Ultimate Relationship Goals For Valentine's Day: Leslie Knope And Ben Wyatt

Ultimate Relationship Goals For Valentine's Day: Leslie Knope And Ben Wyatt

​"Who's to say what works? You find somebody you like and you roll the dice. That's all anybody can do."

As Valentine's Day approaches, and as I binge-watch "Parks and Recreation" for the third time with my boyfriend, I have perpetual heart-eyes over the greatest couple to ever grace television: Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt. Don't believe me? Here are 11 reasons why everyone should want to be them.

1. The magical evolution of their relationship.

Leslie starts out hating Ben. The insult-at-work-and-then-yell-at-at-a-bar kind of hatred. And let's face it, she has a reason - Ben represents the failure of Pawnee's government and the potential loss of her beloved department and dream park in Lot 48. But then you watch them work together on the Harvest Festival, come up with corny handshakes, and eventually have to go to great lengths to keep themselves from hooking up so as to not violate the rule that government employees and their supervisors can't be romantically involved.

But then this happens:

and your heart starts doing the can-can even though you knew they were going to get together.

2. They never let anything get in their way.

Strict policy against romantic involvement between employee and boss? Sure, that impedes Leslie and Ben and strains their friendship for a little bit, but I'm glad it does, because then we get gems like this one:

But ultimately, they decide being together and growing their love for each other is the best decision, and your heart can-cans some more.

The obstacles don't stop there. But an ethics trial? Having to be long distance when Ben takes a job in Washington? Everyday strain of government work and adult life? They got nothing on Ben and Leslie.

3. They make each other grow.

It doesn't matter whether or not they're together - Ben and Leslie force each other to confront their shortcomings and take steps to remedy them, but also realize that having flaws is not the end of the world.

Sometimes, Leslie needs to be pulled back for a moment to consider her actions instead of working purely on emotion. And sometimes, Ben has to be reminded that not everything needs to be analyzed and worried about and strategized. From Ben, Leslie learns to be more open-minded and to think about how she sometimes "steamrolls" her friends. And from Leslie, Ben learns the unique power of optimism and hope mixed with hard work, but also the importance of letting loose a little.

4. They both make sacrifices for each other.

Every couple has to compromise, and no one knows this better than the power couple that is Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt. From Ben resigning in disgrace as assistant city manager to allow Leslie to keep her job as deputy director of the parks department, to Leslie being willing to put their life together on hold so Ben can advance his career in Florida, to having to decide which of them will run for governor, Ben and Leslie know that balance and compromise are key. Their relationship may give them something extra to consider when taking a job or making a political move, but they wouldn't have it any other way.

5. Ben's proposal.

I'm going to admit, I cried the first time I watched this. And the second. And the third. Largely, because I'm much the same as Leslie in the sense that we both like to stop the world for a minute to cement a big moment in our memories, but also because Ben's proposal is the perfect representation of this couple's unbreakable bond that holds strong through any sacrifice. Instead of taking a job as a campaign manager in Florida, Ben decides to "think about his future" and chooses Leslie over the job. They don't know what the future holds. They don't know what jobs will pop up, or when, or where - what they do know is they want to be together, and nothing can stop that from happening.

6. The Box.

If Ben's proposal represents the power of their sacrifices, the small wooden box they constantly exchange is the physical symbol of their compromise.

We first see it when Ben figures out Leslie is running for a spot on the City Council and therefore has to break up with him to avoid a scandal, then again when Leslie changes her mind about making Ben stay in Pawnee and supporting his move to D.C., and finally when Ben proposes:

It's a lovely, powerful, happy-tear-inducing little detail that truly symbolizes Ben and Leslie's relationship and unwavering love and support for each other. It's a physical manifestation of their complete understanding of one another as passionate employees, lovers, and, above all, people.

7. Their spontaneous, perfect wedding.

Sure, it hit a few snags, like Ron punching Councilman Jam in the face and having to be bailed out of jail, but it ended up exactly where it was always meant to happen-inside the Parks and Recreation office, with the whole department, including beloved three-legged dog Champion cheering them on. Plus, their adorable vows cannot be beaten.

8. Their love is all-encompassing, but that doesn't mean other aspects of their lives fall to the wayside.

They don't even let their honeymoon bliss detract from the overarching goal of the entire series: putting a park in the empty lot behind Ann Perkins' house. Married life never holds them back from pursuing new opportunities. We've also all heard the thought that when people enter into a serious romantic relationship, they lose three friends. If this is even true at all, it definitely isn't for Ben and Leslie. They keep each other close and their friends even closer, because they know the importance of friendship and the truly special nature of their fellow Pawneeans.

9. They can handle anything life throws at them.

Even when this happens -

Ben and Leslie know they can take any and all of life's surprises, because they have each other.

10. "I love you and I like you."

One of my absolute favorite things about not only Leslie and Ben, but "Parks and Rec" in general: the distinction between "love" and "like." Love and lust alone cannot sustain a relationship for long; two people really have to like each other in order to keep working together and have a successful marriage. And if they feel both? That's when magic á la Leslie and Ben happens.

