Here we are, your F**k It Guides, with some F**k It tips for couples.
(Not, as some of you might have misread that – ‘F**kin’ for Couples’).
This is a very personal take. This is what works for us, John & Gaia. We don’t have the ‘perfect relationship’ as some people might define that (i.e. no hiccups along the way), though (as you’ll see) I think it’s the way you deal with hiccups that can make a very special, beautiful, satisfying, growing relationship (and we have that).
CLICK ARROWS FOR TIPS…
- Talk to each other about the difficult stuff.
If your favourite phrase is ‘anything for a quiet life’, this won’t come naturally to you. But the ability of a couple to talk about what’s not working seems essential to that relationship working. Coming from a less than communicative family, I learnt this from Gaia. She’s the clearest, most direct person I know. So it’s easy for both of us, if something is bothering us, or upsetting us, or not working, to talk it through. Sure it doesn’t mean the talking doesn’t get heated (this is Italy after all), but we talk everything through (usually on long walks on the beach).
This can take a lot of ‘F**k It’ as it’s often easier (for a quiet life) to let things go, and not risk stirring everything up.
2. Talk to someone else about the difficult stuff (soon).
Do you have someone with whom you can talk through the difficult stuff? It could be a trusted (and fair) friend. It could be a therapist. You’re after someone who doesn’t just take your side (‘oh, what a bastard / bitch!’), though taking your side sometimes can be useful. It’s brilliant to have someone you trust outside your relationship to talk everything through with. How you treat this within your relationship is up to you. We both know about each other’s trusted help – and the fact that we trust them too is important (ie. I trust the people that Gaia would talk to).
3. Say ‘F**k It’ to some of the difficult stuff and let it go.
This might sound contradictory. But, like many things in life, it’s the ability to do apparently opposite things that can make it all very interesting. So do talk everything through. Even the smallest details. But then, alongside that habit, hold the ability to let things go easily. I’ll give you an example from our relationship. There’s something in the water here in Italy that makes everyone late. And I grew up in a country where there was something in the water that made everyone keen to arrive on time. So Gaia tends to be late. And I tend to like arriving on time. An apparently small thing, but it has potential for a lot of tension (and waiting around on my part!). What do we do with that? Well, we still talk about it… after all these years. When it frustrates me too much, we talk about it. But I also have to be able to let go on this. I have to accept that we’re different. And doing those two things together just about works. If I couldn’t ever talk about it, then I’d likely build up the frustration (and then burst occasionally). If I wasn’t able to let it go then, well, life would be miserable.
4. Remember what you love about your partner.
In every area of life, it’s easy to see only the things that annoy us, or that we have problems with. It’s easy to forget the essential beauty of life and existence. And it’s the same with our partners. We can so easily get lost in the everyday grind, we can get caught up so much in the things that don’t work, that we forget what we love about these beautiful people whom we spend our lives with. Try to remember this every day. And especially today. Again, it can seem somewhat paradoxical to talk about this ‘concentrate on the positive’ aspect in our relationships when we’ve just been talking about the ability to talk through the difficult stuff. But the idea is to hold the two together: to say ‘F**k It’ and face the difficult stuff, whilst trying not to ever forget the beautiful stuff.
5. Be continually interested in your own growth.
What, it’s all about you? Listen to this: When you’re interested in your own growth, you start to see that your partner is your best teacher… Because, in a close relationship, all your unresolved issues will come up… If you’re interested in looking at those issues, without simply making it the other person’s fault, your own grown becomes the growth of the relationship. Of course, there are going to be times when you realise that a relationship is not going to work… but, by being so self-aware, as well as relationship-aware, you benefit either way. This is essentially the difference between being reactive (and thus exiting some relationships that could work) and being clear (and thus not staying in relationships that couldn’t).
Hey, that’s enough for today isn’t it? Actually, maybe today concentrate on remembering what you love about them, and letting stuff go!
But, once we return to our weekday relationships, don’t forget the stuff about communicating the difficult stuff. And as I wrote that I remembered a poem I read a long time ago, and was written a long long time ago, by William Blake (1757-1827), about just this subject. It feels very modern.
A Poison Tree
I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I waterd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night.
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.
And into my garden stole,
When the night had veild the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
Whoah – so it’s worth sticking to the first two lines: ‘I was angry with my friend; I told my wrath, my wrath did end.’
Have a great Sunday everyone, whether you’re in a relationship or not, relax and eat some chocolate (whether it’s in a heart shape or not),
John & Gaia x