Archive for ‘Young Love’

October 17, 2017

Will you be my friend?

by Rod Smith

I am very aware that people don’t analyze their connections in the manner I’ve described below. We’d have healthier communities and families if we did!

  • Will you search with me when I am searching, stand with me when I am standing, and drop to your knees with me in prayer if and when I need it? I will try to do the same for you.
  • Will you stand up to me with firmness and kindness when my many blind spots are blocking my thinking? I will try to do the same for you.
  • Will you join me and examine our connection (as casual acquaintances, colleagues, neighbors, partners, or spouses) so that we remain mutual and equal and respectful no matter the degree or significance of our connection?
  • Will you take time to listen to me? I will try to take time to listen to you?
  • Will you allow me my quirks and eccentricities and try to regard them as interesting rather than regard them as things you wish were different about me?
  • Will you seek my highest good as far as you are able given the knowledge we have about each other? I will try to do the same for you.
  • Will you try to be as unafraid of me as I try to be unafraid of you?
April 22, 2017

Monday meditation / Nine simple truths

by Rod Smith

Nine simple truths –

May they be your first thoughts every morning and may they infiltrate your every move and every relationship:

I am….

  • To be respected and treasured and able to respect and treasure all other people.
  • Capable of expressing my opinions and will do so with growing and greater confidence.
  • Uniquely gifted and my gifts are useful to my immediate and broader community.
  • As unique as the proverbial snowflake and yet part of the human family, tainted with its vulnerabilities, failures, and frailties.
  • Capable of forgiving the worst of offenses I have endured, and capable of seeking forgiveness for the worst offenses I have committed.
  • Able to encourage the discouraged and offer hope to the hopeless.
  • Unafraid of the talents of others and able and willing to help others find their greatness.
  • Capable of becoming the most generous person I know.
  • My own best friend so that I may be a friend to others.
June 19, 2012

Three requests

by Rod Smith

“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 kayisem@urbanbrew.co.za:

“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.

 

May 15, 2011

A word to daughters……

by Rod Smith

Four things to chat about over tea

Parents please teach your daughters:

1. You never have to shrink, soft-pedal, or sell yourself short, in order to secure a loving, lasting relationship. Any potential partner that is threatened by the power of your personality or the breadth of your talent is not worth your time or investment. Move on.

2. You do not have to give up your dreams, talents, desires, and skills in exchange for a loving relationship. The potential partner who is man enough to love you will amplify your dreams, talents, and skills. He will do nothing at all to try and silence you. This is to be especially noted in religious circles – flee communities that silence women.

3. You do not have to hide your imperfections or pretend they do not exist. The person who is man enough to respect and love you will not expect you to be perfect and will seldom notice your shortcomings. A loving man will regard your imperfections as assets.

4. You will benefit from having Zero Tolerance for people with less than perfect manners. If a potential partner swears at people, if he’s short-tempered, if he’s unkind to strangers – move on. There are myriads of men who are pure-mouthed, patient, and kind. Why would you spend a minute longer with one who is not?

January 19, 2011

In our culture a woman is looked down at if she is not married

by Rod Smith

“In 2001 I got a job overseas. I met a special person and now a child together. While pregnant I came home without him. He decided to break up with me when our daughter was two days old. He is now married and has another daughter. I managed to get over him. I met another man and I ended the relationship when I find out that he was married. Since 2008 I’ve had hard time finding a man. It is hard for me because I sometimes wish to be touched and have a companion. I’m a very loving person who has so much love to give. I will be turning 35 and I’m not married. In our culture a woman is looked down at if she is not married. Worse, younger men don’t respect you. My self-esteem has gone down and I’m always depressed.” (Edited)

Attraction is only enduringly poss

Shift your focus

You’ve already demonstrated the ability to resist cultural pressures. It is time to do so again. Try to shift your focus onto finding the strong, woman, and mother within you – rather than another man. I’d suggest your daughter needs you infinitely more than you need a man. A strong, defined, woman of integrity will be attractive to a strong, defined man of integrity.

 

January 5, 2011

Am I in love or in love with the idea of being in love?

by Rod Smith

Please could you tips on how to tell the difference between being “in love” with someone and being “in love with the idea of being in love.”

Being in love with the idea of being in love is essential to genuine, lasting love. Without desire the real thing has no entryway.

Genuine love, while quite able to be caught up in romantic fantasy resists losing self, self-insight, the urge for self-preservation, and the urge to self-govern. True love sacrifices, is humble, serves, can desire to move heaven and earth for another, yet it never abdicates personal responsibility or enables others to do so. It has long-haul vision. It seeks little or nothing in return, yet it is also first self-preserving. Somewhat ironically, it is able to care for itself (love itself) just a little more than it cares for a significant other.