11. Their optimism.

The optimism of this couple can be summed up in everything I've already listed, but it's important enough to merit its own category. Ben and Leslie's relationship basically boils down to one phrase: "Everything will be okay." They love each other, they like each other, and they both have the drive and compassion to work through the situations when those things aren't quite enough. If any two people are "relationship goals," it's these two; they're both kind, successful people who randomly found each other and never left each other's side once they did. They push each other to be better while celebrating all the great things they already are, they give each other hope when one starts to stumble, and they are true life partners.

Cover Image Credit: Crushable

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I Don't Refrigerate My Ketchup And Neither Should YOu

No this isn't really an article about ketchup

DISCLAIMER: If you expect to read an entire article about a bottle of Heinz, you are about to be severely let down.

You read the title right, I, nor does my family, refrigerate their ketchup bottles. It always kind of had to do with the concept of not liking col Look it up people! Contrary to popular belief, a ketchup bottle is not required to be refrigerated. Just think about all those room temperature bottles sitting on the tables of restaurants legitimately EVERYWHERE. So you may think I'm a weirdo (I mean, in part, you're not wrong), but to each their own. Maybe I do things a little differently, but just because it isn't your way, doesn't mean it's wrong. That doesn't mean you shouldn't carve your own path.

We hear it time and time again; you can be anything you want to be, as long as we work hard to get there. We'll even hear that it may be difficult to get there, but sometimes we aren't clued into the concept that the destination we strive to reach may not have a path associated with it yet. Perhaps it is you who has to create it. A linear path is boring, so go explore, go design, go make the most of this world. In doing so, you are shaping yourself and your own character, your own identity. If we followed the same path as the person before us, we would be stripping ourselves of innovation. In short, we'd be really freaking boring.

Why are we so quick to follow the leader? Why do we take the shortcuts? Why don't we trust ourselves in discovering some really amazing things in this life? I invite you to take a step out of your comfort zone and see this world from a different vantage point. I encourage you to trust your gut and go after what you've had your eye on for all this time. I applaud you for knowing that any journey will take time and great effort and that what you put in is what you get out, but that has not seemed to stop you yet. Along the way, you may turn heads; people may question your motives, some may be envious of your courage, but whatever you do, do not second guess the fact that you are not a sheep in the herd. You are leading the way to so much more.

Attached to this is appreciating that other people are carving their own paths as well, that we cannot get everyone to be on board with our ideas. In attempting to do so, I'd absolutely be dispelling what I've written about sticking to your guns for the past three paragraphs. So yes, there are a million ways to get from Point A to Point B. Some may seem practical, some may seem longwinded, some may require creativity, and some may be difficult to envision, but each invites us to take on a new perspective, to see life through a different lens. This breeds the opportunity to learn from human beings, see what sets their heart aflame. This is where we take a step back from our routines and our sense of normalcy and see the world through the eyes of someone else. This is where we master the art of compromise, put away our stubbornness for awhile and see how two ideas can merge together to create another innovative opportunity.

In my short 22 years, I learned early that if my options are slim, I can create my own. If my values are not matched with the world I am surrounded by, make a change. If my path and your path cross over and we don't get along, tell me about it, so I can learn and gain more understanding for this big, vast, place we live in. So really, try this whole ketchup thing. Be your own person. Don't be afraid to slip away from these hypothetical standards that we hold ourselves to. Set yourself a part and go after whatever it is you've been eyeing. You'll only be mad at yourself if you don't. And on the real, try not refrigerating your ketchup, it really is quite liberating.

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Time's Up: #WhyWeWearBlack

What to Know About the Movement

One in 3 women ages 18-34 have been sexually harassed at work. 71% of those women said they did not report it. #TimesUp

Nearly 1/2 of men think women are well represented in leadership roles and 1/3 of women think women are well represented in leadership roles. The reality is, only 1 in 10 senior leaders are women. #TimesUp

Exploitation is higher among those working low-wage service jobs. When the federal minimum wage is raised, sexual assault + harassment gets cut in half. #TimesUp

The 75th Golden Globes red carpet was less red than it was black. Both women and men attended the awards in black to protest the sexual misconduct happening in Hollywood. Brought up by the allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, there have been many allegations of sexual harassment and assault against men in Hollywood and other industries.

The movement was created by the new organization Time's Up, an initiative to eradicate sexual harassment and gender inequality in the workplace along with the creation of a legal defense fund. The group has raised over $15 million already for the fund, and the number is only increasing.

Time's Up also supplied pins to be worn on the red carpet and almost every attendee showed up in black. The organization's open letter, with the support of over 300 actors, actresses, directors, writers, producers, etc was released January 1st and is now on their website.

There has been a lot of talk of controversy over the movement and the way they chose to go about it. The goal of wearing black was more than ruining the best-dressed competition as talk of the pre-show is often about the dresses, jewelry, and hairstyles.

The goal was to take this talk and steer it towards the movement's agenda; to create equality for everyone in the workplace. Many women spoke about their personal reasons and experiences that impacted their choice to wear black to the awards.

The timing is also notable. As of January 1st, it has been exactly a year since the historic women's marches took place.

#WhyWeWearBlack has been talked about both controversially and in positive light, and this was ultimately the overall goal of the movement, to get society talking about the sexual abuse happening in the workplace and we need to make a change. Time's Up is only the beginning, and this demonstration was a huge step in the #Metoo movement as well as a large victory for feminists overall.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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