A lot of what I have learned about "rising to the challenge of love" has been from my dear friend Ron and his late partner Gordon Thomas. Gordon was a filmmaker and spent the better of the five years I knew him working on his stop-motion puppet film "Pedro and Tony?" The film is a touching story of the six month anniversary of a dog named Pedro, and his boyfriend, who just happens to be a chicken, Tony. The two planned a special date, but aren't prepared to deal with the unexpected "little things" that go wrong. After their anniversary presents get broken, and dinner is burned, the couple ends up fighting and it all comes out - prejudice, disappointment, anger, and passive aggression. The couple decides to recommit themselves to each other with new forms of communication and understanding of how they hurt one another.
To go along with the film, Gordon came up with a sheet called "Pedro and Tony's Love Tips" to help couples overcome difference, find common ground and deepen their love. I'd like to share those tips here with you. For if we can overcome difference and find our shared humanity, wouldn't that be a powerful thing? Imagine what impact that could have on the world if we could just do it between ourselves.
Pedro and Tony's Love Tips:
You may be surprised to know that despite our obvious differences, deep down everyone in love basically wants the same things. The trick is understanding that how you go about getting what you want is probably very different from how your partner does it. So, try these simple tips:
1. Help create an environment that allows trust to grow.
2. Be clear with each other about where and when it is appropriate to mark the hallway with your "special smell."
3. Take the risk to communicate your needs, wants and feelings. Listen with an open mind to your partner's needs, wants, and feelings.
4. You may love crowing your lungs out at five in the morning, Your partner may hate it. This is normal. Find a solution that truly works for both of you.
5. Ask for what you want and need. Help your partner get what they want and need. Allow each other to help in ways that you individually see fit.
6. Fur happens. At first your partner may think its cute, but later on it's a real pain in the butt. Clean up after yourself!
7. Your partner's feelings aren't your fault. But do take them seriously. However frivolous they may seem, if they were your feelings you'd be serious.
8. Do take responsibility to making peace and harmony between you and your partner. Help them to do the same. We suggest rolling in the grass together.
9. Allow you and your partner to make mistakes. After all, we're only canine / poultrine / feline / rodentan / camelian / mesplodon / balaenopteran ... etc, etc.
10. Don't Growl or Squawk at your partner. Just talk things out, Talk some more. Love is hard work and most of that work is communicating, listening, being patient, being respectful, and understanding. You can do it.