We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land. It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other’s opposite and complement. Hermann Hesse

“I went from Baby Duck to Dom Perignon”. Wouldn’t you like that to be how your spouse describes their relationship with you? A fellow Toastmaster said he heard an older gentleman describe his relationship with his late wife this way. They had forty-three years together.

I’m assuming from the story this gentleman didn’t meet her in his youth. It is a great thing to be lucky in love. To love and be loved is what we search for. The songs, poems, and stories are about finding and sometimes keeping love. The happy ever after is promised but no one tells us how to do it.

Women’s deepest fundamental desire is to feel secure. Men’s deepest fundamental desire is to feel respected. In How To Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It the author tells us the worst thing a man does to a woman is leave her alone but married. The worst thing a woman does to a man is to shame him.

Research author, Jo Robinson of Hot Monogamy interviewed fifteen hundred couples she found surprising pieces of information.

Most women do not understand how much it pleases a man to please a woman. Women see the threat of physical abuse from men but not their ability to evoke shame in men. Women often interpret withdrawn men as uncaring when the men are overwhelmed by the criticism and unhappiness of their partners.

What do you think brings out the best in your man? Do you think it’s encouraging, uplifting, complimenting, appreciating, being grateful and happy, or criticizing, finding fault, and nagging him? It is much easier to cause shame than we think. Tearing down someone is easy, building them up is what we need to do if we want them to become what we and they know, they should be.

Men don’t realize when they leave women out of important decisions she feels alone and isolated. An example in the book is a man comes home from work one day and says, “that’s it, I’m opening up a distributorship with Jim.” He thought he was just making a business decision, one that would be good for his family, wife, everyone. His wife felt this was the beginning of the end. Her input was not important. He risked everything without talking to her. His wife was left alone in her dreams, instead of being part of their dreams.

The truest form of love is how you behave toward someone, not how you feel about them. Steve Hall

Relationship expert John Gottman says when he was trying to get a book deal the man he was talking to said: “give me your best advice in one minute”. John Gottman said, “talk to your wife about her dreams.” The man hurried out of the office, to talk to his wife about her dreams and John Gottman got the book deal.

My mother said, “it’s the little things.” I’ve reflected on that a lot since she said it. It applies to everything. If we look after the little things the big things look after themselves. Every marriage breakdown can probably be traced back to some little thing that wasn’t dealt with, that grew, morphed and became the elephant in the room. It takes courage to deal with things.

We may feel attacked when our partner wants to deal with a “little thing” which quickly morphs into a bigger thing until once resolved becomes a “little thing” again. A marriage that works will have many of these. We may look back and see a defining moment, it could have gone either way. Not dealing with it doesn’t make it better. Dealing with things as they arise, in our marriage, with our children, with the tax man is the only way through. We pull the covers over our head at our peril.

I’m betting the gentleman that said his relationships went from Baby Duck to Dom Perignon had a few things to deal with in forty-three years. Part of happily ever after is dealing with things as they come up, meeting each other’s fundamental needs, and keeping each other’s love tanks full. Loving someone fully is not for the faint of heart, it isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.

“When you find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will stand in front of you when other’s cast stones, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who will hold your hand when your sick, who thinks your pretty without makeup, the one who turns to his friends and say, ‘that’s her’, the one that would bear your rejection because losing you means losing his will to live, who kisses you when you screw up, watches the stars and names one for you and will hold and rock that baby for hours so you can sleep…..you marry him all over again.”
― Shannon Alder

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Hot Monogamy: Essential Steps to More Passionate, Intimate Lovemaking Paperback – Large Print, Jun 6 2012