Tuesday, December 8, 2020

If you force me to give you relationship advice, here are three things I'll tell you

By no one's definition of the word am I an expert when to comes marriage and relationships. Yes, I've been married for 28 1/2 years, but I almost want to say I lucked into that.

(Actually, there was no luck involved at all. "Blessing" is a much better word for it. The point is that I never purposely planned this out. It all just sort of happened.)

My four oldest kids each have significant others, and those relationships have all lasted for some time. I wish I could say they chose their partners well because I taught them what to look for. But this isn't true. They either asked their mother for advice in this area or, like their father, they just sort of fell into stable, loving relationships.

But I suppose if you held that proverbial gun to my head, or much better yet, if you offered me $1 million, I could come up with some tips that may or may not improve your love life. Here's what I have:

(1) Aim high: I married up and I highly recommend it. My wife is the best person I know. She has too many great qualities to enumerate, but "beautiful," "smart," "funny," "honest," and "talented" probably top the list. I like to joke that I always know what she's going to say or do next, but truth be told, she almost always has me guessing. That's a good thing. If you can be with a person you aspire to emulate, things will always be interesting. (NOTE: The corollary to this, of course, is that the good person ends up with a not-as-good person, which could get boring for them after a while. The trick is to get someone who's better than you AND who is OK spending their life dragging you in their wake. A tall order, sure, but I'm proof it can be done.)

(2) It's not about you. It can't be: You have to be willing to put the other person's interests ahead of your own. That doesn't mean you should quash your own desires 100% of the time, but it seems impossible to be both a selfish person and someone who has a successful long-term relationship. The funny thing about this, in my experience, is that the more you tend to the other person's needs, the more your own will be fulfilled (and vice-versa).

(3) You're gonna want someone you can laugh with. And at. A lot: This is such a cliche, but I'm telling you, this may be the single most important thing. You're going to go through a whole bunch of stuff together. Some of it will be good, some of it will be bad. If you can laugh equally at both, and do it together, that's gold, Jerry. Life is mostly funny. Treat it that way.

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