HOW TO KEEP A MAN IN LOVE WITH YOU FOREVER
--By Tracy Cabot
Editor's Introduction: This book presents some ideas, tips & techniques you may have never considered before, many of which are a bit unusual! But even if you consider some of the author's ideas a little odd, most marriages need all the help they can get, & you might find some of these things very helpful!
Nevertheless, we wanted to caution you that the author does not seem to be a Christian, & some things are presented in a rather manipulative sense: "If you do this to a man, he'll respond in such-&-such a way." She approaches relationships from a completely natural viewpoint, whereas we, as mature Christians, would use spiritual principles instead. So be sure to weigh any principles contained herein against the standard of God's Word. (Many of the charts & lists which follow have also been slightly adapted by the editor.)
Keeping Your Man in Love
We women today have different expectations. We want to be independent, yet we want to be able to depend on the man we love. We want to be able to stand up for ourselves, yet we also want our men to stand up for us. We want to support ourselves, yet we want our men to be supportive. And many of our men want these things, too. So how do you keep your man in love with you?
Old Wives' Wisdom: After dozens of interviews with long-married women, I started asking a different question. Instead of, "What did you do to keep your man in love?" I asked, "What advice would you give a young woman of today about keeping her man in love with her?"
Here's their advice:
1. Maintain your own identity & your own interests. Over & over, women married many years advised having a separate identity of your own, being an interesting person. They said, don't throw yourself totally into his life, his friends & his business. Have a few activities that are yours. Your growth will keep him interested in you.
Barbara, 39, married eighteen years, dated her husband for five years before that. "I was sixteen when we met on a blind date," she told me. She says to keep a man in love a woman should "grow with the times. Be unpredictable. Keep him a little off balance. Just when he thinks he really knows me, I do something out of the ordinary."
2. Don't expect to be "in love" with him all the time. Couples fall in & out of love many times over the course of a relationship. Sometimes they're more out than in, but they remember the good times & hang in during the bad.
The biggest problem in relationships, according to Barbara, is: "Couples give up too soon. In a relationship, you constantly fall in & out of love with each other. Too many couples don't work at staying together." Not everything is perfect in Barbara's marriage. Her husband, Don, is definitely not romantic enough for Barbara. "I'm an incurable romantic," she says, "but what he doesn't have in the romantic department he makes up for in other ways. He helps clean the house, does laundry, takes care of the cars & yard. I can't have everything, can I?"
3. Try to communicate more & better. Adele, married sixty-two years to Edgar, a retired chemical engineer, was insistent about communication. "Too many couples go through the motions, but they're not really listening to each other. They need to try hard to keep the lines of communication open between them."
What Makes Your Man Love?
A man stays in love when he feels you understand him completely--& love him anyway. When a man feels that he can communicate with you like he can with no one else, you become irreplaceable to him. And when you know the secrets that can change his moods & create intimacy, he's not just in love--he's crazy about you!
Your Man's Love Language: Everyone perceives his or her world by seeing, hearing & feeling. What researchers have recently discovered is that, for each of us, one of these senses tends to be dominant. How your man reacts to you & everything else around him is influenced by whether he is dominated by sights, sounds, or feelings. This doesn't mean his other senses are not operating, but it does mean that his first & strongest reaction to something is in one of these senses, not all three equally.
Your man's unconscious preference for one particular sense affects his personality & inner thoughts. He is more "tuned in" & receptive in this one sense. Is it his "wave-length," his Love Language.
In a private counselling session, Amy was distraught. "I think Ken must be having an affair," she said. "We've only been married eight months, & I'm so happy to see him when he gets home--but instead of hugging me he holds me away. He says he wants to get a good look at me, or something like that. And then I'm upset all evening."
Once Amy realised that Ken was a very visual person, it made settling into married life much easier for both of them. She found out all she had to do to turn Ken on was to let him look at her walking around the house smiling at him for awhile. She's now getting more hugs than she did on their honeymoon!
Complementary Love Languages
It is statistically likely that you & your mate have different Love Languages. But that doesn't mean you're doomed to incompatibility. In fact, life can be more interesting when you bring different reactions & insights to your relationship.
I'm definitely a hearing person, & my husband, Marshall, is very visual. We both know this, & respect the difference. For us, our different Love Languages are complementary.
For example, when we're riding in the car with the radio on, I'll make a mental note to buy a tape of some interesting new song which, for him, is just going in one ear & out the other. Later, at home & relaxed, he'll appreciate the new music. On the other hand, I can count on him to notice a spot on my blouse before I rush out the door to tape a TV show.--Which, of course, I really appreciate!
Meshing Your Love Languages
Sometimes an auditory person needs quiet. Sally, an auditory woman, was having trouble with her husband. Marty, an anesthesiologist, worked long hours, but when his workweek was over, it was behind him. He looked forward to his weekends at home. He loved to work on the house, busy himself in the garden & most of all, play with their two boys. Sally, an engineer, was also very hard-working, except for her that meant bringing some work home on the weekends.
During the week, their relationship worked like clockwork, but each weekend they almost killed each other. "By Sunday night, I've had him up to here," Sally told me. "I can't wait to get back to work. He's driving me nuts. Maybe I'm crazy. He's a terrific father, & he's done wonders with the house. But I just can't go through this one more weekend."
After a short time in counselling, Marty & Sally learned that they have complementary Love Languages. Sally is the kind of auditory/hearing type who likes total quiet. Her husband, Marty, is very much a visual person. For him, it is important that the house looks its best.
Since the weekend is his only chance to work on the house, he gets up very early & starts mowing, painting, sawing, watering--& yelling & roughhousing with the kids. By the time Sally has poured her morning coffee & begun the Saturday newspaper, she is already on edge.
What they both learned in counselling was that it wasn't Marty that Sally was angry at, but rather all the bustle & noise that just naturally went with his favourite weekend things. Marty learned why all this upset Sally, to a seemingly unreasonable degree.
Soon, they worked out a schedule so that Marty would do his noisy things when Sally was out at the gym or shopping for groceries. And he started a routine of taking the kids to a movie each weekend (a favourite activity for visual Marty). This would provide more hours of quiet time for Sally.
Sally & Marty were able to defuse the problem between them quickly & easily--once they understood it. All they had to do was rearrange their schedules & change a few things around the house--a small price to pay for peace. Their relationship improved quickly with just these few small superficial changes.
The Visual Man
Your mate is probably a visual man, rather than a auditory or feelings man, simply because more men are visual. If he is visual, how you look will be important to him. He'll notice a new hairstyle, dress, or decor. He'll be more concerned with the expression on your face than the words with which you greet him or how you hug him.
We all see, hear & feel. Just because your man is primarily visual doesn't mean his other senses are not working. A visual man, like everyone else, may or may not have an ear for music. And he does have feelings. What's really different about him is the way his mind works. Understanding how your visual man's mind works is a way to finding out what his feelings really are.
A visual man relates to the World in terms of how everything looks to him. When he's remembering something from the past, he'll recall a picture. When he's imagining something in the future, he'll visualise it.
The Visual Personality: A man who is visual is usually quick-moving. He is always bustling around doing something. It's because he processes his information mainly by using his eyes & he wants to move around to see as much as possible.
He's often a "type A" (intense, hard-working) personality. Some people may call him a workaholic. He has high energy & lots of interests.
As long as he has something interesting to look at, he'll be happy. But he can sometimes become moody or difficult if he's overwhelmed with too much auditory stimulation, like loud music or continual chatter. He prefers movies with lots of action. Too much chatter makes him nervous.
He prefers talking about how things look; talking about how he feels can make him very uncomfortable. He finds it difficult to communicate his feelings, but that doesn't mean that he's insensitive or unfeeling or unemotional. It just means that he doesn't like to share his feelings with other people. When he's angry, he's more likely to withdraw & brood instead of getting it out.
You can get your visual man to share his feelings, but you'll have to start out by talking about how things look instead of how they feel.
