I don’t know about you, but I am all about practical ways to do things, fix things or make things. Every once in a while I read these “relationship advise” columns. You know, in the magazines at the Dr.’s office or while you are waiting in line at the grocery, and they are highly entertaining. They will analyze “how your woman thinks” or ‘the 10 things women can do to keep their men happy”. Some people take this stuff to heart in a big way, as if the answers to life, to right and wrong, to good and bad, really exist out there somewhere. In my life, they often happen to be extremely religious people as well. It is also often my experience that people who think they have the answers like to blame you for not having them.
I have no real answers. I have a few things that help me think about differently about things that perplex me. They are simple, practical things. No games, no head tricks, no self analysis, no psychiatric analysis. Just simple. If there is someone in your life and you want to nurture your relationship, or if there is someone you would like to have back but are unsure how things would be any different the second times around. Start with a stretch. Reach out, be generous, even if it is just an offer to take them to coffee – invite. Or if you are in a heated argument stop and offer to draw them a bath. Like me, you’ll probably still be perplexed, with no real solutions, but at least you might feel good about yourself for doing something nice.
When things are anxious, tiring, confusing, stressful, or scary here are some very practical things that you can do, together, alone and for each other which can help change the direction or dynamics of your more difficult moments. I make no promises that they will work or that you will ‘fix’ anything, but I suppose that is the best kind of relationship advise. My thought is that most of us don’t really need to be ‘fixed’ anyway, we just need to be kind to each other.
1) Stop and make no decisions for a while.
2) Get more sleep.
3) Eat well.
4) Take a hot shower or bath.
5) Do your best to understand the effects of drugs (because the one’s that cause the most stress in normal relationships aren’t always the one’s you need to be in re-hab for – sometimes it’s cigarettes, birth control, or prescription meds), stress, and health issues have on the majority of people.
In fact, I think I prefer to take my relationship advise from the scholarly journals I come across in the course of my research. Like this one, from an article on Future Studies, that presents a framework for determining the future impacts of technologies on society in an attempt to identify areas of “sudden transformation” or “unexpected futures”:
“fluidity on our part was central to allaying fears that we had a hidden agenda. The result was that because we were unsure of ourselves, the future ceased to be an authoritarian space. Rather, it became an open space that could be shared, where expert knowledge had not colonized alternatives.”(Inayatullah, 1998)
Or from Eating Well Magazine, which offer recipes for eating well (imagine that):
Summer Vegetable Crepes
- 1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives, divided, plus more for garnish
- 3 tablespoons low-fat milk
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped zucchini
- 1 1/4 cups chopped green beans
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 4 9-inch “ready-to-use” crêpes, (or make your own – simply do a search here for crepes and you will find the recipe)
- Stir sour cream, 1/4 cup chives, milk, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, green beans and corn and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low; stir in ricotta, Monterey Jack, the remaining 1/4 cup chives, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook, stirring gently, until the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- To roll crêpes, place one on a piece of parchment or wax paper (or leave it on the piece of plastic separating the crêpes in the package). Spoon one-fourth of the vegetable-cheese mixture (about 3/4 cup) down the center of the crêpe. Use the paper (or plastic) to help you gently roll the crêpe around the filling. Place the crêpe seam-side down on a dinner plate. Repeat with the remaining crêpes and filling. Serve each crêpe topped with 2 tablespoons of the reserved sauce and more chives, if desired.
Per serving: 302 calories; 17 g fat ( 8 g sat , 6 g mono ); 46 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrates; 15 gprotein; 3 g fiber; 687 mg sodium; 485 mg potassium.