Sometimes I feel guilty as hell for having as much happiness as I do. I'm surrounded by people who are struggling with love - and I wake up every morning next to my version of their dream. How did I get so lucky? Why me and not them? Doesn't everyone deserve their own perfect partner to live their happily ever after with? Life is so fucking hard - at the very least, shouldn't basic companionship be easier and more obtainable?
But it's not. It's one of the hardest things, the ultimate of goals. Finding a partner who loves and respects and adores and cares for and helps you - sometimes it seems you'd have better odds picking lottery numbers. People are so variable - there is no right or wrong or perfect formula for success; what worked for her won't work for you, what worked for you won't work for me, what worked for me would never again work for anyone else. There are a few things that can be learned, though. I think we all learn valuable lessons from failed relationships - but mostly, the things we need to know to make relationships work is already within us.
That "treat others as you wish to be treated" may be old school and totally cliche, but it's one of the simplest truths that should apply to every interaction you have with every other person you ever meet ever in your whole entire life. Bum begging for money on the corner? How would you want him to treat you if your roles were reversed? Give the man your dollar. Husband left the towels on the floor, the hair in the drain, and the shower curtain pulled open for the 984th time even though you've asked repeatedly for him to please hang his towels, remove the hair, close the curtain no fewer than 659 times? Would you want him to scream at you and make dirty faces and refuse cunnilingus because you were running late this morning and forgot again, too? Sigh deeply, pour another glass of wine and then hang up the towels, clean out the drain, and close the curtain yourself. Again.
Say "thank you". Often. This a phrase you hear in our home almost as often as "I love you". If you're constantly reminding yourself to be thankful for things your partner does, it's harder to focus on the shit that makes you want to strangle them. (Plus, it's a good training tool - "Thank you for getting the hair out of the drain and closing the shower curtain and hanging up your towels, baby - want a blow job?" will help him remember that completing those chores reaps good rewards.)
Laugh together. Be silly. The Bloggess recently gave a talk in Utah wherein she encouraged people to be "furiously happy". She's brilliant, that Bloggess is.
Remember that your partner, your spouse, your significant other - they're supposed to be your Best Friend Forever - the one who you chose to share your whole entire life with - be nice to them. If you wouldn't call your co-worker a stupid bitch for forgetting to rinse out the coffee pot, why would you hurl those hateful words at your favorite person, the one you love most in the world? If you're able to muster the strength to be polite to your boss when you're cramping and in a horribly foul mood, why can't you manage a smile for your beloved?
I'm not trying to preach - please don't get the impression that I don't lose my shit and act like a complete bitch at least three times a week, because I totally do. I'm not perfect. Jimi, I think he's perfect - he's a great example of patience and kindness and unconditional love. He doesn't act like an asshole back, most of the time, when I'm being mean for no apparent reason. I swear, he's some sort of saint.
Just be nice to each other. The world would be a much happier place if we all remembered to be especially nice to the ones we love best - can you imagine? No more bosses being dicks on Monday mornings because he and his wife had a major blowout about couches on Friday night. No more chick at the McDonald's checkout crying and fucking up your order because her boyfriend was an asshole and wouldn't help get up with the baby in the middle of the night, even though she works the early shift and he doesn't have a job. Maybe our Representatives could get their thumbs out of their asses and come to a reasonable agreement that won't collapse our economy if their spouses threw them a little extra sumthin' sumthin', just for the fuck of it, just to say "I love you".
Just be nice to each other. Common courtesy - practice it at home first. Let the love spread.
Oh, and choose wisely. That's pretty important, too.