FROM PART I: THE PARABLE
. . . For the first time since their interview began, Jeremiah unfolded his long legs and rose to his feet. In his vest and shirtsleeves, slim tailored pants, and classic two-tone wingtips, he struck Tom as a figure from another era. Silently, he stalked along the far side of the office until he stopped at one particular photo on the adjacent wall.
This one was different from the others: a long shot of a snowcapped mountain, a tiny group of climbers huddled on its summit.
Jeremiah gazed at the photo, then turned again to Tom.
“To say love is what makes a marriage work is like saying it takes oxygen to climb a mountain. Yes, oxygen is necessary. But not sufficient.”
Tom stared at the man. All he could think of was what that VP had said. A touch of the eccentric.
“They say ‘love conquers all,’” Jeremiah continued, “but this cannot be true. There is too much evidence to the contrary. Look around you. You see people who end up hurting the ones they love. Who, in one way or another, love each other unhappily. Whose love turns to contempt or, worse, indifference.
“Whose love doesn’t last.
“No, Tom, simply being in love cannot itself be the secret to a lasting, happy marriage.”
Tom gave the only reply he could come up with. “Then what is?”
“Giving,” said Jeremiah at once.
How had this interview turned so weird so fast?
“Um . . . giving what?”
“Giving gifts, Tom,” said Jeremiah, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. He turned back to gaze again at the mountaintop photo. “I don’t mean trinkets or toys,” he added. “I mean genuine gifts.”
Tom’s mind raced.
Exactly what test or interview tactic was happening here?
And then, with one question, Jeremiah sent Tom’s thoughts hurtling off a cliff of confusion.
“Tell me, Tom,” the owl-man said. “What is the purpose of marriage?”
FROM PART II: THE PRACTICE
When the original Go-Giver came out in 2008, it struck a chord throughout the business community. From mom-and-pops to multinationals, entrepreneurs to chambers of commerce, people began using the book to define a new values-based way of doing business in the twenty-first century.
But something else happened that we didn’t quite foresee. People started telling us they were using The Go-Giver not only in their businesses but also in their schools, churches, communities, and homes.
Even in their marriages.
And they started asking, “When will you write a Go-Giver book about building successful relationships?”
At the same time, for years friends had been asking the two of us, what was our secret? What kept our love so fresh and alive? We’d both been through plenty of hardships, both in our own lives and in our lives together. Yet through it all, our love and happiness only grew stronger. As one friend put it, “What’s your secret sauce?”
We gave that question quite a bit of thought, and eventually we both arrived at the same conclusion. Our secret sauce came down to one word: giving. We both approached our marriage with a spirit of generosity. Our own marriage, and all the marriages of people we observed and talked with over those years that exhibited that same kind of enduring love—love that grows and deepens with time, rather than being diminished by the stresses of life—embodied what we’ve come to know as the Pindar Principle:
The more you give, the more you have.
That’s where these 5 Secrets come from.
In the sections that follow, we’ll look at each secret from three different points of view:
- Why It Works: A brief explanation of some of the concepts underlying each secret, in terms of our childhood development and maturation.
- What It Looks Like: A picture of how this secret actually plays out in our day-to-day lives and behavior, with a few examples from the lives of friends and clients we’ve known.
- Your Daily Practice: A simple formula for how to put each of the 5 Secrets into practice every day.
You’ve probably heard the expression “Practice makes perfect.” We don’t think this is true. Becoming perfect would mean there’d be no more room to improve and grow. In our experience, practice does not make you perfect—but it does make you better.
This is true for anything you do. It’s true for dancing, painting, carpentry, and baseball. For teaching, parenting, and coaching. It’s true for the practice of prayer and the practice of meditation.
And it’s true for lasting love.
It might not seem like love should be something you practice at—yet it is. Love can be a bolt from the blue, something that wallops you at first sight (as it did for Tom and Tess), or it can blossom over time from a friendship. But whatever form love takes, love that endures—lasting love—is a practice.
This practice does not make your love perfect, but it does make your love better: deeper, richer, more satisfying, more uplifting. It strengthens your bond, fortifies your capacity to hold each other up and be each other’s safe harbor in good times and bad.
And it is, absolutely, a practice.
Meaningful change doesn’t happen “someday.” It happens today, right now. To bring these secrets to life as an active, positive force in your relationship, make them something you do, consciously and intentionally.
Keep it simple. Lasting love is like good health: more than any grand gestures or big, dramatic life changes, it’s built out of the little things you do every day.
Sometimes the smallest things make the biggest difference—especially when you do them consistently. . .