I had the pleasure of interviewing your future wife a couple weeks ago in my ‘Letter From Your Future Wife’ article. You guys loved it, and the ladies loved it too. So I went back for round two and got more insights about what your wife is looking for. Since your wife is smart, she disguised her gems in a series of 10 questions just for you. They’ll challenge you. They’ll engage your mind, and help you to become the best man you can be. Especially #9.
1-Would you be proud to share your thoughts about other women with me?
Our lives are built on our thoughts. So if they are charitable, generous, and respectful, you’ll have the foundation for happy relationships and a good life. If you view women with less dignity and respect than they deserve…your wife will ultimately pay the price.
Just because you admire other women’s beauty doesn’t mean your thoughts are bad. Your wife wants you to see and be moved by the beauty of all women, but where you are moved to is up to you. Will you be the master of sexual desire or will it master you? Your thoughts will determine that.
2-What do you really want to build with me?
Your wife is a human being, which means she is here to create. She isn’t a safeguard from loneliness, and she isn’t a free pass for sex. She wants to build something meaningful with you and add to it for a lifetime. She wants to make a masterpiece out of your love, and have the world be a better place for it. So what are you actually planning to build with her? Will it be something you’re proud to share with your family and future generations? Will it be a work of art? Will it be a source of security and prosperity for those to come?
3-What makes you think you’re ready for me?
What makes you think you have what it takes to grow with someone and love them better for a lifetime? These things are required for a lasting marriage, but they take virtue and commitment. Have you demonstrated a commitment to personal and spiritual growth? Have you learned to love yourself better with each passing year? If not, focus less on looking for the right girl, and more on being the right man.
If you haven’t found your calling yet, look for that now. You are blessed with totally unique gifts and talents that can be used to build a brighter future for all of us. And when you find your calling, you live an inspired life of serving others. That also happens to be the basis of unconditional love, and the precise road you’ll meet your wife on.
4-Is the respect and honor of women your highest priority?
Do you strive to support the worthiness of all women in all parts of your life? Your wife will be your most precious angel; so will your sweet daughters. And when you look at other women, you are looking at someone else’s wife or daughter—you’re looking at a precious angel.
How you look at them and the way you treat them is how you consent for your own precious angels to be viewed and treated. Will that be with the utmost respect and dignity? Or will it be degrading in any way? Society doesn’t expect you to respect women with your thoughts, but your wife and children depend on it for their happiness. They depend on you.
5-Will I grow old with a fit and happy man, or will I have to watch you fall apart?
If you plan on doing the family thing right, you’re going to have lots of people depending on you for as long as you live. And if you’ve made fitness a lifestyle, you’ll be strong and capable till your dying days. You’ll also be able to please your wife sexually into the golden years, and play with your kids and grandkids till you drop.
That’s the good life, and your fitness is a key part of it. How could you better commit to being a whole and healthy husband and father?
6-Will you be the man to make the right decision even when everyone else says it’s wrong?
Your wife doesn’t need someone who follows the crowd, because the crowd is marching off a cliff. So do you have the courage to do what’s right no matter the consequence? Do you have the conviction to follow your heart and mind no matter the popular opinion? Are you this guy? (Insert picture of german soldier)
7-Are your friends helping or hurting our marriage?
Since friendship is what marriage is based on, friendship is what supports it. Because studies show 75% higher divorce rates in couple’s whose friends divorce, this fact is not hypothetical: your marriage depends on your friendships.
So what kind of friends are you bonded with? What kind of thoughts and behaviors are they sharing with you? Are they helping you to be a stronger and more courageous husband, or do they encourage you to settle? Do they challenge you to think for yourself and live to higher standards, or are they selfish and comfortable? If you have solid friendships with respectful and virtuous men, your wife will be supported all the more, and your life will be richer. So find and be a better friend.
8-Do you have any ties with your exes?
Your wife needs you. Not 90 or 99 percent, but all of you. One thing that will keep you from giving your full commitment to marriage is a lingering attachment to other women. Whether the bonds are sexual, emotional, or otherwise, attachments to exes will restrict your ability to give all of yourself freely to your wife. And without a full gift of your life, jealousy and invulnerability will work to destroy a relationship.
So do you have any connection to your former girlfriends? Can you think of them without wistfully reminiscing, or having your eyes glaze over? If the relationship failed, it wasn’t worth hanging on to. But physical attachments have a funny way of making relationships look way better than they actually were.
If you aren’t 100% over your exes and totally free from attachment, make a mindful practice to become free. Dissolve the physical and emotional bonds in any way possible. This requires reflection, forgiveness and being realistic. You can’t expect to keep in touch with a sexual ex and not rekindle old feelings at some time or other.
9-Do you know what love is? Seriously, do you know what love is?
Our most important life decisions are driven by love, but most people don’t have any concept of what it actually is. Do you know how precious it is? Do you know how worthy it is to make sacrifices for? Do you know how rich it will make your life? Do you know how to practice love unconditionally?
If you don’t know these things, you won’t be able to master your life or relationships; there will be a blind spot that wrecks your progress. So if you want to master love and share it with your spouse for a lifetime, learn more about it. Become a student of love. Read my free e-book to get started.
10-What have you sacrificed to make our marriage special?
It’s a universal fact that the good things in life don’t come easy. But when it comes to romance, we have selective memory. Could it be that life and work are so stressful that we look for an escape in romance? With how sex has become a commodity, and how casual dating is, it certainly seems so.
But love in marriage isn’t an escape; it’s the journey and challenge of a lifetime. And just like you have to sacrifice to grow in strength or education, the same is required for love. So what sacrifices have you made for lasting love with your precious angel?
A couple sacrifices I happily made were giving up porn and casual relationships. Now I’m able to look at women without thinking of what I can take, but what I have to share and how I can grow through the inspiration of their beauty. And I’m closer to my future wife, my friends, and my family.
Your wife needs a man who makes love his masterpiece. And you need a woman with the same approach. What would prevent you from being that man and marrying that woman? If you ask the right questions and have the courage to challenge yourself, the answer is nothing.
What question do you want to ask your future wife? Put it in the comments section below and, if it’s good enough, I’ll feature it in next week’s article!
Your wife exists. Whether you have met her or not, she is living, breathing, thinking, feeling, and being beautiful at this very moment. And you are connected to her. If marriage is part of your future, what you think and do now directly affects your spouse. Could you write a letter to her proudly listing off the sacrifices you are making to be the man for her? Could you tell her all the ways you are preparing for a lifelong commitment right now?
If you can’t, don’t worry. The story of your future is written today, and if your past isn’t exactly sparkling, there is nothing preventing you from improving it. 5 years ago I was addicted to porn and casual relationships; my wife was the furthest thing from my mind. But when I made her a priority, when I built my life to include her, I changed my story. That didn’t happen until I made her real in my mind.
To help make your wife real to you, I took the liberty to contact her for the sake of this article. Yes, each and every single one of you are about to make a direct connection with your wife. And she has some questions for you. (Hey, it’s less creepy than question from the graaaaave)
A letter from your future wife
Am I real to you now? If you can’t see me in your mind, what is standing in the way? If you had to climb a mountain, or blow a hole through it to see me, would you? Am I worth the effort? Is our family worth it?
Since we’re in love and married 5 years from now, it’s my obligation to care about what you are doing right now. When I signed up for marriage, I gave all of myself to you: past, present and future. What past will you give to me on our wedding day? Will it be made especially for me? Would you be proud to give it to me, and would you be confident building our future on it? If not, what is keeping you from doing something different today?
