THE BLOG

Couples With Benefits

02/21/2011 07:10pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
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Many of us have grown up hearing "It's a couple's world." Some feel pressured into getting married by a certain age, typically around a big birthday. It's not uncommon for a woman who wants to have children to desire to couple-up during her fertile years, resulting sometimes in selecting a partner that she might not be compatible with in the long term.

Often men decide to marry or partner up when they feel they have reached certain financial milestones in their careers. They may or may not be with the right partner, but often realize it's a couple's world and it's time to sign up.

If being part of a couple is your goal, here are some benefits you'll reap along the way.

1. Social Benefits. It may appear like we're still in the dark ages. Whether you've been married once or multiple times, more often than not, you'll be invited to social gatherings on the weekends where invitations will be for two. Sadly, I noticed an abrupt shift when I got divorced. To add to the pain, I found myself off the list for affairs that I had previously attended as a couple. Whether through death or divorce, many of us find ourselves devastated when we become single. Personally, I like to host dinner parties with an odd number at the table. I think people should make an extra effort not to exclude a friend who is flying solo. Being ousted on the social circuit adds pain to the wound. Even if you're dating someone exclusively, often your invitation won't allow you to bring a guest to a wedding or social event unless you're engaged, living together or married. Like it or not, there is social discrimination against singles.

2. Health Benefits. Become a couple, get married, and one of the benefits is adding your spouse to your medical plan. Having good medical insurance to cover routine physicals not only keeps you healthier, but you'll also be save money on your medical premiums as a couple. Other benefits include paid bereavement leave or paternity leave from your place of employment if you're a couple. It's a benefit that will appear immediately in your pocketbook and quite often on your calendar.

3. Sex Benefits. As a couple, you can devote more time for sexual activity. Having more sex makes you healthier. It can relieve stress, boost your self-esteem, and add years to your life. If you're lucky enough to have one partner who you have great chemistry with, don't take them for granted. Schedule sex dates and make sex a priority. On a recent episode of Ask Oprah's All Stars, Dr. Oz said we were in a sexual famine. Sadly, almost 60% of the studio audience admitted they had sex less than once a week. Dr. Oz suggested if you increase your sexual activity from once a week to twice a week that you'll live three years longer. Three more years? That's a benefit worth undressing for. On the program, Dr. Phil said, "Women need to have a reason to have sex, where men just need a place." He added, "Sex is non-fattening. It's the most fun you can have without laughing. If you don't feel good about it, practice, practice, practice." If you're a couple, sex benefits should be part of your program. My recommendation is to schedule a date night every week. Make sure that you encourage romance and have sex be a part of your date night. Forego the extra drink, which will make you drowsy and head home to the bedroom. This is the one time where less isn't more.

4. Discount Benefits. From not being forced to pay the single-supplement on a cruise or vacation package, to qualifying for a discount rate on admission fees, two isn't always twice the price as one. Often gym memberships, country and social clubs as well as places of worship offer one price to include the two of you. As a couple, you'll have the benefit of enriching each other's lives while saving some money along the way.

5. Death Benefits. In the United States, if you're a married couple, you're entitled to the Social Security survivor benefits and pension income of your spouse upon their death. This can significantly help contribute to your well being when sadly your partner is gone. In most states, an estate is automatically transferred to the spouse, unless other specific arrangements are made. For those not legally married, being a couple in a long-term relationship will hopefully result in one making sure the other partner is taken care of upon their death, with or without marriage.

At the end of the day, nothing is better than waking up in the arms of someone you love and look forward to spending time with. Don't couple up for the sake of being invited somewhere or to take advantage of the Social Security benefits. Couple up if it's your desire to be in a committed relationship. If you're lucky enough to find someone special to share your life with, it's often more enjoyable than taking the journey alone.

Your comments and thoughts are welcome.

*Revised on 2/21/2011