so much more than be your pet; they bring you and your loved ones together.  While my husband and I have certainly gone through a lot in the 13 years we have been together (!), our dog has been with us for what feels like an eternity. From my husband's first job out of graduate school, to traveling across the country several times during Summertime, and now moving to a whole new state and way of life, he has been by our side, adjusting to more changes than he probably wants to handle.

It's Gant's bedtime, and he's probably sleeping on top of our accent pillows, waiting for us to come in and let him under the covers for the night. So before I get into pajamas and cherish my nightly cuddles, here are 10 things our dog has taught us about our relationship.

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  1.  Spend more quality time together (away from the phone). Between managing my business and my husband creating lesson plans for work, we can be on our phones, iPads or computers for hours without speaking to each other.  We get caught up in our to do lists, and before you know it it's 6:30 and time for dinner. Every hour or so, our dog saunters into my office, lays down, and stars at me with a sad, pitiful look. So, I get up and we run around and play fetch. Then my husband sees the dog and gets up to play too. He reminds us that there's a life outside of our screens.
  2. All we need is each other. It doesn't matter where we are, or what we're doing, as long as the three of us are together, our dog couldn't be happier. He reminds that us material things last forever, but you can't buy more time.
  3. Stop comparing yourselves to others. Our dog farts, begs for treats, doesn't understand the concept of fetch, and gets his dirty paws all over our sheets. But you know what? He doesn't care. He's a dog! He doesn't have to apologize for anything. He's not on social media, comparing himself to strange dogs on Instagram. My husband and I tend to get down on ourselves, thinking we aren't good enough. Gant reminds us to stop comparing who we are, and cherish our unique, personal relationship that's just for us.
  4. Forgive! Dogs make mistakes all the time - they pee on our floor, chew our favorite shoe, or accidentally knock something over and it breaks. But we still love them. We say "it's okay!" and let them give us sloppy kisses. Humans tend to be much harder on themselves. Whenever we are beating ourselves up internally for a silly mistake, we think "what would the dog say in this situation?" And realize we will always make errors. Might as well learn from them and move on.

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  6. Be more affectionate. Our dog loves to lick our faces, get belly rubs, and snuggle up RIGHT next to us in bed. He reminds us to hold hands more often, give occasional kisses, or an "I love you" as we're walking out the door. If we are ever in a bad mood or just need some extra TLC, all it takes is a little affection.
  7. Embrace your flaws. We love our dogs because they have different personalities and quirks that make them who they are. Perfection is boring, and we need to remember that when we're trying too hard.
  8. Being different is OKAY. In fact, it's encouraged. It doesn't matter if a dog is large, small, tall, skinny, or fat. Or they may have three legs. Or one eye. Or a funny spot on their face. We love them anyway! So when it comes to ourselves (and sometimes each other), why are we so judgmental? My husband and I have different personalities, but we love (and embrace) our different perspectives.

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  9. Time is valuable. You can't control time, but you can decide what to do with it. A dog's favorite thing to do is be with its humans and (furry) friends. Since we have moved to another state, my husband and I have made an effort to explore a different part of the city every week.
  10. Love unconditionally. Dogs have an abundance of love, and teach us there is never too much love to give.
  11. Be grateful. When we're complaining about not being able to go out because we spent too much that month, or when the bills are mounting, our dog reminds us that we have everything we need: a roof over our head, a place to sleep, financial stability, and each other.

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