Your visual man is very organised. He loves seeing his world neat & tidy. He can become visibly agitated when things are upset, out of place, or messy. He is sometimes considered rigid & inflexible because he likes everything just so; he isn't, but you have to know how to bend him.
The visual man prefers face-to-face talks, not telephone conversations, but he will respond better to written messages than to spoken ones. If you want to be sure he remembers something, write him a note.
In fact, to let a visual man know how much you love him, write him a note, leave little heart-shaped trinkets, & buy him things that he will see--like a calendar. Always write birthdays into his calendar if you want to make sure he remembers them. Give him pictures of you looking lovingly at each other.
Visual Fashion: A visual man looks well put together. He always looks neat & well-groomed. His appearance is important to him. His clothes match & he chooses them carefully.
Visual Decor: A man who is primarily visual likes his things in perfect order. He doesn't like anything hidden. His drawers are neat & arranged so he can see everything. His clothes are neatly hung in the closet, his shoes are lined up like little soldiers in military order. In the bathroom, his toiletries are always in the same arrangement.
Words the Visual Man Loves: When you talk to your visual man, you should use visual words. Visual men always respond better when you talk to them about how things look. Many women come to my seminars looking for a solution to a very common problem: "He doesn't pay enough attention to me," or "I talk to him & he doesn't listen." Because each woman is talking in her Love Language to a man who only perks up when he hears his Love Language, he doesn't tune in to her.
Visual words are easy to pick out once you start noticing them. If your visual man uses these words a lot, you should too. It's a way to reach him.
Practice using visual words, especially if you are used to using more "feeling" or "hearing" words. If you usually say, "That sounds good to me," try, "That looks good to me." You are not changing what you are saying, you are just changing the way you say it.
He'll actually be unconsciously attuned to your every word. He'll be even more in love with you when communication becomes easier with you, & he won't know why. He'll be ready to do what you suggest because you'll be putting your suggestions in visual terms.
How the Visual Man Likes to Spend His Time:
-- Watching television or going to the movies.
-- Vacationing where there's a nice view.
-- People-watching at a sidewalk caf.
-- Going to art exhibits & museums.
-- Collecting art, stamps or coins.
-- Taking long drives on the scenic route.
-- Operating computer games.
-- Going to the theater.
-- Landscaping the garden.
-- Collecting anything classic or beautiful.
-- Looking at you.
-- Taking pictures.
-- Window shopping.
-- Looking in mirrors, combing his hair, checking his looks.
-- Watching you try on clothes.
-- Wondering if he matches & looks right.
-- Watching sunsets, looking at the stars.
Influencing the Visual Man: Once you get a handle on his visual way of thinking, & what motivates him, you'll begin to understand how to influence his decisions.
If you want a vacation at the beach, he may be mildly interested in how cool it will be, or how he'll hear the sound of the waves breaking at night, but he'll be unmoved. But if you really want to sell him on the idea of a beach get-away, tell him how much he'll enjoy the panoramic view of the coast, the constantly moving waves, the blue sky & the magnificent red sunsets. Then pack your bathing suit.
Women with visual men are often worried that their men are cold or unfeeling, because these men find it so hard to talk about how they feel. Instead of demanding that he tell you his feelings, tell him how handsome he looks when he says, "I love you."
Making Love with Your Visual Man: If you're the type to spend lots of time getting yourself & your bedroom ready for love, this is the man who will appreciate your efforts. You'll never waste time getting fixed up for him. He loves to see you looking good. He'll appreciate your fashion taste.
Your visual man will be excited by what he sees. That doesn't mean that he won't appreciate his favourite music or soft sheets, but those things alone won't do it for him. He has to see something he likes.
So buy fancy sheets & pretty towels. Ask him, "What colour do you think looks best on me?" Wear it. Get his opinion about patterns & sexy clothes.
All visual men are not turned on by the same thing. If you find out that your husband's fantasy is to see you dressed up in some kind of sexy outfit, it's important to find out exactly what kind of outfit he means. Show him pictures. Ask him, "Is this it?" If he says no, ask him what doesn't look good about it. If he says yes, ask him what about it looks sexy.
Chloe, a friend of mine who always loved expensive designer clothes, found out her husband was turned on by the torn T-shirt look, so she bought several expensive outfits with the casual torn T-shirt look. For the first time, her husband didn't object to her spending money. He loved her sexy new look.
The best approach for turning on a visual man is to start fully dressed & take off a little at a time. Or, even while you're fully dressed, expose just one part of your body, one breast, one thigh, or some other part of your body that he thinks is sexy. My visual husband is turned on by my lips & hair, so when I want his attention I put on his favourite shade of lipstick & let my hair down.
Your visual man is also going to be turned on by a special look from you. There's a specific expression to make that he can't resist. Do you know what it is? Try to remember how you looked at him when he was very loving, very affectionate, very sexy. Then, all you have to do is reproduce that expression. Visual men are very sensitive to the looks on your face. You may not even have to say a word to him to turn him on. All you have to do is smile at him in that certain way.
He will like all kinds of visual signs of your affection & sexual interest. Write him little notes & leave them where he will find them.
Keeps photographs of the two of you together around the house. Make sure he has a picture of you with "that certain look" on your face. Give him a picture for his desk, one for his wallet.
The best time to get your visual man to talk about his feelings is when he's totally relaxed & completely slowed down. Like right after his orgasm. That way, he will begin to associate talking about his feelings with sexual satisfaction. Naturally, this has to be done over a period of time--gradually--for him to develop a taste for talking about feelings.
The Auditory Man
When your auditory man walks in the front door, he may be totally oblivious to your new hairdo. He's mostly interested in hearing about your day & telling you about his.
An auditory or hearing man relates better to music than pictures. He is more tuned in to the inner logic of words than he is to feelings. He is easy to talk to & he loves long conversations about almost anything. Even when he's not talking out loud, he's having conversations--with himself, in his own head.
The auditory man is often extremely logical, & he remembers what he hears better than others do. So be careful what you say to him; he won't forget. He'll listen carefully not only to what you say but also to what you don't say (the things you leave out), & he'll be particularly affected by the tone of your voice.
The Auditory Personality: An auditory man tends to be more of a laid-back, mellow person than a visual man. He doesn't have to run around to "see what's happening."
His favourite activities are reading, doing projects, listening to music & talking--often passive pursuits where he sits still & listens, or talks. Although he's usually doing something, it's hardly ever something that involves a lot of bustling around. He's more a cerebral type who lives in his head. He'll often be happy just hearing you tell him about something, rather than having to go see it for himself.
There are two types of auditory man. One is always playing the stereo, talking, or filling the silences in one way or another. The other kind of auditory person seems to hate any sounds at all sometimes (often when he's working or trying to concentrate). The reason is that any sound is an interruption of the conversation he's having with himself, particularly if it's not a sound he's chosen.
In either case, your auditory man will listen acutely & react to what he hears rather than what he sees. His feelings are stimulated by hearing the right words said to him in the right tone of voice.
He prefers how things sound to how they look or feel. He finds it easier to talk about feelings than the visual man.
The auditory man is likely to be a "little professor" type who loves to tell other people how & why they should do what he says. He likes to explain things in great detail.
If what you really want is a hug, you will have to tell our auditory man in no uncertain terms. Thank him for his analysis but tell him, "I hear what you're saying & those all sound like good ideas, but right now, what sounds best is a hug."
The best way to let an auditory man know you love him is to tell him as often as possible. He needs to hear you say it over & over again. There is probably a certain tone of voice he needs to hear & a particular set of words. He wants you to say certain things in a special way.
If you don't have pet names for him, think of some. If you don't have special little things you say to him, make some up. One woman found that her auditory man responded best to baby talk, another woman found out that her man loved it whenever she called him "Daddy".
Auditory Fashion: How he looks is never going to be as important to your auditory man as what he's thinking about. He often seems oblivious to the dictates of fashion. His personal style is more toward comfortable than chic, & he's got all kinds of reasons why he really wants new clothes just like his old ones.
