Saturday, September 02, 2006

Keys to a Great Relationship (or at Least One That Survives Hollywood)

I've been married forever. Andrew's my BFF. I have a handful of tips on what we have done and still do to make our relationship a success, despite the Hollywood pressures for divorce.
  • Plans and goals - everyone's gotta have 'em or get 'em. When your life collides with another's, you have to consider the plans and goals of the other person. Some things will change, others may stay the same. Once you go from being single to forming a duo, you have to agree on goals for the duo. Things can't stay on the same track because there's someone else to consider. We sit down and discuss how our plans and goals may affect one another so we can compromise and bend things as necessary, and we can support the things that are most important to both of us.
  • Compromise is required. This doesn't mean you give up your integrity or throw away your dreams. This means you may have to sleep on the other side of the bed, but at least you get all the covers. You give a little to get a lot. Both partners will have to give more than they want sometimes, but the return on investment is huge.
  • Communication is vital. You have to talk about things. I'll put up with lots of puppet talk and car talk and Seth-Godin-is-awesome talk. Andrew puts up with work talk and pole dance talk and John-Mayer-is-awesome talk. We have to discuss our interests and listen to one another to better understand each other. If there's a problem, we discuss it. Sometimes you have to say things you'd rather not, and you've got to be willing to hear things you'd choose not to in most cases.
  • How you present your relationship to the world will influence your solidarity. We don't air our petty grievances (someone didn't do the dishes or someone left a yogurt container on the floor for Doodlebug) as huge things for the world to hear. When you commit to a relationship, your problems are your business. (Now, if there's abuse or psychosis, you get help.) Tell people your relationship is strong and perfect, work on making it strong and perfect, and you'll get what you work on. When you tell people your mate sucks and then you go back to them, how does that make you and your relationship look?
  • How you present yourself in the relationship will influence people's opinions about the relationship. If I came in to work all a-flutter or scatterbrained or irresponsible because of something that happened at home, people wouldn't respect me or my relationship. When I'm logical and put-together despite how in love I am or what disagreement I had moments before, I'll get respect and no one will form negative opinions about what my relationship is doing to me. Andrew and I are strong and supportive of each other, and we don't present ourselves as individuals any differently.
  • Keep your hands clean. Don't do something you don't want to tell the other person about. You know better. If you do something wrong, even if accidental, get it off your chest immediately. When I spend too much money, I tell Andrew. When my Tinker Bell mug was knocked off the counter, he told me as soon as I got home. This keeps the stupid little things from building up and making you critical of each other which would lead to divorce or break-up eventually.

There. Now you know how Andrew and I continue to survive and be such oddities in Los Angeles. If more people don't apply these things, I'm afraid they're going to put us in a zoo.

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