Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

If They Ever Ask

There are some things I'd like to tell my children if they ever ask for advice about relationships. I'm not holding my breath...but I figure I can post them here safely enough. I DID consider titling this "Things I know about relationships" and leaving it blank, but figured it's been done to death. So in no particular order...
How well do you get on in the kitchen? How compatible are you, in a culinary sense? If neither one of you cooks, how well can you do takeout together? Can you share dishes, enjoy some of the same things? Maybe you don't think it's important...but it is.

Do you cook together? Even someone who doesn't know how to cook can cut vegetables, make a salad. If they don't cook, do they at least help clean up after a meal?

Do chores together. Trust me - cooking, cleaning, doing laundry together strengthens your bonds. Unbalanced housework makes for imbalance in a relationship...and can lead to bitterness and resentment.

Learn when to let them be angry or hurt and when to step up and offer solace. Learn when you need to be angry or hurt and when to accept solace.

No matter how angry or hurt you are, offer them an opportunity to explain themselves, to make things right.

No matter how angry or hurt they may be, don't let them labor under misconceptions about your motive or meaning - clarify, make things right, however long it takes.

Don't be afraid or too proud to say "You were right."

Don't gloat or hold it over them if they have the strength of character to say "You were right."

Watch sports together from time to time, even if you aren't a fan - it's a way to show interest in THEIR interests...and you may find yourself enjoying the game after all.

Offer them the opportunity to share in YOUR interests, too.

Listen to music together, even if it's not always in your taste.

Let them know what interests you and give them an opportunity to watch, to listen, to participate.

Ask for, and give, time apart, even if it's only an hour or two. Absence can be as important as presence for a relationship.

Have common interests...and have a few things that you don't do together, too. Common interests give you opportunity to be close, disparate interests give you something to talk about later.

Everybody needs a little space of their own - a room, or even just a corner, to retreat to, to be broody or sad or creative. Respect that space, both of you.

Sometimes a body needs privacy. Respect that, too.

Never compromise (or ask for compromise) on spirituality. You don't have to worship the same gods...but you shouldn't have to stifle yourself spiritually to make someone else happy...and neither should they.

Make sure there's more than just sex. Don't get me wrong - sex is terrific...but it can't be the only reason you're together.

Be yourself, honestly and completely, and allow them the same honor. If you can't trust them with your secrets, your dreams and aspirations, your true nature...then something's not right. The same goes for them. Trust is key.

Let go of the past - the person you're with now is a whole new experience and doesn't deserve to be judged by another's actions.

Keep your word. If you can't keep a promise, don't make it. Nothing hurts like a broken promise, and nothing kills trust and love like constant let-down.

Be honest. Don't lie unless it serves the greater good. Your interests are not always (or even very often) the greater good. Honesty is frightening...but it's also a sign of love, respect, and trust. These things are key.

Don't make threats you cannot or don't intend to keep. Don't say things you don't mean. That's manipulation, and it isn't honorable.

Love, act, and live honorably. If you must lie, cheat, or steal, then it had better be for a very good reason...and your convenience doesn't count.

Sometimes sex is just sex - it isn't love. That's OK. Don't mistake one for the other.

Use condoms or accept the consequences. But use condoms.

Put the seat down (if your partner is female).

Take turns choosing what movie to watch, and try not to roll your eyes at their selections.

Read together. Discuss what you've read.

It's OK to have differing opinions. A lively discourse is a wonderful thing. Just don't lambaste them or tell them they're wrong because they don't agree with you

Turn off the TV, the computer, the distractions, and LISTEN to them.

Be involved in your life - this isn't a spectator sport.

Sometimes you will annoy each other. Try to get over it as quickly as possible, and don't be afraid to tell them you're irritated. Don't be offended if they do the same. It's not a judgement, it's a feeling.

Don't say "I love you" when you really mean "I'm sorry" or "I want..." You devalue it. If you mean it, though, say it as often as you feel it.

"I love you" isn't just words - it's actions, too. Don't just say it...show it.

Don't make them responsible for your well-being, and don't make yourself responsible for theirs. That's not love, that's co-dependence.

Learn how to kiss them. If you think you don't know, ask. If you tink you DO know, ask.

Support their dreams and aspirations, even if you don't fully understand or share them. They should do the same for you.

Dance with them sometimes, if only in the living room, and even if "dancing" is simply swaying in each other's arms.

Loving isn't owning. Don't forget that. People aren't possessions and shouldn't be treated as such.

Love isn't blind...but it accepts the flaws it sees as part of the whole. You're not perfect, either. Yes, your mother just told you you're not perfect. Adjust.


HermitJim said...

Good advice, my friend!

Rob Houston said...

Sam and I went over all of these together... in some areas, we definitely need work, but in others we have no issues at all. Thanks for this one, Miss K :)

noexcuses said...

Came over from Vodkamom! You really are incredible and I'm glad I found you. It's amazing how some people say what others need to hear, at just the right time!

Thank you for your wise words.