We rolled through 14 years of marriage last week. So good!
My marriage is my most important, and easiest, relationship in my life.
This is surprising because I have a track record of being a very difficult person to live alongside.
A favorite bit of advice, paraphrased…
If you are surrounded by difficulties then remain open to the possibility that you may be playing a small role in creating them.
In my 20s, everyone tried to get through to me. Friends, co-workers, mentors, bosses, family… they were ineffective with their attempts to improve me.
Some might think the lesson is not to try.
That’s not my experience.
My experience has been to “try smarter” by focusing on: (#1) myself and (#2) getting expert advice on what those around me are likely to value.
In applying expert advice, I found it easiest to remove little bits of the “small role” I play in my relationship difficulties.
Bit #1 => my attitude is the main source of my (relationship) problems
I’m lucky to live with two people that are VERY easy to get along with (my son and my wife). They are my “canaries in the coal mine” – if they start to bother me… something is out of whack.
This is a major improvement for me. I used to get to the point where everyone, everything… would be bothering me.
When I’m on the other side of “everyone,” I pause and reconsider.
Bit #2 => I can stay mad for DAYS
This is more common than any of us let on.
The good news… anger only becomes a problem if I act on it.
If I’m wandering around the house doing power-housework then my anger is only making myself miserable (see #1).
The payoff… once I settle down, there’s no emotional cleanup.
Bit #3 => treat others the way they wish to be seen
The deep reservoir of goodwill I have for my wife and son comes from the match between their instinctive treatment of me and my deepest desires.
I am often unaware of my values & desires but I can intuit them by reflecting on the people I like to hang around.
For other people, I can sit quietly, listen and tweak my approach.
Call out culture does us a huge disservice, I have yet to regret leaving negative thoughts unsaid.
Better to keep my mouth shut and use the energy to improve myself.