What could you do to make our future stronger, more joyful, more secure, and more blissfully in love? You know that I need to feel beautiful, safe, and needed to feel sexy…what are you doing right now to prepare our bed for mind-blowing sex? Do you have a plan for me? Is drooling after naked women part of your plan to respect and cherish me for life? In order to be fully vulnerable with you, I have to know that I am your one and only—mind, spirit, and body.
If I am fully vulnerable with you, there is nothing that can stop our sex from getting better till death do we part. If I know beyond a doubt that you will protect and honor me, I will freely give you everything I have, including the wildest sex you can imagine. And there is no limit to that, except for the thoughts that you carry right now.
Do you think of me when you see other women? Do you see their future husbands too? If I’m so special to you, you can bet those beautiful women have husbands that would die for them too. If you can look at every woman with that level of consideration, I willingly give all of myself to you. And I know you can.
If you and I walked down a street crowded with supermodels, would you show me your thoughts? If I could see your thoughts, what would they say? And would those thoughts be building us up, or tearing us down? Would they be inspired and respectful, or would they be degrading and hurtful? Would you want our sons to think like that? Would you want our daughters to be thought of like that? It doesn’t matter what you thought yesterday as long as you do your best today. Since you know that I’m real right now, all that I care is what you do from this point forward.
I know that you love me, sweetie, so if your thoughts aren’t building our future, please change them. I know it’s a challenge to respect and honor every woman, but I am every woman. Look for me in them. Look for our children in them. The life we have together is worth the effort, trust me.
(author’s note: Hi, Dan here. After your wife said “trust me”, she gave a deeply satisfied and perhaps sexually suggestive look toward you. Thought you should know. Back to your wife)
If I’m going to commit to you for a lifetime, I need to know how deep your love goes, and I want to know that you can be a friend. Next time you are inspired by another woman, I want you to take your thoughts to what you can do for her.
How can you respect her? What can you create to make a world where she feels safe and cherished? How can you remind her of the husband she has yet to meet? How can you restore her faith in men? All these questions will reveal the man that I know you are (I’ve seen the future), so don’t be afraid to ask them.
I ask these things because I know you want other men to think the same things when they see me. If you love me like I know you do, you will treat the future wives of every man with the same dignity you want for me.
I know it’s hard because you aren’t expected to love unconditionally in this world, but I need you to love me with everything you have. Our happiness depends on your thoughts.
I need to talk to you about our sex
I need you to love every bit of me if we’re going to do this right. You’ll love my smile, the way I make you laugh and tease you when you get too serious, and you’ll love my sexiness. But will you love my future? Will you love our future together?
If there is one thing I can’t stand in a man, it is fear. I need you, my husband, to be courageous and loving and prepared for the new life we create. If you can’t love my ability to create new life, our intimacy will have a limit, and so will our sex.
This is difficult to think about because of the world we live in, but our fertility is what will make or break us; our relationships have evolved with it for millions of years. I need proof that your love is unconditional, and not based on convenience. I need to know that you will be a selfless and prepared father for our children, because I refuse to set them up for heartbreak. World peace is not built on broken families, and I don’t want to be a dreamer; I want to build peace with you through our family.
I can’t even think about a child being unwanted, let alone my own. And I can’t think of fearing the gift of my fertility because there are too many couples who would die to have their own child.
So will you be able to control yourself if we aren’t prepared for another child? Will you be able to show me your love in other ways when I’m fertile? Will our sex be a courageous act of faith and unconditional love, or will it be a convenience?
I don’t want our love to be convenient. I want it to revolutionize our lives and inspire us to grow each day. I want our love to be bold and daring; I want to be challenged by it. We need to be challenged by our love, or else we’ll grow weak and fall apart. You are too important to me to even think of that, so please: think deeply on what our sex means to our life together.
We can either work with life to live beautifully, or work against life to live conveniently. Since my husband is courageous, I know what choices you will make. Since I know that you love me and our future together, I am fully confident in the life you live from here on out, for you, and for us.
When you are tempted to settle for less, or give up, think of us. Think of me, because I am here, living, breathing, needing your love, and preparing my heart for you. Write me a letter every week and whenever you feel doubt to keep our connection alive. Keep me updated with the amazing things you are doing for our future. You can give these to me on our wedding day.
I love you darling,
A note from the author
I bet you didn’t know your wife would be named Juanita, huh? I know, it surprised me too! To be real, Juanita is one of the most sublimely beautiful women I’ve seen. She’s definitely worth the extra effort, and I hope you make her real in your thoughts today. There are PLENTY of men she could pick from; trust me.
Everyone has had a toxic friend, but not everyone has learned how to let them go. I found out how to handle this process the hard way, and want to share my experience with you.
Here is the letter I was forced to write after a 10 year friendship turned toxic. If you like it, use it as a rubric for the tough letters you may have to write.
Our friendship has suffered from neglect. After so many attempts at connection, and just as many let downs, I had to let it go.
I love you man and I think about you most every day, but my friends have to be people who I can grow with; who can challenge me to be a better man; and who I can do the same for. I don’t think I can help you become a better man right now because our goals and lifestyles are so much different. And you haven’t been helping me.
I don’t like to say these things, but it’s the truth.
I think you are a good guy with a lot of potential, but to be my best I have to surround myself with people who are intent on being their best; in their jobs; in their relationships; in their hobbies; and in their spiritual life. Our friendship has not lately supplied this growth that I need.
Personal growth should never under any circumstances be sacrificed to maintain a friendship. And when I realized that friendships are designed to help us achieve our potential, I knew that I had to make some tough choices. I love you, we have so much history together, and it’s a huge comfort just to know you are alive. But when it comes to friendship…our relationship no longer qualifies. And when I clung to it, I hurt myself.
It seemed like I was always waiting around for you to show up. And when I was waiting, I wasn’t actively being a good friend to other people. But when I made the decision to move forward, all of my desire to be a great friend was put to good use. I’m part of an awesome community now where my time and talents are needed, I’ve made some tight bonds, and I’m happy. It doesn’t mean that I’ve been best friends with these people for ten years, but it does mean that I can grow with them. And that’s what I need. I need to be able to grow with people because that’s what we’re here to do; that’s what friends are for.
I feel like you’ve used the effort we’ve put in over the last ten years as a savings account. And the past couple years, it’s been all withdrawals. That doesn’t work for me, because I want to be rich in friendship. I don’t want to rely on anything except for my ability to give and to grow in the present and into the future.
We’re at a zero balance right now, and this friendship isn’t an account that I can keep under present terms. My life is focused on growing as a husband, as a role model, as a difference maker, as a peace maker, and as a friend to those I can sharpen and be sharpened by. This focus is not a passing phase, and it is one of the reasons why we’ve drifted apart in the past several years. But I can’t regret my growth as a man, even if it has cost me one of my greatest securities in life: your relationship.
I love you, I will miss you often, and it will continue to be a pain not to have you in my life. But it is a growing pain that I must endure in order to be my best- for my friends, for my family, for my future wife, and for my community.
I hope you understand.
Your friends are the greatest influences on your perspective and behavior, so keep good company. The lesson from letting go of toxic friendships is this: Choose wisely. Investigate the character of your acquaintances before you call them friends. Acquaintances are people you know, and friends are people who grow.
Above all, be the kindest, gentlest, most courageous, boldest, most generous, most honest, and most unconditionally loving friend you can be. Then you’ll attract the kind of friends you won’t have to write this letter to.
