--By Harold Bessell, Ph.D.

         Throughout time, each man & woman has had his or her own opinion of what love is, & isn't. Paul Popenoe, a marriage counsellor with extensive experience, said, "Love is a mysterious visitation, which comes out of nowhere into the here & takes hold of you--just like the measles."
         I've found that love is a combination of two separate but equally important parts:
Romantic love, or "chemistry," & emotional maturity. These two elements together make for the lasting true love of which we all dream. Yet when these two separate elements are combined in improper or unequal portions, they make for unhappy love affairs, miserable marriages, & divorce statistics.
         Romantic attraction is an invisible force, like magnetism, gravity & electricity. You can't see it, you can't touch it, you can't smell it, but you recognise it by its effects. Romantic attraction cannot be created, because it's an invisible force, relating to each individual's ability to be attracted to another specific individual. It is not necessarily reciprocated; there are no rules or reasons that explain its existence. I may be attracted to Mary. Mary may or may not be attracted to me. Romantic attraction is either there or not there. And if it's real, it will last forever. We do not know how to create romantic attraction nor do we know how to remove it.
         Emotional maturity, on the other hand, is a very different aspect of true love. Maturity can always be improved & enriched. Luckily for all of us, we may begin in a relationship as immature individuals & can improve that relationship by gaining maturity.
         Many of the people who divorce have been the victims of infatuation. They married in haste, often without enough experience to be able to tell the difference between true love & infatuation. There is one big, all-important difference. Those wonderful feelings that tell you this person was made for you don't last with infatuation. With true love, the feelings not only last but can deepen.
         Infatuation will probably wear off in 90 to 120 days if the partners in the love match see each other as often as possible & really get to know each other. This means they should spend as much time as possible with each other--perhaps two or three times during the week & many weekends. With this much time together, the excitement will wear thin around the edges by the third or fourth month. If your feelings don't weaken after this much time together, it looks like you've got romantic attraction on your side.

Sex as a Special Kind of Infatuation. Dan, who came to see me when he was 29, said that he married while he was in college--he was 20 & his wife 19. She was physically attractive; he was a virgin. When he met Peggy & they became physically involved, he thought he had found Heaven. He was sure these wonderful feelings meant he was in love. In one sense he was in love, but he was in love with sex, not with Peggy. As an inexperienced youth, he could not know the difference.
         Believing he was in love with Peggy, he married her &, for two years, everything seemed great. Peggy was in love with Dan in the sense of true romantic chemistry, & this was one of the reasons why their sexual relationship was so outstandingly satisfying. After their second year, Dan began to feel that something was missing. The sex was still excellent, but Dan could find no pleasurable involvement with his wife. He found himself looking forward only to their sex life together & nothing else. He thought he must have some kind of psychological problem, & went for therapy. After seeing several therapists over a period of years, he ended up in my office.
         Dan & Peggy's story is a common one. Many, many people confuse sex with true love. Sex attracts, but physical attraction alone cannot bind two people happily together for very long. The mysterious energy that we call romantic attraction is only partially related to sex, but it is this energy that is needed to sustain a lifetime of happiness together.

The Test of Time. If your relationship is basically as good six months later as it was the day you met, you probably have the basis of a long-term relationship. Romantic attraction does not wane over time. When you have the real thing, nothing can or will make it go away. Unhappy experiences or frustration or disappointment can squeeze romantic attraction down for a period of time, but romantic attraction can always be restored with caring attention.

Sex & the Proper Partner.
         Can lovemaking really be as good after several years as it was in the beginning?
         Most romantically involved couples who are reasonably mature report richer & more rewarding lovemaking that deepens as time goes by.
         Dr. William Appleton, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist, researched the frequency of sexual intimacy of couples who said their marriages were working. Two percent never had sex; 8% had sex less than once a month; 23% had sex once weekly; 31% had sex two to three times weekly; 12% had sex 4-5 times a week; & only 1% had sex daily. Yet each couple reported that the marriage was working & that the "emotional context" of the marriage was more important than frequency of sex. Sex is very nice, but it's not all there is to a good relationship.
         Can you be in love without having a hot & heavy sexual relationship?
         Definitely yes. There are great variations among people in terms of sex drive or interest. If two people have a genuinely low sex drive, they can be very happy with each other because they like, trust, & respect each other. In fact, the companionship factor is typically the biggest factor in most relationships.
         If your sex life is suffering, it may well be one of the first clues to a problem of one-way romance in your relationship. The romantically excited partner usually feels that sex is great, but the partner who is not romantically excited will feel that something is missing. Improved sexual technique usually will not help, because what is missing is a sufficient degree of romantic interest.

         What is this magnetic force? This excitement? This inexplicable energy that draws two people together & leaves them convinced that they were made for each other & that there is no one else in the World quite as perfect for them? Some call it love; some call it neurosis. I call it romantic attraction.
         Romantic attraction is the sense of excitement that you experience about another person, that indefinable, powerful desire to associate with him or her in a very intimate way, a desire to be special & valuable in that person's life. When you feel a high degree of romantic attraction for another person, you want to be with that person as often as possible. The time you are apart can be agony for you. This is the person you choose not only to sleep with, but also to wake up with, to go places with, to be your partner in many things, big & small.
         Are women more interested in love than men?
         No. That is a myth in our culture that Lord Byron fostered when he wrote, "Man's love is of man's life a thing apart, 'Tis woman's whole existence." The belief was that women wanted love & men wanted sex, but that's wrong, all wrong. Men want love every bit as much as women do, & they want both kinds of love--romance & caring.
         In strong mutual romantic attraction, there is a shared sense of excitement in each other's companionship & affection. When accompanied by high emotional maturity, it is a caring, quiet understanding, a mutual confidence, a sharing & forgiving. It is loyalty through good times & bad; it settles for less than perfection & makes allowance for human weakness. It is experienced as the desire to spend time with another person, to be included in his or her world, to be wholeheartedly & unconditionally accepted by that person. To have the other person's deep & affectionate interest is as paramount as to be respected, appreciated, & admired.
         As we've already seen, romantic interest cannot be differentiated from infatuation in the early stages of a relationship. The feelings of pleasurable excitement are the same, but infatuation usually collapses within the first few months of a new relationship. True romantic interest is most likely a deeper response. It very often occurs on the first meeting. But so does infatuation, so be careful!

Are You a Romantic Virgin?
         Romantic virgins operate out of a lack of experience. They are not willingly deceiving themselves or their lovers. They marry someone not knowing that more powerful feelings exist. Romantic virgins just haven't met the right person yet. They have never experienced true romantic attraction.
         Romantic virgins make mistaken matches or marriages because they are innocent as virgins. They just don't know any better. Later, if they meet the person they are truly romantically attracted to, they will say, "I just didn't know these kinds of feelings existed." Only then will the "mistake" be realised. The best thing a romantic virgin can do is to wait & watch. One of my patients said, "I've heard that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the one who turns into a prince!"

Mutual Romantic Attraction
         On its own, the Romantic Attraction Questionnaire (see following chart) is a very useful diagnostic tool. A couple may compare their RAQ scores & immediately see why the course of true love has seemed rather lopsided & unbalanced. One-way love is a serious problem for which there is no real cure. Keep in mind that RAQ ratings need not be identical to be high enough for a good love match. If Maria rates her feelings for Jules at 227 & Jules rates his feelings for Maria at 291, they still have a very good match.

Borderline Romantic Attraction
         The maximum score on the Romantic Attraction Questionnaire is 300. I've had a few people score 290 or above & have seen numerous scores in the 280 range. But I don't consider a case to be borderline until the score is between 200 & 220. In borderline cases, you should be very careful not to make snap decisions. I've had many, many borderline cases where I've recommended to the patients or students that they stay married or proceed with marriage plans, making improvements in their personal maturity & developing a better attitude of appreciation for the benefits they do have in their relationship.
Caring treatment is essential. How someone treats you is the single most important feature of your relationship, just a shade more important than romantic interest, if you must choose between the two. Unless you are a masochist, you should be teamed with a partner who treats you the way you want, & like, being treated.

Using the Romantic Attraction Questionnaire
         In taking the test, rate how strongly you feel toward your partner/lover/spouse on each of the statements, awarding a 5 as the highest level of feeling & 1 as the lowest. Perfectionists have difficulty making ratings because they tend to see 5 as perfect. In this test, 5 only means very high.
         Obviously, in order to score accurately, you must understand the statements. I have tried to make them as easy to understand as possible. But, invariably, students or patients tell me they don't understand a few of them. If you come to a statement you don't understand, don't worry. Rate it a number 3. The rating scales have been developed so that a few middle scores of 3 will not affect your score in any significant way. Avoid rating when you are in the dumps, mad at your lover, or feeling the pressure of the workaday world a bit too heavily.
         The Love Test is not a test you pass or fail. There are no right or wrong answers. The questions are only a way of measuring feelings or behaviour.

         The Romantic Attraction Questionnaire doesn't differentiate between genuine,
long-lasting romantic interest & infatuation. Research strongly suggests that as many as six out of seven times a strong romantic interest can evaporate or be turned off permanently within three to four months.
         Another factor to be considered before trying to interpret RAQ scores is that the Romantic Attraction Questionnaire can be sensitive to our moods. For example, if we are angry, sad, or frightened, then our ratings could fluctuate as much as 20 or 30 points. Thus, we may register a relatively low score because of our present mood.

