The one you thing you realize about people is everybody is different. There is no perfect formula for what makes a relationship work or not. I was born on my parent’s 7th wedding anniversary. So I guess I was a blessing of some kind. From my perspective it makes their anniversary easy to remember. They have been married for forty-plus years. I have no clue how they have been together that long. My dad is a Columbia law school grad and met my mom at a law school party his last year at law school. I asked my dad how he met my mom and all he’ll tell me is that he got her number and called her back. It was the early 70’s in New York City so I did not ask for details.
They dated for three years before getting married. I asked my mom if she married my dad for money and she said, “No, I married for potential.” From what I can tell, it all seems about middle ground and about what you are willing to do for the other person. My mom and dad got engaged in Bermuda, they joke it was a big scandal.
My dad never got my mom an engagement ring because my dad was in Cleveland working on a new job and my mom was still in New York, he told her it would make more sense to take the money and get plane tickets with it so they could see each other more. (My dad had his undergrad in economics) so I get it.
The other thing is that open communication is key. My mom told my dad when they first got married, “If I make something for you to eat and you don’t like it, please tell me. Because if you don’t you run the risk of getting it again.” The one story that always makes me laugh is that when I was a kid my dad put new brakes on the car and my mom didn’t find out until she got the bill. They laugh about it now.
Granted in our modern context relationships today are night and day from what my folks experienced. The one thing though that can be applied in today’s modern context is the ability my folks had to compromise. The other thing, at least from a guy’s prospective, is that it is okay to be sensitive and understanding. Since everybody is on their own path and journey, having that sensitivity is key. Everybody is an individual and so different from one another and you can’t use a blanket theory or methodology. The best analogy I can give for a guy to understand is, its like an active suspension system in car where the computer can constantly adjust to give a smooth ride no matter what the conditions.
Finally, the most important thing I gained was that to accept people for who they are as they are, that there is a human being there next to you, and they are more than just another pretty face.