Here’s The Best Advice From A Single Guy Who Spent A Year Interviewing Couples

Nate Bagley says he was sick of hearing love stories that fell into one of two categories — scandal and divorce, and unrealistic fairytale.

So he started a Kickstarter and used his life savings to tour the country and interview couples in happy, long-term relationships.

He then took to Reddit to share what he learned (just in time for Valentine’s Day), and to post podcasts of the couples’ journeys and advice.

“I’ve interviewed gay couples, straight couples, rich couples, poor couples, religious couples, atheist couples, couples who have been together for a short time, and couples who have been together for over 70 years,” he said in his Ask Me Anything. “I’ve even interviewed couples in arranged marriages and polygamous couples.”

He now hopes to make a documentary from the interviews, and has many of them already uploaded on his website, The Loveumentary. This is some of the best advice that he shared with Reddit:

On the key things that make a relationship successful:

“This was actually one of the most surprising things I learned on the journey.

Self Love: The happiest couples always consisted of two (sometimes more) emotionally healthy and independently happy individuals. These people practiced self-love. They treated themselves with the same type of care that they treated their partner… or at least they tried to.

Emotionally healthy people know how to forgive, they are able to acknowledge their part in any disagreement or conflict and take responsibility for it. They are self-aware enough to be assertive, to pull their weight, and to give love when it’s most difficult.

Commitment: After that emotional health came an unquestioning level of commitment. The happiest couples knew that if shit got real, their significant other wasn’t going to walk out on them. They knew that even if things got hard – no, especially if things got hard — they were better off together. The sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

Trust: Happy couples trust each other… and they have earned each others’ trust. They don’t worry about the other person trying to undermine them or sabotage them, because they’ve proven over and over again that they are each others biggest advocate. That trust is built through actions, not words. It’s day after day after day of fidelity, service, emotional security, reliability.

Establish that foundation, and you’re in good shape.

Intentionality: This is the icing on the cake. There’s a difference between the couple who drives through the rainstorm and the couple who pulls their car to the side of the road to make out in the rain. (Yes, that’s a true story.) There’s a difference between the couple who kisses for 10 seconds or longer when they say goodbye to each other rather than just giving each other a peck… or nothing at all. There’s a difference between the couples who encourage each other to pursue their personal goals at the expense of their own discomfort or inconvenience… even if it means their partner has to stage kiss another woman.

The couples who try on a daily basis to experience some sort of meaningful connection, or create a fun memory are the couples who shattered my perception of what was possible in a loving relationship.”

On the best advice he was given:

“One woman in Georgia gave some pretty amazing advice. She and and her husband have been married for over 60 years, and after being asked what her best relationship advice would be, she paused and said…

‘Don’t be afraid to be the one who loves the most.’”

On the best way to solve disagreements”
“Resolving disagreements was one of the topics that came up the most.

Here’s what I learned:

Don’t Fight To Win: A huge number of couples talked about how they didn’t fight against each other. I mean, if you’re in love, you should be playing for the same team. Your goal should be to resolve the issue, not to emerge victorious over the love of your life… and let’s be honest, you just feel guilty when you win anyway.

Seek to Understand: If you’re having a hard time playing on the same team, stop fighting and instead try to understand why your partner is upset. Typically what’s being talked about isn’t the real issue. People are inherently bad at being vulnerable, especially in threatening situations. Be willing to ask sincere questions. Let the answers sink in. If she is complaining that you’re spending too much time at work, maybe the real issue is that she misses you, and wants to feel connected with you. Rather than arguing about how you’re providing for the family, and she needs to respect how hard you work, try to listen to what she’s really saying. Then hold her. Come home early one day, and surprise her with a date, or some special one-on-one time. Reassure her that she, and your relationship, are a priority for you. If you don’t want that same issue to arise again, keep investing in the solution.

Just Be Nice To Each Other Seriously. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t call names. Don’t take jabs. Don’t try to hurt the other person. Argue naked if it helps… but just be kind and civil ad respectful. It will prevent so many bad things from happening.”

And his favorite quote from all the interviews:

“At the end of Ty’s life, I want him to be able to say, ‘Terri was the greatest earthly blessing in my life — the best thing that ever happened to me — and that I’m a better man because of how she loved me.’ And that’s the goal that I live with every day. That’s how I want to love this man.”

