The grass might be greener but that’s only because the shit is higher on that side of the fence.
I can’t recall if I heard that somewhere or if my brain just made it up so let’s say “yes” and move on.
So some of you have emailed or messaged me asking if I have any insight to share on marriage. Well, save for my quote above, I will unequivocally say “no”.
Anything I could share might sound like regurgitated platitudes and no one wants recycled cliches.
There are far more enlightened writers and researchers out there that I would direct you to if that’s your interest. Or just entertaining like this guy, Matt at Must Be This Tall To Ride:
“When you choose to love someone, it becomes your pleasure to do things that enhance their lives and bring you closer together, rather than a chore.”
If I were to give advice, it would be to my kids (once they’re older) on dating intelligently and to not focus on marriage as an end goal, and it would sound like this:
1. Love and bookkeeping don’t mix. Unless of course your interests are nefarious or fetish in nature but, by in large, they are magnetic opposites. If you start doling out love like it’s gold stars, tallying up your lover’s good behavior and transgressions like a performance review, and expect gratitude in return then you’re going to be a lonely shit with stupid stickers.
2. Don’t expect them to change and don’t change to please them. Allow the person to be themselves with your support, comraderie, and encouragement. If they always bring you down/lie/bully don’t expect that behavior, or them, to change. Love can heal wounds but it doesn’t fix an asshole from being a dick.
3. As long as I have breath, you always have somewhere to come home to. Never accept or allow abusive behavior. I would be equally devastated to discover either, giving or receiving, was true of my children. This mama bear would lose her shit.
4. The little things do matter. How many times have we heard the opposite? Well, it’s bullshit. They can’t bother to remember what makes you happy to show you they know and love you? Next!
Can’t remember what your allergies are, your birthday, your quirks, your fears, your favorite movie? That’s ok, someone else will. Just be patient and you’ll meet them.
Love means picking the unwanted toppings off the pizza when it’s wrong, remembering that person’s favorite of anything and everything, rooting for their team because you root for them, it means replacing the t.p., brushing the bench off, planning surprises and adventures to show how well you know them, creating memories together that you can look back on as your history of laughter and discovery together that joins you against the hardships of life as they will come. It means putting them first sometimes so they know that they don’t come last in your life.
It means that you don’t take the window or aisle seat four rows away and leave your girlfriend stranded alone in the middle seat, of the middle row, on a thirteen hour international flight between two horny, non-English speaking men!!! (Sorry, flashback.) Which brings me too…
5. Don’t be a dick. Obvious, yes, but it needs to be restated, and often.
Your girlfriend is having cramps? Maybe offer to rub her feet without expecting a blowjob in return. That would be like someone stealing your parking spot and asking for a handshake.
Your horny but your partner has been angry at you? Maybe stop being a dick so she’ll want to play with yours.
Your boyfriend’s dog just died? Maybe don’t expect him to go to a dinner party where the hosts have three dogs that all look similar to his deceased one.
He’s a recovering alcoholic and he’s stressed out and feeling down? Maybe not ask him to take you clubbing that night and watch you get plastered. (And, yes, all of these things really happened to people in my life. Except for the parking spot scenario.)
If you love someone you want to help them, understand them, enjoy their company, make them feel safe and wanted (not needed!), be on their side, and support them in their pursuits whatever they may be. (Unless that pursuit is taxidermy then run, don’t call me first, just run.)
Life is too short to be miserable and too long when you are.
I’m sure I’m borrowing that from somewhere but, whether I am or not, I’m using it on my kids and possibly stenciling it on their walls right alongside, “Don’t be a dick.”
Happy Valentine’s Day to all and may those that you love, love you well.