The character of a person’s life is formed from a series of choices. No one life has ever been fully dictated by their environment; at least, not one who is capable of choosing. And of all the decisions we make, every one falls into one of two categories:
1) Self control
2) External control
The most successful people in history have opted for self-control. If you can control your response to any given situation, there is no need for anyone or anything else to control you. If the purpose of life is to be free, as it is presumed, and freedom is attained through responsibility, then self-control is the only means to achieve a purposeful life, or a successful relationship.
The least successful people rely on external control for whatever they get. Instead of creating their fate through well thought out decisions, the least successful are completely at the whim of those who hope to control them. The concept of freedom for these types is freedom from responsibility, which is self-defeating, because freedom is the state of total responsibility. The harder people cling to external control, the less freedom they have and the more freedom they want. Sound familiar? It describes about 95% of relationships today.
Virtue, Vice, and Human Nature
Self control relies on invisible traits inside of you, known as virtue, while external control relies on outside pressure. Self-controllers have to build measures of wisdom, integrity, reliability, courage, persistence, faith, and so forth to respond positively to life as it unfolds. Externally controlled people insist that virtue is not required to live freely, and so count on outside factors to provide freedom. But always, for the external, there remains a fallacy; that freedom can be found outside of responsibility and virtue.
Freedom is self-directed, and enslavement is externally directed. Many people claim to be free because they choose their lifestyle, but if a person chooses to be controlled by an external source, that is the freedom to be a slave. The irony is that more people than not claim to be free though their vices. Vices are the opposite of virtue. Whereas virtue begets freedom, vice breeds restriction. Both virtue and vice come through free will, but virtue’s decision is to be free, and vice’s is to be controlled. Virtue is the master of need, while vice is the slave of desire.
Human beings have needs just the same as any other creature in nature. And when needs are met, any given creature can be assured a reasonable level of health, satisfaction, security, and happiness. Look at the birds, butterflies, bears and bees. These animals mostly lack provisions for a day in advance, yet they all have a quality of life that remains unfathomable to humans. We, on the other hand, have all the food and shelter in the world, in our culture at least, yet we pine for the quality of life that the simplest animals maintain. Even without knowing where their next meal is coming from, animals have what they need. Even with knowing where our next year of meals will come from, we humans seem to lack what we need. If peace is a condition of satisfied needs, humans can be considered the neediest animals on the planet. But with a creature so incredibly capable, how is it that we find ourselves in constant want?
For other animals who aren’t so highly socialized, to rely on external sources, apart from the earliest stages of life, is a death sentence. But because of how socially complex and industrialized we have become, we can exist for a lifetime relying on external sources. Even though we have providers for food and health and communication, and every physical need, we remain highly dysfunctional as groups and individuals. When needs are met, people and groups function. When needs go unmet, there is dysfunction. Whereas animals who eschew self control die, humans subject themselves to abject misery. Nowhere is this more evident than our relationships.
Our relationships are so dysfunctional that most marriages end up in divorce or decay. Is that because we are not designed for monogamy, or is it because we are in need of some missing elements? Do we falter in marriage because of a genetic handicap, or is it because we allow ourselves to be controlled by external forces?
How Birth Control Defeats Self Control
Relationships are the most important arenas of decision making because they are where new life comes from. When we rule ourselves by virtue and for the benefit of our families and communities, relationships are a lifelong source of intimacy and healing love. When we succumb to the illusion of freedom found in vice, like lust, gluttony, etc., relationships become an entirely different thing. Instead of being free together through virtue, most partners end up as the proverbial “ball and chain” to one another’s want for vice. One aspect of our relationships that starves us of meaning and purpose is the way we approach sexuality and new life.
If you live in 21st century America, you might think birth is a no brainer; we aim to control and prevent new life, which appears to serve some purpose. Externally. But with a thing so powerful (and precious) as new life, how we respond to it makes a difference. How we respond to our sexuality is the greatest indicator of how we will fare in relationships. People who respond to new life by controlling their actions build virtue, which supports new life and satisfies the needs of a relationship. These people are free. But this is not the common practice today.
More often than not, people seek external control of their sexuality by birth control. It seems a perfectly normal and rational thing to do, but only inasmuch as one denies our nature. The tacit statement in taking birth control is, “I cannot control my self. I need technology to do that for me.” Whereas the couple who strives for virtue and self control grow closer through sex, externally controlled couples are ripped asunder. Birth controllers pretend they no longer have to respond to life because they have outsmarted God, or nature. But life is the defining aspect of nature, and so to cheat it is to also cheat our selves.
Since a large part of our nature is the unseen world of virtue, life plays an integral role in shaping virtue, thereby satisfying the needs of a human. Think of all the dependability, courage, responsibility, discipline, faith, perseverance and commitment it takes to lovingly raise a family. The common purpose of family life, and the common challenges in family, are extraordinary in how they satisfy our needs as humans; how they bring us together; and how we grow together through them. But when the needs of humans are supposed to be entirely physical, when our invisible nature is ignored, birth control seems like a no-brainer. If sex is good, then unlimited sex without consequence should be even better, so it is thought. Birth control allows for free sex, right? But “free” is a word that describes the state of satisfied needs, in order to live naturally, as most creatures do. In this sense, the sex we have through birth control is totally restrictive to our relationships and the development of virtue.
The Importance of Your Sexual Freedom
So many people have fallen for the simplest and most enduring fallacy that freedom can be gained through external control, and that is why we are completely restricted in relationships today. How can a person love freely if they decide to withhold their power to create new life? Is not the potential to create human life the greatest power we possess? And if that power is reserved in the act of sex, how can a person pretend to love freely?
Birth control mocks the beautiful gift of free, total, faithful and fruitful sex in marriage. Its convenience is alluring, but mark these words: birth control will be the death of your relationship. It opposes virtue in all aspects. It turns the celebration of life that is sex into a fearful and faithless mockery. Whereas free and faithful sex between marriage partners brings each one closer to the other until death, incomplete sex picks couples apart until they have nothing left to give each other.
Think of sex like a pitcher, and love as water. The incompleteness of sex allows love and virtue to drain out, slowly but surely, until there is no use in a couple coming to a well together again. If love cannot be retained and generated, there is nothing that can keep a couple together. Love in totality is what keeps couples together, and when aspects of love are withheld in any way, vitality escapes the relationship through cracks and chips.
The difference between self-controllers and birth controllers is that the former responds to life; the latter attempts to manipulate life. Couples who practice self-control pay attention to the natural rhythms of life and respond to it by building virtue. During the week of fertility, a self-controlling couple practices discipline, commitment, and sacrificial love by refraining from sex. Considering that this week of fertility is the greatest period of arousal and mutual attraction, expressing love in other ways is a challenge that brings couples together in creative ways, which test their character.
In choosing self-control, couples are brought together to communicate about their long-term goals, their needs, and their plans. Ideally there would be health enough and resources to provide for a new baby at any time, but during periods of illness or financial instability, bringing in a new life may not be the best for a family. Self-control acknowledges that life is sacred, and through the week of sexual sacrifice, a couple is brought closer together in their mutual purpose of happiness, prosperity, solvency and stability. They are brought together through sacrificial love, and virtue. Their attraction and respect for one another is renewed, and their common goals, wants and needs are brought to the table each month. Self-controllers don’t abuse the power of sex, and moreover, that power is revered and honored in each other.
