Posts tagged ‘Love’

November 29, 2007

Questions re: What to ask a counselor or sex therapist…. and a digression about sex and Christians…

by Rod Smith

Reader asks: There’s a counselor who works out of my wife’s church counseling center who is a Christian sex therapist. If I decide to consult with him, what sort of questions should I ask him in an initial contact? What might I expect from a competent counselor in an initial visit?

Rod responds: I’d be more concerned about what the counselor asks you than I am about what you are planning to ask him.

Is he (the counselor) focused on CHALLENGE and GROWTH primarily of the individual and then of the couple – or is trapped in the idea of trying to be so empathic that it will take weeks or even months before you and your wife can really get to talk?

Has he studied David Schnarch? Avoid him if he has not.

Is he himself FREE, or is he anxious, and highly-strung?

What does his theology tell him about who women are? Are women COMPLETELY equal with men and if not, I’d avoid him. Fully mature sex is impossible with (perceived) un-equals. If a man perceives himself as above a woman or “in charge” of his wife his very mindset it robbing him of the very joy and sexual fulfillment he is seeking.

November 29, 2007

The power of human love…. is in you…

by Rod Smith

It is in us to love. It’s human. We have the capacity for it. Even hurt and rejected people can love. Once a person accepts that love has more than romantic connotations, as powerful and valid as these of course are, he or she will be able to see its broader power.

Love is unleashed through simple, but not easy, human acts of seeking the highest good both for oneself and for others. Acts of offering unearned forgiveness, of reaching out to the estranged, of welcoming a stranger, of letting go of all prejudice, of rejecting dishonesty – all begin within the individual human heart.

When a person intentionally facilitates others toward finding and enjoying and exercising the full range of their humanity, he or she will know and see and experience the powerhouse love is.

Even people with reason to reject others, having themselves been rejected or treated inhumanely, have it in them to love, if they dare to muster the courage for it. It comes quite naturally to the courageous person, and when it is unleashed, the purposes and the meaning of life surge into the heart of all who have the courage to hear and respond to its powerful call.

If you want a bound edition of all 400+ columns GO TO: www.ToughPlace.Blogspot.com and follow the directions on the right of the page…….

November 28, 2007

Women, and jealous men…

by Rod Smith

Jealousy serves no useful purpose. Jealous men (It’s men in my experience) try and tell me it comes with love. Nonsense.

Ugliness is never a symptom of love.

Placated? Appeased? Entertained? Jealousy won’t dissipate. It will grow. And grow. Become increasingly demanding.

The sympathetic, those allowing jealousy to do its ugly work, will discover the virus to be insatiable. It will only becomes more restrictive and ridiculous.

“I stopped talking to men at work, I stopped dressing in pink, I stopped calling my sister, I stopped smiling – these behaviors of mine made him jealous,” she says, “now he doesn’t want me talking anyone, or wearing clothes he didn’t pick out for me, or talking to anyone in my entire family!”

Rings of pure love, doesn’t it?

It is common for a woman to believe she causes a man’s jealousy.

“I make him jealous,” she says.

“No you do not. You are not that powerful,” I say, “his jealousy predates you, and now you are the unlucky victim of the virus.”

Don’t mess (negotiate) with it. Stand up to it. Or it will get you every time. It will contaminate your every move, your every thought. (This is the nature of a virus.)

Address him with: “This is your issue, not mine. I love my life too much to allow your jealousy to manipulate or dominate me. If you want me, you have to accept that I will not allow your issues to have any power over me. It’s sad enough that your issues control you, I am certainly not going to let them control me. I’m interested to see what YOU will decide to do with YOUR problem.”

November 21, 2007

Relationships suffer…

by Rod Smith

1. When being right (correct, moral, accurate) is so important, so insisted upon, that it is at the expense of being loving. A healthy person can sacrifice his or her need to be right in order to love.
2. When anxiety and love are confused. “I am anxious about you” is a far cry from “I love you” and are not the same thing. Anxious people often believe true love necessitates worry. “How will he know I love him if I don’t worry about him?” is the plea of the anxious partner or parent. A healthy person remains non-anxious.
3. When love and control are synonymous. “If you love me you will dress (speak, think, see, hear) according to my will,” says the controller, “or I will question your love for me.” Healthy love celebrates freedom.
4. When love means “melting” into each other, giving up individual identity in the name of love. “We’re so close we even think each other’s thoughts,” proclaims the unhealthy couple. Healthy love elevates separateness, space and individuality.

