Relationship Advice

Uncle John’s Avuncular Advice

When Yayoi and I got married, we wanted to collect whatever wisdom our families had to offer on living together, translate it into English and Japanese, and have it available at the ceremony. That project kind of fell through, but we have some material and I want to keep it somewhere accessible. So, why not share with the Innernet?

Here’s Uncle John Avuncular Advice:

Let go of the little annoyances and aggravations of everyday life. I tell myself mentally, when I think of the grievances and perceived slights I have accumulated, “Relax, forgive your persecutors, let it go.” Try to visualize the scared and angry child inside your tormentor. Your anger and hatred won’t hurt the other person, they just take up a lot of your time and energy. Think about it.

Condescension and sarcasm are the quickest way to kill a relationship. It’s hard to avoid a little sarcasm from time to time, but mean-spirited comments are severely corrosive and wound the spirit. Don’t say things you’ll want to take back later, because you really can’t take them back. The damage is done. Many people will take abuse over and over, but then one day, it’s finished, the relationship is dead — and there’s no way to bring it back.

Learn to fight fair. This includes much of the above. Be aware of the language you use. Talk about your own feelings, not the other person’s shortcomings. Get outside help. Many people have been in the same place you find yourselves, and may have good advice.

Finally, I would like to quote the late, great and very wise Walter Payton. He said, “Don’t keep score.” Be generous to your partner. Don’t expect a quick and equivalent response when you do something nice. A relationship is not 50/50, it’s more like 80/80.

I love you both. Be good to each other and play nice!

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