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Monday, October 18, 2021

Column: The little things

Ask any person for relationship advice and they’ll all tell you the same thing: You need things like communication, loyalty and honesty to maintain a lasting relationship.

Those are some pretty big words – and sure, they’re nifty to share with your partner. But if you were to ask me what a strong relationship needs, you wouldn’t hear me mention any of those things. The way I see it, you can communicate or be honest with just about anyone. To me, it’s the little things that make or break a relationship.

So, my little honeybees, I’m about to give you the good stuff. Here are some “little things” that will keep your relationship going strong and steady:

1. Invest in a good backscratcher.

After a long day of work and school, there’s nothing more relaxing than a good, warm back scratch. Next to the first-kiss-butterflies, a loving back scratch is the best tingly sensation one can ever experience. And who better to bestow such a pleasant act upon you than your boyfriend or girlfriend?

It’s the perfect recipe for romance: A person you trust and love takes you in their arms and alleviates the pains of your day with a simple scratch on the back. (By the way, don’t forget to return the favor – your baby’s had a hard day, too.)

2. Buy two of everything.

You two are grown people who are fully capable of finishing your own meals. There’s no need to be cheap and share a milkshake or a basket of French fries – you both know damn well that won’t fill you up. They may say “sharing is caring,” but I say this: In every pair that shares, there’s a hog.

I learned that the hard way. I was lucky enough to get a sip from any soda I’ve ever shared with my boyfriend Arthur. Curly fries from Jack in the Box? He’s halfway down the carton after I’ve opened the packet of ranch dressing. (Sorry, babe, but let’s be real. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but we just need to get our own sodas and fries.)

You don’t want to be the hog. Even worse, you don’t want to end up resenting the hog. So to make things easier for the two of you, just buy two sodas – it’ll keep you from hating each other.

3. Don’t ever criticize your partner’s singing-in-the-car voice.

So your baby boo might buy you lavish gifts and take you to dinner in their Mercedes, but they sound like a dying bison while they’re singing along to “Bad Romance” in the car. The best thing to do is just grit your teeth and smile at them whenever they think they’re hitting the high note. Or better yet, harmonize with them. Sing just as obnoxiously as they are. It’ll feel good.

Thankfully, Arthur has a pretty voice. He tends to overpower the radio sometimes, but at least he doesn’t suck.

4. An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away.

I read that in a copy of Glamour once. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory.

5. Get trashed together.

Don’t be afraid to party with your honey. I understand how important “girls’ nights” and “guy times” are to us, but every now and then it’s a good idea to include your partner. Whether you hit up a house party or just end up chilling around the hookah with some close friends, it’s fun being a mess with your boyfriend or girlfriend. It makes for good memories.

6. Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.

Laugh with your partner. Tell him or her a funny joke. Laugh about something that happened to you today. Laugh at a movie. Laugh at each other. Just laugh at stupid shit. You’ll be happier.

7. Take turns.

If you picked to watch Finding Nemo last night, let your partner watch some Godfather tonight. If your boyfriend doesn’t want to drive to dinner because he always drives, grab the keys and get behind the wheel because you’re driving.

Return favors and do things for each other. It’s just like I said before: Your baby will scratch your back if you scratch his.

Which gets me to my last – but certainly not least – piece of advice:

8. Be flexible.

A relationship only works if you work to be a reasonable partner. A “perfect relationship” doesn’t mean two people fall madly in love without ever getting mad at each other. A perfect relationship is staying madly in love even when you want to kick your beloved in the neck. When you learn to keep your cool with your sweetie, you learn how to love.

MARIO LUGO is big on the little things. The biggest smile can come from the littlest e-mail to mlugo@ucdavis.edu. Make it happen.

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