Words the Auditory Man Loves: Never just nod when you're talking to your auditory man. Don't depend on just gazing at him lovingly, either. You have to learn to say the right words to him. Words are the most important things in his life.
If you find that you've been using more feelings or visual words, practice hearing or auditory words. If you usually say, "That looks good to me," try, "That sounds good to me." If you usually say, "That doesn't feel right to me," try, "That doesn't sound right to me." You won't be changing the meaning of what you're saying in any way. You'll merely be changing the way you express yourself.
How the Auditory Man Likes to Spend His Time:
-- Listening to his stereo or going to concerts.
-- Reading (when visual men read, they see pictures; when auditory men read, they hear words).
-- Eavesdropping on other people's conversations.
-- Listening to the television (auditory men don't have to watch the screen to enjoy TV).
-- Playing a musical instrument.
-- Talking on the telephone.
-- Giving speeches or talks.
-- Listening to lectures.
-- Operating a C.B. radio.
-- Writing scripts for future conversations in his head.
-- Listening to the radio.
-- Listening to you.
-- Recording favourite concerts or talks.
-- Enjoying the sounds of nature, the ocean, the birds etc.
-- Giving advice.
-- Programming a computer.
-- Replaying conversations in his head or even out loud (& wondering if he said the right things or imagining what he should have said).
Finding Out Exactly What He's Thinking: Once you've discovered your man is auditory, you'll want to find out exactly what he's hearing in his mind. It should be easy because the auditory man loves to talk. All you have to do is ask the right questions.
You say, "How does a Saturday night dinner party sound to you?" or, "Maybe something else sounds better to you?" or more specifically, "We could invite a few interesting people, listen to music & talk. How does that sound? What do you say?"
With questions that correspond to his thinking, you're almost sure to get a full & prompt answer. If not, it's probably because he really doesn't like the idea of a dinner party at all.
Be sensitive to whether his answers are vocally enthusiastic; always listening carefully to the tone of his voice. Your auditory mate has more ways of communicating than with words. His tones have meanings of their own.
Influencing the Auditory Man: When you begin to understand your man's auditory motivation, you'll know exactly how to get him to do what you want.
If you want perfume, tell him, "I can hear you say `I love you' whenever I smell it." Tell him the name of the perfume--"Joy" for example--reminds you of his name, Joey. Auditory men love the sound of their own names. Say it a lot.
Let's say your auditory man comes home from work in a rotten mood. Instead of trying to cheer him up with a drink, food or hot bath, put on some soothing music, say special words to him, & watch how easily & quickly he changes.
Making Love with Your Auditory Man: Don't count on him to notice if you spend lots of time making yourself & your bedroom ready for love. So you've put on his favourite perfume & you smell good, does he say anything? No way.
Perhaps on some unconscious level he appreciates these things, but he could easily live without them. Your auditory man is turned on by other things.
Buy all his favourite music. Find some romantic poetry, or even some old love letters. Read them aloud to him & he'll be eating out of the palm of your hand.
Actually, he's pretty easy to keep happy; you just have to say the right words & make the right noises.
Your auditory man wants to know you love him, & he wants to know it in a way he can hear. Finding out what exactly he wants to hear can be easy, & very important.
Karen & Steve were having a terrible time. Karen would come home from work just about the same time that Steve did. She would immediately launch into her routine of cooking, cleaning & washing, talking to Steve all the time. The trouble was that Steve couldn't stand the sounds of dishes clanging, the vacuum running & the noise of the washing machine.
No matter how beautifully she cooked, no matter what she said, he just seemed to want to get farther & father away from her. "But I can't just stop doing anything that makes a noise," she complained to me. "Those things just have to be done!"
After understanding that Steve couldn't help the reactions he was having to the noise, Karen decided to experiment with her routine a bit. On some evenings, she would just leave the dishes after dinner, & she & Steve would read & listen to music. On those nights, Steve was unfailingly sexy, not distant. And being auditory, he never even noticed the dirty kitchen.
Once Karen was sure this strategy worked, she used her new knowledge of how to influence Steve to get him to agree to a new dishwasher--one with a time delay which would run at night when they were asleep. That took care of the kitchen, which she hated to leave messy. Together, they worked out a weekend schedule for vacuuming & washing clothes. With a little insight & some simple rearrangement, Karen was able to bring romance back into her marriage.
Your auditory man wants you to talk to him while you're making love. Tell him how sexy he is, tell him when he's doing something right. Say, "That rhythm is perfect for me," or, "Oh, that feels so good." The more you talk to him, the more excited he'll get. He'll also be aroused when he hears the deep breathing that signals your arousal. Let him know.
One woman learned to turn on her auditory man by making up pet names for all the parts of his body. His little pot belly became a love mountain. His hairy chest was the Sherwood Forest which she ran through her fingers looking for Robin & his merry men. His belly button had wrinkles in it that looked like Old King Cole. His penis was her pen pal. She had long conversations with different parts of his body whenever they made love. It got to the point where all she had to do was begin a conversation with her pen pal. "Dear Pen Pal," she would start, "I miss you so much." Then, "My how you've grown!"
The Feelings Man
Some feelings men are easy to spot--they are sensitive & wear their hearts on their sleeves. Others are well disguised as macho men. What is common to both of these types, & to all feelings men, is that they are basically intuitive, & motivated largely by their feelings.
This doesn't mean that your big, strong, silent type is really a wimp underneath; it simply means he tends to decide important things in his life by how they make him feel, rather than by how they look or sound. He will "go with his gut feeling" for a situation, rather than try to analyse it to death.
The feelings man who shows his sensitivity & readily expresses his feelings, is the easiest of men to communicate with. He is a man who cries easily, is emotional & sometimes easily upset. He appreciates your sensitivity & loves it when you show your feelings.
Another way to tell if your man is a feeling type is by the way he greets people. Does he touch a lot? Does he hug & kiss? Or does he shake hands & talk at a distance? At a party, does he like to really settle in with one person, or is he more likely to want to meet a lot of people? Feelings men like lots of intimate touching & one-on-one conversations. They enjoy food & drink & love physical pleasures.
The Feelings Personality: Whether your feelings man verbalises his feelings or is the macho, silent type, there's nothing hidden about his emotions.
He can hardly contain himself. When he's unhappy, a black cloud descends over everything. When he's angry, he's liable to bang on tables, storm around, slam doors & throw things. Fortunately, he is quick to make up after he cools off. When he's happy, his happiness brims over & he wants to share it with everyone around him; his smile lights up the room & nobody can resist him.
You never have to worry about whether your feelings man loves you or not. His feelings show, even if he tries to cover them up. He looks at you & the love shows in his eyes. He talks to you & you hear his love in his voice. He touches you all the time.
He may not always show it, but he worries about your feelings. He can sense when you're happy & when you're not. He relates to emotions in a very real way. If you're sad, he feels sad. If you're happy, he's happy.
The feelings man craves love & affection, lots of soft touches & physical stimulation. He is highly attuned to his body & its relationship to others. He's sensitive to the way you touch him, or don't touch him, & to how you do or don't respond to his touch.
Physical comfort is very important to the feelings man. He likes everything he touches to feel good. He can be perfectly happy in the middle of a terrible mess as long as he has his favourite comfortable chair or pillow.
Your feelings man is easily upset if he feels that you aren't paying enough attention to his feelings. He wants you to react when he's unhappy & to at least sympathise & act as if his feelings are important, if not to do something about them. Ignore his feelings & you increase his grump factor by ten.
Most feelings men also crave close physical proximity to their mate. When they don't get it, they get upset, but find it difficult to explain why.
Feelings Fashion: How the feelings man looks is hardly important to him. As a matter of fact, his favourite clothes are old, worn & soft. He is oblivious to fashion & thinks being comfortable is more important than anything else.
