Thursday, December 15, 2005

I have a theory...

As my friends know, I have many theories. There is almost no subject too trivial for me to have a theory about. Here's my latest one...
A key indicator of a successful (romantic) relationship is the willingness of each partner to use the other one's made-up words.
Now the words don't actually have to be originally made up by the person; they could be historical family words that s/he just brought into the relationship. Traditionally, most families have words made up for bodily parts and functions.

In our case, a recent example is a word I made up to replace "dogs." I like addressing our two dogs as a unit, and I just felt like "dogs" didn't have enough syllables. So I started calling them "doggages," as in "Come on doggages, we're going for a walk." Julie took to the term, and so now they are The Doggages. It is an important part of the theory that words have to come from both partners... one-sided word generation suggests imbalance.

I am interested in more data points about the theory. I invite you to post to the comments.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your doggages example doesn't fit your theory because you coined the term long after the two of you became a matrimonial unit. But... (a) I like the sniglet, and (b) it's a pretty interesting theory. My wife will use one of my family's words once every decade or so, but when she does, it's usually to great dramatic effect. --- AYB

achiappanza said...

AYBABTU, The theory doesn't require that the word be invented before the partnership, but those are included. New words are OK. It's the adoption that's the indicator.

Anonymous said...

I agree. We have created our own terms and use invented names from our families and have both picked up on them so that they are now a part of our everyday conversations with each other. It's like our own secret language and we both know it's special between us and our families.

Anonymous said...

I have found, through years of study and experience, that the key to a successful relationship is to be willing to give 60%. If you are, then you have a shot at 50-50.

Something else I learned, the person who loves the least controls the relationship. If that's you, it's good news and bad news. The good news is, it won't hurt so bad when you end it. The bad news is, you don't know what it is to really love somebody.

If it ain't you, then stand by. The ax is going to fall, it's just a matter of when.

achiappanza said...

Ouch. Makes sense for the failures. Leave yourself room for the successes my friend.

scory said...

The DP and I have an entire bloody vocabulary of made-up words and phrases, 95% of which have no direct relation to us. It's our own esperanto, extending our bubble of intimacy (or exclusion) wherever we go. And unlike anonymous two, we use 'em more when around family, because at least it sounds like we're speaking English.

achiappanza said...

Now Scory, speaking as one with your history, was the converse true with CM? Now that might be the kind of case the term "mitigating circumstances" was invented for, but still... inquiring minds want to know.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I would agree with your theory and add to it catch phrases which are real words but stem from real experiences that the two of you have experienced and brings you back to that moment in time.

Like one time my wife - at that time, just became my girlfriend - thought I wouldn't understand her but I was eating slowly, as I am wont to do, and she commented in Chinese that I'm slow - ho mon - but even my Chinese, stunted by stopping at 5 years old, enabled me to understand her and I shot her a death stare. We always have a laugh over that today anytime someone talks about my slow eating or someone tries to hide behind their language.

I think any successful relationship will build up over time their own short-hand language for things. Plus the ability to laugh at things together, they all help you get through the tough times.

My one key to success in relationship, if I had to chose one, comes from a book I read once. The story was the wife was mad so she wrote a note to the author saying "Hi XXX, I hate you! Love, YYY." The lesson there is that no matter how mad you get at your partner, you need to remember that you love that person and act accordingly.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Looking at your mention about how your blog name is a DC comic name for a Shangri-La reminded me of how my family also does this sort of shared experience thing, so perhaps you can extend the theory to family harmony as well, as my family got along pretty well growing up. My brothers and I were talking about whether life after death exists and so we talked about codewords we could use to try to communicate with a medium should one pass before the others. We chose a catchphrase out of a Marvel comic (I think), something totally nonsensical that no one in a thousand thousand years would ever get. We say that every once in a while and we always share a laugh.

Another that we share a laugh about now but it was kind of mean at the time was about the hair on our legs. My brother and I were comparing and his is much hairer than mine, so at one point our twisted minds decided that our youngest brother would be the tiebreaker of the family genes so we went up to him and the conversation went a little like this:

+ promise us you won't shave your legs when you grow up
- I'm not shaving my legs
+ but just promise us you won't
- I'm not going to shave my legs...
+ that may be so but we just want you to simply promise us that you won't shave your legs
- but I'm never shaving my legs! Mom!!!

...and so on, you get the drift

I still get a good chuckle out of that one. :^D

achiappanza said...

One of my best friends was best man for his brother, and his toast was essentially about that point: siblings have a private language and signals.

It's different from the couple thing though. Sibings are more about the shared experience. My couples theory has more to do with accepting and treasuring another person's trivia.

Julie Minoff aka your partner said...

The adoption of one another's words is a connection between the partners. It's one way of being in sync and therefore feeling understood and genuinely connected and known.

In this lonely world, that's good stuff.

Not that I think about any of this stuff when I say your words, it just happens and that is why it's genuine connection.