Score Ranges.

         260-300 -- Romantic attraction is very strong.
         220-260 -- Romantic attraction is strong.
         200-220 -- Romantic attraction is borderline.
         180-200 -- Romantic attraction is weak.
         Below 180 -- Little, if any, romantic interest.

         It is important to make repeated ratings on the RAQ. Assuming that a first rating gives an accurate picture can be dangerous. Sometimes the first rating is the highest or lowest of a group of ratings made over several weeks' time. The range between the average & the highest of the repeated ratings is most likely to be the truest measure of romantic interest.


         Instructions: Rate how strongly you feel toward your partner/lover/spouse on each of the following sixty statements. Circle one of the five numbers to the right of each statement, with 5 indicating the strongest feeling & 1 indicating the weakest. Each partner should fill out a Romantic Attraction Questionnaire.

         Date:____________________________________        Rater:________________________

         Total Score:_____________________________        Partner:_______________________

         Low      High
         1. I feel very lucky to know this person.        1        2        3        4        5
         2. It felt like there was something unusual & very special between us
         at our very first meeting       1        2        3        4        5
         3. We often have a very good time even when we are not doing anything    1        2        3        4        5
         4. I miss this person a great deal when we are apart.    1        2        3        4        5
         5. This person's approval is very important to me.       1        2        3        4        5
         6. I get a thrill from just looking at this person.      1        2        3        4        5
         7. I want this relationship to be permanent.     1        2        3        4        5
         8. I am happiest when we are together.   1        2        3        4        5
         9. Being with this person is far more important to me than where we are
         or what we are doing.   1        2        3        4        5
         10. I enjoy this person in many ways other than just sharing affection.  1        2        3        4        5
         11. I feel that we were meant for each other.    1        2        3        4        5
         12. My friend is a beautiful person.     1        2        3        4        5
         13. I enjoy planning things that we will be doing together.      1        2        3        4        5
         14. I am curious about why & how much this person is interested in me.   1        2        3        4        5
         15. I want our attraction to be mutual.  1        2        3        4        5
         16. I am no longer looking for another romantic partner.         1        2        3        4        5
         17. I get something very special from this person that I do not experi-
         ence with anyone else.  1        2        3        4        5
         18. I am willing to keep this relationship even if my friend makes no
         changes.        1        2        3        4        5
         19. I love to surprise this person with a card or a gift.        1        2        3        4        5
         20. I can forgive this person almost instantly.  1        2        3        4        5
         21. I have a feeling of excitement when we are together.         1        2        3        4        5
         22. I want to be very special in this person's life.     1        2        3        4        5
         23. I would have to search for a long time to find someone I enjoy so
         much & so consistently.         1        2        3        4        5
         24. Physical affection with this person is something very different &
         very special.   1        2        3        4        5
         25. This person is a great companion.    1        2        3        4        5
         26. My friend has an attractive personality.     1        2        3        4        5
         27. I like doing things for this person.         1        2        3        4        5
         28. Our relationship has something that is splendid & very hard to find          1        2        3        4        5
         29. This person is often on my mind.     1        2        3        4        5
         30. There is something almost mystical in our eye-to-eye contact.        1        2        3        4        5
         31. I experience unusual & pleasantly exciting feelings when I am with
         this person.    1        2        3        4        5
         32. I am very willing to continue this relationship in spite of all the  1        2        3        4        5
         33. When there are tasks to be done, I prefer that we do them together.  1        2        3        4        5
         34. I have made efforts to change in order to be more pleasing to my
         friend.         1        2        3        4        5
         35. I enjoy discussing a wide variety of subjects with this person.      1        2        3        4        5
         36. This is my most favourite person to be with.         1        2        3        4        5
         37. We have something that could be described as spiritual intimacy.     1        2        3        4        5
         38. I get a very pleasant sensation when I meet this person unexpectedly.        1        2        3        4        5
         39. I would feel jealous if my friend became strongly interested in
         another person.         1        2        3        4        5
         40. I am, or could easily become, totally committed to this relationship.        1        2        3        4        5
         41. I enjoy being with this person even when we are silent.      1        2        3        4        5
         42. I want this person to respect me for my abilities.   1        2        3        4        5
         43. When things are going well between us I have a feeling of complete-
         ness & well-being.      1        2        3        4        5
         44. It means a lot to me when my friend does something special for me.   1        2        3        4        5
         45. At times I wish my friend would know me & accept me completely.      1        2        3        4        5
         46. I would like to know what my friend finds attractive about me.       1        2        3        4        5
         47. I like to touch & be touched by this person.         1        2        3        4        5
         48. I am attracted in a way that others do not understand.       1        2        3        4        5
         49. There are so many things I wish we could do together, if only there  1        2        3        4        5
         was enough time.
         50. If criticised by others, I would defend my friend.   1        2        3        4        5
         51. I am quite willing to do things for my friend without having to know
         the reason why.         1        2        3        4        5
         52. I have a protective interest about my friend's well-being.   1        2        3        4        5
         53. The pleasure I get from this relationship is well worth the price    1        2        3        4        5
         I pay.
         54. This person has a great deal of influence over me.   1        2        3        4        5
         55. I often wonder what my friend is thinking.   1        2        3        4        5
         56. It's hard for me to say no to this person.   1        2        3        4        5
         57. I like to think up special surprises for my friend.  1        2        3        4        5
         58. I am happy when this person is pleased with me.      1        2        3        4        5
         59. This relationship is my strongest interest in life.  1        2        3        4        5
         (Editor: Next to the Lord & His service)
         60. This is the person with whom I would prefer to grow old.     1        2        3        4        5

         To obtain the Total Score, add up all of the circled scores. Enter this score at the top of the questionnaire.

         Emotional maturity is the second key--& even slightly more important than romantic attraction--to the happiness of your love relationship.
         To have the kind of lasting love we're talking about, you need to have a sufficient amount of both maturity & romantic attraction. If the romantic attraction is not there, nothing can be done to create it; we know that. But if emotional maturity is missing, the relationship need not be abandoned. Romantic attraction cannot be acquired; emotional maturity
can be acquired. Maturity comprises learned skills.
The Mature Person. Emotional maturity refers to the areas & degrees to which a person is making a successful adjustment to life. Emotionally mature people are able to cope with life's problems & challenges. They are readily in touch with their own feelings & those of other people. They cope well in a wide variety of emotionally charged situations even when fearful, angry, frustrated, or disappointed. They can ask for a raise or accept being laid off without weeks of worry or recrimination. Emotionally mature people are in touch with reality; they may have fantasies, but they are not walking around in a dream world.
         They have good insight into their own motivations. In relating to others, mature people behave in positive & constructive ways. They care about the well-being of others, recognise other people's worth, & treat others with consideration, inclusion, & respect. They call their mothers on Mother's Day. They readily make & keep friends. They share in decision making & resolve conflicts constructively.
         They take initiative & responsibility when appropriate; they plan for the future, are organised, self-reliant, & are good at problem solving. They have good self-control, are patient, reasonably neat, persevering, & willing to do their share of the work. If the dishwasher is broken, they will know where to find the warranty & will make the effort to call the dealer & to be home when the repairman arrives. They are honest, sincere, fair, & can accept blame when at fault.
You Can't Tell Maturity By Age. There are among us, men & women who have grown up biologically but remain children in the emotional maturity departments. They have entered the grown-up world as pseudo-adults; in reality they are still children who have only grown larger & have become sexually developed. They appear to be grown-up, & have been around long enough to give the appearance of & at times behave as grown-ups. However, the truth is that they are as children. In varying degrees, their deepest wish is to be taken care of.
Should you wait for your maturity to develop before you begin to look for a serious love partner?
         Both can & should be done together. Maturation goes best when you are involved with a caring person with whom there is reasonably strong mutual romantic attraction.
         I recommend you don't even try to rate the person on the Emotional Maturity Rating Form until you've known your partner for several months. You've got to know that person well enough to be able to answer the questions accurately.
Factors that influence your rating. There are several factors that could influence your rating of another person's emotional maturity, so keep them in mind before you begin to rate:
Your own emotional maturity. Emotionally mature people make more objective ratings than immature people. They tend to have fewer distortions.
Mood. Everyone is likely to be more generous in rating when enjoying a good mood. This is easily corrected by making repeated ratings & looking for the pattern or average.
Misunderstanding directions. Misunderstanding the directions is the most common reason for "wrong" scores. If you see that your ratings of your partner don't tally at all with your perception of him or her, go back through the instructions & rerate.
The rater is a perfectionist. On rare occasions, the person making the rating will be a severe perfectionist & will not give a "very often" to anyone. To the extreme perfectionist, only God gets a "very often." Perfectionists should be encouraged to loosen up & relax before rerating & they will usually give more reasonable scores.
The lovers have been at war. If one or both partners are angry at each other, there will be a tendency to downgrade one another. The more immature the partner, the more downgrading. This is best corrected by having the angry person rerate the partner's behaviour in terms of a time when the relationship was going well.
Stress. Stress, illness, being over-tired or over-worked can influence your ratings.

