TV Sitcom view of Married Life...

We work together, we teach together, we are nearly inseparable and yet this past month we've been 10,000 miles apart with Veronica in Japan-- how did it go?

I learned a lot about my current work habits-- they are nearly non-existent while she's gone.  I had planned on immersing myself in work and projects while she was away but instead I often found myself wondering what day it is or if ESPN-U was showing that Notre Dame game again.

I miss my best friend.

I've noticed in TV Sitcoms often the husband and wife are glad to be away from each other, and I've been in relationships where I can appreciate that sentiment.  THE KING OF QUEENS is on TV Land or whatever other channel I come across it and they seem like they are always either keeping something from each other or trying desperately to sneak behind the back of their spouse to get away with something.

The RAYMOND show is the same way, and of course the husband is an idiot and the wife a genius trying to keep him from getting him into some other set of shenanigans.  All for the sake of a laugh.

The COSBY SHOW didn't do that, and neither did THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, although I do admit in watching it recently I am aghast at how often Rob is portrayed as the master of the house and poor Laura is afraid she's done something wrong again.  That's not the lifestyle I want either.

And luckily it's not the one I have.

We work hard at our relationship.  We go on dates.  Even while she's been in Japan we talk twice a day and even scheduled a date one Saturday morning (my time) night (her time) via the internet where I had breakfast and she had dinner.  Not quite as good as eating at LUCKY'S but you make do with what you have.

I'm no expert in relationships, but that's never stopped me from offering advice anyway so here goes:

1. Ignore what you learn in sitcoms.

2. NEVER belittle or disagree with your spouse in public or among friends.  If they are going on about something you disagree with change the subject and discuss it later.  Making them look small or arguing in front of friends is never a positive thing.

3. Communication is imperative.  Don't keep secrets.  Don't be afraid to talk about tough subjects, and learn how to listen.  Try to see what they're saying from their side.

4. Keep separate checking accounts and a joint house account.  You both pay into the bills, but then each has his or her own money to do with what they will.  Nothing makes one partner feel like a child more than getting an allowance or being told what they can or cannot spend their money on.

5. Compromise.  Hopefully you have a lot of shared interests, but if you have things you like and things she likes try to work it out so you can both take part in some limited way.  Being part of each other's world goes a long way towards building that bond you need.

6. Above all else is your partner.  Your family, her family, kids, pets, work, EVERYTHING.  It makes you a better person, a better parent, a better employee if your fundamental core relationship is strong.  They need to know how important they are.

7. Never sacrifice gifts or holidays with each other.  I have too many friends who no longer buy presents for each other because it all goes to the kids at the holidays.  That's a noble sentiment, but it's also marginalizing the importance of each other.   Martry's seldom have healthy relationships or self esteem.

8. Care about your health and your appearance.  Just because you've been married for ten years doesn't mean you suddenly get a pass on looking like an unmade bed.  Treat each day like a first date, put that effort in.

I'm sure there is more, but you know how to use Google.  Bottom line is it takes effort to make a healthy happy relationship-- and who doesn't want that?