Who among us does not desire a partnership we can trust through thick and thin? The kind of relationship in which no one loses patience or speaks in harsh tones; a relationship in which we feel perfectly safe in the company of someone who truly digs our vibe.
Good relationships takes skill, and skill often begins with good role models. Unfortunately, many of us lack good relationship role models. Sometimes, maltreatment and chaos are the only examples we have seen.
It is a brilliant question because so many couples must find an answer with minimal guidance. I asked a few of my brightest colleagues to weigh in with their advice for Karen. Here are a few of their thoughts:
You can read the rest of their advice at ironshrink.com.
The offered excellent advice, but it seemed rather... tame. So after the professionals had weighed in, I decided to ask my friends and family for their advice to the unschooled. Here are their thoughts:
There were two lighthearted bits of advice for men...
...and one that was passed down from father to son, but is sound advice for both genders. (Warning to the sensitive: this one is bawdy.)
Since they offered no guidance specifically for women, I'll offer this:
I want to know what advice you would give to someone who was short-changed in the role model department. Post your best advice in the comments section, or email me at email@example.com. I'll post the results and will of course keep your identity anymous (any good relationship begins with trust).
* * * * *
Dr. Smith is a psychologist in Denver, Colorado and the author of The User's Guide to the Human Mind: Why Our Brains Make Us Unhappy, Anxious, and Neurotic and What We Can Do about It. You can read the introduction and find other goodies at guidetothemind.com.