No such benefits present themselves to birth controllers. Instead of responding to the natural rhythms of life, as humanity has done since time immemorial, birth controllers reject the gift of life and all the virtue that comes from responding to it. They indulge in the pleasure of sex regardless of their needs, or life itself. Birth controllers do not see life as any benefit outside of their wants, and if life does not fit in with what they want, they will suppress it regardless of what good life brings.
Birth controllers decide that they don’t have room in life for life, and so they agree to manipulate their nature instead of controlling their actions. But our nature is designed specifically for us, just the same as any other creature. And the more we know of our nature, the more of our needs we can satisfy, and the more functional we can be as individuals, couples, and groups. To deny the most significant part of our nature, the part that creates new life, is to reject the possibility of being happy and whole like creatures in nature.
Whereas self-controllers grow in respect, reverence, appreciation, admiration, intimacy, faith, and sacrificial love, birth controllers become enslaved by vice to their demise. If you want a happy and whole relationship, think heavily on your nature as a human being; reflect on your deepest needs; question what has become normal; and ask what you are really capable of. Chances are, it’s a whole lot more than you imagine.
Love and lust are oppositional words; one cannot exist in the other. You can’t have a little bit of lust in your love, and you can’t have a little bit of love in your lust. The two words maintain a polarity that cannot be equalized. Whereas love is internal, lust is external. Whereas love is the past and future wrapped up in the present, lust is the present at the expense of the future, and in ignorance of the past. Whereas love is total, lust is incomplete. Where love gives, lust takes away. Whereas love is unselfish, lust asks, “what can you do for me?” Love is holistic and lust is partial—there ought be no confusion.
For how diametric these concepts are, most individuals do not recognize a difference. There is some modern emulsifier that suspends particles of love and lust in the same solution, and we perceive them as one. Take any song on the radio that speaks of love and replace each “love” with lust. Then notice how much more sense the song makes. People don’t notice that the concept of love is incongruent with most songs because they lack a guiding definition. I like the line from the famous Beatles song, “Love is all you need”, and though it is true, what good is that information if you don’t know what love actually is, and what it does?
People spend their entire lives searching for love because everyone knows that without it, life would have no meaning. But in the race to not be left out in love, few bother to define their goal, and few reach it. That may seem like a bold claim, but look at the totality of our lives: we can no longer expect to last with our spouses or our families. The places where love should be most prevalent are the same places we are running from, or refusing responsibility for. If more than a few people reached their goal of love, our future would be much brighter; people could expect to last with their spouses and have the security of loving families throughout their lives. But that is not the case today. The wedding vows have been tacitly altered to accommodate lust, not love. Instead of till death do us part, we think, “Till like do us not.” But we call it love because we don’t have a definition for love.
Your relationships and your actions could be lust disguised as love, but you’d never know until you defined love. Or until your life falls to pieces, whichever comes first. As it stands, everything that relates to romance is labeled under the umbrella of love. People who have sex with each other are known as “lovers”. Couples who have affection for each other are said to be “in love”. And because everyone knows that love is the most important thing in the world, we walk blithely in and out of romance, leaving a trail of destruction.
The things we do for love…But would love ask us to forsake future happiness for pleasure in the moment? Would love ever suggest we ignore history to enjoy the present? If love is past, present and future in totality, then love could not stamp its name on modern romance; that would be a disgrace. If love is free, total, faithful, and fruitful, then love would be humiliated to be associated with the conditions, the incompleteness, the faithlessness, and the damage that hallmarks modern romance. But love cannot be degraded by ignorance because it is what it is regardless of what people call it. We, however, are completely vulnerable to ignorance, and we have been degraded. If we think poison is food and eat the “food”, we will die. If we think lust is love, it will erode our future and destroy our relationships no matter how much we believe in it. Lust has and is continuing to erode our future. What will you do about it?
When you take a look at our prospects in relationships, and the end result of most relationships today, it is clear that our version of “love” is incomplete. The most important and sacred thing in the world is frivolously spattered throughout our music, literature, movies, and pop culture to the point where the word “love” has been emptied of it’s original content and replaced with lust.
It is a common phenomenon throughout history that if a lie is repeated often enough, it is presumed to be true. Jews, Indians, blacks, Irish, Asians, and unborn children were/are all known to be less than human through this phenomenon. The world was indeed flat by this logic. The moon may have been made of cheese by this principle. And so too has lust become love. When something is said often enough, people lose their propensity to question it, and they lose their freedom.
Freedom is the state of total responsibility for one’s actions, which is bought by eternal vigilance, endless questioning, and the courage to act in accordance with conscience. Every other animal on earth gets to live free because they don’t pretend their responsibilities are any less than what they are, as the human species does. It just happens that our responsibilities, and privileges, are many times greater than any other animal. Our freedom has been restricted in all avenues, but most conspicuously in relationships. Instead of loving in total responsibility and freedom, we have to pay for our lust with the future; with our families; with our happiness. But the future has a funny way of becoming our reality, so it is not just the future we trade for lust, it is also the present.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? How about twenty? How about when you are 75? Will you be alone in a nursing home racked with regret, or will you be just as faithful about the future as you are now? Will you look back and say, “I’m so glad I chose a different way”, or will you use “human nature” to justify your misery? Will the fruits, faithfulness, completeness and freedom of love be the standard of your life, or will it be something less? No matter where you are at now, your future will be illuminated if you define love and make it your primary reason for being.
If you are interested in being happy, loving your life, and embracing the future, love needs your attention. It needs your examination. It needs your vigilance and your questions. Love needs you because it wants to be expressed through your life and your relationships. Love wants nothing more than to experience the richness of humanity in love. Your love is important, but it will not be present unless you define it and make it accordingly. If you want love to heal your life and bring security to your relationships, then define love in a holistic way that you can judge your actions with. If you want love, do not be deceived by lust for another moment.
Each person must come to the meaning of love on their own, otherwise it is empty. To assist, here is a guideline: Love– any action or thing that honors, respects, and enhances life. Catholics describe love as being Free, Total, Faithful, and Fruitful; this mnemonic is a great rubric to measure your actions by.
Daniel Dowling has identified the reasons why relationships are so hard, and has an approach that will help you overcome the challenges. *Warning: this article makes casual relationships less appealing–read at your own inconvenience
The thing that pulls us into relationships is the same thing that repels us from them. We want to be reminded of how unique and awesome we are, and there is no better mirror to reflect the person we want to be seen as than a lover who knows nothing of our faults. So we feel alive in the first stages of a relationship, we feel fun and we feel free. But the mirror that our partners hold to us has no partiality, and as it reflects our good, so too will it reflect what ill we hold.
This is why entering relationships without a commitment to personal growth and edification is harmful to our wellbeing. It’s harder to remind yourself of the good things in yourself, but ultimately that is what stays with you. If you can make a habit out of seeing the best in yourself and affirming your worth by improving your actions, then there will be no one to pull the rug out from underneath you, as so commonly happens in ordinary relationships.
Doubly hard is reminding yourself of the undesirable traits that you would part with to live freer and love better. But, if you are unwilling to search that out for yourself, no one else can have any hope of showing you. And so those who are not intent on self-sacrifice and personal growth cannot grow in a relationship; though it will be easier to see their flawed actions mirrored by their partner, they won’t recognize the flaws as their own to change.
Bored people make for boring partners
Most people are bored with themselves and want to be reminded of why they are awesome, so relationships are an easy choice. But the mirror of our partners is not selective and it will reflect the good along with the bad. If you have a hard time looking for the good in yourself, you’ll also have a hard time looking for things you can change in order to grow.
