March 12, 2017
When it comes to my sons, I remind myself of these things:
- Their lives are larger at their ages than mine was at their ages. Of course, they’re starting late and the world is a very different place. Their platforms are more complex, and more dynamic than mine was and, I admit, I am somewhat limited in my ability to identify with it. This means I should not be taken aback when I am blinded to possibilities and experiences they see and want to embrace. Rejecting an idea or a possibility simply because I couldn’t envision it is a good way to widen a gap than is mine, and not theirs, to bridge.
- While the world is a very different place than it was in my formative years, some things remain unchanged. Good manners, using please and thank you, looking people in the eye, standing up for adults, dealing honestly with money and time, working hard, and displaying empathy in the face of those who are suffering – are values that cannot be discarded just because the world is faster paced than it once was. One of my jobs as a parent is to encourage, even enforce some of these things if necessary.
- I am enough for my sons and the only dad they will ever need.
February 26, 2017
A conversation means we both speak. You speak, I listen; I speak, you listen. We take turns. We build on what each of us has said. We ask questions related to content already shared. It’s really quite simple.
Appearing to listen while you are really waiting to speak is not listening.
The split-second you decide you know what I am going to say or think you have heard it all before is when you stopped hearing.
When I am talking and your eye contact is with your phone you are not listening. And, no, this is not the new form of multitasking. Listening takes focus and respect.
When I tell you something, respond to what I have said. Following what I’ve said with your bigger, better story, related or unrelated, reduces conversations to competitions.
Unless you are genuinely affirming people we both know I’d suggest we leave all others out of our conversation.
Our routine one-liners and well-worn war stories serve as shields. If we are really going to talk we either have to get them out of the way early on in our dialogue or we have to agree to focus on content neither of us has shared with each other before.
July 14, 2012
1. You experience greater OBJECTIVITY and can “see” your most important relationships as if looking at them through someone else’s eyes.
2. Despite any pain, any trauma, any uncertainty, you can see some HUMOUR in what you are experiencing even if it is short lived.
3. You are progressively gathering a small community of friends who know everything (or almost everything) about you and their SUPPORT is becoming easier to trust.
4. You are seeing with greater and greater CLARITY what are and what are not your responsibilities within your most important relationships.
5.”No” comes easier and it is not accompanied by guilt. “Yes” is your response when you really want what you agree to. You begin to BELIEVE the words you say. Your words reflect you, your desires, and are not said from guilt or the impulse to keep the peace or make others happy.
July 13, 2012
Love and control cannot co-exist in the same relationship anymore than light and dark can exist together in the same space at the same time.
July 12, 2012
There is no good reason ever why any person ought tolerate poor treatment from another.
You teach people how to treat you.
I know you may feel trapped and without an escape route or a friend in the world, but you must get help if this post is reaching deeply into you.
June 19, 2012
“You and Me” will be a little different today. You have three invitations:
1. Please send me the names of the 10 books you believe every English speaking child should read by the time he or she is 15. Please don’t refer me to website. I want your personal list of essential children’s and young adult literature. Kindly indicate “m” of “f” if necessary. Skip Potter, “Vampire” books, and anything with Chicken Soup in the title.
2. I received this yesterday from Kayise Maphalala, producer of Three Talk, SABC Television. If interested please contact Kayise at email@example.com:
“Three Talk is doing a show on forgiveness and one of the areas we would like to also look at is forgiveness in relationships. Would you be so kind as to recommend a couple who has gone through a difficult patch to come in and talk about the importance of forgiveness. This is for a show next to be aired on Tuesday, 26th June 2012.”
3. I have “pushed” Passionate Marriage (David Schnarch) and Failure of Nerve (Edwin Friedman) for years as the best books on (respectively) relationships and leadership. What books am a missing on these two topics? Please send me your suggestions. It is summer in the USA. I have vast amounts of time (I am on three months leave) for reading.
June 28, 2011
The following theme comes to my attention at least several times a month: My wife had an affair. I am finding it hard to trust. Please help.
I can't MAKE you trust me
Trusting a spouse has nothing to do with your spouse. It has everything to do with you.
Each person determines his or her levels of trust with all other people – spouse included. If you hadn’t noticed, you trust people in different ways all the time.
I am not suggesting a wayward partner be fully trusted. This is exactly the point. Trust according to your levels of ability to trust, given the history and the circumstances you face.
“Prove I can trust you,” is unfair. If you are one given to suspicion nothing anyone can do will meet your standards. It is likely you will find holes given the most innocent of scenarios. This is the very nature of suspicion. It eats into everything, nothing ultimately satisfies.
A couple shipwrecked by an affair can survive. I have seen it many times. But the couple will face many challenges while the offended partner constantly seeks assurance or repeatedly brings up the past or plays the hurt puppy.
It takes two to tangle – affairs occur in a context.
It takes ONE to be unfaithful – don’t blame your partner for your actions.
It takes two to find reconciliation.
Trust can be fully restored, little by little over an extended period of time.
June 27, 2011
“Women put everything on the MAN! Talking about they need to be in the right mood. They need romance. Don’t get me wrong, I try to look at her point of view about sex but they never put US in the mood. We’ve been together for a year and engaged since February and I already feel like I’m 50 or 60 years old! These types of problems are supposed to happen around that age! I’m only 24 and she’s 29! I can’t win!” (Edited of hard language)
Clean up your language. It might (emphasis on the “might”) make you more attractive all round. If you swear (cuss) while you are writing about your most intimate relationship, one can only imagine what you must be like face-to-face.
How a person treats outsiders (those whom you do not know and who will read your writing) is a powerful indicator of how a person treats insiders (those close to you).
If you shifted your focus from what you want to what you can contribute you might see some change.
Diminish your desire to control. (“I can’t win” — healthy relationships were never about winning and losing).
Become less demanding, needy, and a lot more loving, and you may grow up a lot and be ready for the kind of sex a partner wants.
You are totally off in your understanding of men in their 50’s and 60’s. You, it is clear to me, don’t have enough behind your eyes (life experience) to have good sex – and if you keep on with your current manner of operating, which I call being “penis propelled”, you might never have it.
I hope your partner reads your post and identifies you (which you sent anonymously –another indication of your immaturity) and regards it as an impetus to bail. If she stays, and you continue to be as demanding as you clearly are, she is in for one sad, sad ride.