Archive for May, 2008

May 30, 2008

How men respond to pregnancy….reader responds to reader….. and I am grateful…

by Rod Smith


There are a whole range of responses that men have to women being pregnant and giving birth. Difficult though it is for me to understand, I’m aware that a significant number of men find pregnant women to be unusually attractive, even to the point of becoming fantasy objects. Likewise, some men see mothers as more attractive than non-mothers, possibly because of personality traits that seem to come to the forefront in a woman after she has a child.

At the other end of the spectrum are men like your husband, who feel that pregnancy and motherhood somehow diminish a woman’s femininity and sexuality. It’s easy to suggest that his view is wrong or short-sighted, but that doesn’t help anyone in this situation. To me, this sounds like a great time to engage a professional marriage counselor.

While it’s possible that this might cause your husband to see you in a different light, it may also bring to the forefront emotional issues that your husband is dealing with, but unable to talk freely with you about. In my case, seeing the birth of my oldest son caused me to feel a huge sense of responsibility that i was completely unprepared for. This may not be the case with your husband, but such things are always a possibility.

Regardless, if you can sit down with a third party who has professional credentials, he or she may be able to help both of you discover things that have become factors in your change in relationship. If cost is an issue (and when I was a new father, it most definitely was), look into counseling options subsidized (in part or in whole) through a local church or synagogue.

One last thing: Your husband’s response to you may feel like something that defines you as a woman, but it doesn’t. You remain a person of worth and value, regardless of anyone else’s actions. Your husband’s response being strong does not make you “more of a woman,” and his lack of response does not make you less of one. The role of mother need not diminish the role of wife, any more than becoming a father keeps me from being a husband. Yes, your body changes with childbirth, but I would suggest that your husband has changed (and will continue to change) just as much between his ears.

Becoming parents changes us. We can fight this, and refuse to accept it, or we can be the master of our path and define the role instead of allowing it to define us. My best wishes for you, your husband, and your children. – Tim

May 28, 2008

Living a life with fewer regrets….

by Rod Smith

actionspeaking11. Speak openly of your love to your spouse, your children, and extended family.
2. Be quick to apologize when you are wrong or inappropriate.
3. Forgive.
4. Affirm the talents and goodness apparent to you in all whom you meet.
5. Live under the influence of wild generosity.
6. Write letters to those who have helped you succeed.
7. Anonymously buy, and have delivered, groceries for a needy family.
8. Resist the innate human urge to gossip.
9. Keep your anxiety in check (tamed, restrained) when faced with tough decisions.
10. Speak well of your spouse and family at every opportunity.

May 24, 2008

Conflict with friends…

by Rod Smith

actionspeaking11. Unless all parties are meeting with the goal of reconciliation do not agree to meet. Meeting to hurt and damage each other will serve no helpful ends.
2. Set a date and a time and parameters for your discussion. Agree on limits of time and topic and do not exceed them.
3. Keep to the essential issues without bringing up old or irrelevant material.
4. Listen more than you speak.
5. Don’t draw unrelated people – especially mutual friends – into the conflict.
6. Make notes of what you’d most like to say before you go to the meeting.
7. Leave room for humor.
8. Avoid sarcasm and cruelty.
9. Recall what brought you together as friends in the first place.
10. Be willing to forgive before it is asked of you.

May 24, 2008

Something has changed…

by Rod Smith

“My fiancé and I have been together for 5 years and something is suddenly wrong. I have tried talking to him about whatever is going on with him but he insists that things are fine but they do not feel fine. It just seems like chore to tell me he loves me or express any type of affection. Everything feels different and I hate it. Our wedding is in September and now I am wondering if he is getting cold feet and just can’t say anything. I have knots in my stomach all the time. What we had has faded. He says he loves me and nothing has changed. I try not to be suspicious and wonder if there is someone else. He seems to be getting more short and snippy and less and less happy with everything. I miss the man I fell in love with. I wish I knew what has changed, what is turning his head or even his heart. I wish he would stop telling me nothing is wrong.”

Put all your cards on the table! If this is how it is months before the wedding you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of struggle. Go face-to-face with him now rather than after the wedding.

May 20, 2008

Am I doing the right thing….?

by Rod Smith

My husband of 15 years has been having an affair for 5 years and he still denies it. He sends the other woman text messages everyday saying how much he loves her. I asked him to decide whom he really wants and not to let me stand in their way of happiness. If he loves her I’ll set him free even though this will hurt the children but I cannot stay with someone who doesn’t love me. Otherwise he is a very good husband and father. Am I doing the right thing? (Minimal edits)

Essential to being a “good husband and a good father” is emotional, physical, and financial faithfulness. While your husband is invested in romantic pursuits outside of the marriage all he is really good at is make believe.

No one can tell you the “right thing” to do. This is something you have to decide.

It seems both your husband and the other woman have little dissonance regarding their duplicity.

The inner-part of you that cannot tolerate the pretense, or the lie, or playing second fiddle, is the healthy part of you, and it ought not to be denied or silenced.

