This is simple. When one of us is asked to do something that affects the other – take part in a social activity, work an extra shift, teach or take a class, etc. – we go first to the other to make sure it’s okay. This is not abdicating our “rights,” it is merely being courteous. Only very rarely has one of us had an objection to the other doing something, and then for really good reasons, but we ask nonetheless. Unfortunately, a lot of people fail to realize the symbiosis of a relationship and how it can be easily upset by staunchly defending our self-centered desires against reasonable input by our partners.
Showing courtesy to each other also entails making sure to show your partner the same courtesy you’d give a stranger, your boss, or someone of status you admire and want to impress. Why do so many couples let down their guard around each other then? Why is there so much discourtesy within the walls of our own homes? I believe it’s often either laziness or, in really troubled relationships, contempt. Either way, make the effort to extend each other the simple courtesy.
Being willing to do what we might not otherwise want to do –Most people will not – under ANY circumstance – do what they do not want or are comfortable with if it can be avoided. Don’t be one of those people!
One of the things Althea and I admire most about one another is our willingness to jump into new adventures. Through the years I have taken ballroom dance lessons, assumed volunteer roles in areas I have virtually no experience (and moved into leadership spots I never would have thought possible by doing them), and shattered the walls of my earlier comfort zones. She has learned to shoot, immersed herself in the world of law enforcement writing and training, and taken up running strictly to support my decision to start a serious running program – and then became a much more enthusiastic runner than I’ll ever be. Because of this willingness, we’ve enriched our lives immensely and whet our appetites for even newer adventures. I’m convinced it keeps us physically and emotionally healthy.
But again, even more important than the big moments are the small ones. We spend the mundane times together, as well. Running dull errands or shopping, neither of which requires both of us to get done, we nonetheless try to do together. Spending time doing things we may individually not be fond of, but that the other enjoys, is a way of offering support and staying connected. It’s really not about the event, it’s about togetherness. It’s about being best friends.