Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt are engaged! Throughout the last few seasons of Parks and Recreation, these lovebirds have taught us a lot. Here are 8 love lessons we can take away from their relationship:
When Leslie has the flu, Ben makes her homemade Chicken Soup. But who cares? He also brings her that which she values above all else: waffles from JJ’s Diner.
The Takeaway: Don’t stick to clichés when you can go an extra step that tells your partner, “I know and care about what you really want.”
Finding a cute way to say “I love you” goes a long way.
When Ben first says he loves Leslie, he is giving a speech in court, going to extreme lengths to protect her permanent record. We melt as Ben declares, “I love Leslie. I want to be with her and I don’t want to hide the way I feel about her anymore.” He even sacrifices his job so she can still run for office. This left me wondering, “Hey, every guy I’ve ever dated: why can’t you be more like Ben?”
The Takeaway: While saying I love you doesn’t need to be a grand romantic gesture, remember to say “I love you” like you mean it.
Butts are a girl’s best friend.
Leslie is obsessed with Ben’s butt. It is adorable and endearing. It’s also a good reminder that butts are awesome, and we should appreciate men’s butts more often.
The Takeaway: We should take the time to find the surprising, idiosyncratic details we love about our partners. Appreciate what makes him/her unique and lovable to you.
Hot Rebecca is the worst.
Hot Rebecca is the jealousy amalgamate we fabricate and with whom we imagine our boyfriend/girlfriend falling for. She’s your boyfriend’s hilarious co-worker, who is irritatingly skinny. He’s your girlfriend’s best friend from college. Whether it’s a long distance relationship, or you see your partner every day, jealous amalgamates are bound to build tension.
The Takeaway: The less jealousy you show, the more trusting and confident you appear. And nothing is sexier than trust and confidence.
Your Parents Don’t Need to Like Your Partner TOO Much.
Introducing your partner to your parents can be stressful! Ben gets so nervous that he changes himself drastically to impress Leslie’s mother. Naturally, her mom falls for him. Suddenly Leslie is the lame one because she’s not down for a threesome with her mom & Ben.
The Takeaway: While it’s great if your family gets along with your partner, you don’t need to win their approval. All that should matter to them is your happiness.
Support each other, no matter what.
When Ben goes to Washington D.C. it’s hard for Leslie to be happy for him. She’s jealous of his fancy political life. His success feels threatening. Once Leslie lets go of that and gets excited for Ben, she can re-focus on what’s important to her: Pawnee!
The Takeaway: Learning to be genuinely excited for the people you care about goes a long way, and comes back to you in the end.
Independence is Hot.
Despite their intertwined lives, Ben and Leslie each have a strong sense of independence. Even though long distance is hard, Ben should be in Washington doing what he loves, and Leslie should be in Pawnee, saving rivers and eating waffles.
The Takeaway: Everybody needs space, and their own goals and dreams. Having all that and nights alone, dreaming of your lover’s butt, will make your relationship stronger.
It’s never too late to meet the love of your life.
Leslie and Ben are both in their early forties, with fully developed careers. They love fiercely, like they’ve never been hurt. I’m very confident they’re soulmates. (Reminder: they are not real people).
The Takeaway: Don’t get intimidated if all your friends are suddenly engaged or married. There’s no need to compare your timeline to anyone else’s; be confident that your very own Leslie or Ben is bound to come along someday, and keep living your life in the meantime.