Feelings Decor: Naturally, the feelings man wants his favourite pillow on the living-room sofa & a soft place for his feet. He is perhaps the biggest slob of all the men. The reason is not that he doesn't care, it's just that he's on a different wavelength. The only way you can ever convince him to redecorate is to tell him whatever you're going to do will make him more comfortable.
Words the Feelings Man Loves: If you find you've been using more visual or auditory words & expressions, practice using feeling words. If you usually say, "That sounds good to me," or "That looks good," try switching to "That feels right to me." If you usually say, "That doesn't look right to me," or "That doesn't sound right to me," try saying, "That doesn't feel right to me."
How the Feelings Man Likes to Spend His Time:
-- Being playful & childlike.
-- Crying at sad movies.
-- Getting or giving a massage.
-- Going to growth seminars.
-- Eating or cooking, or just hanging around the kitchen.
-- Smelling & tasting.
-- Drinking or smoking.
-- Having new experiences.
-- Riding a motorcycle.
-- Playing a sport.
-- Sympathising with others.
Finding Out Exactly What He's Thinking: Lots of feelings men are just the silent type. They hardly ever talk & like it just that way. Their wives have learned to either talk for them, or to do multiple-choice interviews with their silent hubbies.
I first learned about multiple-choice interviews as a Hollywood reporter for a national tabloid. The assignment was usually to get some movie star to say he or she loved some other movie star & tell why for a cover story, complete with a photo of the smiling, in-love couple.
One of the required questions was always, "What do you love about him (or her)?" Since the celebrities were often just having a brief sexual fling, they would sometimes find it difficult to answer that question. Either they were totally stuck for an answer, or what they loved was totally unprintable. So I would give them the famous multiple-choice interview.
"Do you love him because he (or she) is kind & gentle?" I'd ask. "Or is it because he always says the right thing?" or "Is it because of the way you can see the love in her eyes?" Hardly anyone could resist the multiple-choice interview & I always wound up with very good stories.
So if your feelings man isn't exactly articulate, you have a way to find out what's really going on in his head.
Influencing the Feelings Man: Food can be the key to your feelings man. One woman discovered that all she had to do to improve her feelings man's rotten mood was cook something that smelled good. His favourite was chocolate-chip cookies.
If you want to tell your feelings man something & make sure he gets it, then touch him while you say whatever you have on your mind. That's the way to get his attention & make him remember what you're saying.
Making Love with Your Feelings Man: Your feelings man will love softly textured fabrics like satin, velvet & fur. He likes to feel your soft hands roaming everywhere. He can be turned on by just about anything you want to do, so let your imagination run wild with him.
Just as the visual man is aroused by something he sees, & the auditory man is aroused by something he hears, feelings men are excited by certain sensations. For your feelings man, sex means sensation--touch, taste & smells. Perhaps the smell of candles or incense excites him. Maybe the special aroma of your body is the key to his arousal. Even certain foods can be the key to elevating his amorous feelings. Often it's a special touch, perhaps a special way you rub the back of his neck or the way you touch his face or perhaps a kiss in a particular sensitive spot. You only have to find out what special sense he needs stimulated to turn on your feelings man whenever you want. His idea of sexy is slow & sensual with lots of touching.
"Have you hugged your hubby today?" refers to your feelings man who needs a hug to sense your love.
A feelings man likes changes even less than other men. Changes upset him. If you've always slept together one way, sleeping on the other side of the bed is enough to undermine his security.
The Visual Woman
As a visual woman, you know exactly what kinds of clothes look good on you. You are always well dressed & may work in fashion. Your friends ask you what to wear when they don't know. You seem to know what jewelry looks right with which outfits, & your style sense is acute. You are able to go against fashion dictates & still look good because you have your own sense of flair & fads don't affect you.
Whenever I see a particular visual friend of mine, she looks good. If she's cooking, her apron is tied adorably & the scarf around her head looks like a stylish turban. When she works in the garden, even her gloves are chic. I have seen her look good taking kids to the doctor, dogs to the vet, even scrubbing floors & painting walls.
The Auditory Woman
You're the one everybody listens to, the advice giver, the good communicator. You are reasonable & rational, a good friend & a helpful arbitrator. You can hear both sides of a question without prejudice. Your advice is well thought out & friends often come to you with their problems.
You are almost always calm & rational, & your ideas are both creative & practical. You talk on the phone a lot. If you don't have a long in-depth conversation every so often, you feel deprived. You are capable of sharing a great deal verbally, sometimes more than others want to hear.
Your idea of intimacy is a good conversation, even over the telephone. You prefer talking on the phone to writing a letter. You can hear things in people's voices & in what they say that others can't. You are sensitive to every pronoun, alert to every inflection. A simple "Hello" can say more to you than to others. You can read people by the tone of their voices.
Since I am auditory, I love to go on radio & TV shows & talk about my books. People often ask if I don't get tired of answering the same questions over & over again. Of course not. As a typical auditory person, I love to talk. In the past year, I was frequently asked to give speeches. At first, I was concerned about getting up in front of a large group & just talking for an hour or more, but it was amazing how quickly I began to enjoy speaking to large groups & even getting paid for it!
The problem with being an auditory woman is that you will be prone to creating scenarios in your head. Little voices will tell you all sorts of horrible things that could happen & you could get bogged down by them. When I first met my husband, Marshall, I was taunted by little voices predicting a relationship catastrophe of some kind like the ones I'd had in the past. After becoming impatient with sophisticated psychological theories about what caused the voices, I found out that there is a simple solution: Just tell the little voices to shut up. It works. (Editor: Of course, as Christians we know that "little voices" which taunt, tempt, criticise & condemn could very well be the voice of "the Accuser of the Saints," the Devil.--Therefore, the most effective way to silence & be rid of such "voices" is to claim & quote positive, uplifting, faith-building Scriptures from the Word of God! The Enemy cannot take the truth & power of God's Word, so quote it, & he will flee every time! "Resist the Devil & he will flee from you!"--Jam.4:7.)
The Feelings Woman
You're the caretaker, the person people turn to for warmth & understanding. People come to you with their deepest secrets, their innermost confessions & their most farfetched dreams & schemes, because you're so sympathetic, so nonjudgmental.
You're sympathetic to everyone because you can sense their pain. You understand both sides of a question because you can relate to how everyone feels. You have lots of friends, & they sometimes just want to be around you because you seem to radiate warmth & understanding.
You are sometimes too sensitive for your own good. Because you relate so well to everyone, people sometimes take advantage of you. You are known as a softie, an easy touch, always there & ready to give,
You are easily hurt, & because you are so kind, you often won't tell the person who hurt you how you feel. Your understanding of others makes it difficult for you to get angry at them. You are more likely to find excuses for the ones you love than to blame them for anything.
You are slow to anger & quick to forgive. When you love, you give your all, sometimes blindly neglecting yourself for others.
As a feelings woman, you are likely to be in one of the nurturing professions like psychology, teaching or nursing. You really like people & enjoy being with them.
Men are automatically drawn to you because of your easy acceptance of them just the way they are, with all their foibles & eccentricities.
Love Language Self-Test
If you have questions about your Love Language or your mate's, this test will help you decide whether you & your mate are visual, auditory or feelings-oriented.