If you aren’t trained in seeking out the error of your ways, then when someone reflects your truth, you will not recognize the faults as your own and you will be likely to blame your partner. “He/she just…changed.” Is a common excuse at the end of a relationship, but it isn’t accurate. When we enter relationships without a habit and routine of self-effacement, we will not tolerate any of the negative truth we see in the mirrors of our partners and we will not take ownership. So the faults and flaws of our own behavior will be falsely projected onto the people we relied on to see the best in ourselves. And when that happens, we don’t feel safe in their presence any more, so we become invulnerable and send signals that say, “I can’t grow with you.”
Those signals directly impact the behavior of your partner, and they will either withdraw to escape the pain or assail you with “neediness” and nagging, depending on how emotionally responsive they are. And if you are involved in this self-destructive relationship-seeking mode, chances are your partner will be too. So this corrosive cycle will be playing out from both sides of the partnership and to the same end—splitsville.
It may seem like a cruel twist of fate, but this force of nature in relationships is actually to our highest benefit. If our partners didn’t mirror the flaws that we carry, there would be no way to grow within a relationship. Since the point of living is to learn and grow, it would be cruel if relationships didn’t play out this way for non-growth minded people; there would be absolutely no incentive to change, to humble yourself, and to grow.
Relationships are hard so that we can grow through them
The fact of mirroring is why romantic relationships are not for casual purposes; relationships are designed specifically for growth. In the context of truth seeking and edification, relationships are the ultimate tool to know and appreciate yourself and others better. But arriving at a point where relationships are appropriate for your growth requires a fully developed and growth-based relationship with yourself first.
If you aren’t acknowledging the flaws that you carry and the errors you make by yourself, there is no hope for you in a romantic relationship. If you don’t know yourself intimately, have your own back and encourage your greatest growth, no one can grow with you. If you aren’t disciplined in reminding yourself how special and amazing you are, you’ll give yourself away to someone who hasn’t earned the privilege of caring for your deepest parts, and you will be let down. If you haven’t taken the responsibility of knowing yourself deeply and growing with yourself every day, then you haven’t earned the privilege or capability of growing with another person.
A person’s history in relationships is the ultimate indicator of their personal commitment to themselves. Those who haven’t committed to their highest growth will be putty in the hands of most anyone who will affirm their value; I myself was among that crowd for most of my life. Without self-discipline and sacrifice to grow before the relationship, the relationship will implode. Those who have committed to responsibility and edification will find incredible growth through a relationship, but not without great sacrifice.
The strength and fruitfulness of a relationship is directly related to the sacrifice that goes into it. If you look for a relationship to affirm what you want to see in yourself, you’ll lack the necessary sacrificial component that enables a relationship to flourish. If relationships are used as an escape from the responsibility to see and bring out the best within yourself, then they will crumble, but only for your benefit. A life without growth is no life at all. So, if you’ve had “bad luck” in relationships, be glad that you are still capable of growing. If you could stay in a relationship without your partner mirroring the flaws you carry, you would rot and become nothing of consequence. But the fact that you have crashed and burned in relationships is the ultimate sign that you are destined for something far greater IF you take up the responsibility to make sacrifices and to grow yourself.
The purpose of life is to grow; we are here to learn and to create. But you wouldn’t automatically think that by observing the peculiar behaviors of our species. It seems we have been possessed by the wrong-headed idea that the magical elixir of growth is in the next woman’s vagina, or will come out of that guy’s penis…And so we continue the vain exploration of comfort in other people’s bodies, but outside the context of self sacrifice and edification, we never find it. Then, when everything has topped down on us, as privileges are wont to do without the balance of responsibility, we blame God or our nature for ensuring that we grow, one way or another.
Those who seek personal growth through self-sacrifice and responsibility are masters of themselves; they cannot be lured in by passing pleasures that will ultimately defeat them; they will succeed in relationships beyond measure. Those who lack the discipline of self-sacrifice and sexual responsibility will hand their fate to the inexperienced hands of someone who desires nothing more than they; comfort. But greatness is neither sought nor found in the confines of comfort, and so it is that most relationships dissolve for a lack of growth.
Every living thing grows, and if it refuses to grow then it dies. Your relationships are living things that require growth just as any other, and their primary source of fuel is commitment, humility, vulnerability, courage, responsibility, discipline, respect, faith, wisdom, patience and sacrifice. If you can cultivate those traits in yourself before a relationship, then they can be enhanced by a relationship, and the profitability of your virtue will go to feed the growth of your relationship.
As relationships grow, so too does responsibility, and along with responsibility comes privilege. If you continue a relationship based on the principle of growth, you will be awarded dividends for as long as you commit to sacrifice, discipline, and adventure. There is no limit to the growth in a relationship save for your adventurousness, your imagination, your willingness to sacrifice, and your will to grow. That is to say, there are plenty of limits to your relationship, but none beyond your control; none external.
Traits you can develop before your next relationship
If the idea of hard work, responsibility, sacrifice, unlimited sexual satisfaction, discipline, unlimited growth, and lasting love appeal to you, then you can probably make an excellent relationship with enough commitment. If those ideas don’t appeal to you, or if it seems to hard, then you have two choices:
1- step outside of your comfort zone, embrace the fact that life is not easy, and fight like hell for the things you believe in (hopefully you believe in love). Or
2- accept that you will never be capable effecting joy, security, and fulfillment in your life.
It seems a clear-cut choice, but most people never orient themselves to a position where such a stark choice presents itself. We’ve all been mislead to think that romantic love is anything other than what we make of it, and so sexual irresponsibility has become intertwined the fabric of our culture. If you’ve bought this lie, then join the club! How could anyone be expected to automatically choose the hard and worthy road of sacrifice and responsibility when we’ve been conditioned to the contrary literally from birth?
If you are even remotely interested in a growth based relationship and sexual responsibility, you will be one of the very, very few because that road is narrow and difficult. The toughness of the road is what leads to the fitness that is required for the worthy things in life, like a committed relationship and solvent family. If you believe that there is a better way to approach romance, most people will laugh at you, call you a “shamer”, or ridicule you. They do this because your unlimited ideas threaten their concept of comfort and “good living.” But those who laugh will never know the freedom that you can achieve. They’ll never come close to a relationship that grows in intimacy and value because they haven’t prepared for it; because they do not think it is possible; because they are afraid to acknowledge the faults they carry and grow.
But don’t let other people concern you. If you want something better in a relationship, you have every right. If you didn’t want something better, if you didn’t want to grow, your humanity would be lessened because growth is our nature.
The following is a list of traits and habits that will prevent you from making the sacrifices to attain a growth-based relationship:
- Casual sex
- Lack of personal goals
- An unmotivated and underachieving circle of friends
- An aversion to responsibility
- An aversion to sacrifice
- A desire for an easy life
- A sense of entitlement
- A lack of challenges
- A diminished spirit of adventure
- A fear of trying new things
- A fear of commitment
- Pridefulness; a sense of infallibility
And most of all: a belief that absolute truth does not exist.
The following is a list of traits that will prepare you for unlimited growth and success in your relationships:
- A desire to be challenged
- A willingness to accept fault
- A willingness to improve on faults
- A ferocious desire to learn and to improve
- A willingness to make sacrifices for the things you love.
- A willingness to endure suffering in order to create the life you want to live.
