Saturday, May 10, 2008

Relationship and Marriage Wisdom of the Ages: The Great Poet, Virgil

“The wisdom of the ages” is so named because it is indeed timeless, and even if it is thousands of years old, still proves effective today. Over 2,000 years ago, the Roman poet Virgil knew a lot more about fixing a failing relationship than you might guess…

I can’t describe to you how much I love this job. Everywhere I turn, I see something that holds a lesson for you, even in my old e-mail! LOL!

I was looking through the e-mail I’ve received from readers in past months to see who I needed to check in on (I try to follow up on everybody who writes to me with a problem to make sure they get it resolved and are still moving forward every day of their lives), and I noticed something about them: those who had the greatest success are the ones who took the most decisive action swiftly.

The great Roman poet Virgil (70 BC – 19 BC) wrote a lot about bold actions and bold men, not to mention a lot of other things that a man, especially a man in trouble, should keep at the forefront of his thoughts.

First those on boldness and bravery:

“Look with favor upon a bold beginning.”

“Fortune favors the brave.”

Those who see opportunity and act not only succeed, they draw the favorable attention of others, especially women, and most especially the woman with whom they are in a committed relationship. After all, bold, well-planned and well-executed action is one of the hallmarks of leadership and alpha male behavior.

But what makes some men bolder than others? Virgil had a few words to say about that, too:

“They can conquer who believe they can.”

“They can do all because they think they can.”

If you expect success, you make it happen, plain and simple. It’s not a mind game, just common sense. When you don’t expect success, you hold back, not wanting to commit everything to the win, holding your options open to such a degree that you never fully exercise any of them, and eventually your options expire and you fail miserably.

Ask anybody who has succeeded why they succeeded. They won’t tell you it was blind luck. That’s somebody who won the lottery, not somebody who has succeeded. Someone who has succeeded at anything will say that they thought things through, and then followed through (legendary U.S. Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager’s formula for success). They may not use those words, but that’s the message you’ll get, that they were committed to success, and did what it took to make it happen.

The million dollar question is, what gave them what they needed to commit? What say you, Virgil?

“Trust one who has gone through it.”

“Believe one who has proved it. Believe an expert.“

No man is born knowing how to handle every situation, good, bad, or indifferent. We learn as we go, some of us more than others. Those who succeed can commit to success because one way or another, they have come up with the knowledge that it takes to plot their path into the future, anticipating situations and making appropriate choices, thereby having a reasonable expectation of success because they have seen it. They then proceed, knowing that if their own learning and experience don’t cover everything that comes up, there will be others who can provide experience and knowledge that can bridge the gap for them, but one way or another, they will find or create everything that is needed.

But success can be fleeting, you say? Sure it can, if you let it! Virgil knew something about that, too:

“It is easy to go down into Hell; night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide; but to climb back again, to retrace one's steps to the upper air - there's the rub, the task.”

Many a success, many a fortune, and many a life has been pissed away because somebody wasn’t vigilant, and started letting things slide, like paying attention to their business, their children, or their wife. But instead of taking action, they thought, “Well, maybe it will just turn around on its own if I’m patient.”

Yeah, right. I’ve had a lot of problems fix themselves, haven’t you? I think the last time I had a problem fix itself I was in high school, had dislocated a shoulder falling down a flight of stairs, and tripped on the way to the ground floor to go to the hospital and relocated it. That was about 30 years ago.

So what should you do? Virgil, another pearl if you please?

Yield not to evils, but attack all the more boldly.

When things start to slide in your marriage, one of the very first things that happens is your sex life goes to hell in a handbasket. Boredom and frustrations build and you become part of that deplorable statistic wherein married couples who have been together longer than two years average having sex six times per year.

That sucks out loud, doesn’t it? And it’s so easy to just go out and have a fling, while you wait for her to wake up and do something, because it’s all her fault, with the headaches, the complaints, right? After all, she’s the one who’s saying “no,” not you.

Don’t be a moron. She’s not saying “no” because everything is the way she wants it to be. She wants to be excited. She wants to desire you. She wants you to sweep her off her feet, as you must have done to some degree on some level for her to marry you unless she was totally desperate and feared being alone, in which case she still wants it and wants it to be you, but doesn’t expect it from you, so it’s even easier for her to be looking elsewhere, too.

One of the worst-kept secrets in all of existence is that there are actually VERY FEW headaches that are bad enough to interfere with sex. Ask anyone who has a healthy libido and satisfying sex life. It’s when you don’t mix it up with naughty behavior and alpha male leadership to create attraction for a woman, don’t pay attention to her and learn to communicate with her, and frustrate and bore her to death that it becomes easier for her to just fake a headache or fatigue than to try to explain to you that you’re not “doing it for her” for the one thousandth time knowing that you won’t get it any better this time than the other 999.

That’s when you have to dig deep within yourself and ask yourself how important this woman and your marriage is to you. Virgil even wrote something about that:

“O tyrant Love, to what do you not drive the hearts of men?”

That rhetoric can be placed in a whole lot of different contexts, both good and bad, but think about it. When you really love a woman, when you VALUE her, and share her values, should you not be willing to do whatever it takes to protect and maintain your relationship with her? And if you do not, should you not acknowledge that a mistake that has been made, that you are so mismatched that neither of you can ever be happy with the other, and seek a graceful, equitable exit instead of wallowing in misery or starting some kind of war?

That’s when you summon your expert, learn what you need to know, and commit to making a successful change. You can dread it, or you can revel in the opportunity to start over with better information in hand and do it right this time. Virgil had some pretty good advice about that, too:

“Let us go singing as far as we go: the road will be less tedious.”

There is nothing that can diffuse a bad time, lighten a load, or elicit cooperation like the combination of leadership and humor, and that goes double for any situation that involves a woman, because they are biologically wired to respond to it. They have a choice to a degree and up to a point, but attraction can become just as overwhelming for them as boredom.

Think about that for a minute…

You can create attraction for a woman, and have her nurture you and stay with you for life, or you can fail to create attraction for her, and have her so bored and frustrated that she makes your life hell and BOTH OF YOU end up risking or having affairs while waiting for each other to do something to put off the impending divorce. If he had had such language in his day, I’m thinking Virgil would have said something like:

“Hmmm….a no-brainer!”

So there you have it. Be bold, be brave, find an expert, trust those who have been there before you, and have fun fixing things. Wisdom of the ages.

I’m your expert. I’ve been there, along with the 118 couples that helped in the development of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and the hundreds that followed them to keep providing you with the wisdom of those who have been there so that you can be bold and brave, and get back to having fun in your marriage or other committed relationship. Download your copy right now at because it’s not just history that favors the bold and the brave; women do too, including yours!

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!

David Cunningham

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