1. Given $1,000 to spend on one of the following, which would you choose?
a) A new mattress
b) A new tape recorder
c) A new television
2. Which would you rather do?
a) Stay home & eat a home-cooked meal
b) Listen to a new tape together
c) Go to a movie
3. Given a choice of activities at a resort, which would you choose?
a) Going to a class
b) Exploring hiking trails
c) Relaxing & doing nothing
4. Which of these rooms would you enjoy the most?
a) One with a terrific view
b) One with an ocean breeze
c) One that is peaceful & quiet
5. To which event would you rather go?
a) A wedding
b) An art exhibit
c) A party with many people to meet
6. Which are you considered?
7. How do you most often keep in touch?
a) By talking on the phone
b) By writing letters
c) By having lunch
8. How do you prefer to spend time?
9. If you lost your keys, what would you do?
a) Look for them
b) Shake your pockets to hear them jingle
c) Feel around for them
10. If you were going to be stranded on a desert island, what would you most want to take along?
a) Some good books
b) A tape recorder
c) Your sleeping bag
11. Which type of dresser are you?
c) Very casual
12. Which of these would you rather be?
a) In the know
b) Dressed immaculately
13. If you had unlimited money, what would you do?
a) Get a more comfortable house & furniture
b) Travel & see the World
c) Join clubs to meet people
14. If you could, which would you rather be?
a) A great doctor
b) A great musician
c) A great painter
15. Which do you think is sexier?
a) Soft lighting
c) Special music
1. a)feelings, b)auditory, c)visual
2. a)feelings, b)auditory, c)visual
3. a)auditory, b)visual, c)feelings
4. a)visual, b)feelings, c)auditory
5. a)feelings, b)visual, c)auditory
6. a)visual, b)auditory, c)feelings
7. a)auditory, b)visual, c)feelings
8. a)auditory, b)feelings, c)visual
9. a)visual, b)auditory, c)feelings
10. a)visual, b)auditory, c)feelings
11. a)visual, b)auditory, c)feelings
12. a)auditory, b)visual, c)feelings
13. a)feelings, b)visual, c)auditory
14. a)feelings, b)auditory, c)visual
15. a)visual, b)feelings, c)auditory
Count the number of visual, auditory & feelings preferences for both you & your mate. You will quickly be able to see your primary, secondary & tertiary choices. Where you have the most answers will be an indication of your primary Love Language, the next will be your secondary, the third, your least active Love Language.
Me: Visual ; Auditory ; Feelings_____
Him: Visual ; Auditory ; Feelings_____
Watch people who are in love. You will notice something interesting. They seem to look alike, sit alike, dress alike, even sound alike. They are naturally in tune with each other, totally & absolutely in sync. They somehow seem to belong together. The longer people are together, they more alike they become.
They even have similar nervous habits. If he jiggles his foot, watch her move hers, or tap her fingers, in exactly the same rhythm. Notice how he changes his position in a chair to match hers. She puts her hand on her chin, he does the same. Watch how easily & naturally they seem to fit together.
Being psychically "in tune" makes these couples act alike without ever consciously thinking about it. They have developed a deep psychological rapport. The opposite is true as well. You can easily tell if a couple is having relationship trouble, because they will be out of sync. Watch them together.
If she sits forward in the chair, does he? Or does he sit back? Does he cross his legs, followed by her uncrossing hers? Is he relaxed, with his hands behind his head, while she is nervous & fidgety? Do they sit close, or apart?
By observing just how dissimilar a couple is acting, you can often tell they're having problems before they know it themselves.
Being deeply in love means being "in tune" with your mate, & when you are in tune, you tend to act the same--you "mirror" each other. That's common observation. The fascinating secret to mirroring is that this process works in reverse. If you mirror your mate, you will get more in tune with him, which will enhance & deepen your love!
Creating a Comfort Level: Trust is the prime ingredient of love. Before we can love someone, we need to trust them totally. We need to feel that we can let our guard down, be vulnerable without the other person taking advantage of us.
Where does trust come from? Theoretically, you could build that kind of trust, step by step, with anyone. But we automatically tend to trust other people when they are like us. It's human nature.
We tend to be fearful of what we don't know, & comfortable with what we do know. Each of us is most comfortable with our personal identity. Since we all like comfort, we prefer being with people who look like us, dress like us &, unfortunately, whose skin is the same colour & whose accents are familiar.
The ultimate in mirroring occurs right after you've made love. Have you noticed that as you're lying together, perhaps both of you lying on your sides, his front curved against your back, breathing together, you feel an amazing closeness, a feeling of oneness? That's because you are mirroring each other's body posture, breathing & mental state.
You don't have to wait helplessly for this comfort level to somehow return to your relationship. Whenever you feel the love or intimacy of your relationship is slipping in one degree or another, mirroring your loved one can bring you back together. Mirroring will recreate that peak of comfort level, that sense of total trust.
And it's so easy! Mirroring simply means sitting, dressing, acting, talking, reflecting another person's behaviour.
Now I can already hear some of you asking, "Why should I have to change myself for him? Why doesn't he do the mirroring?"
The truth is that men are just not as flexible as women. Try to get him to give up his old slippers or the jacket he's had since college. Try to get him to be nice to someone he doesn't like. See how flexible he is about moving his favourite chair to a different part of the room, or redecorating in a new colour scheme, or even sitting on the other end of the sofa.
Most men like everything to stay the same. They are more likely to have set routines & want to stick with them. Try changing his dinner hour, or even switching brands of toothpaste. He'll think it's a personal assault. So you want to think of mirroring as a technique we women can use more adeptly than men, just because we're more flexible.
Conscious Harmony: As long as life is harmonious, all is well, but when it's not, you can consciously bring harmony back into your relationship with mirroring. Suppose the man in your life walks in the door & slumps in a chair, exhausted from a busy day's work? You, on the other hand, have just had a shower & are all refreshed, cheery & bright.
You bustle around, bringing him a cool drink, cooking dinner, plumping the pillows. He gets grumpier & grumpier. The worse he gets, the more you bustle around, trying to cheer him up. You suggest, "How about a nice shower?" or "Maybe you'd like to go out to a movie?"
He doesn't want a shower. He doesn't want to be bothered. He sinks deeper & deeper into his foul mood.
Instead of bustling around trying to convince him that he's not as tired as he thinks he is, or that everything is really just fine with the World, try creating conscious harmony through mirroring. It's a lot easier.
Flop down. Relax. Sympathise. Tell him by your movements that you feel for him. The first thing that will happen is you will suddenly be in tune with each other. That alone will make him start to feel better, less isolated & alone. Then you can gradually pull him out of it, perhaps salvaging the whole evening with an investment of fifteen minutes.
Why does it work?
When you look & act differently from the man in your life, he gets the message unconsciously that you don't like the way he is, or that you don't agree with him. Nobody likes to be disagreed with, so he just gets grumpier.
Physical Mirroring: Physical mirroring is like a body language game. If he is slumping, you slump a little. Stand in more or less the same posture he does, cross your leg if he crosses his, lean forward if he leans forward, clasp your hands if he does. If he is cupping his chin in his hand, you rest your chin on yours.
But this is not a game of Monkey See, Monkey Do. It has to be done casually. You don't want him to know what you're doing. Don't be obvious. Make your movements smooth & natural. Don't instantly change position when he does. For example, if he moves forward in his chair, wait several seconds to a minute & then do the same.
Mirror your mate's body language to get in tune with him, but be careful about what you mirror--you may not want to get permanently in tune with everything about him. Don't mirror something like cuticle picking, nail biting or hair pulling, for example, unless you are prepared to deal with a new bad habit!
Over the past years, I have used mirroring in many other situations besides just love. I have mirrored editors, by reflecting the tone of their voices on the phone or the accent they have, to increase their comfort level with me & improve our communication.
I have mirrored talk-show hosts like Phil Donahue & Merv Griffin. Getting quickly into rapport with them helped me get relaxed, made for a better interview, & got us what we were both working for--a good show.
I have mirrored reporters both in the United States & Europe while they were interviewing me, & I always got more space in print than they had originally intended, because we established rapport & found we had a lot in common.
I have mirrored clients who've come to me for help so that they would relax & it would be easier to help them. The mirroring made them trust me, & then they quickly revealed their innermost problems & feelings.
I have mirrored people I was interviewing for magazine articles & found that they told me more revealing & intimate information than they would have otherwise.
I have mirrored judges & lawyers while testifying as an expert witness on relationships, & I have mirrored many couples, both men & woman, while interviewing them for this book. Never has anyone said, "How come you're sitting like me?" or "Why do you sound like me?"