- A habit of constantly improving your actions
- A habit of questioning what is considered normal
- An eagerness to help others through your passions.
- A habit of breaking your comfort zone to experience new things
- A respect for life
And most of all: a burning desire to seek and obtain truth.
Without acknowledging absolute truth, there is no higher standard for which to conform one’s self to, and no impetus to improve. Without acknowledging absolute truth, one commits the fallacy of asserting a truth in denying the concept of truth.
Truth is what brings all people who desire truth together in order to live to a higher standard. Truth is what enables growth because it is infinite, and it can only be accessed through sacrifice. If your relationships have dissolved leaving you with less and you maintain that truth does not exist, please reconsider your stance if you desire a better way.
5 Tips for Massive Presence In Your Relationships
You’re not hearing what I’m saying. You don’t understand. That’s not what I meant. Why didn’t you do that thing I asked earlier? I feel like you don’t even hear what I’m saying. Are you even in your body?
These are things you won’t hear from anybody when you are present.
Presence is your gift to the world. You are you and you are here for a reason. Given our extraordinary capacity for thought and imagination, it’s common enough to not actually “be” in the spot that you are located. Did you see that drunken wasp with mismatched argyle socks fly past your face just then? That is because you either (A- weren’t present, or (B- weren’t tripping on LSD.
When present, you start to notice even more amazing things than aberrant wasps: you begin to notice feeling, emotion, intent, and needs. You begin to notice the gift of each moment.
To be present is to be in the moment. Present day depictions of presence might include yoga pants, people sitting in full lotus, gluten-free bread, and being alone on top of a mountain. If that isn’t your life, then don’t worry; you can still be present. Gluten-free is somewhat of a scam anyway, in my opinion.
I’m thinking about making the headband and flower a requirement for presence
What does presence mean for your world? I don’t own yoga pants, I can’t sit in full lotus, I’m intolerant of non-glutinous breads, and anytime I’m alone on a mountaintop I’m usually yodeling. My presence is different.
Anytime I’m engaging with people, I try to give them my undivided attention. If I’m sitting in a room on my laptop while someone passes by, I will break contact with the screen to make a human connection. A small hello, a smile, or perhaps the craziest ugly face I can muster will do, depending on the person.
A person doesn’t understand how much this little touch helps with relationships until you’ve encountered someone who refuses to break from technology to interact. It feels bad. It makes you feel unimportant and distant. I’ve been guilty of doing it, but I know how bad it feels to be on the other end, so I give my damnedest to be present to others when they’re around. If I’m busy and need time for serious work, I will remove myself from the presence of others so I can be fully immersed in my work. If I’m in a spot where I can’t be alone, I’ll let the people around me know that I’m in work flow and am not available to interact.
When it comes to your spouse or partner, this small step in mindfulness will speak volumes of how important their feelings are to you. “Your presence is a gift” might sound like something a genuine cheese-dick would say, but it’s the damned truth. People take notice when you gift yourself to them moment by moment. One word that comes to mind is charisma.
You don’t have to be the biggest cheese-dick in the room to display charisma, but you do have to be present to the thoughts and feelings of people you are with. I’ve seen demure people who were plain and reserved that had more charisma than the cheese-artists you’ll see at any given frat party. Simply being there, attuned to other’s feelings, and engaged is enough to tell anyone that you are valuable. Acting this way will let others know that you value them. In a relationship, presence is the most valuable currency you can exchange.
And so proceeds: 5 tips for massive presence in your relationships.
1-If you have to have your cell phone on you, keep it silent.
There is no single greater turnoff than a person having their head stuck up their digital ass when you want to connect with them. Your frenemies on social media can wait for you to comment on their Christopher Walken cat meme.
Tempting, but you’re present-ass is gonna have to wait
Your spouse, or friend, or whoever needs your attention now cannot wait. They need your human connection in this very moment. They need to know that you care, that you are aware of their feelings, that you want to be with them and that you love them. When your technology takes precedence, you are telling the person you are with the opposite of what they need to hear. You may think that isn’t the message being conveyed while dicking around on the phone, and it may not be your intent. But one thing is for sure: Actions speak louder than words.
Take this quote from Einstein-
“I fear the day that technology will surpasses our human interaction. We will have a generation of idiots.”
Can you see how freakishly accurate that statement was? Einstein was a smart man and he knew the importance of human connection. He could see the writing on the wall decades before pocket supercomputers were even imagined.
If you want to connect more deeply and meaningful with the people that you love in this moment, ditch your phone. Emails, status updates, Instatwitterbooktagram…that shit can wait. Your presence is needed now.
2. Schedule at least 15 minutes of alone time per day.
Alone time doesn’t require any yoga pants or full lotuses. The easiest way to make room for this is to keep your eyes closed when you first awake.
Unless you happen to wake up like this by default, in which case you’ll have to carve out 15 minutes somewhere else.
Use this time to get your shit together. If your shit isn’t together, then you’ll be distracted throughout the day trying to tie up loose ends. If you take 15 minutes to tie up the loose ends in your mind, your shit will be together. When your shit is together, you can focus on the moment as it unfolds through the day instead of the mess in your mind.
Clear your mind in the morning by setting your focus. What do I need to accomplish today? What didn’t I finish yesterday? What significance does cowboy Jesus riding a velociraptor hold for my life?
Chances are, this will accurately describe at least one of your dreams…Creepy
What is this feeling that I’m feeling? Why am I feeling this way? How can I change my thoughts to act appropriately on this feeling? How do I diffuse tension with the person who is acting like a flaming dickmonster to me? These are all good questions to ask so that you don’t have to be bothered by them throughout your day.
Another important aspect of your alone time is intention setting. What kind of human being do you want to be like today? Here are some examples from my personal file: I am fiercely independent. I am living my dream. I am attentive to others needs. I am fully present with everyone I meet today. I give myself permission to learn as much as I can and to grow in value to myself and to others. I give myself permission to be the difference maker in the lives of many others. I am humble enough to admit when I am wrong and confident enough to persist when I’m right.
This is a small sample you can elaborate on and personalize. Figuring out what you want to be is the biggest distraction of all time because when you can’t be yourself, there’s just too much to be. Setting your intentions and getting your shit together first thing in the morning will help you to be massively present all throughout the day.
3. Remind yourself of how present you are throughout the day.
If you feel yourself slipping away, pinch yourself, bitch-slap yourself if you have to, do whatever it takes to come back to the present moment. It’s easy to get wrapped in other’s bullshit drama. It’s easy to worry about loose ends you have no power to control in the present moment, but don’t let these things pull you away. You have things to do and people to please that can only be accomplished in the now.
Tattoo this meme on your forearm…It helps
If you remind yourself that you are present and in control of your thoughts in this moment, then your shit is automatically together. Pat yourself on the back, or toosh if you prefer, then tell yourself what a boss you are.
It may not seem like much, but it makes all the difference in the farking world. When you’re talking to your significant other and things get heated, you can either, (A-fly off the handle like a doucheball and lose the respect of your spouse along with your dignity. Or, (B-remind yourself to be present and to see where the other person is coming from without judgment. Heck, you might even muster the wherewithal to ask yourself what inside of you is responsible for how you feel toward your spouse.
This might not even seem related to sex, but I think everything is related to sex.
I guarantee your sheets will burn up if you can be massively present with your wife. Nothing is sexier than saying, “You are important to me” with your actions. Conversely, nothing will come off sleazier than saying “You’re important”, only to act incongruously. Check. Yo. Shit.
