Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Romance Novelist's Views on the Real Deal

I was doing a bit of blog surfing last night when I ran across a post worth sharing with you Faithful Readers. Romance novelist Teresa Medeiros is a contributor to a blog called Squawk Radio. Yesterday she posted a list of relationship tips entitled A Romance Writer's Guide to a Happy Marriage.

This is not a description of the "perfect" relationship you might expect to see in a romance novel. Instead, Teresa draws upon her 22-year marriage to distill a few gems of her own personal wisdom. These fit right in with the commonsense principles I try to use in the Dismaying Stories. Titles for the 10 tips in her list include "Practice the 3 C's--caring, commitment, compromise" and "Never stop dating." She backs up these titles with brief, punchy descriptions of the points she is trying to make.

I would be interested to hear your feedback on Teresa's advice. At the end of her post she asks what is the best (and worst) relationship advice you ever received, which would also be fun to hear about.

Finally, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to check out this week's Ask the Faithful Readers question. The topic for this week is about separate versus shared bank accounts, and several readers have already contributed their opinions to the lively discussion. I will post my favorite response on Saturday with a link to the winner's blog.

Have a great Thursday, everyone!


  1. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the "supportive" comment. I am learning a lot about myself and others as I have started my journey in the blogging world. This is one of those not so fun moments, but I will try to still be "me" in my blog but be mindful of others in my community as well.

    Ironic that the author you speak about in your post has been married for 22 years and my husband and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary yesterday. I agree with the 3 C's concept. As I look at that, I see that this is something we have put into practice and the dating part is so important. For us, we go "out" almost every Friday night. It has been part of the "glue" in our marriage.

    Another thing that I have learned is that I don't always have to win each time there is a discussion about something. Just because we disagree doesn't mean we have to fight and hate each other...that has taken a lot of pressure off our relationship.



  2. When Gunther and I had been married a short time I discovered that he held a certain belief that was so opposed to mine that I almost felt as though I'd married a stranger. I wasn't sure how to handle so I let it stew for a few days and then I told him how I felt about the subject and how I couldn't agree with or support his position. We chose not to discuss it at that time since it wasn't part of our day to day marriage. Ironically, 4 years later when we were discussing the same topic due to new proposed legislation, he came out with my original view! Over time, without being pushed to it, he came to accept the validity of my arguments and changed his opinon. That meant a lot to me. It still does.

    So I guess what I'm trying to say is that when you compromise in your marriage you don't always lose what you want... sometimes you get something else, sometimes you only get some of what you want and sometimes, some very very special times, you'll get exactly what you wished for but you might have to wait for it a bit. And you know, having him to come to my way of thinking on his own and without being pressured from me was certainly worth waiting for.



  3. This *romance* writer has got it nailed.

    She's just said everything (especially the parts about kids and crushes) that I've been saying for a while now.

    Best relationship advice I'd ever received? A woman I used to work with said, "Don't worry so much about how much you love him--if that's your basis for a marriage, you'll spend your whole life chasing after him, just to keep him. Worry about how much he loves you--and you'll never have to doubt your choice."

  4. Having one failed marriage under my belt, I can say with certainty that "commitment" should be in bold print, large font... and maybe even flashing at that.

    We know we should care, we know we should compromise... but it's so important to commit to the relationship regularly - not just at the altar.

  5. all i have to say - is this is amazing - what a list..

    and i wish i had this two failed marriages

  6. That was a great list, Andrew! Thanks for recommending it- I want to print it out and put it on my refrigerator!
    The best relationship advice I have ever rec'd actually came from my own dear husband when he said to me, "I am not a mind reader!"
    That hit me like a brick! I guess after being married for all these years (20) I just figured he knew exactly what I wanted or needed at exactly the time I wanted or needed it! The poor guy! I really laid a lot on him.
    So, I think what I am trying to say is just to be open up your communication with your spouse- talk about things. Don't sulk or dismiss... talk!

  7. Andrew..those C's. I think our problem is that we stopped dating and took each other for granted. I always think marriage is like a plant it needs to be watered and nurtured to grow.Compromise is the next big thing that needs looking into.

  8. This is a great post Andrew! hum, the best advised I heard was:” Always listen to each other, do not interrupt... just listen".

  9. Probably the best relationship advice I ever got was from the minister who married us. He said, "Marriage is never 50/50. It's 70/30 or 60/40. If you don't go into it with unrealistic expectations and you communicate with each other, that's what really makes for a lasting marriage."

    We took his advice to heart and I guess it's worked nicely. Hubby and I just celebrated our 24th anniversary in August. We sometimes communicate a little too *loudly*, but, boy do we communicate. And, we don't expect perfection out of each other or a perfect split of chores, etc.

  10. Hi Andrew (and thank YOU for visiting MY blog),
    I wanted to say quickly that the worst relationship advice was this: someone told me to cheat on my partner so that he'd become jealous, angry, and then realize he couldn't live without me. I would, in turn, have my partner eating out of the palm of hand. Needless to say, I did NOT cheat on my partner. Just idiotic. The best relationship advice I received was from my best friend who asked me "Are you happy?" When I answered yes, she said, "Good, you answered in under three seconds. You're relationship is still good." I thought that made a lot of sense.
    Anyway, Hope you have a great Thursday
    (and I hope gay relationships are admissable through your very insightful blog)

  11. I will have to take a look at the post you linked to and get back to you. I'm particularly interested in this because I had considered writing a post sometime about what "real life" marriage is like for me. I thought it would be interesting to compare my marriage to the stereotypical fantasy of the ideal marriage. But I'm not sure if I will write that post or not (might feel too personal or private). But I will read the one you mention and see if I do have any comments. Nice blog, this is my first visit, after reading your comment on my site. Thanks.

  12. Those tips were all good. I only want to say don't take each other for granted is a very important one--that's the advice my mother gave us on our wedding day.

    And my two cents: put the other's needs not ahead of, but equal to and actually sometimes ahead of your own. If you get joy from making your spouse happy even when it might not be the easiest thing for you (that's what I mean by putting their needs first sometines) and supporting him or her, your relationship will thrive (as long as your spouse does the same for you).

    (Sorry for writing twice on one post!)

  13. I beg to offer up one more "C" ~ Communication. With mutual respect and consideration, and plenty of communication, I believe the sky's the limit.

    I got lots of good advice over the years to help keep me married. Unfortunately, I was staying married to the wrong man.

  14. "Caring", "Commitment", and "Compromise"..and "Never stop Dating" sounds like excellent advice to me.
    Best relatdvice: never take each other for granted...may sound cliche, but I believe it encompasses the authors points.
    Worst relationship advice: You can never be too considerate of your mate. This may sound great in theory, but when you put it into practice, one becomes less aware of self, and so others focused, that the individual is lost. Trust me on this one.

  15. That was a great post.I think the three C's sum up a good marriage rather well.But then compromise cannot be one sided.A 60:40 or even 70:30 may be okay but beyond that the words compromise and adjustment don't mean much.
    Andrew, I requet you to read 'A Saved Marriage in my blog posted in June '06 and comment.