For any relationship, the 25-year mark is momentous. My partner and I celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary yesterday. Without question, I am a better person because of my relationship. While not easy, at times very bumpy and certainly no straight-line, this has been an amazing journey.
I’m a rubber-meets-the-road kinda guy. Maybe it’s because I was a Roman Catholic seminarian for ten years, maybe it’s because I am a contrarian deeply resonating with the wisdom of Steve Jobs:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
(Stamford University Commencement Address, June 12, 2005).
For me, what’s important are the takeaways. What I can – hopefully – learn from others and maybe glean from the skinned-kneed lessons of my own life. From a wonderful relationship that just gets better (amide some very challenging times), here are 12 lessons I’m learning. [list style=”arrow” color=”yellow”]
- Laugh a lot: Learn how to laugh – don’t take yourself so seriously.
- Learn to forgive: Learn how to forgive and in forgiving how to let go – life is tough and we’re missing the operator’s manual.
- Be open to new things: It seems that the only constant in life is change. Change or die.
- Hallmark Cards aren’t about real relationships: Whoever writes these things hasn’t a clue.
- There is no prince or princess charming: Nobody better is coming along.
- Things don’t make us happy: At the end of life the only thing that will matter is the quality of our relationships. No one is buried with their things.
- This is it, live the now: All we have is now – make the most of today. Everything you need is available to you now.
- Your relationship won’t fix you: It’s not your partner’s responsibility to fix you. Develop your own life and interests.
- Your relationship won’t fix your spouse: Give up the notion that you’ll change your spouse, you can’t.
- Values are the ties that bind: Good looks will fade and fortunes come and go but what matters are the shared values between two people.
- Build a friendship: It’s in the fabric of friendship that our relationships have meaning.
- And finally, a lesson from Moulin Rouge: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”