Using the Emotional Maturity Rating Form. You & your partner may both rate each other on the 63 behavioral traits of emotional maturity. Photocopy the form, take the test & place both scores on the first page of your EMRF.

How to Interpret Your Scores.
         The Emotional Maturity Rating Form measures the emotional maturity of your partner through your own eyes. It should be kept in mind that a person may respond in a mature fashion in one situation or setting & an immature fashion in a different situation or setting.
awareness ratings means being openly honest & receptive in regard to his or her own & other people's feelings, having insight into his or her own motivation, & acting nondefensively & realistically.
Relating indicates how well a person goes about getting his or her social needs met & to what extent that person is respectful & caring about other people.
competence ratings show the extent to which a person is assertive, organised, motivated, flexible, & good at problem solving.
         There are two kinds of
integrity traits: Those that show a person's self-discipline (for example, showing self-control & coping with unpleasantness) & those of an ethical nature (for example, being truthful & accepting blame). Together, these two sets of traits reveal a person's character, the extent to which that person can be trusted.
         When you have completed the form, add up the number of ratings that you circled on the left-hand side of the stripe. These scores are low & should be totaled in each of the four major areas of emotional maturity. Almost every person has some weaknesses in his or her overall emotional maturity, & these low scores will pinpoint those areas of less strength in the mature person.
         For most practical purposes, the difference between mature & immature can be determined by the one-third rule. Immaturity is reflected by 1/3 or more of the scores on the EMRF being low. If your total low scores equal 21, an overall immaturity is indicated. An emotional immaturity in one or more of the four major areas of awareness, relating, competence, or integrity is likewise indicated by the 1/3 or more rule of thumb.

         As we've already seen, romantic attraction cannot be created, but once it exists & is accompanied by a high enough emotional maturity, a fulfilling relationship can be achieved.

Bessell's Ten Rules of Togetherness--The Ten Commandments for an Emotionally Mature Relationship.
         To help the couple who want to guide each other to emotional maturity, I have summarised the most useful guidelines for building an emotionally mature relationship.
Rule One: Never Guess/Never Assume. One of the greatest sources of trouble between couples is guessing. In our dealings with other people we are constantly making assumptions. Many, make that most, of these assumptions are wrong. You may imagine that your partner's silence means anger, disinterest, worry, pain, fear, or hopeful expectations. There probably is a different reason for the silence, but because your lover is mum, you come up with dozens of imagined reasons for the silence. Then you are up against your own imagination, your own guesses, & your mistaken assumptions.
         So if you want to avoid all this pain, misery & uncertainty, you can do one simple thing. You can ask. Develop the habit of asking. Never guess. Never assume.
Rule Two: Your Partner Is Not a Sex Object. If you want to succeed in your relationship, you must first & foremost see your partner as a human being & a companion, not as a sex object. Sex & lovemaking are only part of your relationship.
         Ask yourself if you like, trust, & respect your mate. These are the vital elements for making a long-lasting, satisfying relationship. Insisting that your partner fill only a sexual role will only limit & eventually destroy your relationship.
Rule Three: Teamwork Makes Love Work. While people live together & are married in what is supposed to be a very close relationship, they often operate in totally separate spheres of action. They may be sharing the rent, the same apartment or home, even the same bed & supposedly the same lifetimes, but they aren't really sharing at all. They are only married legally. Nothing about their individual actions marries them to the same time & space. Love only works when the partners work together as a team. Teamwork makes love work.
Rule Four: Give the Four A's Every Day. The four A's that make any successful relationship are:

Attention is everyone's most fundamental need. Attention is recognition; it shows that you care. Accept your lover as someone special to you. Give your positive endorsement of your love's personal value. Approve of your lover by reinforcing what he or she does. This assures your partner that you have a good relationship with each other. Affection is the richest kind of endorsement you can give anyone. Be sure to hug, kiss, & caress your partner often.
Rule Five: Build Common Interests. Many couples marry or unite after a whirlwind courtship during which infatuation reigned supreme. Sometime afterward--months, years, decades--they find they have less & less in common & nothing to say to each other.
         For the couple that has reasonably good maturity & feels strong romantic attraction, there are always things that they can learn to share. It just takes an open mind & a little curiosity.
Rule Six: Learn To Be A Better Lover. Lovers are made, not born. The sooner everyone learns this, the happier all lovers will be. Very few men are taught how to be considerate & affectionate with women. Very few women know much about pleasing a man until the men in their lives have shown them. The best way to learn loving is to show & tell each other. Don't be too embarrassed to ask for what pleases you. Your lover is not a mind reader.
Rule Seven: Don't Play Games. Game playing may entrap your partner, but it will never make for a happy relationship. Avoid making each other jealous; using the silent treatment; withholding sex; bargaining; keeping score; getting even; proving the other wrong; complaining to outsiders; using in-laws, parents or children in your struggle; one-upmanship with intent to outdo; trying to buy love with gifts etc.
Rule Eight: Take Risks for More Intimacy. Intimacy often means taking a risk to be close. The very word comes from the Latin root meaning "within". To be truly intimate, you must allow your partner to come within your personal boundaries, & sometimes this hurts. Of course, the rewards of intimacy are so great that it's very much worth the risk, but the risk is there.
         Everyone wants to feel that deep down inside, no matter what small mistakes you make, your lover understands you, knows the real you, & sees past whatever your mistakes are, into the real you, the intimate, secret you. But no one can accept you to that degree until he or she gets to meet & appreciate that inner, secret you.
         Practice slowly & steadily revealing yourselves to each other. It takes time to get to know someone so thoroughly that you can offer the kind of acceptance true love assures. But sharing your most private feelings & thoughts builds lasting intimacy, trust, & a happy relationship.
Rule Nine: Be Polite. The opposite side of intimacy is the tendency to feel that, once you know a person so well, you don't have to be polite or courteous. Yet, does it make any sense to be more polite with someone you are not in love with? Open the door for each other, lean over & unlock the other side of the car, hold the chair for easier sitting, help carry in the groceries. Show affection by being polite.
Rule Ten: Give as Much of Yourself as You Can. This is a very simple but essential commitment. If you give all you can of your time & love to your partner, without questions or expectations, you will be taking care of your partner & yourself.
         If your partner is truly committed to you & looks out for your well-being before his or her own, you will spontaneously get back all the love, caring, & affection you have given.
quality of the time together is what counts, much more than the quantity. One-to-one time is the ultimate in personal attention. To your lover, having your devoted & undivided attention is worth hours of competing for your recognition with the children, the office, or all the other distractions in a busy household.

One-to-One Time. Try as best you can to set aside 20 minutes of one-to-one time every day. It won't always be easy but, even if you do it only four or five times a week, it will have a positive effect on your relationship. Actually, the activity is less important than the fact that you are giving your full & serious attention to your partner.
         A word of caution. You may be tempted to use this time to confront your lover about some problem. If you yield to this temptation, you will put your partner in a difficult bind. He or she will want very much to spend the time with you, but also will want to avoid the confrontation & unpleasantness that go with it. Instead, keep this time with your lover free of criticism & controversy. Let it be a time for you & your partner to be together here & now, sharing your experiences & concerns, your needs & hopes. It is a time to show that you're genuinely interested in your partner's concerns in an intimate & private way.
         Do not confuse one-to-one time with simple togetherness, being with the kids together or with friends together. That kind of togetherness does not, cannot, give the deeply implied messages, "I care about you." "I am available to you with
all my attention."
Confrontation with Support. Confrontation is a general term for challenge, criticism, or any kind of complaint that produce some negative feelings. Loving support provides the safety of unconditional acceptance. The combination of confrontation with support has been found to be the most civilised way of dealing with conflicts.
         When confrontation accompanied by support is used consistently, your partner will not be prone to see you as an enemy, but will experience you as a close friend & supporter. The feelings you & your lover experience together during these encounters determine the kind & quality of relationship you build.
         Here are some examples of how you can give confrontation with support:
         1. "I know your tennis game was important to you. I want you to have your exercise & recreation, though it would be nice if you would show me how much you care about me by coming home on time."
         2. "I ran three errands for you, & even though I know you appreciate it, it would be nice to hear you say, `Thanks'."
         3. "I know how important it is for you to look your very best at work. It would take a lot of pressure off of me if you would get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning, so we don't have to rush to catch our train."
         4. "I know that you love me very much. You could really make your point if you would fill up the gas tank up next time you use my car on Sunday evening."
         5. "I'm glad you like our lovemaking. So do I. If you'd let me know earlier in the day what's on your mind instead of surprising me five minutes before we go to bed, you could help me enjoy it more."


         Instructions: Rate your partner/lover/spouse on each of these 63 behavioral traits in terms of how often this behaviour is observed by you: Almost never (an); sometimes (s); moderately often (mo); often (o); very often (vo). When possible, rate this person's behaviour when with you or relating to you. Every item must be rated. Circle the letter code which most accurately describes your partner's behaviour. If you do not understand the statement, circle (mo). Add up the number of ratings that you circled on the left-hand side of the stripe. These low scores should be totaled in each of the four major areas of maturity. Enter these scores on the lines below. Each of these low ratings show a probably area of immaturity.

