Real Love Essays

ENABLING HIM TO MAKE LOVE
LONGER THAN HE CAN GO SHOPPING

Yes, I'm afraid it's true. You know the honeymoon is definitely over when he can't last at shopping or making love for more than five minutes.
This is not news to you. But here's why men and women are so different: You have vivid, beautiful memories of the romantic times you and your mate had when you were falling madly in love with each other. You remember how sweet, kind, and gentle he was when you were together back then, before you became seriously involved or committed. When you ever so gently talk to him about these lovely memories, in hopes he might recapture some of that tenderness, does he look at you as if he has no clue as to what you are talking about? Well, it's true; he relates not at all to the man you remember so fondly. At this exact moment in time, a red-blooded man experiences a total break with reality. He has successfully transformed "romance" into "sex" and has no memory of life before this transformation. He truly doesn't recall being romantic and swears he has always believed foreplay is the number needed for a good poker game.

There are two simple ways to accomplishing more romance and closeness with your man:

1) To get a man to want you, you must romance yourself first, and

2) Know what motivates a man.

HOW DO I LOVE ME? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS
Women tend to have the almost overwhelming urge to respond to emotionally distant partners by withdrawing, over accommodating, and settling for less than what we really want. I made the mistake of doing more and more for my man hoping he eventually would be forced to show me how much he loved and appreciated me. Wrong! It is only when we start meeting our own needs, that a man begins to notice. Until he sees how comfortable and happy you are being with yourself, he won’t even know how much he wants to be with you.
As you build your relationship with yourself and focus on activities you love, he will begin to wonder, "Who is this person living inside my partner who she wants to spend so much time with? What is it about her that is so interesting and so much fun? I thought she only wanted to be with me, but that is not what I'm seeing now." (This is a good sign. At least he has poked his head out enough to see.)

This change in the daily status quo may make your man insecure. After all, he is no longer the center of your universe and his fears of abandonment and rejection may get triggered big time. Make certain he understands that you are not planning to exit the relationship, you are simply developing your own interests. Do not even attempt to explain to him that you are learning to have Real Love for and nurture yourself, and this may cause the relationship dynamics to shift somewhat, but not to worry ....Hello! He is clueless! This is way too deep for him right now. He will figure it out later, but he is incapable of this kind of depth in the beginning.

Reassure him by your actions. For example, offer to include him in your new passions. Ask him if he would like to drive you to the movie theater, the bowling alley, or the gym, so you can be with your girlfriends. See if he wants to pick you up and take you to dinner after your tango lesson -- anything that includes him without overwhelming him. I know he "should" trust you, but he is a male. Change makes him fearful and paranoid. So, go easy on him.

How do YOU want you? Easy! Concentrate on your many positive attributes and on your right to have your needs met. Men can be pretty obtuse, but they will notice when you switch your focus of attention to your own needs instead of theirs. When you think about yourself and how terrific you are, you give yourself priority over him. He may not like it, but he will notice the increased value you are giving yourself. Blow all the dust off the self you have ignored for so long. Love this self and hold onto it for dear life, literally.

Now, consider some questions (and answers) about you. What is something you really want to do now for which you never seem to have the time ? Do it! Find it! Want to be with you! Who are some family and friends you would love to see more often but have not found the time for? Find the time! Put yourself first. Want to be with you. Then, he will want to be with you too. (If he is lucky, you will find some time to fit him in!) Now, I know some of you are thinking that making time for yourself sounds like a great idea, but you are overloaded with school, kids, work, or whatever. Wake up!

You cannot seek love of self through love of another. You
Cannot love yourself without finding yourself first.
Love of yourself cannot be defined by what
He does or does not do.

We women really want the whole mamajama, the open-armed, full-blown, knock-yourself-over type of Real Love. And, that's what we deserve. To get it, we have to give it to ourselves first. The purpose of any relationship is to have another person with whom you can share your wholeness. So romance yourself. No one can keep you from being the person you want to be. In the words of my favorite soul man, James Brown, "Sometimes I feel so nice. I just want to kiss myself."
Make yourself a priority! Schedule time for yourself in the same way you schedule work, classes, dates, doctor’s appointments, etc. I found, when I took the time to jog or go to a movie or practice the piano, the world did not stop revolving! My husband and children (once they picked their lower jaws up off the floor) simply assumed more responsibility which they would have taken years ago, but I would not hear of it. Please take the time and joy you deserve. Only then will the ones you love realize you deserve it.

SELF-ROMANCE REVVERS
Arrange for your hubby or someone else to watch the kids, then pick one or more of the following:

1. Go to a movie by yourself. Throw nutritional caution to the wind and load up on popcorn, candy, and an ice-cold soft drink. Go a little early so you have plenty of time to go to the restroom, wait in the snack line, snuggle into the best seat, and watch all the previews.

