Couples would do well by each other by following these principles from Robert Fulghum’s book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
1. Share everything. Emotions, physically, intimacy, mentally, spiritually, thoughts, dreams, and things.
2. Play fair. Treat each other with justice and fairness. And play. But don’t play games with each other.
3. Don’t hit people. Physically, or verbally. Be kind. When you’re upset, angry, or frustrated, discuss and deal with it in constructive ways.
4. Put things back where you found them. Take care of your home and belongings, and honor each other’s request for help, ideas, etc.
5. Clean up your mess. Sometimes you’ll need each other to clean up the messes that life throws your way. You’ll have each other’s back. Generally, though, do clean up after yourself. Don’t expect to be waited on. And sometimes, wait on your beloved just for love’s sake.
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Be respectful of your partner’s boundaries, things, needs, wants, etc. Ask if you want something. Be prepared for the answer to be yes, no, or maybe.
7. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Mean it when you apologize. Look your partner in the eye, maybe take his or her hands, and be explicit and direct in your apology. Sometimes you may not have realized your action or behavior would hurt your beloved. Take responsibility anyway. Ask sincerely how you can make it up. Remember, you are in each other’s care.
11. Live a balanced life – learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work every day some. Do these things together. Don’t work too much, or hide out at work, or be distracted by gadgets. Enjoy your life together. Celebrate that out of the billions of people on this earth, you found each other.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. It’s your job to protect your relationship and each other at home and out in the world. Whether it’s in-laws or kids, your marriage comes first – you are each other’s top priority. You set the foundation for a healthy relationship and model it for your kids and extended family as you care for your marriage and each other.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down in the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. There is wonder all around us, every day. Use all your senses to take it in: smell flowers and your lover’s hair, see nature and your lover’s eyes, taste delicious food and your lover’s lips and tongue, touch your lover skin, listen to the birds sing and your lover’s voice. Go to the beach or mountains. We live in such an amazing place.
15. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we. Yes, we do all die. Make the most of each day. Say and show, “I love you and value you” every day. Choose your beloved daily.
16. And then remember the Dick and Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all LOOK. Look into your lover’s eyes without words for 2 to 5 minutes a day.
Let me know how these instructions from kindergarten change your relationship.
Photo by mzacha @morgueFile