Posts Tagged ‘relationship’

It’s not always bad news…

As with a few of my chapters, this one was difficult to read and post. Losing Nadyne did not change my opinion, however. It strengthened it.

Reason #33- Life Companions

Scientifically, men and women who commit to life-long relationships, regardless of the gender mix, not only live longer but have much happier and healthier lives than their single counterparts.  This is especially true when times are dark, such as in a significant economic downturn or a public health crisis.  It seems we all crave the support of a loved one to share pain, sorrow, elation, happiness and life experiences, good and bad.

Unfortunately, there are as many hits as misses when it comes to partnering with a soul mate.  In a world of 8 billion people, there is no shortage of those who aren’t “the one.”  A pessimist would see this as an impossible situation, especially if they believe there is only one perfect mate for someone.  I don’t believe that, but rather, as an optimist, that life is what you make of it.  People who are somewhat compatible can make an even better couple than those who seem to be 100 percent compatible.  Once a connection is made, the success of a couple can be a mixture of morals, temperament, respect, past experiences and openness to love.  In my opinion, a majority of couples has what it takes.

We all know those lovebirds who met as kids, married out of high school and were together their entire adult lives.  For most of us, that is an impossible bar to reach, meaning that very few people meet their soulmate that early in life.  Normally it takes time, effort, knowing oneself and being open to possibilities.  I started out thinking I would be with my wife forever, then found out in just a few years that it was not going to be the case.  After 26 years I divorced, then married my actual soulmate, and I was her third husband.  That was over 20 years ago.  We were across the country from each other but still managed to meet, fall in love and move in together.  There is no rule of thumb when it comes to coupling.

Researchers have found that couples who are hostile to each other have more stress hormones in their systems and have generally less healthy lives.  Fortunately, the opposite is also true, which means that it is well worth any effort to be with a partner with whom you can enjoy life.

Happiness can be fleeting and you can’t force it upon yourself.  However, you can recognize when you experience it and rejoice in a life worth living.  A spouse, significant other, a life partner, a POSSLQ, or however you want to define your committed partner, are one of the keys to a happy life.  The tenet, “Happy wife, happy life,” could really be used to describe any partner in a relationship.  Most of the happy couples we know don’t argue, they discuss respectively, the difference being that, in the latter, the need to win is missing.  They, like us, want the best for their spouse or partner, and that is the priority. 

According to Psychology Today, “Good relationships make people happy because a dependable companionship is a basic human need. Improving social relationships will bring our happiness score up. There is strong consensus in the field of positive psychology that the number and depth of personal relationships has the greatest effect of all on happiness. And the relationship where vast numbers of people derive that greatest boost to their well-being is in their marriage.”

These benefits are valid in mixed race, gay, transgender and bisexual relationships, especially when the couples have strong support from their friends, families and co-workers.  The LGBTQ community can provide a great social network for those couples needing additional support.

Watch any long-time couple and you may see a symphony of synchronicity.  Each knows how to make the other feel good and they do so in little ways all the time, anticipating needs and accommodating as they can.

Another excerpt from the same Psychology Today column is, “Dependable companionship is a basic human need.”  There it is.  When looking for things that make us happy, a companion is one of the most basic.  Don’t take it for granted and do the little things to nurture your relationship.  Together, a couple can weather storms and enjoy life together so much better than individuals alone.  Revel in it.


I’ll close with a quote from late English actor and entertainer Bruce Forsyth, who once said, “The secret to a happy marriage is if you can be at peace with someone within four walls, if you are content because the one you love is near to you, either upstairs or downstairs, or in the same room, and you feel that warmth that you don’t find very often, then that is what love is all about.

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It’s not always bad news…

Reason #15- Best Friends

One of the common threads between people of all walks of life is that of having one or more best friends.  It is quite possible to maintain this type of connection throughout one’s life, even as other types of relationships come and go.  Most of the outstanding marriages I have seen are between best friends.

With most people, their first bestie comes along very young, possibly in kindergarten or first grade.  Life is difficult, as are older siblings, if any, and sharing good and bad times with a friend is as natural as breathing.  I’m no psychologist, but I imagine that the tendency to seek out a best friend is hardwired into our collective psyche.  Life happens, and sometimes very young friends are separated by moving, a falling out or simply growing apart.  This happens with grade school friends, too, even with high school friends, but the older they get, the more best friends are apt to stay in contact.  College or adult life, work, recreation and other natural gathering places may supply multiple very good friends and the ones that stick it out through bad times often become your favorites.

The one prerequisite “best friends” seems to have is to support one another despite the circumstances — always having each other’s back.  You don’t owe one another any favors.  In fact, you don’t even keep count.  Fair weather friends just can’t compete for your time and attention.  When a best friend calls, you drop everything.  Maybe this is why best friends make such good married or committed couples.  

My first best friend was Kenny Hakida when I was 5 years old.  He lived next door to my grandparents, which was a long, two-mile walk from my house at the time.  We moved 40 miles away when I was 10 and I never saw Kenny again.  I later learned that his parents had been among those Japanese-Americans interned in World War II after Pearl Harbor, but I never got the chance to talk to them about it.

I had a few other best friends in my adolescence and in high school in Southern California, but many of them went to out-of-state colleges, while I got married and had kids.  Moving a thousand miles away meant the end of most of those relationships.  In Washington State, my younger brother filled that role, through bowling, karaoke, camping, fishing and other activities we both enjoyed.  He’s the taller one in my karaoke photo below. 

After a few years I moved across the country to be close to, and eventually marry, my truly remarkable best friend, Nadyne, and we were together for 22 years before she passed.

I envy the good friends of today, with all of that technology available to help stay in touch.  In my younger days, even long-distance phone calls were very expensive, let alone trying to see one another.  If we had had the Internet, free long distance, Facebook, Zoom, Skype, GroupMe or any other of the seemingly magical communications they have now, maybe my old friends wouldn’t be strangers today.

Thankfully, my wife and I had each other to lean on in close quarters during the pandemic lockdown.  If it weren’t for that relationship, who knows how well we would have survived it.


My ending quote comes from an Israeli psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, who said, “Friends are sometimes a big help when they share your feelings. In the context of decisions, the friends who will serve you best are those who understand your feelings but are not overly impressed by them.

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