I had wanted to write a humor column about current events, but it's a challenge to say funny things about school shootings, gun violence and overbearing security measures. Instead, here's something to help you make your life more enjoyable: I am going to tell you one of my secret methods of having a happy relationship.
Granted, I am cheating somewhat, because it's easy to be happy in a relationship with my partner and obviously not everyone can date her. (Although if you are a wealthy gentleman who enjoys buying gifts for people, I encourage you to try.)
But even if you have to settle for dating someone else instead, you can still make use of my patented method for improving your relationship. As you might have guessed from the title of this column, the secret is all in having good arguments.
This seems counter-intuitive to many people, because arguments are often seen as a negative thing in a relationship. After all, you might think that if you were doing everything right, you'd be agreeing all the time, especially because obviously you were right to begin with, and wouldn't it be easier if you were dating someone who realized that?
Well, no. Because people who feel like they have to agree with you all the time use two of my least favorite words in a relationship: "Yes, Dear."
There are few phrases which convey as much contempt as "Yes, Dear," which allows you to formally agree with the other person, while simultaneously letting them know that they are a complete idiot and that you are agreeing just to get them to go away but don't actually take their thoughts seriously.
Not coincidentally, "Yes, Dear" is also the response one would give a 5-year-old child who told his parent, "I'm going to wear a dinosaur on my head and that makes me King of the Bathroom!" (Well, it's one possible response. I suppose a great parent would point out that some dinosaurs are more appropriate for this than others, and Tyrannosaurus rex makes a better King of the Bathroom hat than a Brachiosaurus. Bonus points to any parents who can then give their children coprolites, which are a fancy name for fossilized dinosaur poop.)
My point is, in our house, we avoid "Yes, Dear." Instead, we have arguments. But not normal arguments. Here's an example of an argument I recently had with my partner:
S: "I just tripped over this stupid pile of boxes. Why did you leave it in the middle of the floor?"
D: "Well, I was going to clean it up, but I got distracted thinking of ideas for my humor column."
S: "Maybe next time you should take a few seconds to put things away so people don't trip over them!"
D: "Well, I was going to put them on the couch, but you left a giant pile of yarn and cookbooks there!"
S: "Maybe if you didn't have so many board games, we'd have room on the shelves for the books!"
D: "But I like board games! They're fun! And at least we use them, unlike your 50 pounds of yarn!"
S: "I make you socks from that yarn!"
Now, at first glance, this may look like a typical argument. But the important difference is that since I am S, and my partner is D, we are not attacking each other. She is attacking herself for being the Queen of Yarn, and I am attacking myself because I am King of the Boardgames. There is no winner.
There is only a dragon on my head.
Seth Brown is a humor writer, the author of "It Happened In Rhode Island," and knows how to argue. His work appears weekly in the Transcript, and weakly on RisingPun.com.