We just returned from the continent of Antarctica. Oh, my, what an amazing expedition it was! As human beings, we will never be the same!
For us, it was the 7th and final continent in our journey in search of great marriages around the world. Our project has taken 31 years to complete. We have interviewed couples in all 50 states of the union, 47 foreign countries, and on all seven continents of the world.
While exploring Antarctica, we interviewed couples that live and work there, observed the wildlife, and learned a lot of valuable lessons. The most important lessons of all are the lessons about love and relationships that we learned from the Penguins of Antarctica – particularly the Gentoo, the Adelie, the Emperor, and the Chinstrap. They are all interesting to observe, to say the least.
Over the course of our observations we learned that Penguins and humans have a whole lot in common. In fact, it is clear to us that Penguins and humans share many common and pervasive characteristics when it comes to love and life.
Here are twelve important lessons about love and life we learned from the Penguins of Antarctica:
1. Look out for each other. Like humans, penguins live in towns and villages called rookeries because it’s easier to protect each other from predators and from the cold weather in groups. And what’s really nice—most have a short commute to work finding food!
2. Have fun and play a lot. Penguins, like humans, love to gather with friends and family to have fun and play. Frequently, penguins just stop and admire the view–what we humans would call, “stopping to smell the roses.” They often stand together to admire the view from where they live and travel. We humans should play more and take time to smell the roses!
3. Communicate effectively. Penguins talk and chatter a lot to each other, just like humans! Communication is at the heart of their relationships with each other, just as it is with humans.
4. Be a responsible adult. As they grow older, penguins learn to spread their wings, and even though they will never fly, they grow up for the most part to be responsible and productive adults. Almost all become parents at some point in their life. Sounds like a familiar human story to us.
5. Build your support network. Sometimes penguins take trips together with their extended family. Like us, penguins know that friends and family are an integral part of their support network.
6. Smile a lot. Penguins are certainly a happy lot! They rarely get discouraged and almost never give up on their goals. We humans are like that as well.
7. Shout your love to the heavens! Penguins shout their love for each other by screaming it to the heavens! They are not shy about expressing their love for their mate. Saying “I love you” is just a normal part of their day and they are willing to express their sentiments often. We humans could learn to do a better job of this by observing the penguins!
8. Watch out for danger. They almost always look left and right before crossing the path! They know the world is full of danger, but you can always count on them to be prudent and careful—for their safety and for the safety of their family and friends. We humans teach our children to look left and right before they cross the street, and we do so at a very early age.
9. Keep your body clean. Penguins love to bath a lot, especially with each other. They will race to get to the water first. Sometimes a refreshing swim makes them jump for joy!
10. Be faithful to the one you love. Penguins are monogamous, often having one mate for a lifetime. Death of their life’s partner is about the only circumstance that causes them to search for a new mate. Maybe younger humans should pay attention to the penguin’s model!
11. Share the parenting responsibilities. Like humans, penguins share in the nurturing, feeding, and parenting of their children. It is remarkable how penguins demonstrate that birthing, protecting, and raising a child is a shared responsibility of both the mother and the father. You can count on them to work together to build a comfortable nest for their children.
12. Argue fairly and don’t hold grudges. Penguins squawk and often times engage in lively discussions and arguments. They get in each others’ face, but they usually resolve their differences in a positive fashion. Like human couples penguins argue—there is nothing wrong about that—but they have learned to fight fair and effectively, almost never holding grudges. You can learn a lot from a penguin.
It is clear that penguins and humans have a lot in common when it comes to marriage and relationships. They have mates—often for a lifetime—love to be around family and friends, and dearly love their children.
You can learn a lot about love and relationships from the penguins of Antarctica! They may live at the end of the world, but in the end, we are all very much alike.
Watch the YouTube video/photo essay we created for you, Penguins of Antarctica, so you can see our penguin friends in action as they show us all how to live and love! In the end, we discovered that the Penguins are very much like us!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts
Creating a successful marriage or relationship is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts.
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