I'm in the middle of watching the entire Gilmore Girls series for the umpteenth time. I finished it a few months ago but wanted to watch it one more time through before the new episodes are released later this month. I also haven't found anything else that's binge worthy on Netflix at the moment. This last time through, I made notes in my phone any time something happened and I thought, "That's a good relationship lesson"! It's funny, because the two leading ladies in the show seem to be spraying themselves with some sort of marriage repellent, BUT I still managed to find nine things that stood out to me as something that could be applied in a romantic relationship!
Relationship Lessons from The Gilmore Girls
Be willing to compromise
Lorelai has become very comfortable with her single status over the years and while I love that she isn't putting her life on hold waiting for a man, I see it getting in the way of a few long-term relationships. Be willing to make changes in your life for the good of your relationship. It may take you out of your comfort zone and it may mean you have to make some unwanted changes, but in the long run you will be happier and your relationship will be better off.
Find someone who you can live out your dreams with
The one thing that has always bothered me about Rory is that she turned Logan's proposal down. I'm assuming she did it because she felt like he would get in the way of her overseas reporting and everything that she had planned for herself. Find someone who will help you live out your wildest dreams. I've seen couples travel the world together, couples like this one who are taking a year to travel the country in an RV, couples who quit their jobs and start a business together and so much more.
Don't keep things from each other
Gilmore Girls is full of people keeping secrets from their significant other. Richard doesn't tell Emily when he quits his job, let her know that he goes to lunch with Pendelon Lot every year or about the big investment that he made when Lorelai was born. Luke doesn't tell Lorelai about his daughter for a month and then only tells her because she finds out about it when she runs into Apirl at the diner. And when Logan's big investment goes under, he doesn't mention a word of it to Rory for weeks.
Don't keep secrets!!! It doesn't matter how trivial it might seem to you, like Richard's simply going to lunch with Pendelon Lot, but just the fact that you are keeping something from your spouse is enough to make them wonder why or what other things you're not telling them about. You obviously don't need to spill the details of gifts you got or surprises that you have planned.
Care about the little things
One of my favorite parts of the show happens when Richard is telling Lorelai why it's so important that she fix things after her dud of a date with Peyton Samders. The reason Richard cares so much has to do with how Emily is viewed in social circles. I love what Richard says after Lorelai tells him that making sure Emily continues to receive the first cup of tea at her DAR meetings. "I may not understand her world, but it is her world, and in her world it is verym very important that she have the first cup of tea. If my wife wants the first cup of team she's going to have the first cup of tea, that's it!"
You may not understand all of the things that your spouse cares deeply about and some of them may even seem pretty ridiculous. If it's important to them, make it important to you as well.
Don't let other passions become more important than your marriage
After Richard joins forces with Jason in his business, he becomes more and more busy. Emily starts to feel like she's taken the backseat to the business. Other things in your life are important, but make sure that your spouse doesn't feel like you care about them less than you care about something else. If they start to feel like you love work, a hobby or something else more than you love them, you may need to reevaluate how you are spending your time.
Don't discuss your issues or disagreements with anyone else
When Dean drops something off to Rory at school (I think the bookshelf that didn't fit in the inn), he tells her that he's dropping out of college so that he and his wife, Lindsay can buy a condo and do a few other things. Then there's that awkward moment when Rory is relaying that information to Lane in the middle of Doose's Market and they turn to the corner to find Lindsay, who has overheard every word. In every marriage there are disagreements. Sharing them with others isn't going to do anyone any good. Just don't do it.
Don't involve others in your fights
Along the same lines of not talking bad about your loved one to someone else, don't bring others into your fight. One of the most uncomfortable moments in Gilmore Girls is when TJ and Liz bring their fight to Luke's apartment, in the middle of his and Lorelai's date. Luke becomes sort of a referee to their fight but it almost feels like he's the playground monitor breaking up a fight between two kindergartners.
Don't do that! When you're having a disagreement, keep it private and don't make others feel like they need to jump in. We were at a restaurant once and the couple in the booth next to us was having a very heated argument. The entire restaurant could hear them yelling and swearing at each other and I'm sure we weren't the only ones tempted to intercede or ask them to take it elsewhere. It ended with the woman throwing her glass of water in the man's face and him storming out of the restaurant. They looked ridiculous and we all felt really uncomfortable and didn't enjoy our meals.
Marriage is not a job.
OK, so this one is really not something the show taught me but still something I made note of while watching. On Lane's wedding day, Mrs. Kim tells her, "Marriage is a job. There are rewards that come with this job, but there are also sacrifices." Marriage is takes effort and work but never would I say it is a job. If you start thinking about your marriage as a job, you'll start to dread working on it and making it better.
Don't put your kids before your spouse
Luke picked April over Lorelai. Yes, the situation was complicated and yes, they were only engaged, not married, but I feel like the situation is similar.Your kids are important and you should definitely not neglect their needs or fail to give them attention, but you should also not put them before your spouse. If your marriage relationship is beginning to suffer, similar to the way that Lorelai and Luke's relationship suffered, then it's time to shift your focus a bit. Go on a date night or escape together for the weekend. When your kids are grown and have families of their own, you will be glad for the time and energy that you put into building a strong relationship with your spouse.
I'm excited to see what new things Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is going to bring for our favorite cast of characters. Maybe some of our favorites will finally get married! I may even come back and write a part two to this post, if I can find a lesson or two in the six hours of happiness coming our way this Thanksgiving.