2. Pick out a page-turner of a novel that you never seem to have time to read and take it with you to a nice restaurant. Savor every moment of having someone else cook and serve you while you relax, sip a glass of wine, and read your book.

3. Buy yourself a ticket to a play, art exhibit, symphony, dance, book or poetry reading, etc. that you would love to attend. Thrill at having to consider no one else's opinion of the performance but your own.

4. Do any of the above, but with a good friend other than your partner.

5. Join a book club, take dance lessons, join a hiking, walking, bicycling group, etc. Just get involved at a level other than your marriage.

6. Plan a "girls night out." Meet several of your closest friends at a nice restaurant (or even a trashy one). Make a toast to each other and to your friendship. Go "club hoppin'." Laugh, dance, hug each other. It's these friends that will get you through the really tough times.

7. Check yourself into a hotel. It can be the Motel 61⁄2 or the Hilton. It doesn't matter. Just get a room with a queen size bed (yes, you are the queen for a day and night), a refrigerator or mini-bar, some sort of room service, and pay-per-view movies. This is how we recharge our batteries. I try to do this every couple of months or so. A hotel room becomes my "feng shui" sacred space, even if it's just for 24 hours.

8. Take a separate vacation. Take a few days and really vacate at a place that fits you to a tee. This could be going to the mountains, the beach, a monastery, a mall, some sort of retreat -- go for it!

Whatever you choose, remember the three rules of self-romance:

1. Do not feel guilty.
(Your hubby and kids need their own time to screw up without you to fix things.)

2. You deserve a break today.
(You'll come back a much more loving wife and mommy.)

3. You can afford it.
(Think about it. Even though money is tight, somehow you find the money
for the kids' soccer equipment, dance shoes, and Nintendo; and even for hubby's golf, fishing trip, and cable TV. Make yourself a priority!)

PARTNER ROMANCE REVVERS
1. Have a weekly date night. Take turns deciding what each of you would like to do each time. Have fun being together, just the two of you, for a few hours each week. Go out to eat, on a picnic, for a walk, play miniature golf, to the office and fool around, go bowling, and on and on.

2. Drop it! Let go of all the past crap he's put you through. Start fresh, right now. Begin making new memories. Discover each other all over again. After all, he's dating a new, wonderful, wild woman. Let the woman be fully present on your "dates."

3. Be passionate! No more little pecks on the check, little shoulder top hugs, or weak "love ya's." Come on you empowered woman! Go the distance. At least once a day, kiss him like you really mean it. When you hug each other, make sure you give a full-blown, juicy, full body bear hug (stiffness or tense hugging does not count). When he says "love ya," stop what you are doing, walk over to him, look him in the eyes, and say "I love you, too. I mean I really do love you!" Enjoy the feelings this invokes.

4. Leave love notes, send cards, take him out to dinner, dance with him or for him, make him lemonade and cookies -- do something a little extra, just for him, and just for the heck of it.

5. Notice him. When he comes home, stop for a minute and welcome him home. If he's home before you, acknowledge his presence in a loving way. Remember, you are healed and whole now. This will make you feel good, like you are giving him the precious gift of being loved by you.

6. Take vacations together. Make sure that at least one vacation, even if just for a weekend or one full night, is just for the two of you.

7. When you feel you and your man have finally developed Real Love, get married again. Jim and I went to Las Vegas to the Mission of the Bells chapel. It was great. The re-marriage package included a limo with a bar and TV (I had to promptly confiscate the remote), the church service, minister, music, flowers, and champagne. It was perfect! All that was missing was an Elvis impersonator to "give me away!" We honeymooned at Caesar's Palace. The best part was that my ever-awakening husband planned every bit of this. A Real Love marriage, and honeymoon -- aahh, life doesn't get much better than that.
The second key to having more romance and closeness with your man is to know what motivates a man.

MOTIVATING A MAN
Men are NOT motivated by wanting to have a better relationship. (I am assuming you have figured this out by now.) Men are motivated by three things:

Fear - of losing you first, of change second
Greed - for food first, money second
Lust - for you and for his toys (I am not sure about the order)

In a way, men sometimes are like cute pet puppies. A man would much rather roll around in the mud or dig holes in the yard than spend time making his relationship better.
Now, I am NOT saying men are like dogs or that they should come panting when you whistle. I am saying that many lessons about living with men can be learned from observing ever-faithful canine companions. All obedience schools are based on the reward system, so it’s probably worth applying some of their basic principles:

• remember that what you want is a responsive, attentive companion.
• be persistent and consistent in teaching him what you expect.
• communicate your needs clearly.
• model gentle, loving behavior.
• lavish him with rewards (which will reward you too!)

Stay tuned for Essay Two The Challenge of Romance with the Romantically Challenged.