A little bit of relationship advice.

January 17th, 2010


A propos of nothing in particular (no, seriously) — but coming from someone who’s been happily married for 15 years:

If you’re going to be demanding about the things that matter to YOU, you sure as hell better be generous about the things that matter to THEM.

This is another way of saying “Be a grownup,” and if you look at it in the right light, it’s basically another expression of the Golden Rule. Which is to say, it’s timeless and worth doing.

I bring this up because (a) my wife and I seem to do a good job of keeping this one ironed out, and (b) I can’t tell you how many unhappy couples I’ve seen for whom this concept is an alien one. Either they never think of it at all, or else, if it were ever brought to their attention, they’d reflexively say/think something along the lines of “MY demandingness isn’t really demanding because, after all, I’m only expecting what ought to be my due, but HER demands are asinine and childish because . . .”

Which is, when you think about it, a crappy way to live in a relationship that’s supposed to be about mutual trust and support.

Your thoughts, O happily-paired-up ones?


(Image by J Heffner.)

4 Responses to “A little bit of relationship advice.”

  1. Meg Says:

    This is SO TRUE. I think another relationship element that goes hand in hand is communication. I realized early in my relationship that if I calmly and rationally explain my side of things/wants/needs without throwing a tantrum I usually get what I want plus some. The first time I realized this, I was totally confused because I thought that relationships were about a struggle of egos. Turns out it’s about caring enough about someone to make what matters to them matter to you. And it’s kind of rewarding.

  2. Liz Says:

    I totally agree, and I think that this is a great piece of advice for any kind of relationship.

  3. Kristen Escovedo Says:

    Great advice. My hubby and I celebrated a decade of married bliss this year. One thing that we do that I think helps keep us on the bliss side of married is say thank you. I know it sounds fairly obvious, but it’s true. When he does laundry (which is more often than I do), I say thank you. When I cook dinner (which is not often and not really fancy), he says thank you. We thank each other for picking up toys, changing sheets, and bathing kids. It makes us feel appreciated, even in the small stuff, so we know we’re never taken for granted in the big stuff.

  4. Tim Walker Says:

    Loving these comments, everybody.

    Meg: As I’ve been telling my single friends for years and as I’m starting to explain to my own kids, healthy relationships *do* have their disagreements but *shouldn’t* be about constant struggle.

    Kristen: Saying “Thank you” — like “I’m sorry” and “I realize now that I was wrong” — is INCREDIBLY powerful. A word of thanks from my wife, even for something routine, makes me light up inside.

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