I can think of very few other TV shows that I have enjoyed to this extent. I absolutely love it. I love all the characters.
That is stellar writing and acting. One of the things that impresses me the most about the show is the way they write romantic relationships. They are dynamic, they are interesting, and conflict never arises from forced drama but from real life experiences and situations. I want to focus the lens even tighter onto Leslie and Ben. It can be difficult to be completely open and honest, even with ourselves, about what turns us on.
Whether or not its some relatively benign fetish like shoes or button-up shirts or something really obscure like dressing as opposing members of the American Civil war, it is important to be honest and forthcoming about these sorts of things to our partners. Even if you choose not to involve yourself you should try to be as supportive and open minded as possible. They are both willing to do what is right for themselves even when it may make things difficult for their partner.
Your needs and convictions deserve their fair shake. A good example of poor ability to set boundaries is with the early relationship between Ann and Chris. She essentially becomes a Chris clone. Even after they break up she continues this behavior with each subsequent relationship. Only until she learns to assert
Leslie and ann heterosexual relations and set proper "Leslie and ann heterosexual relations" does she start to have success in her love life.
This one goes hand in hand with the previous statement about boundaries.
There are times one must be willing to let the other have their day. Ben and Leslie naturally seem to know when to lead and when to follow. They are willing to sacrifice and compromise when it is beneficial to their relationship. Instead of spending months planning and orchestrating a huge wedding which would have cost a huge amount of money and probably caused both of them to go insane due to in-law drama, they opted, on a whim, to have their wedding much earlier and on the fly.
That ability to work with each other and come to the best conclusion for both parties is something enviable indeed.
However, in the spirit of compromise, they will indulge their partner from time to time. It is clear this arises form healthy boundaries as well as mutual respect and love. Codependency can be a very challenging problem for a couple to overcome. Codependent behaviors often have their roots in trust issues and insecurities.
Time apart is a good thing. It should be noted that they also exhibit a very healthy level of support without tipping over into enabling. Which leads me to my next point…. When Leslie was down and grasping "Leslie and ann heterosexual relations" straws and Ben knew what she was planning would be difficult if not impossible for her, he remained supportive, but managed to be honest and open about his misgivings.
As difficult as it can be to recognize our own shortcomings, we can have even stronger blind spots for those we love. This can translate down to the relationship level where we might expect them to be capable of handling something that, in reality, turns out to be too difficult for them.
It is important to have reasonable expectations with regard to each others professional, emotional, and even physical capabilities. None of us are perfect and recognizing that can be very empowering and freeing.
At the beginning of the show the relationship between Ann and Andy was very enabling. He took advantage of her kind nurturing nature, and because Ann never challenged him, he remained a couch potato. The opposite can be seen with Ben and Leslie.
They continue to push each other, all the while being respectful of their boundaries and to not over exceed their capabilities, but to such an extent that they always maintain a certain amount of momentum. When one of them gets knocked down the other is always there pushing them right back up.
They push each other intellectually, professionally, and even morally. That Ben could be away for long stretches of time working alone with a female coworker, that Leslie can kiss Tom without the act being blown out of proportion, that Leslie can have such a close friendship with Ron without it ever being a problem, that Ben would set up a surprise meeting for Leslie with Joe Biden who she not only worships intellectually and politically but physically as well, that they are both allowed independence and freedom—the level of trust displayed by both Leslie and Ben is absolutely perfect.
They obviously love each other "Leslie and ann heterosexual relations" given that Leslie and ann heterosexual relations are most likely monogamous and yet almost never seem to show any sort of jealousy is frankly staggering given that jealousy is, somehow, seen as some sort of endearing quality in small quantities. Jealousy stems from insecurity and lack of trust, which are signs of a poor relationship or possibly signs of codependency. If it comes from a place of insecurity it may spell trouble for your relationship.
When that happens it is important to figure out where and why you feel insecure and to express those concerns with your partner.
To my knowledge the amount of money that Leslie or Ben makes has never been an issue. The trope of the guy who simply cannot abide by his womern makin moar muh-nee Leslie and ann heterosexual relations hee do is wonderfully absent.
Leslie is a powerful, strong-willed, outspoken, empowered, proud woman and the fact that Ben has not once ever tried to change that aspect of her but continually supports it and even seems to delight in it, makes this a rare and wonderful on-screen relationship.
Open, honest, and free communication: It is very clear that Leslie and Ben spend a great deal of time talking. Communication is incredibly important in any relationship whether romantic, plutonic, or somewhere in between. It is of dire import to know and clearly communicate expectations, potential and foreseeable problems, hopes, needs, desires, and anything else that is important to the parties involved.
Do you need to spell out everything all the time, of course not. But addressing issues before they become problems, talking about things when they arise instead of bottling them up, and tackling problems head on together instead of hiding them from one another makes for a far smoother and transparent relationship. It builds trust and eliminates insecurities. Of course, as with all modern Leslie and ann heterosexual relations, Parks and Recreation is not without its faults.
But, that is a post for another time. Despite the problems, despite the things they go through, they do it together, all while embodying the ten things discussed here. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook Notify me of new comments via email.