The idea was to become a professional writer of love letters. That simple. I'd make my literary services available to anyone wishing to send their loved-one their sentiments, be these as a token of appreciation, or condolences, sweet nothings, miss-you-lotses, or fond farewells or welcome backs, etc. I wouldn't even have to know the recipient firsthand. I'd simply create a questionnaire asking a few pertinent details, such as the nature of the relationship, of course names and personality traits, and physical features (perhaps via a photo). This information, coupled with the sender's writing sample so as to remain faithful to the source, and voila, a love letter in hand.
I pitched it to my dad one night over dinner and he laughed the idea off the table. I didn't think of it again. That was 2000. But the idea came back to me when I saw the movie Her, and wouldn't you know the main character's day job is precisely that? He (Joaquin Phoenix) is a letter writer! The movie is fiction, and set in some futuristic society, but it made me wonder that my idea would have been the hit that I imagined after all. I started thinking of other ideas I have had, some of them while traveling, others while working out, many while consuming one or another tasty beverage. One idea in particular comes to mind. I'd write a rule book for lovers. Because the audience is huge, and built-in. Half of all marriages end in divorce, as the cliche says, and 2 million marriages take place every year in the US alone. That's 2 million books, or one for every better half. I'd call my book simply The Book of Love, or The Game of Love, despite their being numerous songs and books and movies already with these names. You cannot copyright a title, so anything is fair game. Again my father poo-pooed this idea. But his track record is not that good, so maybe doing what he says not to do will be my claim to fame.
So I researched my idea. Of course anyone who's ever browsed the self-help section knows that nearly all books in this genre, whether they treat marriage, or worldly wealth, or beating addiction, offer step-wise approaches, which they guarantee to be successful. And some of these steps are even good. My favorite has for a long time been Miguel Ruiz's Four Agreements, which apply to life in general, that is to say all relationships in particular. I truly believe that if you never assume, if you take nothing personally, if you are impeccable with your word, and if you always try your best, the world will be a better place and your relationship will succeed. That is, assuming your other half also practices what Ruiz preaches. But that's a big assumption, and we're told not to assume. Interestingly it was my father who turned me on to these agreements. I wonder if the book had never been written and it was I who had suggested writing it, would my critical progenitor have laughed this idea away as well? Hindsight is 20-20 and success is always a sure thing after it happens. But I probably won't write my (Rule)book of Love, because 300 pages is about 299 pages more than I have to say on the matter, and far more pages than people to read it who'd care. And anyone who writes such a sentence has no business getting a book deal anyway.
So on behalf of the book I will never write, I nominate one rule in love, which if you promise yourself always to follow it, romantic fulfillment is guaranteed. And my rule is this: Always tell the truth. First to yourself. Then to your partner. Don't deny, dissimulate, ignore, or sugarcoat. Be blatantly honest, ruthlessly so if need be. It will do you both so much good. If you come from love that's all the sugarcoating your words require.
But keep in mind that the truth as you see it may not be Truth in the absolute sense. There is fact and there is your opinion, and opinions are like assholes - everyone has one (and they usually stink). Just like my father's opinion on what constitutes salable nonfiction. But expressing yours will sure make for some fun discussion, not to mention all sorts of relating, some sorts sweatier than others. And relating is after all what relationships are about anyway.