21 PIECES OF YE OLDE RELATIONSHIP ADVICE THAT STAND THE TEST OF TIME
If you’ve attended a wedding within the last year, you’ve probably heard the best man offer advice to the groom using only three, two-word statements: ‘Yes dear,’ ‘You’re right,’ and ‘I’m sorry.’ While it may elicit a chuckle (or grimace) from the crowd, delve a bit deeper and you’ll find plenty of wise and helpful relationship advice from the days of yore that still holds up today.
- You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. —Buddha (563 BC-483 BC)
You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it twice, but if you can’t love yourself, you’re going to have trouble loving others. Buddha knows what he’s talking about. Listen up.
- By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher. —Socrates (469 BC-399 BC)
There’s nothing like a philosopher with a sense of humor, except when that philosopher isn’t trying to be funny…Let’s move on.
- Fool! Don’t you see now that I could have poisoned you a hundred times had I been able to live without you. —Cleopatra (69 BC-30 BC)
You assume the thought of something this barbaric would never occur anymore and then you check out Gone Girl. Love can be really frustrating, but sometimes life is better with that person than without them. Apparently, not much has changed from the BCs to today.
- Adapt yourself to the things among which your lot has been cast and love sincerely the fellow creatures with whom destiny has ordained that you shall live. —Marcus Aurelius (121 AD-180 AD)
You know, times have changed and all, but basically what the Roman Emperor is saying can be summed up by the title of Stephen Stills’ song, “Love the One You’re With,” released in 1970.
- I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death. —Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
When the going gets tough for couples, the couples better get going.
- I do not want a husband who honours me as a queen, if he does not love me as a woman. — Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603)
Amen to that.
- Don’t waste your love on somebody, who doesn’t value it. —William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
You can’t quote relationship advice without mentioning the creator of arguably the greatest love story and tragedy of all time, Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare reminds you to stand up for yourself and make sure you’re being appreciated and respected, as well to honor your partner.
- Variety is the soul of pleasure. —Aphra Behn (1640-1689)
Are you eating tacos on Tuesdays, bagels on Saturday mornings, and going to bed before midnight every night? Mix it up. This 17th century playwright, poet, translator, and fiction writer succinctly captured the importance of breaking away from the routine every now and again way back when.
- In short I will part with anything for you but you.
—Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762)
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu may have eventually left her husband in 1739 and never saw him again, but let’s not focus on that….It’s the thought (and beautiful prose) that counts, no?
- Men make love more intensely at 20, but make love better, however, at 30. —Catherine the Great (1729-1796)
You can’t argue with anyone who has “the Great” as part of her name.
- When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred. —Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Imagine how many arguments we all could’ve avoided had we counted to one hundred instead of leaping into the verbal boxing ring. Try to implement this one into daily life—not just with loved ones, but anyone we come into contact with.
- Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will quickly become good wives; that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers. — Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
In short: if you do your thing and I do my thing, it’ll all work out.
- A woman laughing is a woman conquered.
—Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)
Maybe the whole “conquer” thing is a bit extreme, but the guy had a complex, so serious in fact that it’s named after him, so we’ll cut him some slack. The main message is there though. Keeping your partner laughing is much better than making your partner cry, unless your partner is laughing so hard that he or she is crying. Then it’s fine.
- It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do. —Jane Austen (1775-1817)
You can tell someone you love him or her, but if you can show them, it will be that much more powerful.
- If you cannot inspire a woman with love, fill her above the brim with love of herself; all that runs over will be yours. — Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832)
Bring out the best in your partner and you’ll benefit, too. Simple enough.
- Caresses, expressions of one sort or another, are necessary to the life of the affections as leaves are to the life of a tree. If they are wholly restrained, love will die at the roots. —Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
Don’t underestimate the importance of touch and expressing your feelings to your loved ones. Let the love be known before it’s too late.
- Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit that is so precious to God.
—Peter the Apostle, from the Bible – 1 Peter 3:4 (1-67)
Have you memorized the “Love is patient; love is kind” verse from your dozens of weddings last year? Well take advice here from Peter that inner beauty is what really counts.
- There is no remedy for love but to love more. —Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Maybe you’re going through a rough patch together or maybe you’re both complacent and bored. Whatever the problem may be, follow Thoreau’s advice and try offering more love, not less.
- Who, being loved, is poor? —Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
You may not have the house, job title, or car you want yet, but at least you have each other, right? It’s not the material things that bring enduring happiness.
- I have frequently been questioned, especially by women, of how I could reconcile family life with a scientific career. Well, it has not been easy. —Marie Curie (1867-1934)
Developing a work-life balance with a family still isn’t much easier today. Take inspiration from people who have come before you and struggled with the same challenges, even if they made it look effortless.
- Love loves to love love. —James Joyce (1882-1941)
This line from James Joyce’s novel, Ulysses, wins the award for best use of the word love” (and pretty much only that word) in a sentence. Dare I say, Joyce brings light to the power of love? Hopefully, Huey Lewis won’t mind.