Read an Excerpt
Love. It’s simple isn’t it? You love your family and your friends; they love you back. You find a partner who you love, and who loves you, too. And you don’t even have to try—it just happens. All true, but if you’re reading this book, you already know full well that it’s much, much more complex.
Love between people almost always has its complications—because people are complicated. Love can be tried and tested and stretched to its limits. Sometimes we love the wrong person. We can love too much, or not enough. We can feel it but not know how to show it. We can think love is enough, when actually it isn’t. We can struggle to find it—or be unsure if we’ve found it or not. And sometimes we think it’s still there, but we can feel it ebbing away and not know how to restore it to its full glory.
Love is often involved in our highest highs and our deepest lows. And it’s almost always linked to contentment, which frankly is what most of us ultimately want in life. And so we should. It’s a lofty aim. Imagine yourself in old age for a moment. You’re sitting in the sunshine next to your partner (who is also your best friend, confidante and lover) and you’re surrounded by family and friends. Children are playing on the grass around you, and everywhere is the sound of laughter and happy voices. Yes, I know it sounds like the ending of the most unwatchable, sugary film ever. But deep down, wouldn’t you like to feel you were heading for moments like that?
It all comes down to forming strong and loving relationships that will stay strong all yourlife—well, starting from now at least—and accumulating people around you who make you happy and who enjoy your company.
It all comes down to love. The four-letter word that has more poems, stories, and sermons written about it than any other. The supposedly basic and straightforward emotion that so many of us find a bit trickier than we feel it should be. We’re told to love our neighbor, love our fellow man, that love makes the world go round, love conquers all, all you need is love.
Yes, yes, but how do you actually do it? How do you get it right and make it last and keep it fresh? It may be a basic human instinct, but it’s not that easy. We keep messing it up. Relationships fail, friends let us down, family isn’t there when we need them, or children blame us for everything that goes wrong in their lives.
It’s all very well saying that all you need is love, but it’s not actually true. All you need is love plus an instruction manual for what to do with it once you’ve got it. Well, I’ve never tracked down an instruction manual, so I’ve had to do my best to assemble my own.
To begin with, I was as lost as anyone. But as you’ll know if you’ve read any of my other Rules books, what I really do well in life is watch other people. I can’t always seem to get everything right myself, but I can see what the people who do get it right are doing. So that’s what I’ve done. I’ve studied all kinds of people in relationships with family and friends. It soon became clear that a few people are really good at love, but that most of us struggle. So what is it that the successful people do? Is there something they know and do that the rest of us could learn from? You bet there is. That’s what’s contained in this book. And here it is: If you do what the happiest people do, you’ll become as happy as them.
I’ve pulled together the top 100 Rules as I’ve observed them in other people, plus a few I’ve learned for myself along the way. The people who follow these Rules most closely are the ones who find a partner who makes them happy and manage to keep that relationship fresh and rewarding for life. They are the ones who have close supportive families and whose children want to spend time with them. They are the ones with the closest and most rewarding friendships, and with people who are always there for them. They are the world’s natural Rules Players.
An instruction manual for love seems like an odd thing. It’s not a sex manual—do go and buy one of those, too, if you think that’d be useful because you won’t find that kind of instruction here. This is a collection of behaviors to follow all your life to be better at loving people, and to be loved better in return. There are practical Rules and emotional Rules and tough Rules and easy Rules—I’ve just assembled everything I think will help you come to grips with love and how to use it.
You know most of this stuff anyway, though you might not realize it. Much of it is common sense. As with all my books, these are reminders, not revelations. And that’s as it should be. Love isn’t so difficult that there are secrets you never knew; it’s just that sometimes we lose the plot and need to remind ourselves of what’s really important and what we should aim for to make all our relationships deep and lasting.
I’ve divided the book into sections to make it easier to use. I’ve included sections on finding love, relationships, parting (not too many of those, because you don’t want to dwell on it), family, and friendship. Some of the Rules seemed to overlap a bit, so I’ve put them in whichever section seemed most appropriate—you’ll have to forgive me if you disagree with my choice. And there were just a few Rules left over at the end that seemed to belong equally in every section, so I’ve collected them up in the final section, “Rules for Everyone.”
I’ve spent many years collecting these Rules, but I bet there is more to learn. There always is, thank goodness. You may have come across guiding principles that I haven’t included. If so, I’d love to hear from you so I can add them to my collection. You can email me at Richard.Templar@RichardTemplar.co.uk.
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