         Date ___________________________________

         Rater __________________________________

         Maturity Scores ________________________

         Partner ________________________________

         Number of Low Awareness Scores _________

         Number of Low Relating Scores _________

         Number of Low Competence Scores ________

         Number of Low Integrity Scores _________

         1. Knowing your own feelings
         My friend is aware of & able to report his or her own
         feelings with accuracy.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         2. Knowing the feelings of others
         My friend is sensitive to & can accurately describe the
         feelings other people have.      an       s        mo       o        vo
         3. Being spontaneously expressive
         My friend is emotionally expressive in a natural &
         immediately way.         an       s        mo       o        vo
         4. Ability to discuss personal feelings
         My friend is able to discuss personal feelings with
         accuracy & is willing to do so.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         5. Coping with mixed feelings
         My friend accepts the inevitability of having mixed
         feelings & copes effectively with them.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         6. Curiosity
         My friend's behaviour is inquisitive & investigative.    an       s        mo       o        vo
         7. Getting desires met constructively
         My friend's personal desires & needs are met in con-
         structive ways.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         8. Coping with fear
         My friend is aware of his or her fearful feelings, but
         copes with the situation in effective ways.      an       s        mo       o        vo
         9. Coping with anger
         My friend is aware of his or her feelings of anger, but
         copes with the situation in effective ways.      an       s        mo       o        vo
         10.Accepting responsibility for failure
         My friend undefensively recognises & accepts his or her
         own limitations when they are the cause of failure.      an       s        mo       o        vo
         11.Coping with frustration & discouragement
         My friend is positive, persistent, & effective in resolv-
         ing feelings of frustration & discouragement.    an       s        mo       o        vo
         12.Accepting & approving of self
         My friend freely acknowledges personal limitations & still
         feels acceptable & worthy.       an       s        mo       o        vo
         13.Coping with uncertainty
         My friend accepts some degree of uncertainty as inevitable
         & retains a positive & willing attitude about dealing with
         it.      an       s        mo       o        vo
         14.Sorting out real & make-believe
         My friend readily distinguishes reality, knowing clearly
         the difference between the real & make-believe.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         15.Using imagination constructively
         My friend displays a well-developed imagination & applies
         these ideas in constructive ways.        an       s        mo       o        vo
         Number of Low Awareness Scores ___________

         1. Caring about others
         My friend is sensitive & constructively responsive to the
         needs of others.         an       s        mo       o        vo
         2. Getting attention constructively
         My friend gets his or her needs for attention met in con-
         structive ways.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         3. Earning acceptance
         My friend wins acceptance & inclusion by respecting the
         values of others.        an       s        mo       o        vo
         4. Earning approval from others
         My friend earns recognition & praise from others.        an       s        mo       o        vo
         5. Giving affectionate regard
         My friend demonstrates warm personal interest in other
         people.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         6. Being socially responsible
         My friend understands his or her ability to affect people
         for better or for worse & uses this power responsibly.   an       s        mo       o        vo
         7. Being considerate
         My friend is aware of other people's feelings & deals with
         them in considerate ways.        an       s        mo       o        vo
         8. Making friends
         My friend makes friends easily & keeps them.     an       s        mo       o        vo
         9. Coping with peer pressure
         My friend is able to resist negative peer pressure.      an       s        mo       o        vo
         10.Expressing dissatisfaction constructively
         My friend is able to express complaints or criticism in
         ways that are supportive of the other person.    an       s        mo       o        vo
         11.Reciprocating good treatment
         My friend recognises, appreciates, & voluntarily recipro-
         cates good treatment.    an       s        mo       o        vo
         12.Sharing in decision making
         My friend lives by the value of obtaining & giving others
         an equal voice in the decision-making process.   an       s        mo       o        vo
         13.Keeping promises
         My friend keeps his or her promises.     an       s        mo       o        vo
         14.Resolving conflicts constructively
         My friend, without sacrificing his or her own rights,
         uses peaceful & constructive means for resolving conflicts.      an       s        mo       o        vo
         15.Willingness to share
         My friend willingly shares recognition & possessions.    an       s        mo       o        vo
         16.Becoming more likeable
         My friend appreciates & constructively uses criticism in
         order to become a more likeable person.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         17.Coping with mixed feelings towards people
         My friend recognises, accepts, & deals constructively in
         disappointments & disagreements with other people.       an       s        mo       o        vo
         18.Responding well to opposite sex
         My friend is equally courteous to members of both sexes.         an       s        mo       o        vo
         Number of Low Relating Scores ___________

         1. Applying energy & effort
         My friend is willing to apply energy & effort.   an       s        mo       o        vo
         2. Using knowledge & skills
         My friend demonstrates that he or she has acquired know-
         ledge & skills.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         3. Being planful
         My friend behaves in planful & organised ways.   an       s        mo       o        vo
         4. Showing initiative
         My friend initiates & implements ideas & projects        an       s        mo       o        vo
         5. Showing creativity
         My friend demonstrates original & inventive ways of doing things         an       s        mo       o        vo
         6. Behaving with realistic expectations
         My friend's expectations & goals are realistic   an       s        mo       o        vo
         7. Showing self-reliance
         My friend relies upon his or her own resources to meet
         objectives.      an       s        mo       o        vo
         8. Willingly takes on challenge
         My friend is willing & eager to try his or her abilities
         with new tasks.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         9. Showing appropriate caution
         My friend anticipates & avoids serious dangers.          an       s        mo       o        vo
         10.Showing self-confidence
         My friend shows an attitude of assurance when coping with
         new situations.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         11.Being responsible
         My friend, without being reminded, fulfills obligations.         an       s        mo       o        vo
         12.Being motivated to succeed
         My friend shows interest in & motivation for success     an       s        mo       o        vo
         13.Being goal-directed
         My friend has highly defined goals that are pursued con-
         structively.     an       s        mo       o        vo
         14.Showing high standards
         My friend values & pursues high levels of accuracy & skill
         in his or her work.      an       s        mo       o        vo
         15.Being cooperative
         My friend combines his or her talents well with those of
         others to achieve a common benefit.      an       s        mo       o        vo
         16.Showing flexibility
         My friend is willing to consider new information & try new
         ways under changing circumstances in order to pursue the
         same original goal.      an       s        mo       o        vo
         17.Developing personal interests
         My friend has strong personal interests & pursues them.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         18.Solving problems effectively
         My friend is organised & effective in his or her problem-
         solving methods.         an       s        mo       o        vo
         Number of Low Competence Scores ___________

         1. Showing self-control
         My friend's controls prevail over impulse.       an       s        mo       o        vo
         2. Waiting willingly
         My friend waits with a realistic & calm attitude.        an       s        mo       o        vo
         3. Being truthful in statements
         My friend is natural, spontaneous, & sincere when describing
         events.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         4. Coping with unpleasantness
         My friend shows a positive attitude about coping with un-
         pleasantness, pain or discomfort.        an       s        mo       o        vo
         5. Being persevering
         My friend finishes what is started.      an       s        mo       o        vo
         6. Being fair
         My friend gives equal consideration to the needs of self
         & others.        an       s        mo       o        vo
         7. Being neat
         My friend behaves in neat & orderly ways.        an       s        mo       o        vo
         8. Being reliable
         My friend consistently fulfills his or her commitments.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         9. Being genuine in behaviour
         My friend's behaviour is natural & sincere.      an       s        mo       o        vo
         10.Accepting blame when at fault
         My friend undefensively recognises & accepts responsibility
         for his or her own misconduct.   an       s        mo       o        vo
         11.Respecting property rights of others
         My friend deals in respectful ways with the personal pro-
         perty rights of others.  an       s        mo       o        vo
         12.Willingly sharing in the work
         My friend willingly carries his or her share of the work
         load.    an       s        mo       o        vo
         Number of Low Integrity Scores __________


