Three Rules I Have Learned After Thirty Years

Thursday, May 24, 2012
Canadian Geese in Conversation Compatibility alone doesn't make a relationship work. No two people are so in tune with each other that there is no friction. Besides, if you were perfectly compatible, your relationship would be boring. You really need something to talk about at the end of the day.

I can honestly say the only person I want to talk to when the day is over is Diane. There is no one else I would rather take a road trip with. There is no one else I want spend time with more.

I have been married to my dearest Diane for 30 years and 24 days. In that time I have learned three important rules about being in and maintaining a relationship. Since it has been a (mostly) successful thirty years, I believe I can speak with some authority on the subject.
Rule 1: Don't Keep ScoreArguments happen, but when they do, ask yourself these questions; Why am I fighting about this? Is it really worth it? It is human nature to want to win an argument, but in a relationship these things add up. Is it worth it to 'win' the argument? What is the cost?
Keeping score doesn't work. If you are wrong, admit it or, at least, don't fight about it. 
I know you are thinking what if I am right? Well, is it really important? Is it worth fighting for? Will it make any difference if you win? Chances are neither of you are right if you are fighting about it, simply because most angry arguments tend to devolve into the irrational pretty quickly. 
No, find a happy middle ground that works. No one needs to win. No one needs to lose. As Diane says choose your battles, because not everything is a big deal.
Rule 2: Share The Same ValuesThis rule applies to everything from politics to child rearing. If you are both on the same page, 99% of the time rule number one will never come into play. This is not to say you may not have a spirited discussion on occasion on any number of subjects. 
For example, I am never going to change Diane's mind on the subject of the death penalty and she isn't going to change mine. What I am saying is that you don't have to see eye to eye on every little thing, but you certainly should on the big things.
Rule 3: Love Is Not A Bargaining ChipIf there is one thing I hate to hear it is this, “If you really loved me you would do this thing for me”. Ugh. Look, you either love some one for who they are or you don't. Bargaining for love is not for me.  
Along with that rule, you should never love someone for the person you think they can become with your help. Do you really want your partner to submit to your will? Ultimately it only results in resentment and a lot of violations of rule one.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of rules, but they are rules I have found to have helped me in my relationship and hopefully will continue to help.

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