Leading Him: How many times have I heard women complain, "He never listens to me." One easy solution is simply to mirror him when you talk to him. Don't tell him something really important while you're reading a magazine or chopping onions. Stop what you're doing & get in tune with him. Mirror him for just a couple of minutes, make small talk about something until you're sure you're in tune with him, then talk about what's important to you.
He'll pay attention in a way he didn't before. Just by giving him your full attention, he will feel that what you have to say is important. Subconsciously, he'll be inclined to agree with you because he feels in sync.
Mirroring has another important benefit, besides getting your man's attention. It allows you to forget about yourself for just a few minutes & really concentrate on him. When you are mirroring him, you don't have to worry about what you're going to say next. You can really listen & get on his wavelength.
Mirroring Emotions: The good thing about mirroring a man's emotions is that you will often find out a lot more if he feels you're sympathetic.
When a man is upset or depressed, he wants to feel justified. Let him know that you sympathise with him, & be sure to find out if there's anything else that's bothering him. Always find out what's wrong. That way you can do something about it.
Mirroring Volume: Mirroring volume is very simple. It means when he talks softly, you talk softly. Match his volume. Many women have the type of quiet man that can be infuriating. He's the type who hates to fight & hates scenes. He'd do anything, even something he loathes, to avoid an ugly scene.
Randy was like that. He was driving his wife, Stacey, crazy. "I can't stand the way he never gets excited about anything," she told me. "It's as if he just doesn't care." When I asked Stacey what she would do to try to get Randy to open up, she told me, "I've yelled & screamed, I've thrown tantrums. I've even thrown things--& once I actually swung at him. And would you believe, no reaction. Not a thing. He just walks away.
"I ask him about things, simple things. `What do you think of this carpet sample?' or `Would you like to barbecue tonight?' Mostly he doesn't answer. He just grunts. Or he says something like, `Whatever you want's okay with me.' I could absolutely kill him."
I noticed that Stacey's ordinary tone of voice was about two times as loud as anyone else's. When I talked to Randy, he was surprisingly quiet.
Instead of murdering Randy, Stacey gave mirroring volume (& enthusiasm) a try. Even though Randy had fallen in love with Stacey's outgoing personality & loved the way she was able to speak right up to anybody about anything, he himself was shy & soft-spoken. So the next time she was about to blow up at Randy, Stacey tried matching his nonchalant I-don't-care tone of voice.
"It's amazing," she reported. "The quieter I got, the more he listened."
Mirroring your mate's belief system is the easiest way to get him into a state of agreement. Always get him into a state of agreement before you ask for something. That way he's more likely to say yes.
Perhaps someone you've dealt with has gotten you into a state of agreement before influencing you in some way. Remember the last time you went shopping & bought more than you'd planned on. The astute saleswoman may have said, "Let's see, you're a size 10," & you said, "Yes." Then she said, "And you're looking for something special," & you said, "Yes, a special party dress." She said, "I have some really special party dresses over here," echoing your words. The dresses may or may not be the kind of special party dresses you're looking for, but you're inclined to agree that they are since she's gotten you to say yes to all the other things first.
She has cleverly mirrored your own words. You are, in fact, in a state of agreement with her. And so, without even being aware of it, you trust her when she tells you something looks good on you & you buy it from her.
Getting into a state of agreement with your mate by mirroring his belief systems is easy because, unlike the saleswoman, you don't have to guess at what his belief systems are.
When you're irritated with him, when he's done something less than lovable, when you want to ask for a change, first get him into a state of agreement.
You have already established lots of wonderful memories & special loving feelings with the man in your life. Each time you have great sex, every time you go on a romantic trip, you are building your romantic memory bank. You can use anchoring to solidify your love by making sure he remembers every wonderful moment he's had with you. With anchoring, you can make those loving feelings & memories available whenever you want them. You can trigger them whenever you need to.
Anchoring Good Times: Anchoring is one of the most potent tools for keeping a man in love. Here's how it works.
Whenever you & the man you love are having an especially wonderful time together, preserve the feeling of that moment with a special touch. Say special words in a special way. Perhaps just his name said in a particularly loving tone of voice, or maybe a pet name or something silly, or "You turn me on," or "Hi, handsome." Each time he seems really happy, use the same touch & the same words in the same way to establish your good times anchor.
After you have done this several times, your good times anchor will be firmly in place. Each time you use it, you just reinforce it.
For example, the two of you are at the beach. The breeze is cool, the sand is warm & the sun is shining. You are rubbing suntan oil on his back & he is obviously enjoying the perfect moment. You brush his hair off the side of his face & say, "Oh, John, you have the cutest neck." Or, "Hey, handsome, got a date tonight?" Or, "Wanna wrestle?"
It really doesn't matter what the words are, just that you always touch the same place & always say the same words in the same tone of voice.
You can use your good times anchor any time. Let's say your man has a miserable time at work, or that his car breaks down on the freeway, or that he has a terrible fight with one of the kids. He's miserable & it's not your fault, but you're there & you certainly get the vibes. All you have to do is touch the magic spot, say the magic words, & presto, he's smiling! He's your own sweet love again.
Sex Anchors: Stephanie, a 42-year-old saleswoman, was married to Greg, a 50-year-old investment banker. When she came to me, her complaint was typical: "Greg works all the time & we don't have enough quality time together." After a few minutes, she admitted that their sex life was great, when they had it. Most of the time they were both so busy, they didn't have time. When they did have time, they were too tired, especially Greg, who had been working day & night to close a big deal.
"I've tried sexy nightgowns, vibrators, all sorts of things. But he just doesn't seem to get interested very often," Stephanie told me. "If I push him about it, he tells me I'm a nag & nagging isn't sexy. I think he's taking all the energy he used to put into sex & our relationship & putting it into his work instead."
In order to get Greg's attention back & to refocus his sexuality, Stephanie used anchoring. The next time he got in one of his rare sexually interested moods, she reached up & touched the back of his neck. "You're so sexy," she whispered. When they finished making love, she continued to rub the back of his neck, then his shoulders.
The next few nights she tried rubbing his shoulders, moving to the back of his neck. He thought she was trying to ease his tension from work & he loved it, but she was really invoking the sexy anchor she had set. Greg never did find out why he felt sexy every time Stephanie rubbed his neck, he just did.
Every woman who has been able to keep her man in love with her told me she developed little secrets for "handling" her man.
Don't Blame: A simple change in semantics, a different way of phrasing something, can make the difference between a pleasant & unpleasant encounter.
It's just as easy to say, "The car ran out of gas," as it is to say, "You let the car run out of gas." Men are very sensitive to being blamed for things. When you start a statement by saying "You....," he will immediately get on the defensive.
Always blame some other, preferably inanimate object, not your mate. Instead of "You made this place a mess," say, "This place is messed up." Say, "The trash needs to be taken out," not, "You didn't take out the trash yet." The kids need to be picked up," rather than, "You haven't picked up the kids." Avoid at all costs, "you should," "you didn't," "you have to," "you'd better," "you shouldn't".
If you say, "You didn't fix the leaky faucet," he's sure to get defensive about how hard he works & how he just hasn't had time. But, if you say, "That faucet is still leaking," he's likely to reply, "I know. I meant to get to it. I'll fix it as soon as I can." You've made it the faucet's fault, not his, so he feels more like being cooperative.
Ask His Advice: I am really surprised at the number of men who say, "Being needed is the most sexy thing for me." So let your man know you need him. Women with successful relationships allow their men to "give advice".
"I ask his advice even when I don't need it or when he doesn't know any more about something than I do," one woman told me about her obviously in-love mate. "I can tell by the look on his face & the tone of his voice that he really likes it when I do."
Hidden Messages: Men are basically stubborn. They are certain to do the exact thing you just asked them not to do. But perhaps your man isn't just being obstinate. Perhaps he doesn't want to do the opposite of what you want him to do. Maybe he hears only part of what you say.
You say, "Don't forget to pick up the boys at Little League." Naturally, he forgets. He forgets because his mind unconsciously blocks out the "don't" part of your message. All he remembers is "Forget to pick up the boys," & that's exactly what he does.