Read the entire Reddit AMA here.

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What To Wait For

This is a little guidebook for all of my female friends… spiraling off my last post, I will have to argue that no one should ever settle. This was nicely summed up, a little far fetched because we are soiled in to feeling that way, but a nice thought. Enjoy ladies!




While having a conversation with an old friend of mine today he mentioned something about relationships and how “well, you just learn to deal right?” This immediately struck me as odd… just deal? Do we really have to just “deal” in love?? My immediate response was exactly this…

“Just deal? I’m not settling for anything less. There are many mediocre things in life, love should not be one of them!”

He proceeded to talk about their current issues and the lack of support from her on him returning to school. His decision to return to learn has apparently caused a lot of turbulence in the relationship. So naturally, I respond with:

“Life is bumpy roads. Just gotta find the one you want to ride them out with. The one who will sit next to you and never falter.”

I have struggled with this notion for years. Finding “the one” and spending out your life in a bliss that is full of challenges and changes and twists and turns, but you are still so in love at the end of the day the hard times are temporary. Is this idea insane? Am I crazy for thinking that this insanity exists? Is it really possible for two people to be so in love, best friends, soul mates if you will, that no hard time could alter the extent of their love?

What about the studies that have been done that humans, like many other mammals, are not genetically bred to be monogamous creatures?

Or is my friend more accurate? Do I need to be more focused on finding one that is for all intensive purposes “good enough”? Am I stuck in a fairytale idea of love and the future? For being an intense and aggressive person,or according to my friend “cold blooded”, I do seem to have a very odd whimsical idea to romance and love.

What do you think love really means? Is settling as bad as it seems?


Love is Friendship on Fire

Marriage (also called matrimony or wedlock) is a socially or ritually recognized union or legal contract between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between them, between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws. The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged. In some cultures, marriage is recommended or compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity. When defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal.

A wedding is the ceremony in which two people are united in marriage. Wedding traditions and customs vary greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, religions, countries, and social classes. Most wedding ceremonies involve an exchange of wedding vows by the couple, presentation of a gift (offering, ring(s), symbolic item, flowers, money), and a public proclamation of marriage by an authority figure or leader.

I have only ever truly loved to the point of wanting marriage once. If I could express that emotion in words I would, but I will let corny movie quotes express it for me instead.

The way I felt on our first date:

Once in awhile,
Right in the middle of an ordinary life,
Love gives us a fairy tale.

The way I felt for 90% of our relationship:

“I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.” LOTR- The Fellowship of the Ring

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” -Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights

Obviously, all good things must come to an end, hence the way I felt for 90%. The relationship failed and then failed again. Things fall apart. And sometimes you can’t figure out how to put them back together until it’s too late.

How I have felt for the last 5 some years:

“We loved with a love that was more than love.” -Edgar Allan Poe’s

How I still feel:

We are, each of us angels with only one wing;
and we can only fly by embracing one another.
Luciano de Crescenzo

So, as I roam here in the life of an unwed, and I watch people I loved and still love tie the knot, I will walk around with my solitary wing waiting for someone to join me in flight. I have had many great learning experiences since this man. And as I watch him marry and begin his full life, I look forward with courage and hope knowing that someone is out there for me. But, as is in my true nature, I move forward daily with a harder heart than yesterday.

So, now I pose a few questions to anyone who happens to read this…

  1. Have you ever loved with such passion that you couldn’t comprehend life without this other person?
  2. If you are married, did you marry the person in number 1? If no, who did you marry then?
  3. Do you believe that there is only one person in the world that is the perfect person for you?


I have to take this final moment to thank a dear friend of mine. She said something to me today that I am not sure if I should take as a compliment or not. Although I know she meant it as a compliment, I always wonder if my ability to guard my heart is a blessing or a curse.

“You’re smarter with your heart than most people are.” – L

Just a heads up!

There are many people in my life that I consider friends, and I am blessed to say that I have a multitude of amazing people in my life. Close friends, best friends, those people you consider soul mates in your world… that number is, as for everyone, significantly smaller. I will most certainly blog about these people but please know, I will not use their real names, I am not here to lay out the life of the people I love. On that note…