When we are old our lives become the sum of everyone we have loved. ~George Valliant, How to Make A Relationship Last, the Observer
Eric Barker stashed this in Diabolical Plans For World Domination
How to make relationships last:
- Similarity doesn’t matter: Matching music playlists don’t predict happy marriages. Sorry. Focus on emotions.
- Arguing is good: Negative communication beats no communication every time.
- Know it’s going to take work: The healthy way to get to “Romeo and Juliet” is to think “arranged marriage.”
- Have grit: Devotion. Loyalty. That’s grit. And it predicts success at the office and at home.
- “Glorify the struggle”: It’s all about the story you tell. Did the conflict lead to a happy ending? Hint: it better.
Love is a challenge. But life is a greater challenge. We’d like a sure-thing that guarantees happiness and takes away all the pain. But that’s fiction.
If you’ll excuse a superhero analogy, you need to stop trying to be Superman. He’s invulnerable. But nobody is invulnerable. Bad things happen to all of us. We cannot avoid pain.
You’d be better off trying to be Wolverine. He isn’t invulnerable. But he can recover from almost any injury. You can’t live a life free from conflict but you can learn to cope with the hard times until the good times return.
And what helps you cope with the problems of life better than anything? And makes you successful and happy? “Our closest relationships determine how we respond to the toughest times in life.” Here’s Jonah:
There is no easy life. Then, the question becomes, how do we cope with it? That’s really what George Vaillant and the Grant Study have looked at. How we adapt to life, how we cope. Vaillant has found that what determines how well you adapt is who you love and how you love them. Our closest relationships determine how we respond to the toughest times in life. What you find is that people who have close relationships live longer. They’re far more successful. They make more money. They’re much, much happier. If you go down the list of everything we think we want in life it’s all tied up with the ability to love and be loved.
And when Jonah asked George Valliant, who led the Grant Study at Harvard, about these results, what did Valliant say?
“I wrote once that when we are old our lives become the sum of everyone we have loved. That’s still true. I believe it more than ever.”