Loving the idea of being in love tends to make us responsive to anyone who reaches out. We become somewhat ill defined and demonstrate acts of romantic desperation. We idealize the candidate whom we deem will help us fulfill that fantasy and remain committed even when faced with urgent symptoms (warnings of friends and family) suggesting the relationship is ill fated. Reality doesn’t seem to matter. It’s “I’ll-make-this-work-even-if-it-kills-me” attitude and, sadly, it often does.

December 28, 2010

Keeping women “down” must be consistently challenged….

by Rod Smith

Attraction is only enduringly poss

Fully live (women, too!)

I am thoroughly aware that some cultures do not “allow” women to have a voice, make choices, speak up to husbands – having regularly addressed men and women from such cultures for years. I remain convinced that this robs said cultures of half of its creative capital.

Keeping women “down” must be consistently challenged. Thus my suggestion the woman in yesterday’s column (12-28-2010) define herself to her husband. Of course it flies in the face of many cultures – but if she is to give of her best to herself, her husband, to anyone, speaking up to all in her context is the place to start.

What can be so threatening for some men that some are terrified if women (whom they love) makes their full contribution?

Yes. It will more than ruffle the marriage. Rather a ruffled marriage than a life-time of control, submission, manipulation, leading to intimidation, then domination – not that all men in said cultures are this way at all.

If he really “treats her like a queen” he will also grow. If not, he will reject her; even leave her. At least she’d have expressed herself as a woman and be able to achieve, albeit at great cost, her selfhood as a woman and will have discovered she requires permission from no one to BE.

PS: I have delivered lectures in several Asian countries where it seems women are strongly discouraged from expressing their voices. While trying to be as culturally sensitive as possible, I did not water down my message at all and called on all men and all women to encourage all men and all women to find, express, and use their voices. While I have had some strong kick-backs (some rejection and exclusion) I have always been invited back. I’ve even asked leaders and organizers the reasons I am invited back despite my contrary message. I am told, “Yes. Your message is dangerous for us but we still need to hear it.”

November 17, 2010

Indications your family is on a healthy trajectory…

by Rod Smith

It is counter-intuitive, I know......

It's the journey, remember...

A healthy family – and I will remind you that no person or family is healthy all of the time (that’s unhealthy!) – sets itself on broad and healthy goals that include being:

1. Unpredictable, spontaneous, flexible; allowing each person and each generation, to be different from the former generations.
2. Forgiving (reflective, gracious) – allowing little or no time for the gathering of injustices.
3. Funny – often self-deprecating.
4. Hospitable – welcoming of strangers and guests.
5. Generous – eager to share with persons in need.
6. Open – willing and able to embrace difficult issues.
7. Diverse – welcoming of persons of all shades, creeds, and ages.
8. Free – creative, honest, displaying growing integrity.

August 20, 2010

He never says “I love you” but he shows it….

by Rod Smith

“In twenty years my husband has never told me he loves me. I know he does but he just can’t say the words. He makes up for this in so many ways but it would be nice to hear. Please help.”

Call me....

Let him off the hook

For some people the words “I love you” get trapped where head, heart, and history intersect and the love can find no escape but through loving acts.

Enjoy his love, even if the words “I love you” are never said. Let him off the hook. Love him by relieving him of this expectation.

If your husband were the person writing to me I’d challenge him to learn to love you with both actions and words. I’d suggest he at least take a look at when and how these words lost their legs inside him.

Since you wrote I will suggest you use this circumstance to advance your own growth by resisting the understandable urge to meddle with his head and heart.

August 1, 2010

How NOT to use my column….

by Rod Smith

Each of the following is in response to a MIS-use of my column…..

I get letters about this all the time.....

Don’t ram my column into the face of your partner (mother, father, in-laws, boss, lover) to “prove” yourself “right” about any issue. My writing is not the final word on any matter. I’m expressing my opinion over relational matters, over which readers have often provided me with very limited information. Be assured, I have often found myself to be thoroughly misguided.

Don’t look for others and for what you perceive they are doing “wrong” in my column. If you have read my work for any time at all you will know I am going to encourage you to focus on your thinking and your behavior as keys to alleviating the discord in your life. Allow my column to be one of many sources to challenge how you operate in your life.

Don’t confuse this daily newspaper column with therapy. It is not. While it might be a therapeutic exercise, reading it will not replace the need for a real, live, face-to-face encounters with a mental health professional if you need one. The complexities of human relationships cannot be captured in fewer than 210 words a day. Reading my column will not enduringly assist you if what you really need is face-to-face professional help.