Here is a little sample of one of my live events. It was given recently to a small company in the area for employees and their spouses.
Here is a little sample of one of my live events. It was given recently to a small company in the area for employees and their spouses.
Think of it. Have you ever been in an argument or in a space where you were really angry and you just couldn’t get out the point of view you wanted to? Then a few hours after the event, you had calmed down and all of the sudden had the perfect come back or the information you were looking for just came to you.
It happens to all of us.
I used to think it only dealt with anger, however I realized it also works the same with good emotions. That’s why we tend to make bad decisions when we are in a euphoric feeling of “love”. This is where many people get in trouble when it comes to relationships or choosing the right spouse, because they “Fell in Love”.
Unfortunately John Lennon was wrong, Love is NOT all you need! The idea that because you love someone is a good enough reason to marry them is insane!
Have I got your attention now?
Loving someone is never a good enough reason to continue dating them, especially if you are looking for a match to marry. I know the movies and television tell you consistently that love is all you need and that love conquers all. Well, this is your wake up call. Love is only a component. There are many other, and at times more important qualities you should rely on. Too often the excuse, “But I love him” is used to stay in a relationship that is going nowhere or even worse, degrading one or the both of you.
As human beings we are built to love. It’s in our chemical makeup. The following is from a study about what chemically happens to us when we “Fall in love”.
“…when we fall in love we are falling into a stream of naturally occurring amphetamines running through the emotional centers of our very own brains. That is why we feel exhilarated, manic, powerful, creative, suddenly grown up if we are young and suddenly rejuvenated if we are older. The ecstasy of love is located in our nerves; we get high; we speed. Eventually, our nerves being what they are, their endings become amphetamine immune or exhausted, and the delirium of our free fall abates. We come down to earth.” Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth.
Where Do We Fall When We Fall In Love?
Journal for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society – Volume 8, Number 2, Fall 2003, pp. 279-288
The act of falling in and out of “love” with something or someone happens to us many times throughout our lives. This gives us the opportunity to learn and grow. Love comes and goes in various forms and degrees. What you are “in love” with today will not be what you are in love with tomorrow. And here’s the reason why “LOOOVVVEEE” is not enough of a reason to someone… falling in and out of love will continue to happen FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! Even with the person you do end up marring!
I know there are mornings my wife wakes up, rolls over and thinks, “Who the H-E -double hokey sticks did I marry?” If not mornings, there are definitely moments! Even hours and I dare say days. How do I know this? Because there are days where I’m not “in love” with my wife. I would venture to say that every person, provided they are not hopped up on some sort of psychiatric drug, has gone at least a day or two without feeling love towards their spouse. At least not the feeling of euphoric love used by many to stay with someone they shouldn’t. We just read what happens to the brain when we fall in love. Did you see the last part there?
“Eventually, our nerves being what they are, their endings become amphetamine immune or exhausted, and the delirium of our free fall abates. We come down to earth.”
Meaning we all will have that “roll over” moment. It’s physiology. Where we really learn the power of commitment is not during the “love” stages of our relationship, it’s understood in the down stages. In the moments where we decide to fall in love over and over and over again, and we choose to do so because of our commitment to something greater than ourselves.
I use words like “decide” and “choose” on purpose. Loving someone is a choice. Something you decide to do on a moment by moment basis. It’s like weight lifting.
In weight lifting, in order to “bulk up” you have to work out on a consistent, almost daily basis. Let’s suppose your goal is to become Mr. or Ms. Olympia, one of the biggest titles in weight lifting. You know there is no way possible for you to gain that title by working out two or three days a week. To be the best in that sport you have to work out a minimum of 6 days a week, at least 5 hours a day. Why? Of course building muscle is important. However, keeping the muscle tone is as important as gaining it. The only way to insure you keep that muscle tone is to consistently work out on an almost daily basis. It’s a huge commitment. Without the daily decision to continue with the workouts, they will never come close to reaching that goal.
It’s the same with the goal of having a successful and thriving marriage. Love is a muscle that must be exercised on a daily basis. If you don’t work that muscle every day, you will quickly loose the “tone” of that muscle. It must be worked on daily as well as understood, the more you work on it the stronger it will get.
Some people falsely think that if they wake up one morning without that feeling of love, it’s a sign and they focus on that as opposed creating a new feeling. Unfortunately, in our society today, too often people learn this lesson after getting married and then, instead of deciding to fall in love again, they “cut their losses” and divorce.
This is why I have this topic as the first topic and why I think it is so important to understand. If you get this in your dating process and you do it right, you will save yourself and possibly others a lot of hurt and pain.
If you are already married, this is where this book is so important for you. This book’s purpose it to help you understand that your marriage is a choice. EVERY DAY and EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY. Your choice is to fall in love again and again and again or not. And that choice will be made easier if you have the right foundation and plan for the success of your marriage.
“Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by the removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease, like caries and many other ailments, is prevalent only among civilized races living under artificial conditions; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient”.
Just like the saying “Life is what happens, when your busy making other plans”, I believe “Marriage is what happens between falling in and out of love with each other.”
Out of all the necessary factors that should go into a decision of marriage namely, honesty, trust, communication, respect, commitment, humor, support, compassion, dependable, loyalty, intimacy, openness, kindness, faith, caring, sensitivity, tolerance, fun loving, generosity, nurturing, gentleness, hard working, reliable, active…just to name a few, LOVE is only a small factor in which to base such an important decision.
Let’s not forget, for centuries and even in some cultures today, arranged marriages; unions where the two getting married sometimes never even met one another till the wedding day, have flourished and grown into great marriages. Why? Because outside sources, usually a mother and a father, who have known the children literally from birth, are looking for the best match for marriage. The decision is based on taking the emotion out of the equation. It has nothing to do with a feeling or fleeting passion. It has to do with what is best for the children.
Oh I can hear it now; all the complaints and excuses, “But what about love?” “What about freedom”, “What about passion”, blah, blah, blah.
Am I advocating arranged marriages? No!….
Only for my two girls! I’m kidding! (kind of)
I only use this as an example to point out that LOVE is not a reason to get married.
Please do not misinterpret me on this point. Love is definitely an important part in a marriage. However, to get married because of love alone is foolish.
So what are the reasons two people should get married? Or if you are married what are the reasons you got and should stay married?
Both are great questions. And that is exactly what this book is all about. I hope that after you are finished with this book you will have a great many reasons why you should be, get and stay married.
At a recent event, a young lady approached me in distress over a matter with her husband. She told me how unhappy she was with the lack of affection he showed her.
“He never kisses me “just because” any more and hardly even hold my hand in public. At night, he would prefer to sit in his chair as opposed to sitting with me on the couch. In bed, he never rolls over just to snuggle me. As a matter of fact, the only time we share any intimacy is when I have to initiate sex.”
She continued to get more and more upset as she went on with her complaint for the next few minutes. After she had finished, I asked a question that definitely stunned her. The question was simply this.
“Have you shown him what you want from him or how to act?”
After her stunned look she responded with, “What do you mean by that.”
My response was direct and simple, “Have you gone up to him in public and kissed him while telling him how cute or sexy he is? Do you grab his hand when walking through the mall and tell him how happy he makes you? At night, do you go over to him and sit on his lap with a big hug and kiss, thanking him for being such a hard worker and providing for your family? Do you roll over at night and snuggle him while whispering how much he means to you?”
Again, stunned, she was looking a little more perturbed at me when she complained, “Why should I have to do those things? He should just want to.”
And therein lies the challenge. In this case it applies to the female in the relationship, but that is not necessarily the norm. For our purposes we will focus on the female side of things.
Women need to understand, not all men are built with the “romance” or “affection” gene. However, they are willing to be taught it.
Men, by nature, are not the cuddly or touchy-feely types. You ladies are. The challenge comes because during the dating portion of your relationship, any touch or sign of affection was looked upon by you as proof that he was this way. (Frankly, because of the state of euphoria you are in during that time period ANY sign of those affections were taken to a dramatic degree so they can rarely be relied upon as a sign of what he will be like in the future). What you need to understand is like fading paint on a house or an old photograph, because of life happening, that “sign” often fades away as well.
Remember, when you were dating and he held your hand in public, it was a sign of, “Stay away, she’s with me” to all other males in the area. Every thing he did when it comes to affection, was because he was getting something he wanted in return, both mentally and physically.
After life has been happening for a while those reasons of getting the “rewards”, i.e. hand holding, snuggling and other signs of affection, tend to be taken for granted and can often slowly erode.
Women, being the wonderfully enhanced creatures you are, never forget….anything….ever! So in your mind when those signs of affection wean away, it is taken as a personal response to you. It must mean something. And when it’s not what you want it to “look like”, you tend to go into despair, nag and complain mode.
So let me give you the same answer I gave to that young lady.
Like software on a computer, men need to be updated from time to time. The way to do this is not by telling or nagging, because now you are becoming a mother figure telling him what to do. Even worse that what he “thinks” he is doing in the form of affection is not good enough. You have to show him by example.
When you show him what you want by doing it yourself to him, and tell him how much you like it when he does that to you, (NO MATTER HOW LONG IT HAS BEEN SINCE HE HAS DONE THAT TO YOU) he now has upgraded “software” and has a better idea of what you want.
