- Step 1: Choosing someone you’re compatible with. Not only on big things, like global politics, but even more on small things. Is it OK to watch ahead on the Netflix queue when your partner is busy? How important is it to keep the dining room table cleared off? WHICH WAY DOES THE TOILET PAPER ROLL GO??
- Step 2: Really caring about each other, taking your partner’s concerns, thoughts, wishes, and dreams seriously, even if you think they’re silly. Being able to say, “I don’t get why you care about this, but you do, so it’s important.” Being able to say, “I know you don’t agree on this, but it matters to me, so pay attention.”
- Step 3: Being determined to stick with this relationship even if it’s not fun anymore, as long as there’s fundamental respect for each other as people. (But if it’s abusive, then get help and get out. Now.)
When I think of our long and (mostly) happy relationship, I think of a poem by Robert Browning called Rabbi Ben Ezra. Most of it is a long and convoluted ode to the wisdom of age, but the first three lines resonate with my experience:
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made.
It inspired this John Lennon song, on the Lennon/Ono album Milk and Honey.
I’m blessed by this strong marriage and my whole family. I hope you are blessed as well with good relationships in your life. Share some of the things you count as blessings in the comments.