I have a married friend. We’ll call him “Sebastian” (because that’s his name). Literally, one married friend. The number is sure to rise in the next few months and years, but for the time being he’s a trailblazer, a pioneer. I imagine amongst many groups of friends, the first to take the plunge is analyzed in excruciating detail. He was no exception. But, what I derived from watching him and talking to those close to him ended up being more of a lesson for myself than an indication of how ready he was.
These are the things he ‘s taught me about life, love and being a good partner that I think every 20-something should be exposed to before they take Beyonce’s advice and put a ring on it.
“Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” – Anonymous
On the day of their (outdoor) wedding, there were severe thunderstorm warnings. Sebastian spent the better part of the morning either pacing and cursing the clouds above, or frantically refreshing his TheWeatherNetwork app, accounting for roughly half of the site’s daily traffic. He was urged to move the ceremony indoors, to rush it by beginning immediately and to have his decision communicated to his wife, as soon as she arrived. He did no such thing. Through all the stress, the uncertainty and the conflicting advice, Sebastian never lost sight of one thing: it was his bride’s day. Every iota of him that day went into making it as special as possible for Tennille, and that’s a perfect example of how he makes decisions now. He considers her in everything he does and he trusts her to do the same for him. They embody a true team, something my girlfriend and I work tirelessly toward. By not letting the views of the many convolute their desires, they’ve made relationships look much easier than they actually are.
“If she expects the person you are 20% of the time, 100% of the time, the only certainty is misery” – Anonymous
For some context, Sebastian is a loud and sometimes abrasive man at heart. When he gets riled up (usually at sports) his voice hits a pitch that enables only dogs to understand him. He rarely watches sports sitting down and you can usually tell who’s winning by the size of the veins in his face. The nice, fruity way of saying it is he’s a passionate guy. But over the years, I’ve seen plenty people who wouldn’t put it that way. In fact, they’d say it’s ‘too much’. Sebastian knows this, it’s feedback that’s been given directly to his face. That’s why when I first watched sports with him and his wife, I was interested to see how much he would reel it in; after all, this was still in the courtship stage of their relationship. It didn’t take long before the first missed shot or dropped pass, and he rose on queue, like an elderly man after his third bowl of Bran Flakes, to unleash his wrath upon the television set before us, for his girlfriend to see him in all his glory. When he (eventually) came back to earth, I studied his face for signs of remorse, regret or perhaps even an apology for the outburst. No such thing came. What we had just saw was the true him, and he was not going to apologize for being himself.
I often sigh when I hear quotes like “if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best” because I think it’s used to justify shitty, avoidable actions. In Sebastian’s case though, his eccentricity and his passion are not going anywhere. To try and contain that for fear of being rejected would mean to be something he is not. And that would be a very sad way to spend the rest of your life.
“Happy wife, happy life” – Every wedding guest since the dawn of time
The phrase itself is nothing new. In fact, I think it’s a bit of an overgeneralization. But the instance in which Sebastian first used it taught me something about the idea, and how it should be applied. It was years ago and I had called him to do something insanely fun and irresponsible. He had told me that his (then) girlfriend was out of town and he promised to do something for her. “But can’t you do it tomorrow?” I barked at him, which was usually enough to sway any argument a 23-year old could possibly have, and he agreed, he probably could have done it the next day. The fact of the matter was, he told her he would do it that day, and he wasn’t interested in deviating from that. Somewhere in there he used the phrase “happy wife, happy life” and I probably told him to go to hell. It wasn’t an issue of time management, but keeping his word even when he didn’t have to. He’s always been an honourable guy and exhibiting that in his relationship demonstrated, even from an early stage, the foundations of what will no doubt be a happy life.
To reiterate, because most of you digest information 140 characters at a time:
- Take care of your partner and have trust that they will do the same for you
- Work together, one day this person will be all you have
- Have integrity and honour, especially when no one is around to hold you to it
Aside from writing spoof-dating columns in my high school newspaper, I have little interest and experience in schilling out relationship advice. I’ll save that for the qualified pens at Cosmopolitan. I do however think the things I’ve learned from this happy couple are worth sharing, and sharing information is something I have dabbled in from time to time. Hope you enjoyed what is in all likelihood my first and only post on the subject; be excellent to each other.