Here’s what I mean:
If you want him to hold your hand more often, be the first to grab his and give him your “special smile” (you know the one) when you do. Then say something like, “I really love holding your hand. It fit’s so perfectly in mine.”
At night if he is sitting in his chair and you want him up on the couch with you, go over to him, sit on his lap and tell him it’s more comfortable over on the couch with you, if he would care to join you. When he does so say something like, “I love sitting with you, it makes it easier to give you a kiss when you are closer to me.”
It’s very simple, show him the action you desire from him and then tell him why you like that thing. This gives him the new knowledge he requires and can jog memories of the past you both used to enjoy.
Successful companies are always forward thinking. They are consistently looking at their goals and finding out the smartest and fastest ways to make them happen by working on it today. They don’t let the hope of the future stop them from working on the business today. Likewise they don’t sit around focusing on failures of yesterday. Think of Donald Trump, at one point he was billions of dollars in debt, had bad business deals left and right and virtually lost all of his daddy’s money. He could have chosen to sit around and play the poor me game. Instead he turned it around, working one day at a time, focusing on what he could do today to change things and look at him now.
Successful companies know, the more they focus on today, the faster they will get to tomorrow.
Sometimes, in marriage, we tend to either look at what he or she didn’t do or what we are afraid they will do and that thought process only stops us from living in the now.
People who spend their time focusing on the past are always more depressed.
Likewise those who only focus on the future of what could be, live in a state of anxiety. The only way to truly live and exist in your marriage is to live in the today.
There is nothing you can do about either the past or the future. Changing the past is as impossible as controlling the future.
If one spouse is stuck in the past while the other wants to move on with their life it can cause strain and ultimately the destruction of the marriage.
I’ve talked about her before, and she is definitely worth mentioning again. Marci Shimoff has an amazing book called, Happy for NO Reason, 7 Steps for being happy from the inside out. It is well worth the read. The book helps you focus on the four pillars of happiness, your mind, heart, body and soul and how to build your happiness home. Here is a link to her web site so you can pick up a hard copy or a book on tape. Even if you are someone who is generally happy, this book will inspire you to spread that happy lifestyle to everyone around you.
Start today. Give up what has happened and focus on what is happening. Start with a journal or a blog or anything where you can focus on today.
Sure, feel free and look forward to things in the future like vacations or birthdays and its fine to fondly remember things from your past or remember what has happened so you don’t make that mistake again. It’s when we start to dwell on the negatives or get stressed about the future where you get into trouble and move into inaction.
The more you focus on what they did or didn’t do the more energy you give it. If it’s an issue with a spouse, your job and responsibility is to express you’re your feelings with your spouse and then move on. It’s like Dr. Laura say’s, “Stop whining and start living”.
A key part of the relationship CORE is definitely sex.
When your sex live is intact and working at it’s best, everything will be stronger. The importance on this area is not to be discounted or overlooked. When the intimacy in your relationship is working at it’s best everything in your life will be better. Your relationships with your children, co-workers, and friends will be more meaningful. Let me quote from an email I received recently about getting into a rut when it comes to sex in marriage.
“If the amount of sex you’re used to having starts to slide, your body and brain can get used to the decreased intimacy, causing you to go even longer without wanting that closeness.”
You can see where this is detrimental for both sexes.
Women, if you want him to be more open sharing and caring to you, have more sex. Don’t wait till you are in the mood. Get in the mood. Act as if you are in the mood. I know you are tired! I know you’ve had to deal with ______ all day. Approach him for sex. Do not hold back such an important part of your relationship from him. Yes, I say this as a man and a husband. It’s that important. It is unwise and foolish to believe he will stay committed to you just because of a vow if you hold out on him. That is never an excuse for a man to cheat or turn to pornography. It is, however, very possibly a reason.
Men- Give her a reason to want to come on to you. Bring the flowers home, for no reason other than you want to. Give her a night out on her own or with the friends. Make or bring home dinner AND clean up afterwards. Draw her nice bath. One of the biggest lessons I learned is that foreplay starts in the kitchen. The more time she doesn’t have to clean up after you and the kids, the more time and energy she has for you.
Let’s go to the clinical side of things for a moment. More and more scientific studies come out every year on the importance of a healthy sex life. Over the years studies have shown these emotional and physical benefits, to name just a few.
Lower mortality rates. Reduces risk of prostate cancer. Actually improves posture and firms tummy and buttocks areas. Reduced risk of heart disease. Improves fitness level. Has a therapeutic effect on immune system. Better bladder control. Improved sense of smell. Relieves menstrual cramps. Helps people sleep better. Improves digestion. Lowers the level of cholesterol. Healthier teeth. Less-frequent colds and flu. Burns about 200 calories during 30 minutes of active sex.
