In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve asked my husband to share his thoughts on the subjects of loving, fighting and functioning on lack of sleep. He's an experimental psychologist, which means he does research rather than seeing patients. Nonetheless, in his own words (and with his tongue in his cheek ), he wants to point out, "Everything I say is true." We once gave a d’var Torah together that read like a bizarre combination of Talmudic discourse and a cell phone conversation with bad reception, so I imagine this may go kind of the same way.
Miriam: You hear me give a lot of advice about love. What do you disagree with?
Marc: What would you say is the gist of your advice?
Miriam: You mean you haven’t been reading my columns? I’d say the gist is, “Be nice. Don’t try too hard to find someone if you’re single. Try to focus on what’s important in love and in life in general. Give people a chance. Be open and honest. Good relationships are worth working on.”
Marc: [Something not fit for the Exponent]
Miriam: Try again.
Marc: All I would add is, “If you are faced with a decision, if you can, figure out how it is the case that either way doesn’t matter.”
Miriam: That sounds kind of nihilistic.
Marc: Doesn’t matter.
Miriam: What’s the best relationship advice you’ve ever been given?
Marc: After you get married and go home, it’s just the two of you, so make sure that that’s a relationship that works separate from any other people or interactions or what other people might think.
Miriam: And how’s that worked out for you with us?
Marc: Good. We lived together before we were married, so not a shock.
Miriam: I’m worried this won’t be very interesting as a column.
Marc: It’s not over yet.
Miriam: What advice would you offer to a couple about to expect their first child about how their lives will change?
Marc: Your lives won’t necessarily change if you’re already living with a horde of gremlins who nibble your toes all through the night to keep you awake and smell foul and draw on your bank account (literally and figuratively).
Miriam: And handling sleep deprivation?
Marc: Sleep deprivation is an opportunity to experiment with states of consciousness that you would not otherwise experience.
Miriam: Thoughts on fights within a couple?
Marc: Shut up.
Miriam: Our parents are going to read this.
Marc: Hi Mom.
Miriam: Any closing thoughts on Valentine’s Day for Advice Well readers?
Marc: Originally, Valentine’s Day was a holiday of cannibalism. Little known fact.
Miriam: Anything else? Do you want to say something even a little bit real?
Marc: What? Something mushy?
Miriam: I don’t know. Some sentiment? You’re good at this.
Marc: You’re good at this. Take a chance on that person you like. The downside consequences probably aren’t as bad as you imagine they’ll be if things don’t work out. Worst case scenario is you just have to leave town. Best case scenario: She comes with you because you’re leaving for your honeymoon.
Miriam: Thanks, Marc. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Marc: Happy day after Lincoln’s birthday, the real holiday of the month.
Miriam: I have to end with “Be well.” Do you want to do the honors?
Marc: Be well.