A few maxims have become embedded in my psyche and have helped me live a better life. They are few and they are not old favorites like "a rolling stone gathers no moss" or "a penny saved is a penny earned."
LOVE IS A DECISION. Unromantic? Well, I do not refer to that heady period of falling in love. That is truly wonderful but it has a beginning and an end. Later on, when it should be deep and lasting, it is a decision. I learned this many years ago at Marriage Encounter, a weekend to strengthen the bonds spent with my first wife. Six months later we separated, because we could not make that decision with each other. I make it every day with Iris, frau number two and forever. It is not a decision in the sense that matters must be weighed. The decision is known and there is no opposition. But it is a decision nevertheless and very pleasant to make.
DON'T TAKE EACH OTHER'S SHIT. This applies to all close relationships -- marriage, business, family etc. Whenever your rights and/or feelings are trampled on, let him/her have it! And if you are the aggressor, expect, nay hope, to get it back in spades. If a partner allows herself to be a victim, resentment grows and festers. Get it out and get it gone. What you will have earned or given is respect. And that is no small thing.
NEVER STIFLE A GENEROUS IMPULSE. Well, almost never. If you have a generous impulse, act on it. And if someone has a generous impulse towards you, accept it with gratitude. Don't say to yourself, "I shouldn't," or out loud to a benefactor, "you shouldn't." Let the happiness flow.
NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING. This statement is in a book by William Goldman about Hollywood and refers to the difficulty of predicting the gross of a particular movie. It has moved beyond that despite the fact that applied generally it is obviously untrue. I won't try to explain it. Either it hits you or it doesn't. Me it hits. Unfortunately it didn't hit George W. Bush before he went into Iraq or Lyndon before he tried to save South Vietnam.
Well, there you have it. You expected more? Or different? The meaning of life? Fuggetabout it. If you will reread this and think...well, who knows?