Knowing your own feelings. Tell your partner about your good feelings & your bad feelings. Your partner will get to know you much better. There will be much less wrong guessing, less misunderstanding, less arguing, & much more empathy between you. Share that breath-catching moment when, stumbling outside to get the morning paper, you saw a dew-bedecked spiderweb.
Knowing the feelings of others. Listen, really listen, to your partner, but listen not only to the words, listen to the feelings. Try to determine if the feelings behind the words are mostly good feelings or bad feelings. You will know your partner better, communication will improve. Try not to be judgmental. Remember that a certain amount of bragging is healthy & that any complaint that is shared will be easier to take.
Being spontaneously expressive. If our parents always made it safe for us to let our feelings be known, spontaneity would never be a problem. All children, when little, are spontaneously expressive. But exuberant & screaming little children impose an emotional burden on parents, so we are "trained," "socialised," taught to be much more constrained. Later we may be asked, "How do you feel?" but by that time we have been fitted with our emotional straitjackets. Instead of being spontaneous, we say "Fine," which means "How should I know? I've been under wraps for so long." To help your partner become more spontaneous, give him or her a safe atmosphere.
Ability to discuss personal feelings. Make it safe for each of you to share your intimate thoughts, your intimate feelings. Go into these deeper waters gradually, mutually. It will build trust, understanding, & the intimacy that you need.
         Be discreet. There are a few things; very few, that your lover doesn't need or want to hear. So don't undo it all under the misguided notion that honesty is the ultimate virtue. Your caring love is the ultimate virtue. People who are brutally honest are just that, brutal. Try to make the personal pledge, "I will always listen without interruption until you are finished. I promise never to use anything you say against you. I am willing to know the real you."
Coping with mixed feelings. Almost everything in life has its good & bad sides. For every pleasure there seems to be a price. It is said that it is an ill wind indeed that blows no good at all. We learn from the pain of our mistakes. We both love & hate to get up in the morning, go to work, to solve our daily problems.
         If your lover is unhappy with you, it's not the end of the World. Accept the inevitability of both appreciating & resenting your lover sometimes.
Curiosity. Those of us who are not interested in our surroundings are not only less interesting but we are also less alive. Explore each other's thoughts, feelings, & activities. Get to really know each other. Then explore the World together & compare your reactions. Read an art book before you go to the museum, a little about opera before you go to one. Open the doors to a richer life for both of you.
Getting desires met constructively. We marry in order to be better able to meet each other's needs. One of our needs is to fulfill the unmet needs of our childhood. If we were refused an ice-cream cone, then we might like a sundae or two now, anytime, just to make up for those childhood losses. So expect to learn, & be willing to help your partner make up for some lost ground. You & your lover should discuss what you need from each other, & the ways that you can be sure that these needs will be met constructively, so that your mutual efforts will be recognised & appreciated & have no harmful side effects.
Coping with fear. Fear is a normal emotion. Its function is to protect. Crossing the street without caution could mean the end for any of us. When a fear is extreme & irrational, then instead of being protected, we are crippled. If your lover has a mild fear, you should be supportive & encouraging.
Coping with anger. Anger, like fear, is normal. It typically results from frustration, & we all know life is really full of that. It is not whether we experience anger or not that is the key to a good adjustment, it is whether our resentment is expressed in a constructive way. If we always told everybody off, we would probably end up with nobody.
         In dealing with your lover, it is wise to talk about how you frustrate each other. Then solve the problem together. One of you is bound to have a better idea than the other. Respect each other's counsel. Experiment; find a better way to deal with repeated frustrations.
Accepting responsibility for failure. Nobody's perfect. When you fail at something, it is wiser & more mature to admit your limitations than to try to find a scapegoat. Your lover will appreciate & respect you more if you show a reasonable degree of humility, objectivity, & honesty. Try saying, "I was wrong" in five different ways--the fifth will hurt a lot less than the first!
Coping with frustration & discouragement. Frustrations & disappointments are inescapable features of life. While they cannot always be avoided, we can certainly adopt a more realistic attitude toward them.
         You & your lover can help each other build a more mature attitude by reminding each other that while many things may not work out, they are still worth the effort, for without trying, nothing will work out. Help each other to become more realistic.
Accepting & approving of self. If you don't believe that you are OK (not perfect, but OK & trying harder), then when your lover shows you acceptance & approval, you will be unable to believe it. It just doesn't fit your picture of yourself. It's like someone giving us a prize or reward for something we believe we didn't do; we believe there has been some mistake. But sometimes the mistake is on our part. We could all do with a little more belief in ourselves, for none of us is as incompetent or as unworthy as we tend to think.
Coping with uncertainty. Life is unpredictable. If you share your worries without dwelling on them, you will be giving each other an important lesson about life & human nature--that we all worry.
Sorting out reality & make-believe. When you listen to each other's ideas, raise questions tactfully. When statements of plans sound unrealistic, you can say, "I hear you, but I have a lot of questions about that." When you seem to run into a stalemate or dead end, suggest that you use other people as a sounding board & see if they can find any holes in what you believe may be unrealistic.
Using imagination constructively. Fantasy can be just plain fun. You can build a better relationship with your partner by sharing your dreams, even your way-out fantasies, those that we all have but have been taught to hide. To the extent that we hide our dreams & goals, we prevent our lovers from knowing us more fully, & thus limit the amount of acceptance we can have. But don't go overboard & tell all your dreams at once. Getting to know each other should be a gradual process, not one that panics.
         You can have a great deal of fun by building a life based on shared fantasies, some of which might come true, others which you might only share the pleasure of pursuing together.

         The following will give you a deeper insight into the issues of relating, showing you how to encourage more mature relating in each other & how, at the same time, to build a stronger, more rewarding relationship.
Caring about others. A mature person is just as interested in the well-being of his lover as he is in his own well-being. This caring interest can be best shown by taking the initiative in showing a solicitous interest. Ask your partner, "How are you feeling? Is there anything I can do for you today?" Then follow through.
Getting attention constructively. Attention is soul food. We need reassurance that our lovers are still interested in us. Take some special notice of the existence of your partner. When you want attention, ask for it directly. When listening to your partner, give your full & serious attention! Be willing to turn off the TV or put down your newspaper.
Earning acceptance. Acceptance comes in two kinds. The first is tolerance, permitting your lover to be the person he or she is, despite the differences of opinion & imperfections. The second kind of acceptance is including your partner in your World. Let your partner know what's happening with you. Invite your partner to come along. As you show acceptance, it will be conducive to getting more acceptance from your lover. If your lover fails to notice your acceptance, point out how he or she is either missing it or not appreciating it.
Earning approval from others. We all need to be told that we are OK, doing well, to get those strokes of praise. It tells us that we are appreciated, valued, worthy--that we make a difference. Look after your lover's needs. But be sure that your lover is also looking after your needs. If meeting each other's needs is not mutual, then you should point it out. Ask why. Find out what's wrong & do something about it.
Giving affectionate regard. If you love your lover, say so. Your partner is not a mind reader. Be sure that you are giving some affection every day. It can be a special caress, a card, some flowers, a gift, remembering a birthday or anniversary, giving a small party, or any kind of a surprise that carries the message, "You are special to me, & I want you to know it."
Being socially responsible. As lovers, we are very sensitive to each other. People who are close can hurt each other most easily. Instead of being critical, you should always try to be supportive.
         But if you are asked for your honest opinion, you should give it. False praise will be recognised for what it is. And be polite with your lover. Good manners are not meant to be used only with strangers.
Being considerate. The considerate person thinks about the other person's needs before the event, not after. Before approaching, try to think about your lover's possible emotional state. You don't have to do any guessing. Ask, "What kind of mood are you in?" or "What's on your mind?"
         Before you get into a discussion, try to find out if this is a good time or if there might be a better time. Try putting yourself in your partner's shoes.
Making friends. A friend is someone who accepts you unconditionally, problems & all. Friends help each other & look after each other's best interests. Friends give, but they also feel comfortable in asking. Ask yourself if you like, respect, & trust your lover. If all the answers are not yes, then there is a problem that the two of you should be working on. Find out what it is, then agree to work on it together.
Coping with peer pressure. If you are yielding to negative pressure from your friends or lover, then you are trying to buy love, & you can't buy love. You may be able to buy pretense for a while, but not true romantic interest or mature, caring love.
         Stand up for yourself. It's not too bold to ask your friends or lover if they want a slave or a yes man. Tell your lover you want to be
partners. Really mature people do not want someone they can control. They want a partner who has conviction, who can insist upon getting respectful treatment, as well as giving affection & interesting companionship.
Expressing dissatisfaction constructively. If you have a complaint & don't tell your partner about it right in the open, then a price will be paid sooner or later, usually in the form of some kind of passive-aggressive sabotage. There will be something that is forgotten or misplaced. There is likely to be some kind of tit for tat!
         In order to deal with dissatisfaction in a more mature way, we need to confront, but this confrontation can & should be done in a supportive way. You can say, "I know you care about me, but there is something we need to talk about, & I hope you won't feel that I'm attacking you."
Reciprocating good treatment. Looking after each other's well-being is what a good relationship is all about. If you are doing all the giving & not getting very much, then a tactful, supportive discussion is called for. It is not indecent to remind your partner that lately the giving has been pretty much a one-way street.
Sharing in decision-making. If one or both of you are making moderate-size or major decisions on your own, then you have only a partial & not a very full relationship. When decisions are made together, there is mutual investment in the relationship & your relationship will grow stronger.
         Remember that most
legal divorces began years earlier in a series of steps towards emotional divorce. Often, by the time the divorce papers are signed, one of the partners has almost completed the emotional divorce. So be on the lookout for unilateral decisions.
Keeping promises. Promises represent trust & caring. Don't make any promise that you do not really intend to keep. It is better to make fewer promises & keep them all than to set up your partner for disappointment. Unkept promises are remembered long after many of those promises that were kept have been forgotten.
         None of us like disappointments. When your lover fails to keep a promise, don't try to ignore it or excuse it. A tactful confrontation will usually lead to greater maturity & a stronger relationship. Hidden resentments don't build a strong relationship.
Resolving conflicts constructively. Expect disagreements, but don't believe that disagreements have to result in a fight. In the typical fight, one partner is trying to overwhelm or overpower the other with the superiority of his or her knowledge, judgement or wisdom. The only time you "win" a fight is when the fight benefits both partners. You should never want to overpower, defeat, antagonise, or alienate your best friend & staunchest supporter.
         If you are so selfish or insecure that you have to have everything your way, then you are not mature enough for a real good relationship. Fighting should be reserved for your real enemies. Your partner should be your best friend, & you don't need to defeat or antagonise your best friend. When you harm your friend you weaken that person's desire to look after your best interests. Mature people search earnestly for a reasonable compromise, each being willing to give ground for the other person's benefit.
Willingness to share. If you find that you are competing with your partner, then you have a problem. If you are trying to prove your adequacy by outdoing your partner, you may pick up a few temporary ego points, but the price you are paying is too high. You are causing animosity & insecurity in your best friend. Lovers who are competitors are children in adult bodies.
Becoming more likeable. Mature lovers are ready, willing, & able to both give & receive constructive criticism. Try to make a pact with your lover to give each other honest & helpful criticism about how each of you can become more likeable. Take the advice in a good-natured & appreciative spirit, & then put it to work for yourself & for the relationship.
Coping with mixed feelings toward people. In any relationship, there are going to be both feelings of appreciation & resentment. And it is much more intense in both ways with a lover. It is true that we always hurt the one we love, but we can certainly develop a reasonable attitude & try to understand that a certain amount of pain & disappointment will be inevitable. One misunderstanding doesn't mean that your lover has stopped loving you, or that the World has come to an end. Mature people accept that there will be some hurt, but work hard to keep it at a minimum.
Responding well to the opposite sex. If you don't like the opposite sex, you are carrying forward a very serious problem from your childhood, & you are definitely not mature enough to have a serious relationship. It is just as important to like, trust & respect your partner as it is to experience romantic excitement.

