I’ve always been interested in family relationships. What makes them good? What causes them to fall apart? So, after Grading the Teacher was first published in 1996, I decided my next book would be about family.
When friends, relatives, acquaintances, and even strangers I met in the supermarket, learned my intention, they eagerly shared their family insights and experiences. People wrote letters, emails, phoned – and stopped me whenever I went out. I took so many notes, there came a point where I had so much material, I realized the stories I’d collected would add up to more than 1,000 pages. Facing the daunting prospect of collating, sorting, organizing and editing the voluminous material, I was completely overwhelmed.
Paul said, “Forget writing the book. Design a great cover. Add blank pages. Sell it. Let people record their own stories.” I abandoned that project, and went on to write Magical MousePainting and Making Opportunity Knock.
However, my interest in family never waned.
This past week, I read disturbing Facebook posts written by young mothers whose partners were deceitful and abusive. I thought about my wise friend Merle’s belief that couples abide by their unwritten contracts. Interesting concept. What is your contract? I reached out to my long married friends/followers who could offer advice about signs of successful marriages. Ruth Asher, a social worker married over two decades, sent this link to a video entitled “6 Things We can Learn from Happy Couples”: http://bit.ly/2hRTtsX
Here’s the beginning of a checklist contributed by some who have been in long marriages/partnerships. This list could be referred “Grading the Relationship.” Feel free to add to it.
___ Trusts the Significant Other completely
___ Openly discusses mutual and personal issues
___ Truly listens and addresses the concerns of the Other
___ Values Other’s opinion and reasoning
___ Shows appreciation for all that the Other does
___ Focuses on giving emotionally, rather than taking and having certain expectations
___ Offers consideration, mutual respect for the Other’s needs and wants – and appreciation for same
___ Shares common interests
___ Accepts Other’s right to have the opportunity to follow personal interests, friends and activities
____Communicates issues and opinions well
Hi Nellie. Great article, lots of good points.
How about one more…
Be sure to laugh together.
Best of luck in 2017!!
You are absolutely right. Laughter and a whopping sense of humour are necessary ingredients…maybe among the most important!
Good idea – sounds like it’s virtually written and only needs formatting and editing!?
Hope Paul is managing reasonably. Also hope 2017 is the year of a breakthrough. My best to him.
Thank you, Bernie. I like the idea of a breakthrough year…