4. Plan your week with your spouse.
This one is related to your special 15 minutes of alone time, but scaled up and partnered. This is where you get “our shit” together. Figure out exactly what it is that you need to accomplish together so those niggling loose ends aren’t haunting you throughout the week.
What’s worse than nagging and bickering?
This thing from the Never Ending story is worse…Still haunts my dreams
When you make a dedicated plan and look ahead to solve problems, those loose ends disappear. Voila! Now you are both more present in the week and can spend time either relaxed or, in action and making shit happen. Nagging, bickering, bitching, complaining… those are all choices. They aren’t inevitabilities in relationships, like most assume.
They are choices that take you and your spouse out of the moment. This moment, things are good. This moment, you are a human being who is deserving of respect and patience, just like your partner. Any other bullshit that you bring into the equation is false and wholly not present. If you plan your week together with your spouse, you will be more present and available for intimacy. Bottom line.
5. Kick to the hills!
This is my Tennessee miner way of saying, “go outside”. I can’t help it, my Dad is a wannabe cowboy; the vernacular rubs off. Lonesome Dove, Louis L’amour, Michael Martin Murphy, all that crap. He even says “crick” for creek. (End personal tangent)
Go outside. Our electromagnetic system is intrinsic with that of the earth. The earth puts out a certain electromagnetic frequency, as does your body. Before the technology revolution, no one thought of this and it wasn’t an issue. People’s brains and hearts and emotions were more or less harmonized with the earth. Today we have no such luck.
Everywhere we go we are bombarded by EMFs that disturb the harmonizing frequency of 7.83 Hz, also known as the Schumann Resonance. Wifi and cell towers all pump out thousands of Hz that disrupt our connection to the earth and to the moment.
My last tip on being massively present is to get outside. Ground yourself. Be among the trees and river and wild things. Reconnect with the earth. Famous thinkers from Aristotle to Gandhi have sought respite in the outdoors for inspiration. You can only be inspired in the moment. If you need to unwind from a long workweek or stressful office situation, take your hunny buns (or sugar pie, or pumpkin bread, or whatever the hell your sweet names are) for a harmonizing walk in the wild. Go camping overnight. Find your presence in the place that presence was made; in nature.
I know you are expecting a sex-gue (portmanteau of sex and segue; clever, I know), so here it is: The ancient Irish held the act of sex so sacred that they refused to do it indoors. Good vibrations were invented in nature, so it only makes sense to take the big nasty to the great outdoors. Instead of shaking your sheets, why not try shaking the damn pinecones from the treetops? Just make sure there aren’t any voyeuristic bears around to get their jollies off.
There are thousands of other ways to keep present to yourself and your loved ones. The tips I’ve mentioned are simply the most practical ones that don’t involve isolation in subterranean caves, self-flagellation, or other extreme measures. Thanks for having fun with me! Be good to yourself and to the ones you love. You are needed to be present, so don’t diminish your importance- you are a gift!
I regard intimacy as the closeness that keeps relationships together. Because of how highly social we are, we need a substantial amount of intimacy to keep our relationships together. The deeper our bonds of intimacy are, the more we are connected to our families and communities. When bonds of intimacy weaken, our families and communities fly apart.
Now, for such an important thing as intimacy, we’ve been taught surprisingly little about how it works and what goes to make it. So, I’ve come up with some questions that will help you to determine the best ways to increase intimacy in your relationships.
1– Is this in my best interest? Is this in the best interest of my family and children? Is this in the best interest of my future?
2– Am I doing the best that I can do in this moment and in this relationship? Am I learning more about what I have to offer through this relationship? Am I freer to give of myself through this relationship?
3– Am I committing more to the person I’m with or the feeling I get through that person? If I couldn’t feel anything from this person, would their actions alone be worth sticking around for?
Intimacy is less of a feeling and more of an action. The amazing feelings accompanied with intimacy are driven by the actions of a person. So, if the necessary intimate actions aren’t abundant in your relationship, the feelings will fade. (The actions of intimacy are detailed later- read on!)
4– Is the way I’m relating to my partner helping to strengthen my human connection? Do I sacrifice connection with my family, friends or my community to maintain relations with my partner?
The only thing we’re asked to sacrifice in relationships is fleeting pleasures, and that is only so we can build lasting happiness. If your relationships are reducing your connection with family, friends and community, please reconsider your goals within them.
5– Am I living in transcendent happiness or conditional pleasure? Am I dependent 0n my partner for happiness? Do I find myself wishing my partner would change to accommodate my desires?
If you become dependent on others for your happiness, they will let you down and you will blame them; This has a negative impact on intimacy. If you are dependent on yourself for happiness, you can appreciate the treasures that others bring into your life while always having control of your outcome.
6– Am I freer to love and thrive through my sexuality? Have I gone against my own intuition to achieve sexual gratification? Do I battle uncertainty and unease when it comes to my sexual relationships?
Sexual relationships aren’t the place for uncertainty and insecurity, for sure. Sexual relationships lead to the creation of new life, which has profound need for certainty and security. Sexual relationships are highly bonding, so it is unwise to bond with insecurity and uncertainty.
I know, this has not-so-subtle undertones of responsibility and obligation (gasp). We have been taught to run from sexual responsibility so that we can invest heavily in the passing pleasure that ultimately destroys our happiness. To me, that idea is passé. It doesn’t serve us, so I choose to move on and embrace the freedom of responsibility.
7– Are my relationships strengthening my community or are they weakening it? Am I brought closer to my community and the ones I love through my romantic relationships?
8– Do I believe that humans have a right to lasting happiness and fulfillment in relationships? If so, do I feel like I’m capable? If I don’t feel capable, what things could I do to change that? If I don’t believe in such a right, how might my family history have shaped that belief? How might my culture have shaped that belief?
9– How can I plan to maximize my success in relationships? What beliefs and practices must I engage in to provide my best self to the relationships I desire? What important areas have I overlooked when it comes to my success in relationships?
Just like anything else as a human being, relationship success requires planning. If you aren’t actively setting and achieving goals with your partner, you are passively awaiting the dissolution of that relationship.
Some common areas that people overlook when entering and engaging in relationships are many of these questions that you’ve reviewed. Another important area is family history: What is their family like? How do they get along? More importantly, what is your family like? What embedded patterns might you have to overcome to achieve freedom and success in your relationships?
10– Am I free to sustain a committed and happy relationship, or, am I bound to conditional pleasure? If I am bound to conditional pleasure, how can I free myself? What are some indicators of freedom and happiness in relationships?
One important indicator is Sexual Freedom. People who are free sexually are people who don’t have to worry about any part of their sexuality. People who are free sexually are clear of any worries of STDs. They have no concept of ‘Pregnancy Scare’, because they embrace and respect their procreative capacity. They are free to love fearlessly and courageously with their bodies, and that doesn’t happen by accident.
*Important to note is that freedom as a human is brought about by planning. If you don’t plan extensively and effectively for your relationships you will be bound to unintended consequences like : unplanned children, STDs, diminishing intimacy, guilt at wishing your partner would change, waning commitment, etc.
Intimacy is the most important part of freedom in relationships, so, let’s take a closer look at it.
For a working definition, intimacy is the closeness that keeps relationships, families and communities together. Incredibly, real intimacy is something that you plan for and it can permeate every aspect of our lives, not just our sexuality. There are certain factors that you have to build and maintain to achieve intimacy, especially in sexual relationships. If you neglect those areas, you will falter and search for intimacy’s counterfeit in the arms of people you do not know.