November 17, 2007

Portrait of a successful or enriched woman…

by Rod Smith

The successful, or enriched woman …..

1. Knows she never has to participate in sexual activity that she does not want; and knows that her body is her own and private temple which she shares, even in marriage, only when it is by her own sacred, deliberate choice.
2. Does not lose herself in her marriage, or to motherhood, or in taking care of her family, but who is able to develop a strong, vibrant sense of self even while being a loving wife, mother, friend and professional in her career of choice.
3. Does not allow herself to be taken for granted, to be sworn at, to be victimized by anyone, not husband, children, in-laws, siblings, parents or co-workers.
4. Lives above manipulation, domination and intimidation, and has relationships that are therefore pure and open, mutual and respectful.
5. Is able to articulate her deepest dreams, desires, and fears to those whom she loves, without fearing a response of indifference or rejection.
6. Is a woman, who, in the midst of the pressures of work, motherhood and marriage, maintains her unique and powerful voice.
7. Is able to delay gratification for the greater good of her family and community.
8. Has a playful, open, adult relationship with her mother and/or woman in her mother’s age group, and is therefore free of feelings of jealousy and envy with her peers.

November 16, 2007

Portrait of a successful or enriched man…

by Rod Smith

Call me...

Call me...

1. Enriched is the man who treats others with kindness beyond their deserving. He is generous with family and strangers and he seeks the highest good for all, knowing that the wisdom he exercises in his daily life positively impacts people around him. He regards faithfulness with high regard. The very thought of betraying his family by committing some moral indiscretion deeply unsettles his peace.
2. Enriched is the man who does not play “one-up” games. He applauds the success of others. He takes no delight in the hardships, losses, or pain others endure. He is more committed to being patient, kind and hardworking, than he is committed to being rich or to displaying symbols of success.
3. Enriched is the man who would rather lose at a sporting event than he would cheat in order to appear to have won. While he can be fiercely competitive and loves to win, he watches his behavior, and treasures his reputation.
4. Enriched is the man who can drink without becoming drunk; enjoy good humor without resorting to the ridicule of others.
5. Enriched is the man who pauses momentarily, quite regularly, in order to acknowledge his joy at being a man. He treasures his role as one who carries love, truth and kindness to all within his circle of influence.
6. Enriched is the man who can delay gratification in all areas of his life. He does not crave gratification when is is at the cost of damaging his relationships, his finances or his integrity.

October 16, 2007

I am stuck…

by Rod Smith

Dear Stuck:

Note I have broken my own rules about keeping every entry to fewer than 250 words! But Stuck – I wanted you to hear from me, even if you might not like what I have to say.

Your letter appears below with my comments in BOLD and italics. I am sorry it took me so long to get to your letter:

“My best friend and I have known each other for 8 yrs. I have been in love with him for 5 years. He knows how I feel, but when I realized how much I cared, he was in a relationship. They even had a child together. They ended the relationship about 18 months ago and she is dating someone new yet continually professes her love for him still. He doesn’t want to have anything to do with her in that way.

I understand “in that way” but what is he doing about parenting and supporting the child they share? If he is not supporting his child – you have not said where the child is – I would move on no matter how much love you feel.

“He also began working with me and even relocated to living with me to get out of a bad family living situation.

I trust he is paying his way while living in your home?

“His ex has actually moved with his family since she lost her job. So he is living hours away with me while she is down there living with his sisters. He says he loves me but he is not ready for a relationship.

I’d suggest this is true. He is not ready for a relationship when he has a child from whom he is separated. I must assume he is busy being a dad (driving back and forth to see his child) while also trying to earn a living.

“We are not intimate (good – this would not be good for your long-term health and friendship) but we are together basically 24/7.

“Occasionally he will try to get me to go out on dates (how valiant of him) since he says he is not ready yet and doesn’t know when he will be. He doesn’t want me to wait for him. I feel really stuck.

The feeling is appropriate – you are stuck and it is not about him or your love for him but about you who seems to refuse to move on from a man who has declared he doesn’t want an intimate relationship with you.

“I have tried to tell him that while I have feelings for him I cannot remain friends with him if we never go anywhere simply because as long as he is in my life I feel as though I will never fall in love with someone else.

You got it. You don’t need me to tell you these things. You already know the answers. So have him move out. Today.