         In order to gain the full benefit of being effective persons, it is also essential to believe in ourselves, to understand that our achievements have not resulted from luck or circumstance but from our own efforts. (Editor: And the Lord!) The following shows ways for lovers to stimulate & encourage the continuing development of competence.
Applying energy & effort. Only using our energy in constructive ways will bring results. Yet we all wish for the easy way, & would prefer to be taken care of by our partner. Ask your partner what needs to be done, & do it. In addition to offering your help, do some of the work together, & you'll find that it can often be more fun. Be willing to do the job your partner's preferred way sometimes, even if you like your way better.
Using knowledge & skills. Learning is a lifelong challenge. The mature person wants to know more, to develop more skills & abilities. Your attitude is crucial. If you are willing to learn & make the necessary efforts, you will. When you share your knowledge & skills with your partner you will be helping each other to become more effective people. Never make your partner feel like a dummy. Your challenge is to strengthen your partner, not to undermine self-confidence.
Being planful. Some people believe that planning destroys the chance for spontaneous pleasure. But, by thinking ahead, you will increase the chances that things can & will work out as you would like. Very few good dinners happen without at least a little planning. Do a little planning with your lover to assure that you will have some time alone together. then when you are alone there will be increased chances that nature can take its course & you will have the opportunity for lovemaking or a picnic or watching the sunset together.
Showing initiative. Doing nothing will usually get you nothing. Both you & your partner should make sure that both of you are taking the initiative to suggest new things to do & better ways to do routine things. If your lover is unduly passive, it's time for some gentle but persistent confrontation. Encourage your lover to take the responsibility to help get things started, & be sure to reward all such efforts.
Showing creativity. Every one of us has tremendous creative potential. If you think for a minute about your dreams, you will realise that inside your brain there exists a very accomplished playwright, sometimes called your dream writer. Many dreams that are completed by this dream writer, who is a very real part of your inner potential, have original, organised characteristics. Your writer can do what a successful playwright does: Develop characters, establish a setting, design props, write a script, & finally produce an ending. We have a lot more creative potential that we realise.
         You & your partner should encourage each other to express your creative urges, but be careful about critical comments. When you tell your partner that he or she is off base, be sure that you are tactful enough to support his or her ego. The message should be, "Your idea sounds a little odd, but you are OK. Some of your other creative ideas were much better."
Behaving with realistic expectations. Mature, competent people have respect for reality. While they may have great expectations, they know that often things will take longer & cost more than expected & that things will go wrong at the worst possible time.
         Try to be accepting of your lover's great expectations, but gently, tactfully remind your partner of things that may have been overlooked. Don't puncture the balloon. Your attitude is critical. It should be one of helpful, supportive reminding, not one of criticism.
Showing self-reliance. If you are not resourceful, you should be practicing to become so. You will be more grown-up in the true sense of the word when you have learned how, & are willing, to go shopping, make a meal, use a household gadget, or fix minor things on your car, if these are things you have never done before. As you become a more self-sufficient adult you will feel less helpless, have more personal respect, & you will win appreciation & admiration from your partner. Your partner will have a stronger mate & you will both have a better relationship. Be sure to praise your partner's efforts & ask your partner to praise yours.
Willingly taking on challenge. Self-doubt plagues us all, though to different degrees. But if we don't take on a challenge, we most assuredly will not be able to master it. Try to understand your lover's reluctance to try something new because failure may result. While being supportive, encourage your lover to try.
Showing appropriate caution. When you drive carelessly & dangerously, you are being unwise & unkind to yourself, to the other drivers, & to your lover. You may think your lover is "safe" at home. Your lover is not safe. He or she has a considerable emotional investment in your life, your health, your well-being. By showing reasonable caution, you are looking after yourself & your lover in a more mature fashion. If your lover takes unnecessary chances, it's probably time for some supportive confrontation.
Showing confidence. Confidence indicates that we genuinely believe in ourselves. It means that in taking on a new challenge, we are not merely hoping to succeed, but that we believe we have a good shot at it, a good chance of succeeding. Confidence does grow by building a good track record, but it grows fastest & deepest when it is recognised & favourably commented upon by someone who is very important to you, like your lover. You each have the ability to help improve each other's self-confidence. So give all the reinforcement that you can!
Being responsible. Responsible people take care of their obligations without needing to be reminded. As you & your partner meet your commitments to each other, you can eliminate the cause of nagging. You will be growing up more, looking after each other better, & building a stronger relationship. When your lover fails to be responsible, ask if that is how love is shown. You can avoid an argument by being supportive in your confrontation. A little embarrassment won't hurt, & should produce better results.
Being motivated to succeed. If you don't have enough ambition to achieve some level of success in life, then someone is going to have to look after you, & it will be on his or her terms, whether it's your lover or the public welfare department. If your lover supplies all the ambition in your relationship, then you are in reality a private welfare case. If your lover is trying to escape from growing up by hiding in your arms, it is probably time for some loving, gentle, persistent confrontation.
Being goal-directed. Aimlessness is the enemy of success. If your partner does not have some fairly specific goal, encourage a discussion of what may be behind it. If your partner lacks social or recreational goals, or is not looking after his or her health, you should look for a possible underlying depression or lack of self-confidence. If you care enough, you will motivate your lover to pursue life in a more effective way.
Showing high standards. Sloppy people usually look after their partners in sloppy ways. The sloppy adult is really a little child who wishes for success the easy way. You should tell a partner with such a deluded expectation that there is no free lunch. Only doing the job right will bring success. If your confrontation is given in a supportive way--a way that challenges the development of better products & greater self-respect--you will be genuinely helping your partner to grow up & you will be appreciated for your help.
Being cooperative. Two people can lift a log that one person cannot budge. In a good relationship both partners should have a mature attitude about combining their talents or abilities to work together to achieve common goals. It's a wise idea to discuss your respective talents & how you can work on projects together. You should take turns at being the leader, & be willing to use your partner's approach at times.
         If your partner is not very good at cooperation, you should mention that marriage means togetherness, & if he or she can't or won't join forces, then ask what the purpose of the relationship is. If this kind of inquiry looks like it may be starting a war, ask your lover why he or she is not trying to be more supportive. Only a very resistive partner--one who is not truly a partner--will fail to respond to this kind of appeal.
Showing flexibility. After doing therapy for 40 years, Lawrence Kubie concluded that the major difference between a neurotic person & a normal one is that the neurotic person is rigid, while the normal person is flexible. Of course, it's a matter of degrees. Flexibility is the readiness, willingness, & ability to consider new information & to appropriately adjust our course of action to achieve an originally sensible goal. Being flexible in the way we approach issues with our lover also shows our respect for his or her needs & wishes. If your partner is not being flexible, explore with him or her what might be causing rigidity.
Developing personal interests. A person with a passion is more alive & is usually a much more interesting & exciting companion. People who have not developed some strong vocational or recreational interest are usually suffering from insufficient stimulation by an interested friend. If your partner has not developed strong personal interests, then you can & should be that friend. Offer a rich variety of experiences, & encourage your partner to get involved. Say, "Try it, you'll like it!"
Solving problems effectively. This is where all the 17 other traits of the competent person come together. You & your partner should keep in mind the steps in problem solving: Define the problem & the goal, collect the needed information, develop & carry out your plan, expect that you may need to modify your plan, never stop trying & work on it together. Listen to each other's ideas. Use the good ones, & don't put your partner down for offering to be helpful.

