Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I feel I'm something of an expert about marriage, having never done it myself.
I've happily observed marriages come and go with the regularity of mailmen.
I've analyzed and sympathized. I've even been best man five times and, as far as I'm aware, all the marriages are still intact.
Science, though, always thinks it knows better. Here, then, is a sprinkling of scientific advice culled by Redbook. I've chosen the ones that seem to offer most fascination.
You must choose the ones that suit your needs.
Naturally, all commentary is my own, rather than some deep thinking scientist's.
1. Do Miserable Boring Necessities Together. This is so very sane. As social entities fall apart, it's good to remember that you're here to build something that has meaning, even in its little habits. The scientists suggest folding laundry together. I've tried that. It works. My girlfriend finally respects me when I do that.
2. Work Out Together. Seeing each other suffer can be glorious. Watching the sweat pour from each other's T-shirts can be proof that we're both prepared to make the effort and be seen to be making the effort. Honestly, when I watch my girlfriend in rumba class, I'm moved beyond breathing.
3. Order Lots of Small Plates. This is a curious one. Some people can be very possessive about their food. However, going to family-style restaurants or ordering a bunch of starters instead of an entrée can reveal much about mutual accommodation. If you're happy sharing food, you might be happy sharing other things too. Naturally, the relationship scientists say this is all about not getting too large. I think it's about seeing just how greedy your lover really is.
4. Listen for the True Meaning of Things. The scientists call it "Know Your Partner's Calls for Attention." But it's a little more than that. It's learning what they mean when they say anything at all. Me? I'm very much a "When I say 'no,' I really mean 'talk me into it, please'" sort of person.
5. Don't Try to Change Each Other. I think there's a little bit of nonsense here. What this really means is: "Don't try and forcibly turn your lover into someone else." That is so very different from: "Find subtle ways to bring your lover into the light on certain issues." For example, I used to be a composting refusenik. I know, I know. Shame on me. One day, my girlfriend bought one of those small, bright green composting bins and just put it on the kitchen counter. She didn't say anything. Before I knew it, it was much quicker to toss banana skins into the bright green bin than to walk a little further and put them in the garbage can.
6. Reminisce. The scientists recommend making reference to the good stuff in the past. Well, yes. And no. You have to find the right time to do this. This can go sadly wrong when you hear your lover bemoan: "You used to meet me at the door...."
7. Show Your Appreciation. Science insists that happy couples enjoy 20 positive moments a day. That's more than in a year's network newscasts. This is hard work, people. The real trick here is making it sincere. One way of doing that is being with the right person in the first place.
8. Go for Regular Walks. In America, this isn't easy. Walking is rather frowned upon. Still, if you can persuade your lover to take a regular walk and let the fresh air encourage breezy conversation, then you might have a good thing going. Of course, if it rains a lot where you live, please make sure you own a very large umbrella.
9. It's the Little Things, Stupid. It's astonishing how small gestures encourage trust and commitment. When your dinner guests always bring thoughtful gifts, you think to yourself that these must be decent people. Similarly, in a relationship, if you make small gestures that are designed to create tiny "aahh" moments, they build enormous amounts of goodwill. My girlfriend is wonderful at this. Oh, I forgot to mention, she's now my fiancée.