“His ex really broke his heart. He honestly felt that it was forever and he gave himself completely to her. However she cheated and lied and destroyed him. Now I am the only woman he trusts and talks to. He hasn’t even been with anyone since her. My dilemma is this. Do I try to wait to see what develops? Do I walk away? What do I do?? I am so confused. And every time people see us together they always think we are married. It doesn’t help that he is very affectionate with me, arms around me, flirting with me, wrestling with me and so forth. But that’s how its been for 7 yrs. what do i do? Please help.

Stuck”

Wow – this guy’s got you eating out of the palms of his hands and he has you believing he is so hurt and such a victim to his ex! Move on….. He doesn’t have what you are looking for. Send him on a journey to fend for his child.

From Stuck – sometime later…..

“So I haven’t seen any reply from you regarding my situation. Did I do something wrong? Am I not doing this correctly? I see others leave comments and you respond. I leave one and get nothing. Am I supposed to leave money somewhere or something to get you to respond? Or is my situation not valid enough for your response… confused… and still…STUCK.”

I am pleased to respond to you but I do not OWE you a reply. Yes your issue is VALID but you already know what you need to do and I am not sure you will hear anything from me anyway! You will continue to be STUCK until you change directions and meet some new people and move in the circles of people who make wiser choices than the man with whom you are currently involved.

October 15, 2007

Do you think like a victim?

by Rod Smith

I’d suggest that if two or three of the following ring true you might want to get some professional help (or coaching, or peer supervision or whatever is available to you):

1. You think someone has more power over your life than you do.
2. You think your future is not primarily in your hands.
3. You think other people’s needs are always more important than your needs.
4. You feel surrounded by eggshells and therefore monitor everything you say.
5. You live as if someone close to you is carrying a big stick and looking for opportunities to punish you.
6. You generally think you deserve punishment.
7. Everyday you have a sense, a conviction even, that you are going to lose a little more, that another shoe is about to drop, or more unwelcome news is coming.
8. You feel guilty on the rare occasion you are moderately happy.
9. You lie to friends and say you are busy or unavailable when the truth is you are afraid to make plans that might upset your partner or family.
10. You find it difficult to receive favors especially favors you cannot repay.
11. You are suspicious when people enjoy each other and wonder what is really going on.
12. When people are kind to you, you wonder what they really want.

October 6, 2007

My elderly parents are putting strangers ahead of family…

by Rod Smith

“My elderly parents sold their house and are moving. We offer help but my mom says, ‘we have everything under control.’ The next day she says, ‘we could do with some help.’ Until the new owners take occupation my parents go to the house to switch lights on and off and close curtains. Running two households is draining for them. I asked my mom if my family could buy the garden tools and garden furniture. She said the new owners need them. So strangers suddenly mean more to my parents than family. For the first time I have been ugly to my mom. I told her that she should have offered things that they did not need to her family first, before she gave to strangers. I have been feeling sad for having words with mom and more sad that strangers mean more to her than family.” (Edited)

Your resentment over the new owners, garden tools and garden furniture is misplaced. I’d suggest your sense of being overlooked has a longer history than the sale of your parents’ house. Their move is shifting your world! This is something worth uncovering. Who gets an old hoe, rake or lawnmower is no measure of love! Rejoice that your parents have the wherewithal to do all they do.

October 1, 2007

He wants to know if we are sexually compatible….

by Rod Smith

Reader’s question: My boyfriend says we have to have sex to see if we are sexually compatible before he will continue seeing me. What do you think?

Rod’s answer: What an old, and ridiculous line. Move on! Your boyfriend is what I call a “pp” or “penis propelled.” If you really want to assess sexual compatibility it can be done without removing a single item of clothing!

First: Compare credit reports and financial statements to see how each of you handles money. How you respect, use, and save money, will exert more power over your long-term sexual compatibility than any immediate sexual encounter will indicate. It’s very hard to be passionate, faithful lovers when you are fighting over maxed-out credit cards. Little will challenge your sex life as much as scrambling for money and blaming each other for the poor use of resources.

Second: Compare your attitudes toward and your relationships with your immediate family. You can tell everything worth knowing about a person by how he (or she) respects and appreciates his parents and siblings. People who show little respect for their immediate family, or little desire to care for them, are unlikely to be a successful long-term husbands or wives, no matter how good or passionate they might be in a bedroom.

Third: Assess attitudes toward hard work. A shared, healthy attitude and high regard for hard, honest work, will give both of you useful insight into your long-term compatibility much more effectively than will the immediate experimentation with each other’s bodies.