Showing self-control. In a child, impulse rules unreasonably over control. In an adult, control rules reasonably over impulse. When we overindulge in food or alcohol or some other drug, we tend to be married to our addiction, & therefore less married to our lovers. If this is true of your relationship, it's time for supportive confrontation.
Waiting willingly. The key to patience is having a realistic attitude. One restaurant has a sign that reads "Please be patient. It takes time to prepare good food properly." In other words, please be realistic. You & your lover can be kind to each other by gently reminding each other that while wishes might move at the speed of light, few of the daily events of life come anywhere near matching that speed.
Being truthful in statements. Honesty is the best policy. Almost always in marriage counselling, the partner who has been deprived of the truth says that he or she would rather know than to be kept in the dark or allowed to guess & to suffer from wild & negative imagining. Affairs or sexual indiscretions are a major exception to this rule. If your partner seems to be untruthful, then, for the sake of your relationship, you need to discuss how mistrust is undermining your partnership.
Coping with unpleasantness. Life is full of unpleasantness, but once we recognise & accept the inevitability of a certain amount of unpleasantness, pain, & discomfort, we will find life to be more agreeable. The key here is to develop a realistic attitude towards life's unpleasantness as just a part of the price we must pay for the rewards we want. If indicated, help your partner to adopt a more realistic attitude & ask your partner to help you. Tell your partner when you have a headache, a loving touch is a better curative than silent stoicism.
Being persevering. Procrastination will not get the job done, it will earn neither your own self-respect nor the admiration of your partner. Here, as with most traits of character, only grit & determination will conquer those childish tendencies to procrastinate or to assume someone else will do it for you. There is just no substitute for digging in. But there's no reason you can't encourage & help each other whenever possible.
Being fair. When you take unfair advantage of your lover, you are undermining your partner & the relationship at the same time. Those who live by a double standard should be reminded that deep within they cannot have a great deal of self-respect. Self-respect can only happen when we really live by the golden rule of treating others as we wish to be treated. In order to build a better relationship, you should question & challenge your partner when you are treated unfairly, as well as asking your partner to challenge you when you act unfairly.
Being neat. Littering the landscape of your home defiles your relationship & can be louder than words in saying that you don't have much self-respect or regard for your partner. Neatness & a reasonable degree of orderliness are ways that you can show that you care.
         If you have a strong desire to be taken care of, you should be honest about that & pay for domestic help. If you want your lover to take care of you, then be sure that you are taking equally good care of him or her.
Being reliable. Marriage is a commitment. When we marry, we repeat words that have profound meaning, but rare indeed is the person who reflects on the words that are said or what their deep implications are. In brief, we make the mutual commitment to look after each other in all major matters.
         Immature lovers, no matter what their commitments are, wish to be taken care of, expect to be taken care of, & wind up aggravating the one they love by trying to guarantee they will be taken care of. The mature lover recognises the commitments to look after the well-being of his or her partner & delivers on those commitments. Being unreliable will undermine your relationship.
Being genuine in behaviour. We were all genuine as children. We responded to situations in a natural & spontaneous way. We were sincere. Insincerity is an acquired trait. If your partner behaves in insincere ways, it's time to point out that your love relationship's environment is different, that your partner is one who is able & willing to give openness & acceptance, offering a relationship in which there is now safety to be one's self.
Accepting blame when at fault. A child has not yet had much of a chance to build up a strong sense of self-worth, so it is only natural for a child to avoid admission of wrongdoing. After all, the little self-worth that the child feels will be diminished by that admission. But as adults, we all have some kind of a track record; we know that we have a reasonable amount of worth. There is no good reason to carry this childish, defensive attitude forward into our relationship with someone for whom we have esteem & appreciate. It is more mature to own up to wrongdoing, accept the amount of embarrassment, & try to do better next time.
Respecting the property rights of others. Taking good care of the possessions of your lover is a way of showing respect & caring. It shows self-respect as well. When you use your lover's car, you can show your love by bringing it back washed & with a full tank of gas. If your possessions are not well looked after, once again it's confrontation time, for that's the principal way we help each other to grow up.
Willingly shares in the work. Sharing in the work shows your self-discipline & is part of the decent & respectful treatment you accord your partner. Adopting a positive attitude about chipping in with the work shows your partner that you appreciate what is done for you. Try surprising your partner by doing one of his or her customary chores. If you make it a habit, you will endear yourself to your lover & build a strong relationship. So wash your lover's car, do the laundry. It will make an adult out of you.

         The problem with what I call "Type-Two relationships" is that one member of the couple has a serious problem with emotional maturity. Each person rates his or her mate with a high romantic attraction score, but only one of the two is reasonably mature. The immature person acts out his or her immaturity by either neglecting the partner or making unreasonable demands which first aggravate & can eventually destroy the relationship.
Type-Two Blues. The immature member of the couple is having a problem in one or more of the four aspects of maturity. It could be an awareness problem. When one isn't aware of one's own feelings, it's very difficult to communicate about them. The partner is forced to guess. And most guesses are wrong & can be destructive. For example, the immature partner may have rated his lover as 290 on the RAQ scale, but he didn't feel safe enough to reveal his strong feelings, resulting in his partner doubting his love for her.
         Some of us are taught at an early age that we shouldn't show our feelings, that "big boys" & "big girls" don't cry. We can be suffering from childhood conditioning that makes it almost impossible for us to reveal our true feelings.
         People who cannot express their feelings cannot expect a good relationship until they learn to be more aware & to share their personal feelings with others.
         One of the problems with the immature partner in such a relationship is that he or she may make unreasonable demands on the other partner & the relationship. This partner may expect to be taken care of. A man may expect his wife to wait on him as if she were his slave, to take care of him the way his mother took care of him when he was a little child. If the immature partner is a woman with this problem, she, too, probably wants to be taken care of. She may think that, in exchange for her body as a sexual object, a man should do everything to take care of her other needs.
         Fear is one of the most common manifestations of the immaturity problem. If one of the partners is very fearful about closeness, there isn't going to be a very close relationship. The adult dealing with this fear suffers from what I call the moth-&-flame syndrome, which is invariably rooted in childhood. The moth is drawn by the brightness & warmth of the flame, but when he gets too close, he gets burned. A person is drawn to a warm & loving relationship, but having been burned before--probably by his or her parents--he panics & runs as the fire gets hotter, usually at the first sign of conflict or tension.
         The inability to accept responsibility for failure is another of the most common problems immature people have to face up to. Some people just can't say, "Hey, I goofed. I was wrong."
         A person with so little self-esteem that he or she never can admit to being wrong is suffering from a severe inferiority complex & needs help. This person is terrified that if he is proven wrong on one fact, he will be revealed to the World as a total failure. The need to be right usually encompasses all areas of human behaviour. The partner, denied the "right to be right," becomes angry, because it is very frustrating to live with someone who has to be correct all the time.
         Then there are those who want everything to be perfect. They don't understand that flexibility is one of the key factors in maturity. I call those people Ceiling People. If one little detail isn't perfect, they go through the ceiling. They may become hysterical if the florist delivers pink roses instead of red. Ceiling People concentrate on the hole instead of the doughnut. To the Ceiling Person, the glass is always half-empty, never half-full.
         The immature partner can give his or her lover a hard time; just how hard depends on how immature he or she is, how readily he or she will work to effect change in himself or herself, & how willing he or she is to accept coaching from a lover.
True Romantic Chemistry Never Dies. The great tragedy of a divorce or separation between two partners who are truly in love, but where one of the partners is immature, is that these people don't understand that true romantic chemistry doesn't die. The chemistry may appear to fade or to wane; it could be hidden under a blanket of fear, anger, hurt, or disappointment. That is only because the immature partner has been so abusive that the mature partner became discouraged & gave up. When true romantic chemistry exists, the "dead" love can be revived--because it isn't really dead. It is suffering from neglect; weakened by uncaring treatment. But it can be restored to full health.
         If your relationship is true love & you are living with the fallacy that your love has died, try using some or all of the following tips. The romantic excitement you once shared will resurface.

Bessell's 50 Ways to Keep Your Lover
         1. Show your feelings & report them to your lover as accurately as possible.
         2. Be sensitive to the feelings of your lover.
         3. Be spontaneously expressive.
         4. Discuss what you are thinking & feeling.
         5. Try to cope with your ambivalence & discuss your mixed feelings.
         6. Be curious: About yourself, your lover, & the World around you.
         7. Try to cope with fears; don't hide from them.
         8. Try to cope with anger; don't bury it or deny it.
         9. Accept responsibility for failure. Nobody's perfect.
         10. Ask for your partner's help to resolve your feelings of frustration when they occur.
         11. Try to feel good about the good parts of yourself, despite your limitations.
         12. Accept uncertainty; life & love are full of it.
         13. Differentiate between fantasy & reality.
         14. Show others that you care by your caring behaviour.
         15. Respect the values of others.
         16. Develop a more helpful & positive attitude. It's the only thing that works.
         17. Make & keep other friends in addition to your lover.
         18. Do your share of the work.
         19. Express dissatisfaction tactfully & constructively.
         20. Reciprocate good treatment.
         21. Share the decision making with your partner.
         22. Keep your promises.
         23. Resolve conflicts without fighting. Try to see your partner's point of view.
         24. Share possessions.
         25. Appreciate criticism as something helpful.
         26. Be equally courteous to members of both sexes.
         27. Show your enthusiasm.
         28. Give your best effort to everything.
         29. Become more organised.
         30. Show your creativity.
         31. Have realistic expectations of other people & of situations.
         32. Show your self-reliance.
         33. Take on challenges.
         34. Show self-confidence.
         35. Be responsible.
         36. Set high standards & keep them.
         37. Be cooperative.
         38. Be flexible.
         39. Develop hobbies & personal interests.
         40. Demonstrate self-control
         41. Wait patiently when you must wait.
         42. Don't lie.
         43. Finish whatever you start.
         44. Be fair.
         45. Be reliable.
         46. Accept blame when you are at fault.
         47. Respect the property rights of others.
         48. Be sincere.
         49. Cope with the unpleasant in a pleasant manner.
         50. Give your partner your full & serious attention every day!