Intimacy requires trust, respect, admiration, edification, humility and growth. In order to be intimate with someone, you have to be comfortable. But, just because you are comfortable with someone doesn’t mean you are intimate.
People lose intimacy in their relationships when they become frustrated and agitated at all of the ways the feel toward their partner. It is impossible to feel comfortable around someone whom you are routinely angry at, bored with, frustrated at, disappointed by, etc. And, if you aren’t comfortable, you cannot be intimate.
What is not widely known or acknowledged is our capability in choosing and transforming those emotions which determine our status of comfort and intimacy.
Two Options, One Solution
There are two options at the point of decreased intimacy, but only one real solution. One option is to dismiss the importance of the relationship and seek out comfort in someone you know nothing about. This is labeled as an option because it is not the solution. Choosing this option will perpetuate the cycle, leading to more loss of intimacy and more broken relationships. It is destructive to relationships, which is destructive to families and the community. You can change your definition of brokenness or failure, which most people are wont to do. Or, you can choose a solution.
The other option is also the solution. The solution is to regard your spouse as the mirror to your deepest inner world. When you do this, you realize that it is not them you are angry with or disappointed by, but only yourself. When you do this, you feel no guilt at wishing the other person to change, but only empowerment to change the situation yourself. The thoughts go from, “What can they do?” to “What can I do?” With the first thought, you are helpless and hopeless. With the second, you are in control and in charge of your feelings and destiny.
Angry? Annoyed? Disappointed? Bored? Frustrated? Infuriated? How much better is it to be in charge of changing those emotions, rather than waiting for someone to change to accommodate you? How much more intimate can you be with someone who you regard as the key to your growth? How much more imitate can you be with someone who helps you become the man or woman you are capable of being? How much greater can intimacy be when both partners are able to express their emotions freely without fear of rejection or attack?
This is why humility, trust, respect, admiration and growth are so critical to intimacy. Without them, there is no freedom or comfort to express your deepest self. After all, the word intimacy comes from the Latin word intimus, which means: inmost, innermost. Now it is easy to see what intimacy’s counterfeit is. If it isn’t the inmost or innermost, it is not intimacy.
The key difference maker is your perception. It is your choice to perceive a situation as a gateway to personal growth, or as just another excuse to feel a certain way towards someone. Either way, you will get what you are looking for.
My simplest advice for increasing intimacy: Question your emotions. Rather than blindly accepting the fact that someone else is making you feel a certain way, ask, “Is this feeling a reflection of something inside of me?” If that feeling does stem from your inner world, you would never know if you didn’t ask the question first. If you do ask the question, you are the one who has the power to answer it and change it.
Intimacy is important. The more social the animal becomes, the more it relies on intimacy to maintain relationships and social structure. When we look at other creatures, we feel lucky at the deep and rich connection that we get to experience sexually and otherwise, but this capacity for intimacy is a privilege.
When we regard intimacy is just another drug that we can get high off of, everyone loses; the community loses. When we take responsibility for the privilege of creating intimacy and sharing it with our families, everyone wins; the community wins. If you ask these questions for yourself and your relationships, you will be taking direct responsibility for the intimacy in your life. When you ask these questions, you, your relationships, your family and your community will all come out with a big win.
A note from the author:
Most relationship experts would have you accept their words as doctrine, but I don’t want to be your voice. I want to help you find your voice so that you don’t have to listen to anyone else who could lead you off the cliff. I want you to live a life of beautiful simplicity. I want you to be able to shed the confusion and complexity that we have come to associate with modern romance. So, I ask you the questions that only you can answer to transform your life.
Have any questions for me? Please get in touch!
New post for the Good Men Project!
When it comes to ideas for self-improvement, modern man Daniel Dowling turns to the tried and true. And so can you.
We’ve all heard ‘em before. They’re old as sin and common as hydrogen, but they’re all true. We’ve heard these old sayings so many times that we repel them, like water from a duck’s back. But, if we take another look with a curious attitude, they can do a lot for us. Let’s revisit some of these old-but-good-’uns and allow them to inspire our lives.
1. Do one good deed a day
This one isn’t just for Boy Scouts; it’s for man scouts too. Following this simple guideline will keep you attentive to others’ needs and connected to your community. Doing good things for other people is what good men do best. So, set a daily alert: One thing to do for another that isn’t attached to your interests. In this one deed you will find persistence, integrity, selflessness, thoughtfulness, kindness, creativity, and dare I say, sheer manliness. This one thing will keep you occupied and useful to others for the rest of your life, which is every man’s dream.
2. Practice like you preach
Don’t advise others to do a thing until you’ve integrated it into your identity.
I’m guilty of disobeying this one occasionally. But, the feelings of guilt are always a reminder to get back to congruity. We are strong, virtuous, loyal and influential men of integrity. Many people look up to us for inspiration and direction in their lives. We have a responsibility to guide these young men and women to meaning and significance, but it’s also a privilege. There is nothing that I value more than being a role model and difference maker in the lives of others, but it comes at the cost of eternal vigilance. Don’t advise others to do a thing until you’ve integrated it into your identity.
3. Patience is a virtue
This one often conjures up a 90-year-old butterscotch candy-chewing man with a cane, waiting in line at the bank, but patience is more profound than that. Patience is an extraordinary combination of gentleness, firmness, hope, loyalty, resilience and strength wrapped up in one common word.
Patience is helping your four-year-old spell out the word ste-go-saur-us a hundred times before he gets it right, and loving every minute of it.
Patience is weathering an emotional flurry from the woman you love most while showing her just how much she can depend on you. Patience is helping your four-year-old spell out the word ste-go-saur-us a hundred times before he gets it right, and loving every minute of it. Patience is seeing your dreams through to reality while tending to your family and work. Patience is what every good woman looks for in a lasting relationship with a man. I think boring ole’ patience just got a lot sexier.
4. Love is more than a feeling
If the band ‘Boston’ didn’t ruin this one for you, maybe your mom did when you were dating in high school. But, it’s true; love is a state of being and an action. A feeling is not always a state of being. For example, I can feel good all day but not actually be good. I can also feel lowly and unappreciated when I’m actually respected and valued in my community.
If you’re worried about not feeling enough love for somebody, then shift your focus to being love to that person.
Feelings come and go, but reality is consistent and built from your actions. If you’re worried about not feeling enough love for somebody, then shift your focus to being love to that person. It’s amazing how changing your actions can also change your feelings. Feeling hopeless? Give hope to someone else. Feeling useless? Get up and be useful in the unique ways that makes you you. Be a man. Be love.
5. Try, try again
This one might as well be called, “Trite and trite again.” But really, isn’t triteness up to our perception? No matter how many times it is said, never giving up will always lead to your greatest success. That is, unless you are attempting a toxic relationship for the fifth time …. Might want to call that one quits! (I should know…)
Have you heard about the gold miner who stopped three feet short of a multimillion dollar payload? Don’t let that guy be you. If you are fully passionate about a thing, if you’ve decided that this will be your mark on the world, and if you’ve given it all you’ve got … keep going. The greatest success always comes a step or two after your biggest defeat. Try, try again.
Beauty and truth are more common than we think, but the willingness to seem them is rare indeed. I hope this article has inspired you to take more gems like the ones here and make them your own.
– See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/5-old-style-ways-to-be-a-better-modern-man-fiff/#sthash.Inh0CkkW.dpuf