It's always better to tell your man, "Remember to call me," instead of, "Don't forget."
Persuasion by Agreement: Couples stay together because of the ways in which they are alike, not the ways in which they are different. Similar backgrounds, similar values, similar likes & dislikes keep a couple close. In order to stay close, always emphasise the areas of agreement, especially right before you get into an area of disagreement.
Let's say you want to get your man to go shopping for some new clothes, something he's not eager to do. Don't start by telling him all his old clothes are tacky & out of date--even if they are. Don't demand that he throw away the suit with the gangster lapels or the jeans with the bell-bottom legs. Never start out by making him feel you're criticising him.
Start out by getting into an area of agreement & appreciation. It's a failproof technique. You first say three nice statements that he's likely to agree with. The fourth is not necessarily something he agrees with, but he agrees anyway, so as not to break the nice vibes, just because you've gotten him into an agreeable state.
Another force is active when you get your man into a state of agreement. He hates to change his mind; he thinks only women change their minds. Once a man is agreeing with something, once he's committed his viewpoint & set the tone for the conversation--one of agreement--he doesn't want to change. Nobody wants to disagree with someone who is obviously so much like them. Also, nobody wants to be uncomfortable. It's easier to keep agreeing.
Winning Without Fighting
All couples disagree. What's dangerous is when every disagreement escalates into a bitter battle. When you both say things that can't be taken back. When harsh, cruel words spoken in anger remain in both your minds long after the fight is over. When an argument over who left the toothpaste uncapped, or the garbage in the disposal becomes a bitter dispute over who's right & who's wrong, who's the good person & who's the bad person, then your relationship is in jeopardy.
There are ways to do battle subtly, quietly, sensitively. By saying the right words, you can maintain closeness in the face of anger.
Reflecting: If you can, get into agreement, even about his anger. Say, "I can see why you're angry," if he's visual. Or if he's auditory, "I can hear how angry you are." Or, if he's a feelings man, "I can sense how upset you are." Don't get angry back. Don't let him think you think his feelings are unjustified or that he has no right to them.
When you reflect your man's feelings, you do several things. You help him because it's so hard for men to talk about how they feel. You defuse his anger, because you're agreeing with him. You keep him from being defensive because you aren't arguing. You let him know you're on his side.
Venting: Venting is a way of getting your partner to tell you what's really bothering him. He's not really picking a fight because you're out of coffee or because you forgot to tell him his friend called while he was out. You know something else is bothering him. If you let him just walk around collecting examples in his mind of alleged injustices you've committed, pretty soon he'll throw the entire list at you. It's important to get things out in the open.
Instead of telling him to go out & buy the coffee himself or that people forget to give phone messages sometimes, tell him, "I guess I just forgot. So what else is bothering you?"
You may be surprised. You may hear more than you bargained for. One woman's husband told her, "Our sex life is terrible."
Instead of getting upset, she said, "What exactly about our sex life is terrible?"
"You're always too busy. When I want to make love, you always have something else to do."
She said, "Well, maybe you're right. I have been really busy lately." But she could see that he was still upset. So she said, "What if we made love more often, would that be better?" By asking him what would happen if that problem went away, she got him relaxed & over what he saw as an insurmountable conflict.
He shrugged. "I guess so."
Then she said, "Is anything else bothering you?"
Finally, he admitted, "Well, now that you mention it, there is."
So she asked, "What is it?"
And he said, "Well, you used to kiss me when I came in, & now you don't do that any more."
Next, she asked, "What if I did? Would everything be okay then, or is there anything else on your mind?"
Finally she got his whole list of grievances. Some of them went back five years. Afterwards, they both felt as if a weight was lifted from them. She told me, "We didn't fix everything right away, & some of the things he was upset about were too far in the past, but just talking about everything put our marriage on a much more even keel."
Even when there's nothing obviously wrong, it doesn't hurt to sit down with your husband & talk things out once in awhile. Ask him if anything's bothering him. You can deal with a complaint if it's out in the open, but you can't do anything about it if it's hidden.
Say It First: You know when he's about to complain about something. You can sense it. The kids are out of hand. The house is a mess. He's not getting enough sex. The bills are too high.
Jump the gun. You talk about whatever it is before he gets a chance to. All he can do is agree with you when you do this.
For instance, you've lost your keys & have to go out. You say, "Do you mind if I take your keys, dear?" He says, "No," but you can see by the look on his face that he really is not pleased. You know he's about to lecture you about keeping your keys in one place. You can tell by the rigid set of his jaw, the slight drawing together of his brows.
So you look him straight in the face & say, "I know you hate it when I take your keys. But I won't be gone long."
You have defused his anger by getting right to his feelings. You have beaten him to the punch, so to speak, & you have clearly overcome his objections by telling him you won't be gone long. If he still looks about to lecture, you say, "I'm going to start putting my keys in one place as soon as I come in, from now on."
Now he has nothing left to do but agree with you. Once again you have sidestepped a potential argument.
Futurising: Sometimes all a man needs is to be reassured that whatever is bothering him won't go on forever. I use futurising a lot. When I'm working on a book, I tend to let everything else go. The whole house gets covered with my papers; notes here, chapters there, extra copies everywhere, research piled up, unanswered mail, unread magazines. Eventually Marshall starts to complain. "There's no place for me to put my briefcase down," he growls accusingly.
"I know how you feel," I sympathise. "There's no place for me to put my briefcase down either. But as soon as the book is done, it'll all get cleaned up." He may still grumble a little, but the promise that the mess won't last seems to keep him happy.
Maybe your best friend was one, maybe you have one...a man who isn't perfect. Probably we all have one. The problem is that there are no perfect men. There are just the ones we have.
If you are stuck with one of these "lovable slob" types, well, it's really not so bad. With a little change in your outlook, you may be able to change his.
For every slob, there's a neatnik who can't stand a hair out of place or a wrinkle. For every workaholic there's a lazy lout who won't lift a finger. For every macho thrillseeker, there's a passive wimp. For every life of the party, there's a stick in the mud. For every Mama's boy, there's a mother hater. For every pennypincher, there's an easy mark. For every Peter Pan, there's an old grump.
Womanisers: Many women that I counsel were so devastated by the betrayal of their trust that they simply ended their marriages then & there. Often they were sorry, looking back with 20-20 hindsight.
Ellen, now in her mid-forties, & divorced for the past fourteen years, told me that if she had to do it over again, she wouldn't have left her husband.
"I was a fool," she sighed. "A young, arrogant fool who threw away a perfectly charming, wonderful, successful man for a moment's angry pride."
Nick & Ellen had lived together two years before they were married. They were married three years & had just had a beautiful baby girl they both adored when everything fell apart for Ellen.
Nick, a handsome musician, travelled with a rock 'n' roll band, "I found out about a couple of wild weekends he'd had on the road & when he came home, I ordered him out of the house, screaming that I was going to call my lawyer first thing in the morning," Ellen recalled.
Nick pleaded & even cried, begging Ellen to forgive him, promising it would never happen again. But Ellen was so hurt, she sneered at his love. "I knew he loved me & I loved him, but I thought what he'd done was contemptible. The more he begged me to forgive him, the more superior I felt. I was right & he was wrong. It was all black & white. No greys in those days. He had cheated & I was going to punish him. Now I realise I was really punishing myself too.
"But then, I wanted him to suffer. I wanted to hurt his heart as much as he had hurt mine. I wanted him to lose the ones he loved, me & his daughter. It was the only way I knew to get back at him."
Nick & Ellen got divorced. It was a long, drawn-out messy affair. "Nick was stubborn & he kept refusing to believe that I would actually go through with it. I had to prove to him that I was tougher than he was. I signed the divorce papers but he never did. I guess that means I'm divorced & he isn't."
Since Nick & Ellen have a little girl, they've kept in touch over the years. Ellen has perhaps suffered more for her impetuous revenge than Nick. She has moved several times & struggled to make ends meet as a single mother. Nick, on the other hand, has been able to live the same fabulous lifestyle he always did.
