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I’ve been thinking about this post for quite a long time. When I first imagined it, it was a long list filled with the important relationship advice I feel compelled to share with everyone after traveling around the world for more than a year with my husband. I apparently thought I was an expert on the subject because I spent the majority of our 396 days on the road within a 10-foot radius of him and we’re still married.
But life has a way of showing me how little I really know.
More recently, I whittled these tips down to two lessons I had learned, and thought were generally applicable to most couples. The first of these: “Don’t criticize the other person’s driving (and maybe just don’t criticize the other person).”
But who knows! Maybe your boyfriend has horrible road rage and could use a little driver’s ed. Relationships are very specific to the people in them.
So this grand list I had in mind really just boils down to one great lesson I know to be true:
Sometimes I’M the jackass.
Do you remember last post where I discussed the omnipresent jackass? There really is always a jackass and sometimes it’s me. I know this shouldn’t be a relationship saving revelation but I think it might be.
You’d think I would have already firmly grasped the existence of my inner jackass growing up in a family of four children. My sister’s favorite retort, “Get off your high horse,” still echos in my head. Still I had never been able to translate that tip to my marriage.
There’s nothing like roaming around random foreign cities (sometimes in the middle of the night) lost and screaming at each other to encourage a little self-reflection. “What role did I play in getting us to this point?”
What role did I play? I push too hard often at the worst of times (Oslo). My brutal honesty can do more damage than most people’s lies (Sydney). Way too often I think I know what’s bothering you (Rio) and think I have all the answers for making it better (Berlin).
Too often in our closest relationships we get so hell-bent in convincing the other person we’re right, we forget to look at all the ways that we’re wrong.
The solution? As in other jackass related situations, expect the jackass. Identify the jackass. (Apologize if I’m the jackass). Move on (trying not to do it again)…
So that’s it. That’s my contribution to the stacks of self-help, relationship jewels out there.
Sometimes I’m the jackass and sometimes it could be you.