It amazes me how few couples do volunteer work together—even just occasionally. But, then again, it took my boyfriend and I a few years to do it together so, I do understand that for many couples it just doesn’t cross their mind at first. Before doing it together, volunteer work was something my man and I were both interested in, but participated in separately. And it’s not exactly like when date night came around, volunteering was the first activity that came to mind. We wanted to get takeout food or watch a movie. On Sunday afternoon, we want to clean the apartment and go grocery shopping. But one night, we packed up some care packages for a homeless community living in tents around the corner from our place and delivered them. I felt it was the best-spent time we’d ever spent together. We both felt something had changed that night. Here is how volunteering improves your relationship.
You’ll reevaluate your spending
It’s hard to, in good conscience, continue to buy unnecessary items—items we think we need or that we think elevate our status—after helping individuals who cannot afford real necessities.
You’ll reevaluate your friends
When you adjust your thinking to be coming from a place of servitude and generosity, you quickly lose tolerance for any friends who don’t think like that. You may rid your friend group of some individuals whom you don’t feel share the same values of empathy and giving.
And you’ll make new friends
You could make new friends while volunteering, too. Making couples friends is never easy, but you’ll likely find some other couples volunteering with whom you immediately hit it off with. The mere fact you choose to volunteer with your partners already means you have a lot in common.
You’ll be better at scheduling
If you were sloppy about scheduling before, always planning things at the last minute and not making efficient use of your time, that will change when you start volunteering. It will be important to you that you make time to volunteer, and so you’ll get better at controlling your calendar in general.
Your gratitude will increase
Your feelings of happiness directly correlate with your levels of gratitude. Volunteering will make you more grateful for the things you have, making you happier individuals and a happier couple.
Your complaining will decrease
Do you complain a lot in your relationship? Maybe about little things like the size of your apartment or the price of movie tickets in your neighborhood? You’ll complain less after volunteering—it puts your problems into perspective.
You’ll be kinder to each other
When you volunteer, you discover how powerful kindness is. You see how a little kindness can change someone’s day—how it can even save someone’s life. You’ll walk away with that desire to exhibit kindness for the rest of the week.
It will affect parenting styles
If you are parents, then volunteering will affect your parenting style and decisions. You’ll want to teach your kids to be empathetic, not to judge, and to always think of others.
You will cry together
You will cry together. There’s no question about that. You’ll likely encounter individuals whose stories bring you to tears. But you bond over being touched by the same things and moved to cry by the same stories.
You’ll seek more opportunities to give
You’ll become a couple who looks for opportunities to give, even when you aren’t volunteering. You’ll more naturally think of friends and family who, at any given moment, could need your assistance.
You’ll see the power in your love
One volunteer is great but two, working together, is amazing. It’s a special feeling to see what good you can do when you put your resources and energy together.
You may reevaluate your jobs
If you were already wondering if it was time for a career change, volunteering could push you over the edge—in a good way. You may realize that you want to work in an industry that seeks to do good in the world. Volunteering can spark this important discussion with your partner.
You’ll bond over a shared goal
You have a shared goal of…volunteering X amount of hours, putting together X amount of care packages. Having a shared goal helps you feel closer.
You may consider future philanthropy
You may find yourselves talking about being more philanthropic in the future. When time and finances allow, you may want to start a fund for a cause about which you’re passionate.
You’ll silence your egos
Volunteering does a marvelous thing to the ego: it silences it. The ego sparks a lot of fights so, it’s better to keep that thing quiet.