"A few years ago we were all three sitting around looking at the family albums," Ellen told me. "Nick said to me, `What happened to us, Ellie?' as we both looked at a picture of the two of us, so young & obviously in love. I think I felt a greater sense of loss at that moment than I had years before when I signed those divorce papers."
Keeping Love Alive
Love Triggers: Love triggers are anything that will trigger the memory of the loving feelings you have shared together. Love triggers can be things, like letters or pictures or mementos. Len, a writer, & Rita, an art director, have been married for 35 years. They have four grown sons, three grandchildren, & are as much in love today as they were when they were teenagers. They both use a special love trigger:
"We married right out of high school," Rita told me, "& two years later our first son was born.
"Len was drafted when the baby was just learning to walk & by that time I was pregnant with our second son. I moved near the base to be with Len for the first few months, but then he was sent to Korea & I was left alone with a toddler & another baby on the way.
"It was tough on both of us with him so far away & neither of us being able to telephone the other. So we wrote letters, long passionate letters filled with our love for one another & our hopes for the future. We wrote about our plans for when Len was discharged. We decided on the new baby's name through our letters & discussed where we would live when Len was home again.
"We put everything that happened to either of us in our letters. Even though we had known one another since we were kids, we discovered so many new things through our letters, & I think we wrote things that were so personal we would never have talked about them."
Len was gone four years. When he got home, Rita told me it was like a second honeymoon.
"I grew closer to our boys, seeing them through Len's eyes. Since I went to work right after they were born, I had missed a lot of their growing. Sharing the skills they learned with Len was wonderful. Of course, we had fights. Who doesn't?
"But whenever Len would get cranky with me or distant or start to take me for granted, I'd simply take out the box of letters he had written me from Korea & quietly lay them in his lap & leave the room. The first time I did that, he just sat there for over an hour, reading each letter until tears were running down his cheeks. `I meant every word,' he told me, `& I mean them now. Thanks for reminding me.'
"Now he pulls the same thing on me when I get upset. If I'm nagging him or sniping at something, he takes out the letters I wrote to him & hands them to me.
"One time he said, `Here, read these, honey, & see if you can learn something. They were written by a beautiful lady I had a passionate love affair with during the war. Now she knew how to talk to a man.' Of course, they were my letters."
Repetition: Do you remember the old song, "You're getting to be a habit with me?" Well, that's what happens. You & your mate get to be a habit with each other. He gets used to having you there. You get accustomed to him. He doesn't sleep well if you're not there. He tosses & turns all night if you're out of town.
Love is indeed an addiction, an addiction to the other person. If you have your man properly addicted to you, it'll be really hard for him to break away. He can be addicted to your smell, the sound of your voice, the way you touch him, the sight of you, the way you read the paper together in the morning & the way you watch the television news last thing at night.
Men are more easily addicted by repetition than women are. Men like their rituals & the security of knowing everything will be the same.
It's important to make sex a habit with your mate. Have sex with him regularly, if only to reinforce his habit of getting all his pleasure from you.
Murray, married to Rose for almost fifty years, told me, "I tell her I love her all the time. She tells me she loves me too." They have seven children, ages 17 to 47. "If I don't tell her I love her everyday, she says to me, `What's the matter, Murray, is the honeymoon over?'"
You can never say "I love you" too often. Besides, the more you say it to him, the more he'll say it back!
Rekindle the Flame
Marriage Exercises: Visualise you & your partner together as you grow older & older. Imagine what you're going to look like, how your life will be as the years go by. Picture the two of you grey & wrinkled, retired, sitting side by side in rocking chairs. Perhaps you're working in the garden, maybe he's snoozing in the sun.
One of the main components in marriages that last is this long-range viewpoint. Couples who stay together "till death do us part" are couples who can see themselves together forever. You can't achieve any goal you can't imagine. Achieving a long-lasting relationship is like any other goal--you must visualise it. You must imagine yourself achieving it.
Appreciation, Not Criticism: Looking for something to praise is an important management technique. Sometimes just writing down the good things about your mate can rekindle love's flame.
LIST--WONDERFUL QUALITIES MY HUSBAND HAS:
If you don't love yourself, you make it hard for him to love you.
LIST--WONDERFUL THINGS ABOUT ME:
It's important to think of your man in terms of "real" men you know, instead of comparing him to some fictional Prince Charming who only exists in romance books & fantasies.
LIST--THINGS I'M LUCKY HE DOESN'T DO:
LIST--THINGS HE'S LUCKY I DON'T DO:
Men are always complaining that they want to be romantic, they just don't understand what we want. The following section is for him. You may want to add a few things of your own at the bottom.
LIST--WHAT'S ROMANTIC, WHAT'S NOT:
(Copy for husband)
1. Being alone together, just the two of us, is romantic. Being with other people is not.
2. A wonderful, unexpected gift is romantic. A new vacuum cleaner is not.
3. Flowers from the florist or a garden are romantic. Steaks from the meat market are not.
4. Eating out is romantic. Eating at home usually isn't.
5. Nice cozy restaurants are romantic, cafeterias & buffets are not.
6. Walking in the park at sunset is romantic. Jogging at dawn is not.
7. Long, ambling scenic drives are romantic. Rushing through traffic is not.
8. Staying at a country inn is romantic. Going on a business trip or to a convention is not.
9. Talking over breakfast is romantic. Reading the paper is not.
10. Wine is romantic. Beer is not.
11. Love letters are romantic. Reminder notes are not.
12. Looking through old photos is romantic. Sorting bills is not.
13. Art, the ballet, poetry are romantic. Boxing, off-road racing & Playboy magazine are not.
14. Old movies & love stories are romantic. Shoot'em-ups & horror flicks are not.
15. Going away is romantic. Taking the kids is not.
16. Surprises are romantic. The same old thing is not.
17. Soft music is romantic. Football & baseball games are not.
18. Telling me how good I look is romantic. Saying how good some other woman looks is not.
LIST--WHAT'S SEXY, WHAT'S NOT:
1. Sweet-smelling sheets are sexy. New sheets are sexy. Beautiful sheets are sexy. Old striped sheets are not.
2. Hot tubs & bubble baths & long showers together are sexy. Going to bed funky is not.
3. Making love with soft lights & music is sexy. Making love while "60 Minutes" is on is not.
4. Massages with scented oils are sexy. Having your back popped is not.
5. Reading love poetry is sexy. "Hustler" is not.
6. Being all alone for a weekend is sexy. Having people around is not.
7. Being taken out to dinner first is sexy. Always being thrown down for a quickie is not.
8. Undressing each other slowly is sexy. Making love with your socks on is not.
9. Finding body parts to admire is sexy. Finding cellulite (fat) is not.
10. Making love in a strange place is sexy. Making love where you can hear the phone is not.
When You're Hot & He's Not: Here are some tried-&-true tips for seducing your man. I call them "Tips from the Pros," because that's where I got them.
TIPS FROM THE PROS
1. "Give good phone:" The women who made the most money were not necessarily the prettiest, they were the best promisers. They were on the phone from early morning until late at night, cooing & billing, talking sweet nothings about how much they missed the client, wondering what he was doing with his sexy self. The women who had the most happy regulars gave great phone.
Seduce your man by calling him & making a date for sex. Talk in a soft, sweet voice. Let him know how much you'll be looking forward to your time together.
2. Spend time getting ready: Don't let him see the preparation. Buy something new & frilly. Prepare for him as if he were the biggest customer. Wash your hair, do your nails, etc. Look good when he gets there.
3. Respond: The sexiest thing a woman can do is be responsive to her man. Let him know he turns you on.
4. Give him your full attention: Listening is one of the sexiest things a big money-making call girl does.
5. Find out his fantasy: Is there a reasonable sex act he's just dying to try? Could you see it in your heart to give him the experience?
6. Try to be the best he's ever had:...So he always wants more!