Makes a person feel younger, offers pain-relief. Gives you a positive attitude on life. Makes a person more calm. Lowers feelings of insecurity. Boosts self esteem. Makes a person less irritable. Reduced depression. Helps folks remember more. Produces chemicals in the brain to stimulate the growth of new dendrites. Increases level of commitment. Keeps spouses connected emotionally.
I often use the analogy of a hungry child. If a child came to you and said, “I’m hungry.” Would you just put him off by saying, “I’m not in the mood to feed you right now.” Of course not, you make them a sandwich out of their need to be fed not because you felt like it or you were in the mood to do so.
I hope you noticed that I did not put a gender to my analogy. I did this because, even though the majority of not enough sex comes from the husband towards the wife, I have encountered a fair amount of women who have the complaint towards their husbands.
However, in one of my recent events I had a woman get upset at me and accuse me of using an analogy that didn’t fit because if you do not feed a child they will die and that is not the case with sex. My response at the time was adequate to calm her and see the point. However a few days later I received a letter from one of the other men in attendance.
Here was his response to her reply:
You said if your child came to you and said they were hungry would you not feed them. The woman in the audience stated that it was not that same thing. That you won’t die without sex every day. Here were my thoughts. First, a child will not die without food every day either. The body is very capable of going for days to weeks without food. Even a small child can go for days without eating. However, even though they are capable and their bodies (and minds) will not suffer at first, eventually it is going to become painful for them to go through this experience. The reason you feed them is so that they don’t experience pain, it isn’t purely to keep them alive. The same thing can be said for sex. Eventually, when that person goes for too long without it, they are going to experience emotional pain. Although one may be physical and the other emotional, pain is pain, and I don’t want anyone I love to experience either. Also, just like the unfed child will eventually die without being fed, the “unfed” husband, or wife for that matter, will eventually die emotionally. To me it is very much the same idea and I think you did a great job relating that.
The other thing that you said was what if you asked your husband to make you a sandwich and he did it moaning and groaning or said not right now? My thought with that was, if he made you the sandwich, but did so begrudgingly, how much would you even enjoy eating the sandwich? Would the sandwich taste the same if it wasn’t made with love and honor? Would you even want the sandwich at all anymore if that was the feeling that was put into making it? I just think it is such a good analogy that can be played with in so many ways as to help people understand.
Public Displays of Affection are essential to building the feeling of connectedness. To often couples have not problem doing this at the beginning of their relationship, but once the catch is caught and a few years get under the belt, the PDA’s tend to get fewer and farther between. Men seem to be the biggest culprits of this lack, however women have been known to slow the back stroking and hand holding as well.
A great example of PDA has been plastered all over the news as of late. Michelle and President Obama have been great examples of this. Whether or not you like his politics, doesn’t matter, it’s about the example he and the First Lady are showing to the world. The thing I have to admire about them is, although all Presidential couples put on a smile and hold hands for the press, theirs seams very genuine. Cynics could say it’s because of their excitement of this historical moment. I don’t believe that to be the case. They look truly in love, and just as importantly, proud of each other.
I am very impressed with the example they are to not just other countries, but to young people as to how two people should look and act around each other. Showing young men it’s okay to put your arm around your wife and hold her hand in public while also being an example to young woman what they should expect from a man. Showing them it is not a sign of weakness to have a door held open for them, but a sign of respect.
Public displays of affection are necessary for any growing relationship.
My wife is a massage therapist so we have long believed in the power of touch. As a matter of fact one of our goals is to start a non-profit where we go around the world and hold abandoned babies in third world orphanages. Some infants never feel the power of touch as newborns and spend the majority of their infant life in cribs. Giving those who have never felt it the power of security, safety and love at such an early stage.
According to About.coms relationship experts Sheri & Bob Stritof,
Nonsexual touch and other signs of affection strengthens your marriage relationship, creates a comforting and calming atmosphere in your home, builds trust between the two of you, and deepens your intimacy with one another.
Here are some examples of how you can show PDA to your spouse.
• Holding hands both privately and in public.
• Nonsexual massage of neck, shoulders, back.
• Sitting close to one another both privately and in public.
• Kisses, especially unexpected kisses.
• Holding one another.
• Cuddling, snuggling.
• Walking arm in arm.
• Reaching across the table to touch hands.
• Simple caring and tender gestures such as resting your hand on your spouse’s leg.
• Putting your hand on your spouse’s shoulder.
• Gentle caresses.
Go out and show some PDA today!
After my post yesterday I thought I would post this great video from a man I really admire. Mark Gungor is a great speaker. His company, “Laugh your way to a Better Marriage” is one I intend to participate in and speak with soon. For those of you who have been to my events, I hope you will agree our sense of humor, as well as our desire to improve the quality and importance of marriages in this country are very similar.