So the last post was about what NOT to do. This one is inspired by long term commitment. I read a lot of stuff out there on the 'net having to do with relationship advice. Some is good but most is very superficial. And of course I've joined the fray...but I often write this stuff to look at my own relationship & remind myself of what we do right & what we need to improve. Sometimes I come across an article that is really good. The one that I'm going to write about today stands out. It talks about longevity in a relationship. How the successful ones last. It also starts with a quote from a philosopher I've run into before, Paul Tillich. He says, "Any deep relationship to another human being requires watchfulness and nourishment." Simple but oh, so hard to do! Here is the link to the full article by Victor M. Parachin--read it & tell me what you think, if you dare! I will add what stood out for me below. http://www.yourtango.com/2013188786/10-secrets-successful-couples
Number one is to enjoy each other--HUGE! The fact that both Xing Fu & I love to sail & see live music brings us together quite a bit. And we enjoy talking to each other--finding out what each other thinks, what drives one another. Even discussing articles such as this one--if I come across advice that I like, I send it on. I think that it is very good to be able to reflect on what you do well as a couple & what needs improvement--the mere fact that Xing Fu is willing to discuss this stuff brings me to the next piece of advice that I liked:
Being in it for the long haul. Yep, my last post was all about those folks who may be deluding themselves into thinking that they had a lasting relationship & starting to recognize why they do not. This one is about what being in it for the long haul is all about. Some folk out there make a commitment when they marry but in the back of their minds they think things like, "well, if it doesn't work, we can always get a divorce." The irony of course is that both Xing Fu & I come from unsuccessful marriages. But I think that our approach is very different this time around--we talk about it. We don't run away. We look for ways to improve & we reflect on what we do well & need to do better as I've stated above. We try to follow the advice of the article on fighting skillfully, & learning to seek & offer forgiveness (very hard for both of us--we are quite hardheaded).
I hope that we continue to work to try to fix things and grow together as we go.
The last pieces of advice that I want to remark on are the first, & what you might think is obvious, but is oftentimes forgotten--never stop dating each other. Keep the romance in--I like that we go to hear music & make it into a "date night" with dinner too. Or that every once in a while we take a weekend just for ourselves--when we went to Front Royal, Va to pick up the writing desk where I'm currently sitting & stayed at a lovely & very romantic B&B.
And the last is called the 60/40 rule. I'll allow the article to speak for itself. This one is new to me & when I shared it with Xing Fu, we both thought that it was something to try in the future:
Successful couples adhere to the 60/40 rule. Boggs and
Miller also discovered that "marriage masters" have a high level of
selflessness. "Walter" whom they interviewed, told them, "I'll never
forget what my mentor told my wife and me before we got married 42 years
ago. He looked at us and said, 'Most people think marriage is 50/50.
It's not. It's 60/40. You give 60. You take 40. And that goes for both
of you." It was a principle Walter and his wife adhered to faithfully.
Xing Fu's interpretation is this, "When you think that you're giving 50% but things aren't resolving, you may need to give a little more." And be willing to do so when necessary. We have a partnership & sometimes one partner needs to give more than the other--it will balance out in the end & it will also allow for growing together & deepening the intimacy rather than the sometimes adversarial face-off that can occur. This skill ain't easy but we're working on it--we never had a name for what we do, but this one makes sense.
There are other "secrets" in the article but I'll allow you to discover the rest. I'm interested in any other thoughts people may have. Let me know.