(It seems I'm not the only person eager to tie the knot. Go California!!! I just love the mental image of hordes of people madly in love storming the clerks' offices with shit-eating grins on their faces.)
I was talking with a friend the other night about what makes relationships work in general and what makes my relationship with the Pirate work in particular. It occurred to me that I approach my relationship in the same way that I approach the rest of my life. I have a simple motto by which I've lived for many years. It goes like this:
You do the best you can with what you got in the time allotted.
It reminds me that I'm not perfect, I'm not super-human, I can't do everything, and some times there are compromises to be made, but if I do the best I can with whatever I have to work with, than I'm doing OK. That's really all anyone can do. I can't bend the laws of physics to achieve my goals, but I can give my utter best effort to whatever I'm doing within the contstraints that the world imposes. And yes, the world does impose contstraints.
If you do that, it also makes it that much easier to be a forgiving person. It also makes it easier to accept forgiveness from others when you fuck up. (I have particular difficulty with this.) I know that I do my best for the Pirate. I'm not perfect, but I always make an effort. He knows this and so when I fall short he's never upset. Ditto the reverse. We're not perfect, but we do our best and are accommodating and flexible. There is a corollary to this motto which I learned from my high school chemistry teacher. It states
Live your life so as not to be an inconvenience to others.*
Sounds cheesy, but it's a good approach. If, in your day-to-day activities, you think "will doing this be a nuissance to someone?" or "How can I rearrange this to make it less inconvenient for X?" things seem to go OK. This doesn't mean being a doormat, it doesn't mean living your life for other people, but it does mean living your life in such a way that you don't force other people in to situations where they have to be a doormat for you. It means being independent, self-sufficient, and not being a burden to anyone.
We are all occassionally a burden to someone. That's human nature. Sometimes we all need looking after. But that goes back to the first statement. If you do your best to not be a pain-in-the-ass, people will recognize this and be forgiving and helpful those times when you are. And you can do the same for them.
That's all, really. Pretty straightforward stuff.
What are your favorite mottos/mantras?
*Thanks, Fr. Maclernan. I don't remember much about electron orbitals or covalent bonds, but this little gem stuck, and frankly, it's more useful anyway.