Three Little Words
If you were to conduct a poll of a section of the general public and asked each person in the poll for their opinion of celebrity marriages and relationships, I am pretty sure the vast majority would say, relatively speaking, celebrity relationships tend to not last very long. Such perceptions are perhaps fuelled by our daily diet of tabloid gossip and tittle tattle where a day never seems to go by without some celebrity couple splitting or battling it out in the courts over paternity rights and divorce settlements.
However, there is one Hollywood celebrity whose marriage to the same partner endured the test of time. The late Charlton Heston (1923 - 2008), Academy Award Best Actor and star of, amongst others, the 1950s Biblical epics, The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur, a true Hollywood Great, had an acting career lasting more than 60 years and was married to the same woman for 64 years. I will always remember an answer he once gave to a question he was asked about his long marriage during a TV interview. When asked how his marriage had endured for so long, which was all the more remarkable in an industry renowned for the high turnover of marriages and relationships, Charlton Heston's somewhat tongue-in-cheek answer went something like, "my friend, I learnt three very important little words early on in my marriage - those three words are 'You Are Right'"
The Way Of Communication
Although this somewhat amusing answer from Charlton Heston implies a certain subservience on his part, his remark has stuck with me ever since because it made me appreciate the importance of communication. The key ingredient in a successful relationship is good communication.
Now, when most people are advised to communicate, they naturally assume this means talking more. However communication is more than just talking. It is in fact the art of combining the ability to express your opinions and feelings in such a way as to ensure that the person you are communicating with understands the message you trying to convey to him or her, with the ability to listen and understand the other person's point of view.
Empathy Is The Watchword
The operative word here is Empathy. The word Empathy refers to this ability to put yourself in another person's shoes, or to see their point of view. This ability to listen and to put yourself in the other person's shoes is crucial to good communication and is the life blood of successful relationships. As human beings our minds are built in such a way as to always want our view to prevail. There are deep psychological reasons for this to do with survival instincts and our view of what we are. To test this out, the next time you find yourself in an argument with someone, try and step back from the heat of the argument and notice how the only reason the argument continues is because each of the people involved is trying to push their point of view forward to make sure they win the argument. Simply by doing a little more listening and accepting of the other person's position will put an end to the matter.
Sadly many relationship problems begin with poor communication, in other words, not enough listening and consideration of the other person's view. Couples often feel that their partner should know what they are thinking and how they feel so do not communicate and then wonder why they feel neglected and undervalued. Therefore the next time you find yourself at odds with your partner or anyone else, remember Empathy is the watchword or at least remember Charlton Heston and the Three Little Words.