May 19, 2008

Son won’t work and I won’t ask him to leave…..

by Rod Smith

My son (24) is the most unmotivated person I know. He lives off us. He complains about everything. He goes out until all hours and sleeps into the afternoon. He’s not had a job for more than a few weeks and always says the work doesn’t suit him. Please don’t tell me to make him move out and get his own place because I just couldn’t do that. What can I do to get him to work and to pay his share of the expenses?

Nothing. With your willing cooperation he has created the perfect spot for himself. Clearly it suits you to fund his lazy life and who am I to make suggestions to upset this apple-cart? You are each getting what you want, and, until the way things are, is not the way you want them to be, you will continue to underwrite the apparently meaningless existence of your more than spoiled son.

May 17, 2008

My son is married to an abusive woman….

by Rod Smith

“The woman my son married is verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive. We have a strong suspicion that she is bi-polar. She ruins family occasions with her foul moods and aggressive demands. She never listens to anything anyone else says. When she started being difficult this year on my grandson’s birthday I requested that she please take it up with her husband in private. She went crazy and switched the target from my son and grandson to me. Now I can’t hear her voice without feeling ill. I don’t feel I made an unreasonable request. I am very concerned about the abuse my son and grandson endure. She refuses any suggestion of counseling, as she is not the problem. Everyone else is. She has no relationship with her own family, and no friends and is gradually cutting our family out too. Her own children hate her for the abuse they have endured and can’t stand being around her.” (Edited)

Don’t attempt to fight your adult son’s battles. Protect yourself and leave your son to defend his himself and his son from what seems to be a difficult woman. I’d suggest you avoid contact with this woman as much as possible. Remember the fruitlessness of trying to reason with unreasonable people!

May 16, 2008

Thanks for coming to speak at my school…

by Rod Smith
Dear Rod Smith,
I was one of the students that was privileged to hear you talk on May 12, at the Branch School.
I just wanted to personally thank you for coming, as well as tell you how much I thoroughly enjoyed listening to you. From the minute you started speaking, I was completely enthralled, and I know I was not the only one. I can’t even describe how I felt as I listened to your words and let them soak in. I actually went home and cried after school got out that day, because of how deeply your speech impacted me.
I think what I liked so much about your talk was that it caused me to think. Not only did you make me think on a deeper level, but I have also been pondering everyday things a lot, such as owning up to responsibility.
I also loved when you said, “There is a novel inside each of you. Write it. If you don’t, you will be withholding a great gift from the world.” I will remember that quote forever! I am thinking about being a writer someday. (I am a senior in high school.)
So, thank you again for your encouraging and thought-inducing talk. I hope I can hear you speak again sometime in the near future! My life will never be the same!
May 15, 2008

How to change the world…

by Rod Smith

1. Being “sharp edged” is more desirable than being “balanced” or “well rounded.” Put yourself out there!
2. Adventure and risk are necessary to foster desired growth. All growth requires some loss!
3. “Safety” (risk avoidance) and the need for consensus (so no one feels left out) can get in the way of discovery and growth. You will never change the world without suffering some loss or without offending someone!
4. Being “nice” can get in the way of being helpful and honest. You can always be loving but you cannot always be nice!
5. A “closed door” sometimes means you have to break the door down. Without persistence you will change nothing!
6. Generosity is evidence of divine intervention. Giving IS better than receiving.
7. Anxiety seldom gives birth to great ideas. You want to accomplish more than mere survival!
8. Great ideas are usually initially dismissed. There is always someone waiting to rain on your parade!
9. Playing “hide and seek” or “ducking and diving” (avoidance) is unproductive and unkind. Facing your detractors will help you more than avoiding them!
10. Every great idea, program, or project has to begin somewhere. Embrace your dream and work on it today!

May 14, 2008

Going home…

by Rod Smith

Going home is a strong human desire. I have seen it so frequently in South Africans living abroad, and I experience it myself. Yes, I long to spend extended hours with old friends at one of Durban’s Indian restaurants, or order tea and scones from Gordon, my favorite waiter in all the world and sit in the sun at the restaurant in Mitchell Gardens.

But circumstances dictate that my visits are vicarious, and so this mornings You and Me takes the form of a personal welcome to some of my favorite friends from where I make my home Indianapolis who will land today in your beautiful city and taste of your excessive hospitality.

Retired businesspersons and spiritual leaders Don and Linda Fledderjohn, their daughter, pediatrician Dr. Erica Fledderjohn-Smith, and toddler granddaughter Beatrice Smith will visit the childhood home of husband, entrepreneur, golfer, and now Hoosier, Nolan Smith (no relation to me) formerly of Beachwood Boys’ High School. I know this fine group will be enriched while visiting family, resting on the beaches, eating in your fine restaurants and spending lots of money!

For the record “Hoosier” is pronounced “HooSSHHier” and is the nickname given to persons who call Indiana home. “Banana Boys” is or was to persons from Kawa-Zulu Natal what Hoosier is to persons from Indiana.