Assessing the Benefits of a Marriage Relationship
         People marry for many reasons, & many combinations of reasons. In order to get a better understanding of what benefits you are enjoying from your marriage & what price you are paying for these benefits, let's look at the usual reasons people marry & see if we can find your benefit/cost ratio.
         It is important for you to remember two things:
         1. Nobody has a perfect marriage.
         2. Everything in life has its price.
         What's important is that you feel right about the price. Keep this in mind as you consider the reasons you married & your own benefits & costs in keeping your relationship going.

Benefits of Marriage
Companionship. Eating, sleeping, & waking up together, & just sharing the everyday interests of life are more enjoyable & more meaningful than experiencing these things alone. Being together feels much better.
Belonging for Mutual Aid. It is undeniable that there is safety, security & strength in numbers. We are all safer & more secure in the typical family structure. If there is danger or a problem to be solved, the more people to deal with it, the better is the chance for success. Marriage throughout all cultures has been the basic bulwark against the scarey business of going it alone.
Basic Emotional Needs. No one will be content unless his basic emotional needs are met. For a meaningful & satisfying life, we need to be a productive, contributing person. This we can be with or without a marriage partner. But our second need for a meaningful & satisfying life is to have a fairly regular diet of attention, approval, & affection. If we do not have a life partner, then how can we expect to get these needs met? For the physical & spiritual affection we all need, there is nothing better than a caring lover.
Sex. For most of us, the absolutely peak experience in life is the sexual fulfillment that we have with a loving partner. And when we have this kind of satisfying sex on a regular basis, then almost everything in life seems to go more smoothly, & we have a much more positive outlook. We need sex to feel our best & function at our best, & masturbation, for all its popularity, can never compete with sex with a partner, especially a loving partner.
Interaction. Life is just more interesting & more varied when we have an enjoyable companion with whom to share our grandiose ideas, mundane discussions, daily problems, new experiences, large failures, & little joys. Through our companions, we have intimate access to two lives rather than just one. Stimulation & excitement are most reliably provided by a loving companion who is, at the same time, your marital partner.
Financial Benefits. It is a simple fact of life that two can live more cheaply than one.
Parenthood. Children enrich our lives by giving us the chance to teach & to wisely guide, an opportunity to extend our own learning & growth, & the appreciation & pride that can only come from watching a loved child grow into adulthood.

One-Way Love, It Might Not Be Over
         If you are in a relationship that you want to keep, & your partner convinces you that he or she does not want to continue & moves out, stays out, & never calls or stops by for a month or two, your relationship still might not be over. You can be reasonably certain that, at least at this time, your partner probably believes that he or she wants out permanently. But remember that this feeling may or may not persist. I have seen many people who have moved out & then moved back in again. Any experienced therapist knows that there is always ambivalence--feeling good about some aspects of the relationship & bad about others. Mixed feelings are the rule for most every marital relationship.
         The key point to remember is that there is always ambivalence, & as long as there is ambivalence there is hope. So don't give up; try everything that is available to you & leave open every chance for reconciliation.
         However, it is unwise for you to go on hoping indefinitely, keeping your life on hold. If your partner shows no interest & is determined to end the relationship, then it is time to get on with your life. Keep in mind there are many members of the opposite sex who are as eager for the fulfillment of a good relationship as you are. Consider the various ways of meeting appropriate possible new partners, & take the initiative!

         You can change & improve your relationship if the problems are those of immaturity. In fact, if both of you want to stay together, & agree to work at your relationship, you will improve your lives together significantly. Separation is only called for when one member of the team adamantly refuses to make efforts to improve. When both people work together, improvement will be assured.
         Most people are very reluctant to separate. They may admit that they are unhappy; they may agree that their relationship is not very satisfying. They may even confide that they are miserable, yet a divorce would be out of the question. These people need to admit honestly that for them a poor relationship is better than no relationship. Then they can adopt a better attitude. These couples can decide to work together to make their marriage, & therefore their lives, better. It involves the realisation that marriage is not the end of the line of a chain of developments, but the beginning of the line in a life filled with ups & downs. Some marriages are mistakes & should end soon. Other marriages can & should be made better by determination & a persistent demonstration of positive personal interest in each other's happiness.
         All of us can become more realistic as we strive to become more mature. When we are more realistic, we will have a more reasonable attitude about what can be expected from marriage & be more grateful for what we do have rather than feeling bitter about what we don't have.
         Emotional maturity is such an important part of true love that it deserves to be the first priority of every adult. Once you have gained enough maturity to take a calm & realistic look at your love life, you can make a rational decision about what should come next. If you are already blessed with equally high romantic attraction between your partner & yourself, once you gain maturity, your relationship will become better. Even if your relationship is not one of great romantic attraction, you should find help in gaining more maturity before you walk away from any relationship to seek romance with another partner.

The Love Prescriptions
         To get my patients on the right track toward a happier marriage--a more substantial & fulfilling relationship--I suggest they follow doctor's orders for 3 months. These rules will not change the basic degree of romantic attraction, but they will help any couple that is motivated to improve the way they treat each other.
Forget about fighting. There should be no fighting until there is enough maturity to fight constructively. Fighting usually tends to alienate your partner more--it's like pouring gasoline on an already burning fire. Instead of fighting, initiate one-to-one time & try some better ways of listening.
Try really listening. When you are really listening to your partner's thoughts & feelings, you do not interrupt, overpower, try to outmaneuver, impress, or convince the other of your own viewpoint. Don't utter a word other than to encourage your partner to say everything he has to say on the subject. When it's your turn to talk, your lover must listen to you with the same respect you gave him or her.
         In some cases, you may find that after listening to your partner's views, you may come to understand & even like his or her solution better than your own! If, after listening, you still think that your solution is better, work toward a reasonable & fair compromise that satisfies each of you.
Build trust. Provisional trust can ease the way to a happier life-style. Extend a small amount of trust & see what happens. A lover who has lived with years of frustration & anguish is naturally wary of his or her partner. Trust wears thin or even finally wears out. To regain trust, provisional trust must be offered first.
         Provisional trust is extended on a limited basis--for one time or one week or one month. The lover who is wary gives his or her partner a chance to become trustworthy again. Each time the partner comes through, new trust is gained & a stronger bond is built. Because people in love are willing to forgive, provisional trust can be the cornerstone of a new & stronger relationship.
Never underestimate the power of the written word. Written messages between lovers have tremendous value. Leave your wife a note on the refrigerator door. Write your husband a note & put it in his briefcase. Get into the habit of expressing small but sincere sentiments in love-note form. Let your partner know you were thinking of him or her. Let love-note writing become second nature to you. It will only serve to reinforce your love. If one or both of you have developed the bad habit of not listening or not remembering what you heard, you can reopen communication via a new pathway.
Be sensitive to your partner's moods. Before approaching your partner with a serious issue, a request, complaint, or problem, first find out what kind of mood he or she is in. Remember that when a person is in a bad mood & suffers fear, anger, depression, hurt, insecurity, or some similar problem, there is often a high degree of distortion in receiving messages.
Be honest. It pays to be honest with your partner in all things but one: Sexual indiscretion. I have seldom found a confession of infidelity to do any good, & I have seen it do a great deal of harm. This does not reduce the value of honesty, but points out that concern for the feelings of one's partner should outweigh the personal desire to ease guilt feelings through confession. Talking about an indiscretion has no constructive benefits.
         Being honest about other painful subjects that can affect the relationship, however, is important. Remember that wounds have to heal in order for your relationship to improve. Do not intentionally bring pain upon your partner, but be honest when it is called for & will be constructive, even if it is momentarily unpleasant.
Share One-to-One Time. Once you have practiced at building the patience necessary for really good listening (without fighting), you will be ready for some one-to-one time.
         One-to-one time is an essential element in any working marriage. Take 20 minutes each day, 10 uninterrupted minutes per person, & tell each other about your day: What went well, what went poorly, who said what, & so on. This is your time to tune in to your partner & to really listen.
         During this time, you each have a license to tell anything you want to the other person (except about past love affairs & marital indiscretions). Talk about whatever you want to talk about, whether it makes you feel good or bad. The hardest part will be for each of you to abstain from responding while the other one is talking. If you are talking or responding, you are not listening properly. Head nodding is fine. But don't interrupt with questions.
         By investing this 20 minutes each day, you will steadily increase your understanding of each other & make it safe to give & receive honest, but always supportive, confrontation.
Let your lover support your efforts towards maturity. An inevitable part of growing up is getting hurt &, once burned, we tend to be twice shy. We want love, affection, sex, & belonging, & yet we are subconsciously wary of the pain of rejection. This creates a terrible problem because our holding back is interpreted by our partners not as self-protection but as rejection. Only a lover can actually give the loving & reassurance needed. The lovers are going to be together in the kitchen, the living room, & the bedroom; only they will have the hundreds of opportunities to show each other the security of their special closeness.
Practice Bessell's 10 Rules of Togetherness.